Drones and video go together like peanut butter and jelly. Have you ever seen footage shot from a drone? Changes are you have but might not have known it. Drones are used by Hollywood film crews all the time to achieve incredible angles that would normally not be possible (or would be far more expensive if shot from a helicopter or plane). Luckily for us regular citizens drone prices have dropped while the level of sophistication and list of available features has only expanded.
Realizing people are looking for the best drone they can buy for the money, I’ve put together a list of awesome drones at three different price points. Obviously, the more money you spend the more features and options you’ll get, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a fun drone for under $300!
Best Video Drone Under $1,000
There are plenty of more expensive drones, but for under $1,000 I’d say NOTHING beats the Phantom Standard 3 drone from DJI. Not only does it shoot crispy-looking 2.7K HD video from a built-in camera, it can also intelligently fly itself — while filming you! Want it to fly behind your car while you’re driving to capture your ride? How about hovering above you as you take in the view from a hike? Or maybe you’d just like it to circle above and capture you kayaking or biking or snowboarding? It’s super-steady and you can easily mount your smartphone on the controller to get a live view of what the drone sees.
Best Video Drone Under $500
If you don’t have $800 to spend on the drone above you might want to consider the Parrot Bebop drone. It’s smaller than the Phantom Standard 3 (which could be considered a feature) and is missing the same great autopilot features but there’s still plenty to love. You’ll get full HD (1080p) video from the built-in fisheye lens camera and can take 14 Mpx photos. You should also get smooth footage from this drone thanks to the 3-axis stabilization. Finally, this drone is safer to fly inside and, like the Phantom, can return to home when a collision occurs or when the battery gets low. You can optionally connect this drone to the Skycontroller (think better controls and an iPad-sized screen).
Best Video Drone Under $200
If you’re on a super-tight budget but still want a good-looking drone that shoots decent video, don’t worry. You should check out the Dromida Ominus FPV. It’s about as basic as you can get — there aren’t any bells or whistles here. Even so, you’ll get a detachable camera which can be controlled via a free smartphone app (expect lower resolution footage and photos than the drones above), a remote with a sun shade for your phone screen and some replacement blades. This would be a good starter drone or possibly a good present. One thing to note, however, is that the manufacturer’s website doesn’t mention the quality of the camera. Hey, at least it comes with batteries!