Until just few years ago, aerial photography required special camera equipment, either a helicopter or airplane and a pilot to fly one. Quadcopters with cameras, and in particular High Definition (HD) cameras changed that. Today, photographers can purchase HD equipped quadcopters (personal drones) that allow you to take aerial photography photos and video unlike anything in the past. The quality of these cameras is pretty amazing.
Camera equipped quadcopters are changing the the photography business, allowing photographers to capture stills an video from angles and perspectives never before available. Imagine you are hiking up a tall mountain – in the past, the only photos you take were along the trail from the trail’s perspective, but with a camera equipped quadcopter, you can take photos of the trail and yourself from beside the mountain! Instead of just having normal photos and video of yourself at the beach you an now take photos from above, adding a completely new perspective!
Here’s a really great example of what we mean – Captured with an HD camera via a quadcopter by Jared Leisek while on a family vacation in Newport Oregon:
Choosing the Best Quadcopter with Camera
There are a number of high quality camera equipped Quadcopters currently on the market, and new models are being released on a regular basis. These models are in high demand, as the interest in aerial photography grows beyond just professional use.
Choosing the best quadcopter with camera is tough, and the right choice for you really depends on a few factors:
- Your budget
- Camera Quality
- Size and weight
Prices for camera equipped quadcopters vary greatly. What generally drives the price is features, camera quality and stability. You can read more about quadcopters and aerial photography in our Drones for Aerial Photography article. We’ve reviewed lots of camera equipped drones, and below are the best quadcopters with cameras, and the ones we recommend for aerial photography. We’ve even included videos from each of the quads cameras so you can get an idea of the stability and quality of each!
DJI Vision 1If you are looking to buy the best of the best when it comes to a camera equipped quadcopter, the DJI Vision 1 fits the bill. While expensive, the Vision 1 offers a number of features that will provide you with outstanding video, and a great flying experience:
- The 12 mega pixel camera shoots Ultra HD 4k video at 24-30 Frames per second
- The strong carbon fiber arms AND they move up and out of the way to provide a full 360 degree filming view for your underside mounted camera.
- Supports the use of two remotes – 1 to control the camera, and the other to control the quadcopter
The Inspire 1 offers professional level quadcopter and features in the upper reaches of the hobbiest price range. The Inspire 1 is the most advanced camera equipped and ready to fly quadcopter available on the market right now. If you’re looking top quality flight control and video, the Inspire 1 is for you.
DJI Phantom Vision+ with GoProThe DJI Phantom Vision+ has established itself as the go to choice for ready to fly and HD equipped quadcopter. The Vision+ is the recommended choice by most professional photographers and hobbyists. The Vision+ includes:
- A 3 axis gimbal for incredibly stable video
- HD and clear video from the included GoPro Black camera
- Easy to use software for smooth flight, and easy control
The DJI Phantom literally blew the market away when it was released a year ago, and DJI has continually worked to tweak the product and software to make it one of the most stable, reliable and easy to fly quadcopters on the market. The Vision+ includes a GoPro black camera, offering 12MP resolution and 4K video capabilities AND a Zenmouse 3 axis gimbal, offering unrivaled stability and smoothness.
The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is the perfect choice for amateurs and professionals and is even used in professional movie studio photography. You really can’t go wrong by choosing the Vision+. If the Vision+ is out of your price range, check out our DJI Phantom comparisons, as DJI makes a number of models.
Parrot BepopNew to the market, the Parrot Bepop is the second quadcopter produced by Parrot and the Bepop is getting lots of media attention and rave reviews. The Bepop is a lightweight and portal quadcopter equipped with a HD 14MP fish-eye camera. The Bepop is unique, as it offers many of the features found in larger and more high end quadcopters, along with a very high end HD camera, but in a smaller size and for a more affordable price.
The small size and portability of the Bepop is a key selling feature. The Bepop features:
- 14MP 1080p HD camera
- Small, Durable, and light weight design
- Built in GPS with auto return
- Piloted by advanced software that runs on you iPhone or Android phone
The Bepop also has the optional Skycontroller, which provides joystick control, and additional features including FPV and FPV headset integration and extended range (up to 2KM). You’ll definitely want to consider the Bebop before making a final purchase decision, especially if you need something a little smaller and more compact.
Hubsan X4 (H107C)If the above models are out of your price range, and you need something more affordable yet still easy to fly and takes decent video, the Hubsan X4 is for you. The Hubson X4 (read our review) has established itself as one of the most reliable, stable, and easy to fly small quadcopters on the market. The Hubsan is our recommendation as a first quadcopter to learn with. Hubson soon upped the game a few months later with the release of the Hubsan X4 H107C which includes a built in low resolution camera.
The Hubsan H107C includes:
- A nice and easy to use controller
- A 0.3 MP video camera (requires a Micro SDHC card)
- Highly durable, light weight design and small frame (I carry mine in my backpack)
- Great range, 150 – 300 feet
If you are new to aerial photography, or just wanted an affordable quadcopter with a camera, you’ll definitely want to check out the Hubsan X4 H107C, for the price you really can’t beat it.
Syma X5CAnother great quadcopter option that includes a camera is the Syma X5C. The units small size, great flying characteristics, good camera quality, and long flight times make it a great choice for beginners, and even as an inexpensive unit for more experienced quad flyers.
While Syma X5C is inexpensively priced, it comes with a number of options found in higher priced units, including:
- 6-axis gyroscope stabilization
- 2MP 30 frames per second camera
- Durable, stable and easy to fly
- Really nice controller
The Syma X5C is an awesome quad for the money, and we highly recommend it. We also recommend purchasing theupgraded battery for longer flight times.