Once considered an unusual flying object of the future, the drone with camera now plays a familiar role in our lives. Besides being used for photo and video recordings of special perspectives, the unmanned flying objects are used for exploring difficult terrain, for military functions and for agricultural missions.
On the following website, we would like to introduce you as a reader to the subject of drones and guide you through our detailed drone with camera test 2021 to your perfect type of flying device with camera. We will go into more detail about the essential purchase criteria, present various product types with the editors' favourites and examine questions on various topics in a final guide section.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 Summary
- 3 The Best Drone With Camera: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for drones with camera
- 5 Decision: What types of drones with cameras are there and which one is right for you?
- 6 Guide: Frequently asked questions about drones with cameras answered in detail
- 6.1 What is a drone with a camera?
- 6.2 What are the conditions if I want to rent/lease a drone with a camera?
- 6.3 What does a drone with a camera cost?
- 6.4 What alternatives are there regarding a drone with camera?
- 6.5 Is it possible to build a drone with a camera yourself?
- 6.6 What should one know about retrofitting the drone with camera?
- A drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle with a directly or indirectly integrated camera, which is either completely controlled by a computer or guided by a person.
- Drones with cameras can be divided into 4 main groups with different functions based on their design; tricopter, quadrocopter, hexacopter and octocopter.
- Germany has established various laws and regulations regarding drones with cameras. This includes liability insurance, compulsory marking, compulsory drone driving licence, maximum flight altitude of 100 metres, as well as a safety distance from certain locations of 100 metres to 1.5 kilometres.
The Best Drone With Camera: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for drones with camera
In order to guarantee you a successful purchase of a drone with camera, we will present you with the essential purchase and evaluation criteria. Based on these factors, you can also compare the drones with each other and find the optimal product type for you.
The criteria mentioned are as follows:
In the following paragraphs we will examine the factors in more detail and provide you with the essential information on them.
Diameter and weight
The first criterion that probably first attracts the consumer's attention is the size of the drone with camera and thus also its weight. These two factors have a great influence on the other criteria and thus represent a very important decision-making requirement.
Depending on the model, the diameter and thus the weight of the drone can vary enormously. While the smallest drones of a size of approximately 14 x 11 x 8 cm weigh no more than 250 grams, larger drones weigh over 2 kilograms and have a product size of approximately 25.00 x 25.00 x 22.00 cm.
Small, very compact drones come with the advantage that they are very easy to transport and can therefore be carried in a bag or backpack for any event without any hassle. Often, however, these models are not expandable, so that a new model of camera cannot be installed. In addition, they tend to be lightweight, with the risk that they may not be able to withstand unsuitable weather conditions, which can result in blurred shots.
With small and compact drones, you should make sure that you keep them within your line of sight, especially in difficult weather conditions, so that you avoid the risk of losing your flying object.
Larger drones, on the other hand, are heavier and often have a modular design. This means that the aircraft can hang steadily in the air and create sharp images even in difficult weather conditions. It is also possible to attach different and heavier camera devices or to use the drone as a means of transport, depending on your preference. Due to its size, the drone is also easier to track in the sky, which reduces the risk of flying out of sight. However, with a heavier weight comes a greater need for power, which in turn can shorten a drone's battery life and flight time.
If you plan to use your drone mainly for taking photos and videos of extraordinary perspectives, the camera plays an essential role in your choice of product. Several factors come into play here.
In terms of resolution, most models have a 4K resolution, which enables very detailed recording. Nevertheless, you should know that a high resolution requires a high storage capacity and thus a larger number of SD cards compared to cameras with a lower resolution. So you should weigh up whether a lower resolution should be sufficient.
How the camera is installed in the drone is another important point. Two types can be distinguished.
On the one hand, the camera can be integrated directly into the model, and on the other hand, the camera can be connected to the drone via a connection module and thus also exchanged. In the case of direct integration of the camera, the simplicity of the control and suitable software should be given.
Indirect integration also means greater flexibility, whereby the consumer can adapt the camera with appropriate functions to the usage situation as desired. For example, construction companies can install a thermal imaging camera, while appropriate video cameras can be attached for film productions. In addition, the model in which the camera is directly integrated is far more short-lived, as the entire model has to be renewed if the camera becomes technologically advanced. However, if the camera can be replaced, it can be kept up to date.
Maximum flight time
The maximum flight time of the drone with camera reflects another essential element, whereby this must be looked at more closely to enable an accurate evaluation.
The flight time of different models ranges roughly between 16 and 30 minutes, with most models requiring intermediate charging from 20 minutes of recording. It is important to remember that the producer's stated flight time is based on ideal conditions and can easily be influenced by weather conditions in reality. In the flight time itself, the take-off, approach and optimal positioning of the drone must also be taken into account and timed. Depending on the requirements, this process can take up to 10 minutes and significantly shorten the actual time needed for filming.
Especially during the flight of the drone, you should keep the flight time in mind. This can be an important safety indicator.
If the drone is moving towards the end of its flight time, the model must be rapidly steered back so that a safe landing is guaranteed. Paying attention to the time can thus prevent the drone from crashing, for example, over a lake or over a forest due to an empty battery, resulting in a loss of the drone or significant damage to the technology. You should also make sure that the battery is never completely discharged, as this can have a negative effect on its life span and thus on the flight time.
When buying a drone with camera, it is therefore important to acquire a model with sufficient flight time. Because in retrospect, extending the flight time is only possible with professional models through additional battery packs.
The maximum speed of drones varies greatly from model to model, with its design having a major influence. Everything from very low two-digit Km/h values to three-digit values can be found on the market. Cosumer drones have an average speed of around 62 km/h, toy drones a value of 32 km/h and FPV drones, which are usually used for racing, a speed of up to 150 km/h.
With a speed of up to 289 km/h, the RacerX model is the fastest drone in the world.
The situation that is planned for the use of your drone plays a big role here. For example, if you are planning to take a picture of a moving boat, you will need a much higher maximum speed than for a picture of a sunset. Therefore, you should determine your intended purpose in advance so that you can finally decide on a product with your desired speed.
The speed of the drone with camera goes hand in hand with the battery life and thus the flight time of the device. The faster the flying object moves and has to accelerate, the faster it reaches its maximum performance, which in turn requires a large amount of energy and battery. Therefore, you should use the maximum speed in masses and avoid using it over a longer period of time.
With regard to the control of the drone with camera, there are two main methods; the control via the smartphone and the control via a flight controller.
If you decide to control the drone via your mobile device, you can connect your drone via WLAN and control it on your display. The camera image of the drone is displayed and you can control it via touchscreen using the joysticks. Since the aircraft is connected via Wi-Fi, this control usually has a flight range of 50 to 80 metres.
A big advantage is certainly that you don't have to carry an additional device for the control and can pull your smartphone out of your pocket and start flying. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that the control process requires a large amount of energy and therefore a large proportion of your mobile device battery on the one hand and a large proportion of the drone's battery on the other, which can shorten the flight time. In addition, compared to a flight controller, there is a risk that you will slip more quickly when controlling via the touchscreen and send an incorrect command.
If you choose flight control, you will be provided with an external control device with joysticks and its own battery. The playback of the camera image can be integrated directly into the flight controller or played back via smartphone. The manual joysticks enable very precise guidance and the risk of slipping is greatly reduced. In addition, the range to the drone with camera increases, so that a distance of up to 5000 metres is possible. Nevertheless, the control unit must be carried separately and can take up a lot of space in your bag.
In the end, you should ask yourself to what extent you want to use the drone and what range you require for your optimal decision.
Decision: What types of drones with cameras are there and which one is right for you?
Each drone has a certain number of rotors and therefore has a certain design. Based on these differences, the products can be divided into the four main categories below with the corresponding features:
|Type||Number of rotors||Features|
|Tricopter||3||This model is rather rare and has not been able to assert itself on the market so far. The design can have 2 rotors in the front area and 1 rotor in the rear area or 2 propellers in the rear area and 1 propeller in the front area.|
|Quadrocopter||4||The quadrocopter is by far the most widespread construction model, so most private drones fall into this category. Thus, they are used in simple tasks with low payloads. Here, stabilisation of the aircraft is achieved by 2 rotors turning clockwise and 2 counterclockwise. Within this category, the propellers can also each be arranged in an X-shape or a +-shape and thus at a right angle.|
|Hexacopter||6||The 6 rotors are each attached to 3 or 6 arms, half of which rotate clockwise and the other counterclockwise. In this way, stabilisation of the drone can be achieved. This type of drone is very popular in professional environments.|
|Octocopter||8||The 8 propellers are attached to 4 or 8 arms in this construction model. If the model only has 4 arms, there is a rotor on the lower and upper arm, which also means a weight saving. Their use is limited almost exclusively to professional areas, such as carrying heavy camera equipment.|
With the characteristics described, there are advantages and disadvantages for each model. In order to make these clear to you and the situation for which the flying device is designed, we will go into more detail about the negative and positive points of the respective product type in a second step.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about drones with cameras answered in detail
What is a drone with a camera?
As already elaborated in more detail in the decision section, the following four main types of drones can also be distinguished on the basis of the design and thus the number of rotors:
What are the conditions if I want to rent/lease a drone with a camera?
But what are the conditions?
Various companies offer an online shop where you can select your desired drone with a simple click. Depending on the company's regulations, the drone will be sent to you the day before the rental period begins and returned to you at the end of the rental period.
The price is usually charged per day and can range from 39.90 euros to 299 euros, depending on the model and time span. So the costs tend to be in a higher price range, so renting a drone is only recommended for shorter periods of time.
What does a drone with a camera cost?
To give you some idea of the types of models and their prices, we will categorise the drones by size as follows:
|Mini drones||20 - 1,000 euros|
|Medium-sized semi-professional drones||400 - 2,000 euros|
|Large, professional drones||2,000 - Most expensive drone in the world at 30,000 euros|
However, these listed prices only cover the drone with camera and do not include the accessories. You should also factor in a price of around 150 - 400 euros for the bag and battery, for example. As we learned at the beginning of the guide section, you should also take into account the cost of an insurance policy of about 70 euros.
What alternatives are there regarding a drone with camera?
Also called the flying sphere of the future, the Gimball is a flying robot that has an outer shell of various touchpoints. This design allows it to recognise its surroundings and, through its ability to rotate, to reach places that are difficult for drones to reach.
Is it possible to build a drone with a camera yourself?
What should one know about retrofitting the drone with camera?
Most product types also come with a camera kit, which makes replacement much easier. However, cheaper models may have camera mounts that are not interchangeable. The costs are much higher, so you should already be clear when buying your drone whether you ever want to upgrade it.
Image source: Dryfhout/ 123rf.com