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Quadcopter with Camera: Top 5 Best Products on the Market

Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

Drones are one of the most recent wonders of the new technologies and they managed to take the world one step further towards the future. From the moment the first flying robot or UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) was invented and up until now, engineers and passionate managed to develop a few very different types of drones. Thus, currently we have the utilitarian drones used for transportation, the quadcopter with camera, and the drones used for aerial surveillance.

Today, we are going to talk about the best quadcopter with camera on the market and we’re also going to explain why these mini flying robots are so popular. First of all, you should know that the quadcopter with camera is more of a recreational drone mostly used for aerial photography and pictures due to its incredible stability. They are inspired from real-life helicopters and usually come equipped with a camera that can be used to obtain aerial images and pictures.

You can fly these multirotors up to 400ft for recreational purposes and, according to your budget, you can actually get some very interesting features. The possibilities are limitless as almost every day people seem to find new uses for quadcopters.

The basic use is for creating amazing videos and taking breathtaking pictures of the surrounding areas, but people also use them to see over places that are difficult to access, or to map a certain area. For example, quadcopters are used by real-estate agents to showcase properties and gain more clients (isn’t this clever?). Another example is constituted by cattle breeders who use them for surveillance of the land and finding any lost animals.

Best camera-quadcopters: top 5 products on the market

Option #1 – DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ V3.0

The Phantom 2 Vision+ V3.0 is considered one of the best quadcopters on the market right now, due to its amazing stability during flight. The vehicle implements a 3-axis gimbal which allows it to fly smoothly and record a perfect aerial view for both professional photography and video recording.

Even though this is an advanced flying vehicle that won’t be recommended to a beginner in the art of aerial videography, the Phantom 2 Vision+ is RTF (Ready To Fly). This means that once you open the box no assembly and setups will be necessary. You can simply unpack it and start flying as the HD camera is already attached. You can even stream the video live to a smartphone or a tablet, directly from the quadcopter. This and the fact that you can control the camera angle remotely, give you more control over the entire process.

The high-end camera can produce full HD videos at both 720p at 60fps and 1080p at 30fps. To make sure there is enough space, the camera is equipped with a microSD card with 4 GB of space which should be enough for one flight round.

DJI Phantom 2 Vision

When it comes to price, the vehicle can be easily categorized as a bit expensive. Still, this is a quadcopter used by both amateurs and professionals for the amazing quality of images (stills and videos). Even more, the 5,200 mAh battery will secure the user at least 25 minutes of flight time!

If you think that this product could be useful for you, then you can buy it on Amazon.

Option #2 – Syma X5C

This is the perfect quadcopter for beginners and individual users without too many pretentions when it comes to video quality. When it comes to price, it is extremely affordable so even if you’re on a budget, you can allow yourself some fun and practice time. It’s also great for a first UAV to ever fly as you can play with it indoors (this way, you won’t lose it in the bushes at first flight).

In comparison with the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+, the Syma X5C is more a toy than a professional tool. But, you have to learn how to fly before taking fantastic aerial images with a quadcopter, and this is the perfect vehicle do to it.

Syma X5C

The X5C may not be the best quadcopter with camera on the market, but you shouldn’t ignore it either. The vehicle is equipped with an HD capable camera and a 2GB microSD card so there’s plenty of space to record your masterpieces. The 6-axis Gyro stabilization system offers stability during flight but you have to be careful on extra-windy days as it is very light.

When it comes to controls, the Syma X5C doesn’t disappoint. You can flip it around so you’ll take a 360° aerial view, take pictures, and turn on the camera remotely. The device uses a 2.4 GHz remote control with spread spectrum technology to reduce interferences to the minimum and offer the possibility to send the drone further away.

The only downside, in comparison with the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+, is the battery life. On a full charge, you only get 7 minutes of flight time and this is a bit frustrating.

If you like this product you can find and purchase it on Amazon.

Option #3 – UDI U818A 2.4GHz

This is definitely a quadcopter with an interesting design! The 4 rotors make you think about modern battle helicopters that you can only see in movies and advanced gaming. Due to its affordable price and rather limited features, this vehicle can also be included in the beginners’ category. Still, this doesn’t mean you can’t have lots of fun with it and prepare yourself in a career of aerials filming and stills.

Some of the features that make this device so great for beginners are the 6 axis gyro system equipped with posture control and the 4 channel function. These features provide extra-stability during flying and allow for an easy operation. This way, even if you’ve never touched a droned before, the vehicle will allow you to position it precisely.

The U818A is equipped with a pretty good camera that shoots 640×480 pixels AVI and can take photos. To make things more fun, the vehicle is ready to fly out of the box and performs flips and rolls for an enhanced 360° vision.

 UDI U818A

Given the fact that this is a budget quadcopter, there is no live feed feature (like the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ has).

Also, the battery will only allow for a 7 minute flight which can be a bit short. It can handle gentle winds, but if things become more serious, it might get blown away due to its reduced weight. Don’t worry though; the U818A is quite resistant to crashes.

If you like this product you can find and buy it on Amazon.

Option #4 – Hubsan X4

This is actually a micro-quadcopter that you can fit in the palm of your hand. Due to its size and the fact that it is extremely light, the Hubsan X4 is not designed to fly outside, but indoors. It can be used to create high-quality videos and pictures of your office, the inside of your house, create virtual tours in museums and other interesting buildings, and so on.

Just like de UDI U818A and the Syma X5 C, the Hubsan X4 is equipped with a 6-axis gyro system for increased stability in flight. The price makes it extremely accessible for anyone interested to shoot interior frames and for offering it as a gift to a child or a passionate.

The Hubsan X4 implements a 0.3MP camera that can record videos at a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. To make things a bit more interesting, this tiny quadcopter can perform a series of flips: forward, right, backwards, and left. You can do these using the 4 channels 2.4 GHz remote control.

Hubsan X4

If you really want to, you can get this baby outside, but you should know that it doesn’t come with a protective guard. This means that its propellers will be exposed to any bush or tree and when you crash it, it may break or get tangled in leaves or branches. If you really want to take it outside, you should consider adding some accessories like the protective guard.

The Hubsan X4 is recommended for beginners who want to learn how to fly and train themselves for something more advanced.

If you interested you can buy it from Amazon.

Option #5 – Parrot Bebop

Parrot is another popular name in the world of drones and their Bebop multirotor is definitely a toy anyone would love to have. Unlike many outdoor quadcopters, which are too big to fly safely indoors, the Parrot Bebop is designed to adapt to both indoor and outdoor situations.

Even though it doesn’t fit in the same price category with the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+, the Bebop drone is equipped with some pretty amazing features. First, the camera has 14 megapixels and can produce full HD 1080p video recordings and pictures. The best part is that Bebop can see at 180° creating amazing fisheye views at F/2.2 and it can send these in real-time to your smartphone. The lens is splash and dust proof so your gorgeous images won’t be ruined by such trivial things.

Just like some of the most advanced quadcopters out there, the Bebop is equipped with an advanced 3-axis image stabilization system which ensures an extra-smooth flight. The interesting thing is that you can actually control it using your smartphone or tablet due to the Free Flight 3 app available for Android, iOS, and Windows 8.1.

Parrot Bebop

The Parrot Bebop is very safety conscious. It has a return home automatically feature due to the built-in GPS system and, in case of an emergency, the propellers stop and the drone is landed.

This quadcopter with camera can be used by both amateurs and professionals to create gorgeous views and learn how to fly. The only problem is that it tends to lose WiFi signal. This is absolutely normal when you get out of range.

Like this great product? Then you can its price on Amazon.

The main differences between a quadcopter and a drone

Even though all quadcopters are drones, not all drones are quadcopters. Actually, there are noticeable differences between what we usually call drones and quadcopters, the latter being a specific category of UAVs.

  • First of all, the quadcopter has 4 engines that allow it to lift vertically through its propellers. Each pair of rotors turns in an opposite direction ensuring the vehicle an amazing stability. This makes them extremely popular in the world of video recording which is why most are already equipped with cameras or have the necessary equipment to attach one.
  • When it comes to build, quadcopters are considered to be simpler than drones used by the military or other services. They are usually made out of a flight controller, an electronic pace controls, propellers, casing and a protective frame. This makes them easy to build in your own garage (if you have the necessary knowledge) and the best part, they are cheaper.
  • When it comes to design, in my humble opinion, quadcopters are way cooler. They make you think about Avatar (yes, the movie!) and you’re kind of feeling like you’re controlling an actual helicopter.
  • Another difference is the GPS framework that most quadcopters don’t have. Drones used for surveillance and military objectives are equipped with powerful GPS systems that allow them to be independent. A quadcopter is usually controlled from the ground using either a remote control or a smartphone or tablet and they must communicate with their command center at all times.

FAA drone registration requirement

As a quadcopter pilot (sounds really cool, right?) you are responsible of getting up to date with the latest regulations imposed by the airspace authority in your country. These may seem like small toys, but they are actually considered flying vehicles and, the bigger they are, the regulations may get more severe.

FAA drone registration

In the United States, starting with December 2015, anyone owning a drone or a quadcopter with a certain weight must register it to the FAA before they can fly it legally.

Why buy such a quadcopter?

Quadcopters are extremely stable and, due to their stabilization system, they manage to offer an extremely smooth flight. This makes them the best flying vehicles to have when it comes to creating aerial photography and videography. Before quadcopters, most such materials were realized from a real helicopter but the result was always extremely noisy or shaky which made this kind of activity very difficult and time consuming.

Now, if you chose a professional quadcopter, you will have the possibility to take fantastic vistas from heights you couldn’t reach otherwise. Even more, the best models can transmit live feed and can be controlled using smartphone apps!

Parrot AR Drone

You have to remember that not all quadcopters are RTF (ready to fly) from the box and not all are equipped with a camera. If you’re looking for high-quality and stability during flight, we recommend quadcopters like the Phantom 2 Vision+ V3.0 and the Parrot Bebop. Otherwise, if you’re just looking to have fun and learn how to fly, cheaper models like the Syma X5C and the Hubsan X4 should be considered.

Important features to consider

Quadcopters with camera are designed for one basic purpose: to get high in the air and take great videos and pictures of the surrounding areas. With this in mind, each producer equipped their drones with a series of features which make them more or less fit for the professional job.

How to choose a drone?

The first question you have to answer to when purchasing such a vehicle is “what am I going to use it for?”. There are about 3 possible answers that will give you all the necessary details to find the right UAV for you. These answers are:

  1. For professional videos and pictures and other activities that require high-resolution and quality
  2. For mapping, surveillance and amateur videos and pictures
  3. For learning how to fly and general entertainment

In each of these 3 situations, you will have to look for a series of features. Below we put together a short list that describes each one of these features, to make sure you end up with the right vehicle for your needs.

  • The camera – quadcopters that come with an integrated camera implement different versions of quality. For example, an expensive multirotor designed for professional work will usually have a high-quality camera with over 14 megapixels, and full HD video capabilities. This will allow you to create print-quality photos and crystal-clear videos that will astonish and amaze every viewer.
    If you want more control over the filming angle, and the possibility to zoom in or out, consider a multirotor with an attached camera (and not built-in).
  • Control options – quadcopters are usually controlled from the ground using a remote control. Still, the latest models also have GPS systems built-in so you can program a flight path or make in-flight corrections. Some can actually be controlled using your smartphone or tablet using the WiFi signal. If you’re looking for extra-accuracy during flight, a quadcopter with a remote control and GPS system offers the perfect combination.
    For example, the Parrot Bebop quadcopter can be programmed to return home automatically, which is very handy in case of emergency. If you need a multirotor for fun and practice, the Hubsan X4 is very small and light and can fly in small spaces like rooms and offices.
  • Live streaming – this is a feature that most advanced quadcopters are equipped with. It comes in handy because you can actually see what you are filming and you can adjust the angles accordingly. The best way to enjoy this option is to buy a quadcopter with WiFi capabilities, but you must make sure you have the necessary WiFi power to maintain connectivity even when the drone drifts away. Most quadcopters are equipped with repeaters which allow you a distance of up to 350 feet.
  • Battery life – This aspect is very important when you’re thinking about buying a multirotor. Some of the cheapest models only allow you 6 or 7 minutes of flight which is a very short time interval if you want to film something of high-quality. A professional drone like the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is equipped with a better battery and allows you about 25 minutes of flight which is 3 times more than its siblings.
    If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a quadcopter and you don’t need to send it on long trips, it’s recommended to buy one that allows you to swap batteries. This way you won’t have to wait until the battery charges to fly again.
  • Accessories – You will be able to appreciate the quadcopter’s quality by the number of accessories in the box. For example, the Hubsan X4 doesn’t even come with a protective guard. So, if you want to take it outside, you will have to invest some extra money in your newly discovered hobby. Do your homework first, and make sure you get everything you need, even though it is a bit pricier.
    Once you get hooked, you might end up spending more on accessories than on the drone itself. Just keep in mind that, when it comes to accessories, you might end up buying them anyways. This happens if you are a professional and you want to perform certain activities. Still, if you choose a drone that already comes with a few accessories, you’ll save some money.

Now that you know which features are the most important, you will be able to find the right UAV for you. And all this without getting confused and frustrated by all the technical terms such a vehicle may bring into your life.

Recommendations before buying your first quadcopter

Before opening the browser and going online looking for quadcopters, there are a few things we feel you need to know. We don’t intent in any way to reduce your enthusiasm towards drones and quadcopters, but you must be prepared for what’s to come.

No one is a born pilot

Don’t expect to unpack the quadcopter, turn it on, and start flying! This will never happen, especially if you’re a beginner. Any quadcopter requires training and some getting used to. Each multirotor is controlled by a flight computer which is nothing else than a computer that keeps the vehicle stable in the air. Without this tiny computer, no one would be able to fly drones!

Drone Piloting

Each flight controller is set differently and this makes every quadcopter unique. Certain models are configured to be faster and more agile while others bet their existence on stability and control. Usually, the more expensive drones are easier to keep in the air while the cheap ones (Syma X5C or the Hubsan X4) are more difficult to stabilize and fly.

It may cost you more than you think

If you’re just looking for a toy to fly now and then, you’re in no danger. You may have to buy an extra protection guard to make sure the propellers don’t get tangled, but that’s it.

On the other hand, if flying drones is more than just a hobby, you may be in for the long run. First of all, the quadcopter itself is going to be quite expensive, but there are other accessories that may drain your budget. These include the remote controller, the charger or the software.

Drone costs a lot of money

Our recommendation is to make a smart purchase that will help you enjoy your passion without breaking your budget in the process. For this, you need to sit down and do your research thoroughly.

Not all quadcopters have a camera or are RTF

Not all are RTF or Ready To Fly. Quadcopters marked RTF don’t require any additional preparation to fly. You just get it out of the box and fly it. Other acronyms used on quadcopters and drones in general are:

  • BNF (Bind and Fly) – these devices are already assembled, but they miss the flight controller. This means you’ll either have the use the one you already have (if it matches) or buy one.
  • ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) – these quadcopters may require assembly and they don’t usually have a transmitter or a receiver.

Almost Ready to Fly Drone

I also know we mentioned that quadcopters are the usually bought for aerial videos and pictures. Still, not all of them have a built-in or attached camera. Even more, not all cameras are high-quality. Cheaper models are cheap for a reason: the camera quality can be compared with the quality of a web cam. So, make sure to read the description carefully and don’t expect super high-quality from a $50 quadcopter.

Not sure what model to buy?

Quadcopters and drones in general are definitely very popular and very fun to own. They can be used for both work and entertainment and people can develop great passions for flying and aerial imagery. Still, deciding on the type of model can be quite confusing given the fact that there are already so many out there.

We hope that, after reading the most important features, and seeing the best 5 models on the market, you will have the necessary data to make an informed decision. Even more, we put together a few pros and cons of owning a quadcopter.

Pros:

  • Quadcopters come in a wide range of prices so anyone can afford them.
  • They offer amazing possibilities when it comes to aerial videos and images.
  • They are highly versatile as people find new ways of using them every day.
  • You can experience being a pilot without taking expensive lessons.
  • Quadcopters are resistant to shocks and some offer extra options of control.

Cons:

  • A quadcopter is not easy to pilot from the first try.
  • Battery life is a huge issue for cheaper models.
  • You must do some extensive research before finding the best one for your needs.
  • It can be an expensive passion.

If you still have questions regarding the type of quadcopter to purchase or any other topic-related inquires, just leave us a comment. We’ll do our best to reply as quickly as possible!

About the author
Jack Brown
Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.

  • Danny Washington

    This list is like a hall of fame for drones. I could find some really good drones like the Parrot’s Bebop which is one of my best drones from now on. Also it makes it harder to buy one, since they all are good and powerful

    • Yes, we truly have a lot of choices these days that it becomes difficult to choose one.

  • Michael Johanson

    When we talk about camera, a decent mention is the Phantom 2 Vision+. You get 15 minutes of flawless videos with perfect stability. The carbon propellers make the steadiness even better. DJI have done a great job on this one.

  • That’s why DJI is a market leader 😀

  • Veronica Blake

    For beginners the SYMA X5C-1 is just flawless. Flew one for around 2 months and it was lovely. The X5C-1 is more stable, easier to hover and can survive some rough treatment. This is a 5 star “starter” drone.

    • Jack Brown

      I couldn’t have said it better myself, especially since I also own one 😉 A great model for beginners. You will have hours of fun, learn how to control the drone, and make videos along the way, and not spend much money. A win Win!

  • Stuart Adams

    Syma is a great product. I just wish it had better range. The camera is great, but it takes better videos than still photos. The stills are kinda blurry. But the camera can be upgraded. Its very easy to fly and very stable.

    • Jack Brown

      I agree. The range could be longer, but hey, for that price, I am not complaining! 🙂 All Syma’s drones are great and I just hope that they will keep up the great work they are doing so far.

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