Drones boasting cameras is not a new thing in the industry anymore. Even some of the mini drones also feature cameras but of course, picture quality will be not so impressive in those toy drones. Taking shaky images and videos with no much clarity is not going to serve any purpose of having a camera on the drone.Well, in response to many requests from our readers, we are compiling our recommendations and reviews of 7 best 4k camera drones you can buy in 2018.
For professional aerial videography, high-resolution camera on their drone is a must. And the time has already come! Every professional aerial photographer owes big thanks to the advancement in drone technology. Highly reliable, safe and easy to fly drones with the integrated 4K cameras have already hit the market. So, your dream of capturing breathtaking aerial footages is just a click away.
Before that, If you are going to buy a 4K camera drone, it definitely makes sense to understand what exactly means 4K resolution and how it is going to help you in taking great quality pictures. While explaining their brand new camera you must have often heard people talking about its 4K resolution, HD, UHD and many such abbreviations and numbers.
It is not rocket science but just some simple terminologies can be used to explain picture quality. To explain in simple terms, a 4K device, whether it is a TV or camera, is capable of handling more pixels. For example, do you remember the HDTV that was famous in those days and are like an old man on the block now ?!
Yes, those HDTV displays 1080p. That means 1080 rows of pixels and 1920 columns of pixels. In case of 4K, it is 4096 by 2160 pixels. So, higher the picture potential, more detailed the images would be.
However, aerial photography and videography is totally a new challenge altogether. Here, it is not just the camera resolution of the mounted camera that matters but the gimbal stabilizations and size of the camera sensors that also contributes to a great extent in taking awe-inspiring photos and videos.
Advanced GPS functionalities is a big plus. The drone must be stable enough to fly on tough weathers, land carefully without hurting the mounted camera and most importantly should provide safety features like ‘return home’, and obstacle avoidance.
Here in this post, we have listed seven best in class 4K camera drones and have provided their comprehensive unbiased reviews clearly mentioning their limitations.
Go through the reviews and make a wise choice.
With the above chart, we got introduced to the 4K video drones. It's now time for getting the detailed knowledge about each of them. Let's start.
In any category of drones – may be a GoPro drone or drone with the ‘follow me’ feature or any other autonomous flight features for that matter, the DJI drones well deserve a place in the list. DJI is indeed known for their easy-to-fly drones and the market leaders in aerial photography system.
So, here is a DJI drone – DJI Phantom 3 with the 4K camera that is in the number 1 place in your ‘seven best drones with 4 k camera’ list. Since the main concern is the camera quality here, let us see camera specification first and then move unto the flight modes of the drone in brief.
The Phantom 3 boasts 12-megapixel camera. Along with capable of capturing 12mp photos the camera is also capable of recording DCI 4K at 24 frames per second and UDH 4K at 30 frames per second. The attached 3-axis gimbal provides much-needed stability to capture crisp and clear photos. So now that you are clear that Phantom 3 is the best choice for the aerial photography with its integrated 4K camera, let us see how the bird flies.
The fast draining battery is a major concern while taking aerial footages from a flying drone. Hold on, that is going to be the least of your problem with the included flight battery of the Phantom 3. You get to enjoy up to 25 minutes of the drone flying on a single charge. The DJI Go app along with the 2.4 GHz WiFi link provides amazing camera control and monitoring.
DJI Phantom is tailored to every need of a filmmaking. The intelligent flight control modes like Follow me, Course Lock, Home Lock and waypoint navigation makes the drone every professional videographer's favorite choice.
Overall, if you are looking for a drone mainly for aerial videography and does not want to break a bank at the same time then Phantom 3 4K is for you.
Apart from mini-drones and toy drones, most often we neglect the looks of a drone. The image of a black flying machine comes into our mind especially when we consider some serious drones with high-end features. The Autel Robotics X-Star drone is an exception here. It is beautiful to look. The bright orange color of the drone makes the unit so adorable in the first look itself.
To start with, the quadcopter comes in a premium hard case and a 64 GB micro SD card. Wow, that is indeed a good deal to impress all. But there is much more than looks. Let us see what it is.
Breathtaking scenes deserved to be taken from high-quality lenses. So, designed solely for super aerial imagery the Autel Robotics X-Star features 4K Ultra HD video camera. Along with the quick release 3 axis gimbal stabilizer, the drone is sure to satisfy every aerial photographer for sure.
The drone is compatible with Android and iOS devices. Using the start link app, you can enjoy the camera’s live view on your Smartphone screen even when the quadcopter is flying far away. In fact, the LCD display on the controller’s screen itself shows important flight information that helps you make informed decisions quickly while flying.
While taking aerial footages, we often wish to concentrate more on camera control than flight controls. Keeping this in mind, the Autel Robotics quadcopter offers smart-flight features like ‘follow me’, orbit and waypoint navigation. Exclusively for beginners, the quadcopter features ‘beginner’s mode’ in which the drone’s speed and range are limited. This geo-fence is to provide extra safety during those initial flying experiments.
To conclude, the Autel X-star is unique because of its customisable, removable gimbal and the drone is easy to fly with its intelligent flight modes like follow me, orbit etc. The drone is also made extremely safe to fly even for amateurs with its start point positioning system and SecureFly technology. So, in short, the Autel X-star is one of the best in the class drone that you can rely on.
Aluminium hard case, the quadcopter, and the Contixo 4K UHD camera along with an action camera mount you get all this for just $210 (at the time of writing this post) is definitely a great deal. Contixo –F17 is by far worth the money.
Taking about the first thing first - the camera quality, Contixo 4k camera captures 4k at 30 frames per second and 2.7 k at 30 frames per second. It also features time lapses of .5 sec, 1 sec, 2 sec, 5 sec, 10 sec, 30 sec and 60 seconds. Overall the camera quality is quite good but may not be as good as action cameras.But the unit is GoPro compatible. So, if you want to experiment a lot with your aerial photography skills then there is always a room for GoPros
Now coming to the main point, i.e., the drone, well the bird is really fast and agile. You can even perform flips and rolls while flying without the additional weight of course.
The F17 quadcopter offers some of the interesting features. The smart remote control alarm function is one of them to mention. The remote control alerts you by making a beep sound once the drone is flying on low voltage and also if the drone goes out of the control range. This makes sure that the drone is always under control.
Next feature I am going to talk about is that one thing I personally expect in every drone from toy drone to advanced ones – one key start and stop function. Yes, a single button to start and most importantly to stop is something that makes me very comfortable and carefree while drone flying.
As a note to wind up, the F17 quadcopter is an affordable sporty drone with a 4k camera and also provides the flexibility to use other action cameras like GoPros. The perfect price and excellent flying experience make the drone not only your favorite but I am sure you will recommend it to others as well.
Here is another Phantom series drone at number 4 on our list. Well known for their quality products DJI has got the great reputation among drone enthusiasts. So without wasting much time, let's see what Phantom 4 pro has in store to surprise aerial photographers! Backed by a hell lot of useful features Phantom 4 is great quadcopter to have and here is a brief review throwing light on some of the features.
Often, it is not only the number of pixels of a camera but many other factors that also determine the image quality. The DJI Phantom 4 pro quadcopter had got this point right. The one inch CMOS sensor and the mechanical shutter are the two major aspects of Phantom 4 pro that contributes greatly to capturing high-quality photos and videos.
The 20 MP CMOS sensor is 1 inch in size. The larger the sensor’s size better the signal-to-noise ratio and better the low light performances.
One of the major challenges for every drone camera using an electronic shutter is to take pictures while flying at high speed.To address this, Phantom 4 Pro features mechanical shutter with the speed of 1/2000 seconds. This eliminates motion blur that is quite common in case of electronic shutters.
The camera of the Phantom 4 quadcopter has the high-resolution lens to make sure the images are consistently detailed. The video processing supports H.264 4k at 60 fps and H.265 4K at 30 FPS both at 100 bps.
Now, lets us talk about the bird! The DJI Phantom 4 features some of the interesting intelligent flight modes like draw, active track, tap fly, return home and gesture mode.
Along with this, Phantom 4 provides 3 different flight modes – Position mode to avail positioning features, Sports mode for extra speed of up to 45mph and Altitude mode to hold the drone’s altitude.
Boating great camera demands the drone to have decent battery life. The Phantom 4 provides maximum flight time of 30 minutes on a single charge. The advanced battery management system protects against overcharging. The Go App gives information about remaining battery life and also calculated the remaining time the bird can fly.
Designed by experts for pilots of any skill level, Typhoon Q500 is one of the descent camera drones that too at an affordable price range. The Typhoon Q500 has simply everything and anything you wished for in a drone – camera quality, intelligent flight features, battery life and everything! 🙂
It is just a wow right out of the mammoth of a case. No one can miss out to notice its superior construction and sturdy frame. Even after several flying experiments and landings on various terrains, there were no wear and tear.
One thing I noticed while flying Q500 even for the first time right out of the box is that this sophisticated drone is really easy to use. Big thanks to its ST10+ ground station. With the 5.5-inch color touchscreen of the ST10+, you will be in the front row seat to see what the bird is actually seeing from high up in the sky.
No just the real-time video feed, you will also get to see important aspects like battery life, altitude and distance of the drone from the controller, GPS status, speed etc to make the drone flying a lot easier even for an amateur.
The only gripe about Q500 is it the battery life of 20 to 25 minutes. Only 20 to 25 minutes on air after waiting for 2 hours to charge the batteries is not obviously exciting. However, the additional batteries and the car charger adapter come to your rescue if in case you can not make it home soon to charge the batteries.
Incredibly natural free-flying Angel mode along with the easy-to-use dual joysticks of the ST10+ demands less experience to get the drone into the air directly out of the box.
Q500 offers smart modes - follow me and watch me mode to flex its autonomous muscles.
And at last but definitely not the least, let us review the camera specifications of Q500. Mounted directly underneath the craft, the CGO3 is an innovative combination of 4K camera, 3 axis gimbal, and digital video downlink. The enhanced zero distortion lens assures quality images consistently. On the crystal clear wide screen of the ground station, you can see the world from above
Yet another DJI product on our list! DJI is indeed the big boss in the entire drone industry. The Mavic Pro is another feather in the DJI’s cap. It is an amazing drone that is well built, flies well and captures great pictures. If that is all you are looking for then congratulations you are in the right place. So, let us see what Mavic Pro has in store for us.
Firstly, don’t be judgmental by looking at the size of the quadcopter. The Mavic pro may be a little drone but has a bundle of features to offer you.
Talking about the actual drone flying, Flying Mavic Pro is totally fun and extremely easy. The compact remote controller has the OcuSync transmission technology. Using frequency hopping, the OcuSynch finds the best frequency available thereby controlling the drone as best as possible.
Also, OcuSynch also makes full HD 1080p video streaming possible and not just that, by interfacing the DJI GO App, the remote control shows telemetry data for monitoring and controlling.
Now, this is the interesting part, (at least for me)that is the actual drone flying and various autonomous flight modes available. The DJI can understand the demand of each drone enthusiasts out there. That is the reason Dji Mavic Pro is backed by a hell lot of useful flight features. In sports mode, the bird can fly as fast as 40mph or you can opt for tripod mode while flying indoors. In any case, the Flight Autonomy mode will be activated to keep the drone safe.
Speaking of the camera, that makes the Mavi Pro #6 in our beat in class drones with the 4K camera, well, you can take breathtaking videos and pictures from high up in the sky. The camera is capable of capturing a great quality video at 30 frames per second. The 3 axis mechanical camera stabilization ensures crystal clear videos and detailed images each time.
DJI is like Ferrari of drones. I mean, seriously, look, even the number 6 and 7 in our top-rated 4K drones list is won by DJI drones. Inspire 1 by the DJI was the first filmmaking drone in the world that offered HD video transmission, 4 K camera, and simple app controls.
Inspire 2 is made by taking best of everything from Inspire 1 and improving it further. It is nothing but the result of “the best” still got better.The drone made of magnesium aluminum body and the carbon fiber arms is sturdy and durable.
Talking about some of the intelligent design aspects of this DJI quad, another improvement from the earlier Inspire model is Inspire 2’s forward facing FPV camera and the advanced obstacle avoidance and terrain detection. The dual battery system of the Inspire 2 ensures increased stamina. In this dual battery system, if there is any problem with one battery the other one will manage to fly the drone enough to land safely.
For those serious drone fliers, DJI Inspire 2 has got a lot to offer. The list goes on - auto-return, follow-me, GPS, image-stabilization, integrated-camera, obstacle-avoidance, and video-downlink-capable. In short, anything and everything.
The never-ending list of intelligent flight modes makes the drone worth every penny you have spent.
The integrated CineCore 2 .2 image processing system compatible with X4S and X5S can record video at 5.2 k resolution at 30 frames per second. The bigger sensors, further ensure clear aerial images.
To sum it up, If you are into professional aerial photography, then you can buy DJI inspire 2 without any second thoughts.However, if you are on budget constraint and not so concerned about 5.2 k video recording then it would be wiser decision to go for inspiring 1 (the earlier version of Inspire 2 but still great) or any Phantom series drones.
This article is brought to you by Drone Trends’s Editorial team. Drone Trends team is passionate about drones and quadcopters.