What Are Multirotor Camera Drones?
A video or camera drone is a radio-controlled, aerial flying platform that can shoot high-quality video and still photos, vibration-free. You can choose between a fixed-wing and multi-rotor configuration.
Camera drones tend to be multirotor, similar to quadcopters because they are incredibly stable and maneuverable flying platforms.
These drones are available with a 4K or HD camera and gimbal installed. You can easily fit them with a 2-axis or 3-axis Gimbal that can carry the camera of your choice.
Many top-of-the-line multirotor camera drones are equipped with software-driven features that make planning and producing a video shoot easier.
- Pre-flight Planning Software: Create your flight plan using waypoints drawn on a map with a tablet or touchscreen interface.
- GPS autopilot: Use autopilot to execute your flight plan so that you can concentrate on shooting great shots
- Automated trick camera shots: Follow-me (3PV), an area of interest (ROI), targeting, and circle-me are just a few of the more recent modes of automated camera mode that make life easier for filmmakers
- Safety features include Auto Return Home (RTL), Low-Battery Return, and Pause and-Hover modes. These features prevent damage to your aircraft or injury to others.
- Flight simulator: Learn how to fly without putting your equipment at risk
- Video editing and publishing software, and many other features
Although it might take some time to learn all the features of the multirotor camera drones, today’s top-selling drones are simple to fly and can capture sharp, blur-free HD video and still photos.
Tips For Beginners Using A Camera Drone
It looks like fun to fly multirotor camera drones and take photos and videos from the air. And it is. However, it also takes a lot of practice to fly the drone safely and get decent pictures. So you’ll end up spending a lot on an expensive toy.
If you are a newbie in the world of aerial photography/videography, here are some tips.
Buy a starter drone. You will probably crash your first drone many times. Buy a starter drone at a low price that you don’t mind replacing parts or even replacing with a newer drone. The DJI Tello is our current favorite starter drone. We recommend the DJI Spark and the Mavic Mini if you want a more capable drone.
Upgrade to a hobbyist drone: if you already know the basics of flying a drone, upgrade to a hobbyist drone like the Mavic Air 2 or Mavic Pro 2. These multirotor camera drones should be sufficient for most of your needs. In addition, these drones offer excellent flying performance and high-quality shots (4K or higher).
Leave professional rigs to pros: You don’t need a customized rig like the Typhoon H3 and DJI Inspire 2 if you are not a professional filmmaker. These rigs can cost thousands of dollars. In addition, these multirotor camera drones are difficult to fly, and they are too expensive if you are just looking to capture some great shots to share with your friends.
Buy an additional battery: Most drones have a battery life of between 25 and 35 minutes. This is not enough when you’re having fun taking photos or videos. To enjoy longer flight times, we recommend purchasing an additional battery.
Be creative. Ultimately, aerial photography is not much different from normal photography, at least when it comes to the basics. A great camera will only take you so far. To create stunning photos, you must learn how to use lighting, background, and perspective.
Use intelligent flight modes: Intelligent flight modes are a great way to save time and keep your eyes on the camera. In addition, these modes can significantly improve the quality of your videos or images, so don’t hesitate to use them.
Stay safe. Use common sense and drone safety rules to ensure you don’t injure anyone, cause damage, or lose your drone. Be aware of the weather and ensure you can see your drone at all times.
Do not be discouraged if you have poor photos or videos at first. It takes practice to master any skill. Practice taking pictures in various situations and environments by spending a lot of time with your drone. You’ll get better.
How Much Does It Cost?
Decent RTF multirotor camera drones can start at $500 if you are willing to accept a limited range and lower than 4K video quality.
Ready-to-fly, complete multirotor camera drones capable of shooting 4K videos typically cost between $1,000 and $2,000. The majority of flying cameras within this price range have many features, including flight planning software, GPS autopilot, and advanced trick camera shots. They also include a ground station controller with an integrated touchscreen, GPS, GPS autopilot, and a 3-axis professional Gimbal. The Typhoon H3 and Phantom 4 PRO v2.0 are the most popular RTF camera drones.
Prices for more demanding requirements, such as if you require a drone to fly in Micro Four Thirds or a drone that can carry two people, start at $2,500. But prices can rise. DJI Inspire 2 ($2,000-$8,000) is the most popular RTF flying camera drone. It offers several camera packages, including a professional-grade Micro Four Thirds system.
If you need to fly a heavier camera rig like the RED Epic, you’ll need to upgrade to higher-payload multirotor camera drones like the Matrice 600 ($4,500), which can carry a massive 6kg of gear. This helicopter can carry a huge 6kg of gear. But heavy-duty flying camera rigs like this cost $6,000-$10,000 after you add a camera and gimbal.
Top 3 Multirotor Camera Drones
DJI Mavic Air 2 (About $799)
DJI’s latest drone offers incredible value for money. It features a great camera, solid construction quality, top-of-the-range flight performance, and a very affordable price.
The Mavic Air 2’s price is almost unbelievable. We expected the Mavic Air 2 to be more expensive than the twice-expensive Mavic Pro 2. We are not complaining.
Mavic Air 2 offers better technology and enhanced flight performance.
Let’s begin with the camera. Mavic Air 2 features a 1/2″ CMOS sensor that can capture 48MP stills as well as 4K/60fps videos.
This camera is great for hobbyists as well as professional photographers. Although it doesn’t have the same sensor size as the Mavic 2 Pro’s Mavic 2 Pro, the Mavic Air 2 has better photos and videos.
Similar to other DJI camera drones, the Mavic Air 2 comes with several features to take your photography/videography to the next level. These features include 8K Hyperlapse, HDR, SmartPhoto scene recognition, and HyperLight for low-light situations.
The Mavic Air 2 also has intelligent shooting modes, so even if you’re a complete novice, you can show your friends that you’re a pro by showing the incredible shots.
These modes include FocusTrack, QuickShots, and hyperlapse. In addition, each mode has sub-modes that allow you to customize shots based on your subject, environment, and creative pleasure.
The Mavic Air 2 remains in the air for 34 minutes, which is quite impressive. This is more than the Mavic Pro 2.
Mavic Air 2 has a longer transmission distance (10km) than Mavic Pro 2’s 8 km and a higher bitrate (120Mbps vs. 100Mbps for Mavic Pro 2).
Mavic Air 2 features upgraded safety and obstacle detection systems. The new APAS 3.0 system is capable of detecting and avoiding obstacles in complex environments and flight paths.
One notable improvement is the ability of the drone to avoid objects being thrown at it as well as fixed objects. However, we do not recommend testing this feature.
The Mavic Air 2 does not have all the sensors of the Mavic Pro 2, so it can’t sense obstacles from all directions. The Mavic Air 2 uses three-directional obstacle sensing. There are no sensors on the sides or top. Be careful when flying indoors, through tight spaces, or through wooded areas.
Another safety upgrade is AirSense, a new feature that keeps you from getting too close to airplanes.
Also, the controller has been upgraded. The controller has integrated antennas, so you don’t have to unfold them. In addition, we think it is much more convenient to have your phone clipped to the top of your controller than between your wrists.
The Mavic Air 2 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an affordable camera drone. While we still believe the Mavic Pro 2 has superior camera skills, the Mavic Air 2’s performance should be sufficient for most non-professionals.
Shopping tip: The Mavic Air 2 costs $799, so you may want to add $200 for the Fly More Combo Pack. The Combo pack contains three batteries, six pairs of propellers, ND filters, and a battery-to-power bank adaptor. The Fly More pack is a great deal considering that a single battery can cost $115 when purchased separately.
The Best Features
- Foldable for easy portability
- Multiple intelligent shooting modes.
- Longer flight time.
- Upgraded safety and obstacle detection
- 4K video and 48MP stills
- No upward-looking and side sensors – don’t attempt flying in tight spaces until you are an expert.
- Some modes, such as HDR, have a lower quality video.
- 1/2″ CMOS sensor
- 4K/60fps video and 48MP photographs
- Video transmissions up to 10km
- 34 mins flight time
- Measures 180x97x84mm folded, and 183x253x77mm unfolded
- Weighs 570g
- 3-axis gimbal
Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 For $2,049
DJI has upgraded its most advanced ready-to-fly camera drone.
Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 comes with many incremental upgrades.
They have not touched the camera, which is similar to the Phantom 4 Pro. A 1″ CMOS sensor with 4K/60 FPS Video and 20MP Stills.
Pros love the sharp, detailed shots provided by the f/2.8 wide-angle lens. The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, like its predecessor, is ideal for professional videographers, filmmakers, and professional photographers.
A mechanical shutter allows you to take action shots without rolling shutter distortion.
The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 offers several intelligent flight modes, including ActiveTrack, Draw Mode, and TapFly, to make aerial shots easier.
The drones are similar in terms of flight and safety performance. The drone can fly for about 30 minutes and has a five-directional obstacle sensing device.
The only difference in in-flight performance is that the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 has a better propulsion system that significantly reduces noise during flight.
The most significant upgrade to the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is the remote controller, both hardware and software.
DJI has replaced the Lightbridge transmission system in Phantom 4 Pro with the OcuSync 2.0 HD transmission.
OcuSync 2.0 allows for live video transmissions up to 8km away. You can now receive live video transmission at 1080p instead of the 720p offered by the Lightbridge system.
OcuSync 2.0 allows you to connect wirelessly to DJI Goggles for an enhanced FPV experience.
Two controller options are available for the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0: a standard controller at $1,599 or a controller with a touchscreen at $2,049.
A controller with a screen eliminates the need for a smartphone or tablet to be attached. It has the DJI GO 4 App integrated into it so that you can view 1080p video, edit and share photos and videos, and monitor your drone, including the battery.
The upgrade is not worth the cost if you already have the Phantom 4 Pro. But, the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 is a great choice if you’re looking for a new professional drone camera.
- 1″ CMOS sensor
- 4K/60 FPS video and 20MP photos
- Intelligent flight modes make it simple to take photos and videos.
- You can now view 1080p video live and connect wirelessly with DJI Goggles using the new transmission system (OcuSync 2.
- 30 min flight time
- Multi-directional obstacle detection and avoidance
- Do you want a screened controller? You’ll pay $500 more for it.
- They have fixed focal lengths. No zoom for close-up shots.
- Accepts any size tablet or phone for FPV video display (only if the controller does not have a screen).
- Intelligent flight modes
- 20 Megapixel Camera with 1-inch CMOS
- Shoot 4K video at 60 fps
- Take burst-mode stills at 14 fps
- Integrated 3-Axis Stabilization Gimbal
- DJI Go Mobile App with Auto Video Editor
- Live 1080p Video
- Remote Controller
- Indoor flight with GPS-free positioning
- 30 min flight time
- Top speed: 45 miles per hour
- Distances up to 8 km
- 1-year warranty
- Technical support available 24/7
Professional filmmakers love the DJI Inspire 2. It is easy to film cinematic scenes in the air thanks to its customizable rig, powerful propel system, and intelligent flight modes.
The DJI Inspire 2 adds new features to the powerful features that were in the first Inspire drone. To provide the best professional filming experience, Inspire 2 combines customizability with power, performance, and ease of use.
DJI has made significant improvements to flight performance. Although the Inspire 2 drone is quite heavy, it can reach speeds of up to 58mph and decent speeds up to 9m/s.
Obstacle sensing systems keep the drone safe from objects in its path.
You get the same intelligent flight modes as other DJI drones. This makes it simple to capture complex shots. These include Spotlight Pro, TapFly, ActiveTrack, and QuickSpin.
These modes are particularly useful for single operators. You can focus on tweaking camera settings while the drone maneuvers itself in the right pattern.
The Inspire 2 is compatible with a variety of Zenmuse cameras, including the X4S, X5S, and X7. When ordering, you can choose the drone and camera combination that interests you. The top camera, the X7, will cost you about $20,000, including the drone itself.
Also, the controller received an upgrade. The improved transmission system allows you to control the drone and get a 720p or 1080p live video from a distance of up to 7km.
The frequency switching feature of the controller allows for frequency switching between 2.4 GHz and 5.8GHz, ensuring low latency in areas where signal interference is possible.
Depending on your job situation, you can find many accessories for the DJI Inspire 2 drone. These include Multilink for linking multiple controllers, an 8-battery charging station, and a remote controller GPS module.
- Self-heating Battery: Maintains battery performance in cold conditions.
- Extended flight time with dual batteries
- Multiple intelligent flight modes
- Obstacle detection
- Compatible with many Zenmuse cameras
- Expensive, as expected.
- Flight time: 27 mins
- Maximum speed: 58mph
- 9m/s descent speed, 6m/s ascent speed
- 7km range
- Live video transmission at 1080p
- Without a gimbal or camera, it weighs in at 7.5lbs.
- Compatible with Zenmuse X4S, X5S and X7 camera