These are the best HD camera drones for aerial photography, some of the best camera drones for video too.
The best HD camera drones are far more than the simple toys they used to be. They’re now used widely by amateur and professional photographers because they can reach areas and shoot from angles that regular cameras can’t. They allow aerial photography and videography of landscapes, buildings, and events that previously required the use of a helicopter, a small plane, or a crane.
HD camera Drone really have changed the way we view the world. If you’re looking to get one yourself, you’ll want to read today’s roundup. It’s all about the best drones to buy depending on your interests. Keep reading to see our favorite drones for professionals, photographers, kids, and more.
In 2021, we are eagerly waiting for DJI to produce its first FPV racing drone – designed for sports use using goggles. And we are also expecting Sony to arrive with its first Airspeak drone. Whilst Ring is promising a home security camera by HD camera Drone that flies around to keep an eye on your possessions.
The best drones in 2021
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
The all-round best drone for photography
- Weight: 905g | Dimensions (folded): 214×91×84mm |
- Dimensions (unfolded): 322×242×84mm | Controller: Yes |
- Video resolution: 4K HDR 30fps | Camera resolution: 12MP |
- Battery life: 31 minutes (3850mAh) | Max Range: 8km / 5mi | Max Speed: 72kph / 44.7mph
- Very portable
- optical Zoom (on the Zoom model)
- Great software features
- No 60fps for 4K
DJI’s Mavic Pro changed what was possible with the best camera drones back in 2016, making it possible to fold and carry a decent-quality lens without being overly heavy or bulky. It could capture 4K (at a maximum of 24fps) and introduced a handy fold-out controller that seemed to have more in common with a PlayStation than bulky radio controllers from their hobby era.
From cheapest to most expensive that’s Mavic Mini (and its replacement the Mini 2), Mavic Air 2, Mavic 2 Zoom & Mavic 2 Pro. The final two have identical airframes but radically different camera units in the field of HD camera Drone.
There is a price to pay though; the zoom sits infront of a 1/2.3” 12-megapixel camera which tops out at ISO3200. Even at launch this was a little disappointing, though 4K video at up to 30fps and 100mbps are great quality, and DJI’s app provides a great balance of functionality and power.
Autel EVO II
With an 8K video, this might be more than you need!
- Weight: 1174g | Wing span (unfolded): 397×397mm |
- Controller: Yes | Video resolution: 8K @ 25fps | Camera resolution: 48MP |
- Battery life: 40 minutes | Max Range: 9km / 5.5mi | Max Speed: 72kph / 44mph
- 8K video quality
- 48-megapixel camera
- Omnidirectional sensors
- 8K shooting is limited to 25fps
Like the Mavic 2, Autel’s second EVO is offered with different camera choices, in theory at least (supply has been erratic in its early months, but then 2020 hasn’t been an easy year). Both are built around a heavy, rugged-looking (but average feeling) orange airframe, eschewing a sleek consumer-friendly design for simple practicality. It’s a bit chunkier than the Mavics, but it can fly for longer and is bigger unfolded).
So far the ‘lesser’ 8K model is the one widely available – with the 6K ‘Pro’ model following and the dual infrared-enabled version to come.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro
A brilliant camera in a quality package
- Weight: 907g | Dimensions (folded): 214×91×84mm |
- Dimensions (unfolded): 322×242×84mm | Controller: Yes | Video resolution: 4K HDR 30fps |
- Camera resolution: 20MP | Battery life: 31 minutes (3850mAh) |
- Max Range: 8km / 5mi | Max Speed: 72kph / 44.7mph
- 1-inch sensor
- Reliable airframe
- Great software features
- No 60fps for 4K
2020 saw the arrival of the Mavic Air 2 with a host of improvements to the Mavic line, making the Mavic 2 Pro more of a specialty aircraft than before. Still, whichever way you look at it, the stills and, in lower light, the video remains unbeaten (without spending a good amount more, it can be the best HD camera Drone and throwing portability out of the window).
PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard
Best waterproof drone and best A.I. camera drone
- Weight: 860g / 1.9lb | Dimensions (egg): 178 x 102 x 102mm | Dimensions (drone mode): 427mm diagonal |
- Controller: Yes | Video resolution: 4K @ 60fps | Camera resolution: 12MP |
- Battery life: 30 minutes (dry mode) |
- Max Range: 6 km / 3.7mi | Max Speed: 65kph / 40mph
- Waterproof & water landing mode
- Audio-sync recording option
- Camcorder mode a nice option to have
- No record button in camcorder mode
- Small image sensor
PowerVision is certainly an inventive company – as its awards shelf will testament – and it has been making underwater drones as long as flying ones, so the PowerEgg X shouldn’t have come as a surprise, but it did. Their original PowerEgg was a stunning product, yet PowerVision opted to go back to the drawing board rather than revising it. They created an altogether new egg which could be used as a drone, a hand-held or tripod-mounted camcorder making use of the gimbal for stability and A.I. for subject tracking, and – in the optional ‘Wizard’ kit – a beach-ready drone which can land on water or fly in the rain.
DJI Mini 2
The best drone for the beginner
- Weight: 249g | Dimensions (folded): 38×81×58mm | Controller: Yes |
- Video resolution: 4K 30fps (1080P@60fps) | Camera resolution: 12MP |
- Battery life: 31 minutes (2250mAh) |
- Max Range: 10km / 6.2 miles | Max Speed: 57kph / 35.7mph
- Very portable
- Registration-free in the USA, more.
- Raw photos
- Limited tracking features
DJI defined compact quality camera drones as something which could appeal to and be understood by everyday consumers with the Mavic in 2016. Still, price and, more recently, weight limits kept some consumers away. Drones over 250g (or operating them) now require registration and a small fee in most countries. The Mavic Mini solved the weight issue in 2019, but the latest Mini 2 has taken that already miraculous design and souped it up so it can now attract more serious users too.
Parrot Anafi FPV
The foldable Anafi is the best drone for travel
- Weight: 310g | Dimensions (folded): 244×67×65mm | Dimensions (unfolded): 240×175×65mm | Controller: Yes |
- Video resolution: 4K HDR 30fps | Camera resolution: 21MP |
- Battery life: 25 minutes (2700mAh) |
- Max Range: 4km / 2.5mi | Max Speed: 55kph / 35mph
- Very portable
- 4K @ 100Mbps with HDR
- 180° vertical-turn gimbal and zoom
- Only 2-axis control
- Some features are in-app purchases
The parrot wasn’t really a contender in the high-end aerial video market until the Anafi arrived in mid-2018, but it was definitely worth the wait. Parrot leaves the business of avoiding obstacles very much to the customer rather than push up prices and weight with sensors of questionable use (and the processing power to handle their data). In exchange, though, it’s managed to keep the portability and price manageable, helped by the fact a great hard-fabric zip case is included so you’ll be able to shoot just about HD camera drone anywhere.
A great drone that proves size isn’t everything!
- Weight: 80g | Dimensions: 98x93x41 diagonal mm | Controller: No | Video resolution: 720p | Camera resolution: 5MP | Battery life: 13 minutes (1100mAh) | Max Range: 100m | Max Speed: 29kph / 18mph
- Bargain price for the features
- Brilliant indoors
- Great way to start learning to code
- Relying on the phone to record captures interference too
- Range rarely reaches 100m
- Can’t tilt camera
This micro-drone – well below the minimum weight for registration in many countries – proudly proclaims that it’s “powered by DJI.” To back that up, it has a great array of software features and positioning sensors. With surprisingly good image quality and straight-to-phone saving, it could give your Instagram channel a new perspective.
Ryze Tello Iron Man
The best drone for Marvel fans
- Age: 14+ | Use: Indoor & Outdoor |
- Weight: 80g | Flight Time: 13 mins
- Quality components, including camera
- Prop guards
- Up to 100m range
- You pay a bit more for the Iron Man Stark Industries livery
This is the same drone as the Ryze Tello – but it just gets a special paint job that will appeal to any fan of the Marvel Universe, and Iron Man in particular.
DJI Mavic Air 2
Foldable drone 2020, is the best
- Weight: 570g | Dimensions (folded): 180×97×84mm | Dimensions (unfolded): 183×253×77mm | Controller: Yes |
- Video resolution: 4K 60fps | Camera resolution: 48MP |
- Battery life: 34 minutes (3500mAh) | Max Range: 18.5km / 11.4mi | Max Speed: 68kph / 42mph
- 4K shooting a 60fps
- Object avoidance with course correction
- No side or top sensors
- App could be better
The new DJI Mavic Air 2 is a stunning technical achievement and competent drone that – for most people – might look like the only flying camera they’d ever need. With front, downward, and rear-facing distance sensors, the drone can identify obstacles and warn the pilot, and plotting a course to avoid, say, a wall or a tree if needed.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
The best drone for professionals
- Weight: 1375g | Dimensions: 350x350xmm | Controller: Yes | Video resolution: 4K @ 60fps |
- Camera resolution: 20MP | Battery life: 25 minutes (5870mAh) |
- Max Range: 7km / 4.1mi | Max Speed: 72kph / 44.7mph
- Large image sensor
- Design classic
- Subject tracking
- Size feels a little clunky
The Phantom was a revolutionary product, its earlier versions including the first drone to feature a gimbal-stabilized camera rather than requiring the user to supply their own. Its rugged body design means that while it’s no longer the obvious choice for beginners or consumers (for whom folding products offer at least the same practicality), there is a strong use-case for an occasional professional.
Sony Airpeak Drone
The Sony Airspeak Drone is ideal for professional photographers. That’s because it can carry an Alpha camera system, making it excellent for content creation and pro-level photos.
The bottom line
The best drones have evolved greatly since the first ready-to-fly model went on sale ten years ago – and a decade on, drones are now everywhere. Every drone on this list (except the cheap Tello) has a camera supported by a powered gimbal, which counteracts the propellers’ vibration. Sensor size is still an issue for photographers, but options are depending on your needs. In general, the bigger the sensor, the better the low-light performance.