Top 10 Best Drone for Photography in 2021 [Top Pick]

Last updated on April 7th, 2022

How to choose the best drone for photography? What characteristics are really important when you look for your first drone? What model is considered the best drone for photography by experts? In this article, I will provide a list of the 10 best drones for photography and video shooting and give tips on choosing the most suitable one.

Top 10 Best Drones for Photography

Nowadays, drones are in trend, and every beginning photographer thinks about purchasing this flying “friend” and “second shooter” at least once. However, few people know what is really important when choosing the best drone for photography and video.

To help you avoid long searches and comparisons, I have prepared a list of the best drones for various types of shooting.

1. Ryze Tello

Pros

  • Smart flight modes
  • Obstacle detection sensors
  • You can program it

Cons

  • Low-quality camera
  • Unfolding construction
  • Сommutator motor
  • No remote control

Top 10 Best Drones for Photography

Ryze Tello is a mini quadcopter created by DJI together with Ryze Robotics and Intel. This drone is only 98×92 mm and has a barometer to keep height and an obstacle monitoring system. Photo and video capabilities are modest and do not allow to characterize a gadget as the best drone for photography.

Rather, it is a toy for those, who want to practice aerial shooting before purchasing a more expensive model. The camera has a photo 5MP resolution (2592×1936), HD video (720p) with a frequency of 30 frames/sec. The viewing angle is 82.6°. JPG (photo), and MP4 (video) formats.

2. Parrot PF728000

Pros

  • Foldable construction
  • Large photo resolution
  • Optical Zoom
  • The camera can rotate 180 degrees vertically
  • GPS
  • Smart flight modes
  • Reliable security system

Cons

  • No particular disadvantages

Parrot Anafi is probably the most DJI’s Mavic challenger and a good model for property aerial photography. A foldable design, a camera with 2.8-fold optical zoom and possibility to rotate 180 degrees vertically, the possibility to charge batteries from mobile power sources via the USB-C connector – all these characteristics make it the best drone for video and photography that takes the first place in the “league” of compact folding quadcopters.


To get the best possible picture quality, Parrot uses a 21-megapixel 1/2.4 ’’ CMOS sensor from Sony. 4K-videos are recorded onboard at speed of up to 30 frames per second, and in Full-HD resolution – up to 60 fps. Thanks to the HDR support, we can receive not only clear but also bright and colorful content.

The drone has zoom while no image quality loss, in 4K with a one.4-fold zoom, and in Full-HD even with two.8-zoom. Flight time in quiet mode reaches 25 minutes. The distance can reach 2.5 miles. Read more about the best drones under $200

3. Syma X8G 2.4G

Pros

  • Price
  • Possibility to select the camera

Cons

  • Unfolding construction
  • There is no mechanical camera stabilization

SYMA X8G quadcopter has replaced X8W and X8C. It has all the foremost fascinating enhancements for drone photography.

However, this device still belongs to the beginner class of quadcopters and has a number of significant drawbacks, such as the absence of a stabilizing camera gimbal. The kit camera has a resolution of 8 megapixels and belongs to GoPro cameras due to its format, so if the shooting quality of the kit camera is not enough for you, you can always replace it.

However, take into account that you can control the shooting process with a console-only together with the original camera. Flight time can reach 10 minutes, and the distance – 0.6 miles.

4.Yuneec Mantis Q

Pros

  • Foldable construction
  • GPS, Glonass
  • Smart flight modes
  • Reliable security system

Cons

  • The small size of the camera matrix

Yuneec Mantis Q is a new quadcopter from Yuneec American Company. Its main features are foldable construction and long flight time. According to the above-mentioned characteristics, it can be called DJI Mavic Air or Parrot Anafi competitor, but unfortunately, the shooting capabilities bring the device into a lower class like DJI Spark or Parrot Bebop 2. Yuneec Mantis Q completely lacks gimbal mechanical stabilization, except for the camera tilt vertical control.


Speaking quadcopter capabilities in terms of photography, there’s support for DNG, each within the 4:3 magnitude relation (4160 × 3120) and within the widescreen 16:9 mode (4800 × 2700).

Unfortunately, the CMOS-matrix size is slightly smaller than the standard one and is 1/3.06”. The manufacturer declares support for 4K video (30 frames/s), but there is not even electronic stabilization in this mode, which doesn’t make it the best drone for professional photography. In fact, it is almost useless for this purpose. Therefore, you can talk only about video support in 1080p (60 frames/s, digital three-axis stabilization)

The unusually long flight time on one charge – 33 minutes (replaceable battery 3S 2800 mA/h) makes this device really attractive. There is also voice control for the drone (for example, “Takeoff”) and for the camera (“Take a picture/video”, etc.). Of course, there is a physical controller with a mount for a smartphone, which allows you to control the device at a distance of up to 1 mile (US FCC standard)

5. Hubsan H501S

Pros

  • GPS
  • Durable body
  • Smart flight modes
  • Reliable security system

Cons

  • Unfolding construction
  • There is no mechanical camera stabilization

If you are looking for the best photography drone for beginners, take a look at this one. Hubsan H501S belongs to the quadcopters line of the average price segment of this manufacturer. Nevertheless, it has many characteristics typical for more expensive models, including brushless motors, a GPS sensor, smart flight modes, and an FHD camera with image transmission to the console screen. However, a built-in camera without a stabilization gimbal is a significant drawback.


The video is transmitted at a 5.8 GHz frequency, while the control panel works at 2.4 GHz frequency, which eliminates possible interference. During the flight, you can see the image from the drone’s camera in real-time, as well as take photos and record videos that are stored on the microSD memory card. Flight range is limited to 0.2 miles and can last up to 20 minutes.

6. DJI Mavic Air

Pros

  • Foldable design
  • Good time and distance of the flight
  • GPS, Glonass
  • Price
  • Smart flight modes
  • Reliable security system (collision sensors, control of signal loss and battery discharge)

Cons

  • No mechanical camera shutter

DJI Mavic Air is the best cheap drone for photography from the Mavic family. It is between DJI Spark and DJI Mavic 2 Zoom. This is a compromise option for those, who want more flight time and capabilities than Spark can offer, but they are not ready to spend big money on Mavic 2. When it is folded, the drone occupies no more than a 1-liter bottle and weighs 430 grams, so it is ideal for backpackers.


The drone has a camera with a 1/2.3 ″ CMOS sensor with 12 MP resolution, a fixed focal length of 24 mm (equivalent), and a fixed f/2.8 aperture opening. ISO 100-1600 (automatic) and ISO 100-3200 (manual setting), focal length 4 mm (24 mm equivalent to “full-frame” 36 × 24 mm), viewing angle 85°.

You can create panoramas of up to 33 MP, shooting in HDR and continuous mode, automatic exposure bracketing, interval shooting (time-lapse). Images can be saved in JPEG and DNG (RAW). Sensors at the bottom, front, and rear will prevent the damaging of this best photography drone for beginners. Flight time reaches 21 minutes, the distance and picture rendering is up to 2.5 miles.

7. DJI Spark

Pros

  • Good camera
  • The average time and flight distance
  • Well-designed security system (collision sensors, control of signal loss and battery discharge)
  • GPS, Glonass
  • Compact size
  • Control by gestures
  • Smart flight modes

Cons

  • Short flying distance without control panel
  • Isn’t foldable
  • No remote control
  • High price

Spark is that the newest version of the multi-rotor lineup from DJI. Nevertheless, all the basic functions of the older models are present in it. The differences are only in the variety of possibilities.

The DJI Spark camera has a high-quality five-lens 12-megapixel 1/2.3 inch CMOS, viewing angle of 81.9° with an aperture of f/2.6. Maximum image resolution: 3968 × 2976 (JPEG only). Maximum video resolution: FullHD 1920 x 1080p, 30fps.The effective focal length is 25 mm (35 mm format equivalent). The focal length range is from 2 m to infinity.


The best camera drone is supplied with excellent optics that enables getting bright and clear frames with a nominal geometric distortion and chromatic aberrations. The camera performs ISO in the range of 100-1600 (100-3200 – in video mode). A high-precision electronic shutter provides a speed from two to 1/8000s.

The flight time on one battery reaches 16 minutes with a maximum range of radio control of 1,2 miles (if the control panel is used. It is purchased separately, or it is present in the extended configuration of Fly More Combo). Security systems of this best drone for video and photography are depicted by Flight Autonomy, come back to Home, Flight Protection, and Intelligent Battery. Read more about the best drone under 100

8. Parrot AR Drone

Pros

  • Easy configuration and control
  • Integrated HD video camera and FPV support
  • Actions camera can be installed
  • Live stream of images on FPV display

Cons

  • Short flight distance
  • Low-quality camera

The ability to control drones using iOS devices is what many enthusiasts should pay attention to. Even with remote control, the majority of them aren’t equipped with a screen. Thus, controlling with a smartphone only is a great way to reduce the drone price. Also, this model is distinguished by high motor power able to lift the camera into the air.


All the quadcopter details are freely accessible and you can buy them separately for a small price. You don’t need experience and skills in piloting to perform beautiful flights. My 9-year old son is proof of this. Based on my practice, I can tell that this model performs flight stabilization, opposition to the wind and confident maneuvering at a decent level.

Don’t know what is the best action camera for your drone? Read more about the best cameras under 100 that you can use without worrying about safety.

9. Holy Stone F181C

Pros

  • It is quite reliable
  • Perfect lighting for flights at nighttime
  • Awesome design

Cons

  • Batteries are difficult to replace
  • The USB battery doesn’t light up green after charging is complete

In my opinion, this quadcopter would be perfect both for beginners and professionals as it combines all the necessary capabilities and characteristics. Besides, it has a high-quality HD camera capable of shooting in 1280x720p resolution. I want to point out that this quadcopter with a camera has four-speed limits.


I like its One Key Return function which allows bringing the drone back to the launch site using one button. It supports 360 degrees’ rotation. The drone can roll over in four directions performing a spectacular flip.

It is one of the best drones under 200 with a camera since launching and landing are carried out with just one functional button. I also would like to mention that I love controlled lighting – light-emitting diodes can help you find the drone in the nighttime.

10. DJI Phantom 4

Pros

  • Excellent camera
  • Great time and distance of the flight
  • Well-designed security system (collision sensors, control of signal loss and battery discharge)
  • GPS, Glonass
  • Powerful engines
  • 10” tablet holder
  • Smart flight modes
  • Protective case included

Cons

  • It isn’t foldable
  • Quite big for hiking
  • Price

It is undoubtedly the most effective product for drone wedding photography. DJI Phantom 4 Pro has all the latest technological developments of the company, including a 1-inch sensor camera with a mechanical diaphragm, safety sensors on all sides and a capacious battery. This is the primary DJI camera with a mechanical diaphragm.


It eliminates the distortion that occurs while recording video at a fast speed or shooting fast-moving objects. The most shutter speed of 1/2000 seconds prevents blurring and “jelly” result.

The electronic shutter has also been improved, and now has a maximum shutter speed of up to 1/8000 seconds, so the continuous shooting mode takes up to 14 frames per second. The camera has a high contrast ratio, maximum ISO of 12800 and a photosensitive f2.8 aperture. The lens has a wide viewing angle of 84°. The CMOS sensor is four times larger than in the cameras of most other drones. So you can receive shots of excellent quality.

This best drone for aerial photography has a new camera that can compete with the professional ground and video cameras. It has an increased number of effective pixels up to 20 megapixels. You can also take photos and video in high-resolution 4K (RAW).

The camera can record video in the H.264 and H.265 compression standards. Thanks to the accumulator and improved power supply system, the device can stay in the air for up to 30 minutes. The flight distance of this best drone for travel photography is up to 4 miles, but in good conditions, this distance is much longer. If you don’t notice a critically low battery level in time, the smart battery will independently give the command to fly to the starting or landing point.

summing Up

The best drones have become more feature-packed and ultimately more fun for beginners to fly. That’s due in a very large part to drones as a whole becoming more advanced than ever, boasting incredible flight and imaging technology that enables pilots to produce amazingly stable aerial stills and video. As a result, many of these features have trickled down to the budget end of the market.

You can now realistically find outstanding budget drones loaded with features that mirror more advanced models, and all for a fraction of the price. Built-in cameras with resolutions greater than VGA, camera stabilization, and intelligent flight control are all common features.

Now, ‘affordable’ doesn’t have to mean a tiny, uncontrollable drone that shoots across the room and explodes against a wall.

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