Buyer’s Guide

The Best Camera Drones Under 2 kg

The Mavic Pro series offers an excellent 1” image sensor and Hasselblad camera in a relatively compact, foldable case. Choose from two versions: The Mavic 2 Pro offers a 20 MP camera and 4K video at a maximum of 30 frames per second. The fixed focal length is 28 mm with an aperture from f/2.8 to f/11. If you want more flexibility, choose the Mavic 2 Zoom: you can shoot at 24 and 48 mm, or use the digital zoom. These drones have become the most used camera drones by professional YouTubers, allowing to create stunning cinematic shots on a budget. At this time of writing, the Mavic 2 Pro is currently going for $1,449 USD, while the Mavic 2 Zoom is currently priced at $1,249 USD.

The brand new foldable Autel drone features changeable gimbal modules with the choice of an 8K video camera, a 6K video camera with a 1-inch sensor, or a dual-sensor gimbal with an infrared camera and an 8K video camera. In addition, it can fly for impressing 35 minutes. The 8K EVO II will cost around $1,495 and the EVO II Pro will cost around $1,795 and both should be available “soon” – however, as of May 2020 you cannot order them yet.

Phantom 4 Pro V2.0

If you are looking for a camera drone with a large 1” sensor on a budget, have a look at the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0. Yes, this is an old model and it comes in a bulkier, non foldable body, but the specs are still good: the 20 megapixel camera with a 1” CMOS sensor that captures 4K video. The Phantom 4 Pro is still a good drone, but less practical compared to the newer Mavic 2 Pro series and will probably be discontinued at some point. If you can get one at a good price, you should consider it.

The Best Compact Camera Drones

The DJI Mavic Mini is the uncrowned queen under the mini camera drones: It comes with modern technologies as avoidance sensors, a solid camera und lots of automatic flight and shooting modes. But DJI packed all of this in a super tiny frame just under 250 g which means that – in most countries – you can fly it without registration or pilot license. Clever, DJI!

If you are looking for a lightweight and compact drone but just don’t want to compromise too much on the camera, the new DJI Mavic Air 2 might be for you. It come with a 12 MP 1/2-inch CMOS camera sensor, 4K video and it can sty in the air for 34 min – much longer than the Mavic Mini. Price is $799. For sure one of the best drones under $1000.

DJs might be the dominant player one the consumer drone market, but there are more options: The French drone manufacturer Parrot sells the Anafi, a very lightweight drone with only 320 g and a very good 21 MP, 4K camera. In addition, the Anafi flies much quieter and stay up for a solid 25 minutes. Why only placed 3rd? The Anafi does not have common sensor technology for collision avoidance, which even the cheaper Spark offers. However, you can even spec it if a thermal camera and get a very versatile camera drone far below $1000.