Drones are one of the most innovative creations ever. These unmanned aerial vehicles are able to reach places where we cannot go ourselves as they can operate from a few centimeters off the ground to a few hundred meters. Their small size, sturdy design and compact nature can be used for a number of purposes.
For instance, camera drones are widely used by professionals for capturing the best in the field of aerial photography and by hobbyists experimenting with a little mid-air flight and recording video footages. But video drones allow you to do a lot more than this! The video drones can be used for military purposes, for carrying out rescue operations, for issues like bomb detection and the likes.
If you too are making up your mind to get hold of the best video drone, but are confused which one to pick, we are here to help you. Catch’em all!
The top 5 picks for video drones
Following is a list of some of the best video drones available in the market.
DJI Phantom 2 Vision+
When we talk about the best video drones, one of the first names that come up is the Phantom 2 Vision+ from the house of DJI. Now, DJI is quite a household name when it comes to making exceptional drones. This particular product is one of the best from DJI.
The Vision+ is best known for its perfect camera work. It will give you some of the smoothest videos that are stable and free from any sort of disturbance. This can be attributed to the three axis gimbal that gives it the required stability.
The HD camera not only gives you great videos but also provides very clear pictures taken from a height. These can either be recorded onto a storage device or viewed as first person view. There is a built in FPV link that allows you to view the recording footage.
Apart from the camera part, this device gives a flight time of 25 minutes, which is quite impressive for video drones. The Lithium metal batteries are strong enough to hold the drone for that long. Also, the quadcopter has a very impressive design and build. The self-tightening propellers give a good performance that goes on to increase.
Add to that, the device comes in an almost assembled state. So all you have to do is take it out of the box, charge the batteries, screw in the propellers and you are all set to go! This drone can be flown over all landforms, including the waters for getting the best videos. Be it an amateur or a pro, this model will not disappoint you, and you can find out much more about it by reading our DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ in-depth review.
DJI S1000 Octocopter
DJI is a rather popular name when it comes to unmanned aerial vehicles and this is evident in the second product on our list. This is yet another best video drone from the same brand, except this time it is an octocopter instead of a quadcopter. It comes packed with eight arms and thus is a very powerful product.
DJI S1000 is specifically designed for heavy lifting operations that allow you to take the heavyweight cameras for the best effects. This brings us to the Canon 5D Mark II which works towards giving you some crisp and clear pictures and video footages from mid-air. Combined with the Zenmuse Z15, you will get a great photographic experience.
Next, let us talk about the portability. The device can be folded in a unique design. This allows for a quick setup and wrap-up procedure, making it easy to carry around. The power of the drone can be understood from the huge amount of propulsion provided for the takeoff. This makes the octocopter a lot more user-friendly.
Coming to the controller, it is teamed with A2, a DJI flight controller. This allows you to operate and direct the video drone easily. Also, the copter is strong enough to continue its run even with the loss of a particular motor. That is how powerful it can get. Being made from carbon fiber, this is a lightweight structure in spite of its ability to carry heavy cameras. For a much better insight into what this model has to offer, we suggest checking out our DJI S1000 review.
UTO Drone U960 Hexacopter
Drones come in different forms and varieties and a hexacopter is an interesting choice for a drone. The U960 drone from UCO is what we are going to discuss here. It is one of the most durable choices for a drone that you will come across. Being extremely lightweight, it is easier to maneuver and thus easier to control. Also, the strong motors help the video drone to fly a lot longer and more efficiently.
The 6 axis gyro works towards keeping the device safe and secure giving you full control of the posture position. The hexacopter is equipped enough to give you a flight time of about 8 minutes. However, that is made up for by the durability and the extensive video quality. This brings us to the camera aspect of it.
This device is well suited for FPV options which give you live streaming videos from the HD recording camera. This camera drone is also suitable for use in both indoor and outdoor environments and for all types of flyers, including the likes of beginners and pros.
Coming to the battery, it takes about 2 hours for the drone to get fully charged. The 700 mAh battery requires a voltage of about 7.4 Volts. Once charged, it can run for 8 minutes. The drone can be controlled from a distance of about 100 meters, which is pretty impressive for a device in this price range.
Overall, the controller is easy to use and the camera lens can be tilted to get the best view for yourself.
Cheerson CX-33S Tricopter
After a quadcopter, a hexacopter, and an octocopter, there is yet another type of video drone that has been doing the rounds. A tricopter, having three arms, is a rather powerful device. It can easily compete with the most powerful quads and other drones. Cheerson CX-33S seems to be a great choice, especially for beginners, with its efficient video recording qualities.
So what is this tricopter capable of doing? Well, it can ascend and descend in air, move forward or backward according to the operator’s wishes, and take turns on the left and right directions. What is more is that you can even allow it to hover in the air on its own, maybe for capturing a particular spot on its camera for a prolonged period of time.
It comes packed with a 2 MP camera that is capable of taking some crisp pictures and also unperturbed videos. The videos can be viewed as FPV or first person view from a transmission distance of about 30 to 80 meters. Its power can be gauged by the fact that it comes with three arms but 6 motors.
The 6 axis gyro gives this device the required stability in mid-air. The device is also well lit with the four channels with LED lighting facilities. Added to that, there are some independent features that make this drone stand out in the market. This includes the one key take-off, one key land, and the likes. This makes this tricopter suitable for use for beginners.
Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider
They say powerful things come in small packages. The Parrot’s MiniDrone Rolling Spider is a package of power. It is one of the sturdiest drones you can come across. The best thing about this drone is that you can fly it indoors as well as outdoors.
This small package can fly in the air with a speed as high as 18 km/h which is quite impressive for a drone of this size. This is quite an acrobatic device as well. It is capable of taking swift turns 90 degrees and 180 degrees in the air. Added to that, it can also make a few 360 degrees turns in the forward or backward direction.
The drone comes packed with detachable wheels – this means you can make it roll up the walls, along the floor, and the likes, to get the best angle for the shots. And how do you take these beautiful shots? This mini quad has a vertical mini camera embedded in the body.
You can directly watch the footage from your iPhone or Android phones. Also, the FreeFlight3 application allows you to easily pilot this drone around, without many difficulties.
Now coming to the battery, this mini video drone with Lithium Polymer batteries can give you a flight time of about 8 minutes and about 6 minutes in wheels. This incredibly stable device is rather fun to use, especially because it is very responsive. It is ideal for anyone trying to play around with a drone with some aerial photography as well, and if you want to find out much more about the features this model offers, we suggest checking out our Parrot MiniDrone Rolling Spider in-depth review.
Things to consider while flying a video drone
It must be said that although you are very eager to fly a drone as soon as you lay your hands on it, there are, however, certain considerations you need to make before doing so.
The first thing you need to consider before flying a drone is the weather conditions. First of all, the weather conditions do affect your overall flight experience. The best time to go out and fly a drone would be during a sunny day with clear skies as you will get to play with it thoroughly.
It is recommended to avoid the winters for flying a drone. The primary reason for this is the fact that batteries might freeze mid-air which is not good news for the drone.
Moreover, it can also have an adverse effect on other parts of the product including the wings. It would be wise to read up the manual provided by the manufacturer to know the suitable conditions for flying the drone.
Check the drone
If you want to have a nice flight, then it would be wise to check the drone thoroughly before taking it out. The first thing you will need to do is check every inch of the product for any damages or loose parts. Here you can give a little extra attention on the propellers to make sure that they are fixed properly – this will ensure you they do not come out of the drone mid-air.
Apart from these, other important parts of the drone include the camera gimbal and the battery pack which will also require a good screening before a flight. The camera gimbal is an integral part of any video drone so take the necessary step to protect it as you wouldn’t want it to come out while the drone is in the air.
Lastly, if your inspection leads to the discovery of some faulty parts then it would be advisable that you get them replaced before you decide to take the drone for a flight.
Knowing the laws
If you are serious about flying a video drone, then it is not a bad idea to take a quick look at the laws of the land. The advent of video drones has forced various countries to put in place certain laws which will protect its civilian’s personal information and affirm the security of the country.
If we take the rules set by the FAA or US Federal Aviation Administration then you will understand the reason behind knowing the flight rules better.
Here are some of the standard guidelines you need to abide by if you are flying a drone over American airspace:
- Make sure that the drone is not in any way interfering with a manned aircraft.
- The drones cannot be flown within 5 miles radius of an airport
- Flying a drone near any military airbase or installations is strictly prohibited
- You are not allowed to fly a drone at an altitude exceeding 400 feet.
Know your drone
When you have chosen a drone, then it is imperative that you are aware of its capabilities. You need to know what the drone can do and what the limitations of the drones are. It basically means that you should have knowledge of the altitude it can fly, as well as how fast the drone can go.
It would be wise to get every detail of the drone before using it so that you don’t get surprised while you are flying it.
One of the pivotal features of the drone you will need to have a good knowledge about is the battery capacity of the product. The first thing here is its capability of holding the charge. This will help you gauge as to how long you can you keep the drone in the air.
The best way to understand the battery capacity of the drone would be to go for a short test flight. By assessing how much charge the drone is consuming in a short span of time, you can have a rough prediction of how long it will hold a charge in a long flight.
Moreover, there are certain drones, which come with a battery meter. It would be wise to go for such a product as they can give a near perfect image of the battery capacity of the product. Lastly, one factor which can play a crucial part in gauging the battery capacity is the prevailing weather conditions.
Test the drone
Before taking the drone out for a longer flight it would be wise to test it by flying at lower altitude. This will enable you to know whether the drone is responding properly to the controller or if there are some issues with any part of the drone.
When you are testing the drone, make sure that it is moving side by side smoothly and also check out its maneuverability as far as ascending and descending of the drone is concerned. If your drone passes this low altitude flight test, then you are good to take it out for high altitude flights. But if all is not well here, then it is time to rectify the issues of the drone and test it again.
Uses of a drone
If you are wondering as to how you can utilize a drone then we must tell you that the uses are endless. Here are some of the uses of a drone which make them so popular in this technological world.
The first person view
One of the most popular and innovative uses of a drone is the First Person View or FPV. Here the users will be provided with special goggles which will stream the live video feeds, which are captured by the drone while flying, into these goggles for the user to view.
Many people are opting for drones, which have this feature because this gives the user access to live feeds along with the recorded ones.
Drones are the perfect invention for people who are into taking pictures, especially the ones with aerial views. Many nature enthusiasts are known to take pictures of the natural landscape with the help of drones.
These drones enable them to access areas which are otherwise inaccessible to them. This is the reason why you will see different companies manufacturing drones with built-in cameras.
Although there are many drones, which do not have any built-in cameras, you will find a specific space where you can fit a camera easily. People are using drones for a number of reasons; starting from capturing outdoor activities to having a clear view of jam-packed concert they couldn’t attend, and the likes.
Saving the world
This might seem a bit unusual, but drones are being used to save the world. How is it so? Authorities have started using video drones to keep tabs on environmental violations committed as well as for a number of different environment related testing.
Drones help them in capturing live images of violations being committed, something which helps the authorities to identify the perpetrators. This also discourages criminals to act maliciously as they know that the authorities are watching
Not sure what model to buy?
The drone market gives us a lot of exciting options to choose from. While some will give you the best camera and thus video footages, others will give you impressive flight times. Also, there are products which come with additional features like automatic take-off and landing options that might prove to be useful for beginners.
Having removable wheels is another exciting aspect to a drone. There are various choices. What model you opt for depends on what your exact needs are: whether you want the best camera or an extended flight time or the likes. Let us help you with the choice.
If you want a drone that is powerful and gives you a good flight time, the name that comes up is the DJI phantom 2 Vision+. This is one of the most efficient products. Coming in a sleek and stylish design, it is suitable for both amateurs and professionals. That makes it user-friendly.
Moreover, the videos that you get are pretty amazing and will impress you even as a professional. However, as reported by the users, the device tends to give a flight time of about 15 to 20 minutes, up against the claim of 25 minutes. There are also some issues observed with the WiFi extender. However, being a great drone for beginners, this stands high in our opinion.
If a power packed drone is what you are looking for, the octocopter fairs a lot better than the quadcopter in this aspect. This is where the S1000 works well. When it comes to performance, there is hardly anything that can beat the likes of this model.
Also, it will give you a very stable flight. That is one of the reasons why you can get steady video footage from this model. Besides, its capability to carry heavy camera makes it a more lucrative buy.
However, it might not be the best to deal with a few crashes here and there. That, in turn, might not be worth the money that is spent behind this. So, be careful of this before you purchase this product.
Talking about a more pocket-friendly product, we land upon the hexacopter U960. This comes at a much more reasonable price and has been seen to perform well. Besides, it is quite durable and a few crashes cannot end it for this drone. It can work in moderately windy conditions; however, it will start to weaken in winds above 10 km/h.
The range of the hexacopter is sure to impress you. With live streaming videos over WiFi, you now have the chance to have a first person view of the footages being recorded by the device. The drone moves slowly and smoothly, thus forms one of the best choices for beginners.
Another exciting choice of a camera drone for beginners is the Cheerson CX-33S. It has auto take-off and auto landing options that make it very convenient for the beginners to follow. This is a tricopter with 6 motors for a very powerful performance. It can give you a flight time of about 6 to 7 minutes.
This might be a little less as compared to the other products. And it also takes about 210 minutes to get fully charged. But whatever time it spends in the air, it brings out the best in aerial photography for you. So, if you can accept a shorter flight time for crisp pictures, this drone might be ideal for you.
The Parrot Rolling Spider is fun to use and it is way too stable for its size. One especially useful feature is the removable wheels. With the wheels on, you can make the drone walk on the floor, go up the walls, and the likes. This helps you get the best pictures. Also, this drone is capable of taking acrobatic turns in different directions.
However, all is not perfect for this device. You will need to have a smartphone in order to use this. Also, the short battery life might be a cause for the problem.
This is not a professional drone by any means. But if you want to play around with a toy sized device that can give you good quality pictures with a short flight time, this might prove to be useful.
Now that we have seen how the different video drone models fair, let us have a look at what advantages and disadvantages these devices have on offer.
- Versatility – drones are compact and because of their size, they are able to reach places where it would be difficult placing a camera. You can use them inside a room or outdoors, several hundred meters above the ground. They can rotate and make acrobatic turns to give you the best camera views.
- Time-saving – initially, we made use of helicopters to get aerial footages. However, that took a lot of time to set it up and the likes. Now, with the camera drones, you can easily get a few snapshots or a continuous video in the matter of a few minutes, without many hassles.
- Good quality pictures – more and more drones that are being introduced into the markets are capable of taking HD quality pictures. With more advanced gimbals, we are only heading towards more stable pictures.
- Easy to maneuver – being small in size and coming with good flight controllers, it is rather convenient to operate on and control the drones from a distance. You don’t need big instruments to control the devices. These can be done right from the ground level with a lot of ease.
- Drone Filming – a lot of movies and documentaries are being shot with the help of camera drones to get the best aerial shots and to get rid of unnecessary overhead costs.
- Restricted access – there are strict restrictions to where you can fly your drones. It is best to keep away from public places and airports and the likes.
- Spying – drones used for spying purposes invade on the privacy of the people and this is very much discouraged.
- Battery life – with a limited battery life, it is difficult to get the best shot in one flight.
This sums up the video drones. Got a query? Write to us in comments!