If you’re looking to fly drones and take aerial photography, it is essential to purchase the right quadcopter drone for your skill level. Drones can be expensive, and no one wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a drone with a bunch of bells and whistles you don’t need.
Whether you’re a hobbyist who wants to take their photography to another level or plan to make a gift to your kid, you need to make sure that your quadcopter matches the purpose. Luckily, most drones are now versatile and easy to operate.
After thorough research, we found that one of the best drones for beginners is JJRC Quadcopter Drone with 1080P HD Camera. It’s very affordable and easy to fly. An ideal vehicle to give you a glimpse into the wonderful world of drones!
- Best Beginner Quadcopters with a Camera in 2021
- Best Overall – JJRC Quadcopter Drone with 1080P HD Camera
- Best for Photography – DJI Mavic 2 Pro
- Best Budget Option – Syma X5C Explorers Quadcopter
- Best for Kids – Holy Stone 1080P HD with GPS Return Home Quadcopter
- Best for Video – DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
- Best for Portability – SNAPTAIN Foldable FPV Drone With 2.7k Ultra HD Camera
- What to Consider When Buying a Quadcopter for Beginners
- Frequently Asked Questions
Best Beginner Quadcopters with a Camera in 2021
Best Overall – JJRC Quadcopter Drone with 1080P HD Camera
JJRC Quadcopter Drone is functional and durable but won’t break the bank like some other varieties. Up to 40 minutes of flight time is enough to get some pretty cool shots. That’s also more than enough time for most older children and younger teens to get their fill of flying. The 1080P camera comes on an anti-shake table to keep the pictures looking clear without much difficulty.
Our favorite feature was the camera’s ability to connect to Wi-Fi and sync with your phone, allowing you to watch the video live while you’re flying. It is a massive help for beginners who are going to need help lining up shots. Because it uses Wi-Fi, though, this feature only works where Wi-Fi is available.
It’s also VR compatible, although the set doesn’t include a pair of VR glasses.
A couple of built-in features make the JJRC Drone more comfortable to fly than most camera drones. It can take off and land with the click of a button and has an emergency stop function to prevent crashes. The speed is adjustable, and there is a 3D flip button for a quick and easy trick.
Another great feature is versatility. With three speed modes, this will be a decent quadcopter for beginners and intermediate pilots alike.
Best for Photography – DJI Mavic 2 Pro
Say hello to DJI’s most distinguished drone model to this date! DJI Mavic 2 Pro is a high-end model made with professionals in mind. Still, it’s easy enough to operate that even a beginner can get acquainted with it in no time. Two years since its release, it’s still going strong, despite growing competition.
The sensors will help prevent crashes, which is crucial for newbies. If you get confused while it’s high up in the sky, you can always press the emergency brake. That will make the drone passively hover until you figure out what to do.
The camera resolution is 20MP – more than enough for high-quality photography. Another remarkable feature is the huge 1-inch sensor, which allows for a respectable ISO range of up to 12800. In lay terms, it means that you’ll be taking amazing shots at dusk or dawn, or even at night. The city lights are even more impressive when captured from a bird’s eye view!
With a flight time of up to 30 minutes, it has a few very fun features, including active track, obstacle detection, hyper-lapse, tapfly, and more. As for noise, it’s super quiet. The three flight modes include tripod for panoramic shooting, positioning mode that’s kind of default, and sports mode for maximum fun.
If you need a somewhat cheaper model, you can always opt for this model’s twin drone – DJI Mavic 2 Zoom. They were both released at the same time. Like its name says, DJI Mavic 2 Zoom has an optical zoom lens, as well as high-quality video. However, it doesn’t perform nearly as well in dark conditions.
If you’re looking for superb video capture, Mavic Pro won’t be the go-to line. Scroll down to see a review of DJI Phantom 4 Pro!
Best Budget Option – Syma X5C Explorers Quadcopter
There are cheaper drones for beginners than Syma X5C, but most are closer to a toy than the real thing. This drone, on the other hand, has it all.
It doesn’t have enough stamina to really take to the skies. But its seven minutes of battery time are just enough to fly it in your yard, or even indoors. If you want a longer fun time on one go, just buy a bunch of spare batteries. They are very affordable and will spare you the frustration of having to pack it up after only a few minutes.
There are guards to protect the propeller blades, but also to protect kids from them. And you’ll even get four spare blades. Since beginners will likely crash it a few times before learning the ropes, this is very helpful.
The specs include a gyroscope stabilization, but you shouldn’t expect too much from it. For your video shots to be smooth, you would need a beast of a drone.
Even though its features are not impressive, we still decided to include it as the best low-end option. If you fall in love with flying, you can easily switch to a more advanced model with no regrets. And if you don’t, you’ll know that you tasted it without having spent a fortune.
Best for Kids – Holy Stone 1080P HD with GPS Return Home Quadcopter
The Holy Stone 1080P HD Quadcopter Drone is a higher-end model compared to the JJRC reviewed above. It comes with a few extra features that can make flying more fun and more accessible. The built-in GPS will relay accurate position details to your smartphone while you’re operating the drone.
It also has a return-to-home feature, significantly decreasing the likelihood of a crash. This feature automatically kicks in if the drone gets out of range or when the battery begins to run low. It is a fantastic feature for children who might not keep a close eye on the battery level while they’re flying.
The Wi-Fi camera allows you to enjoy real-time viewing whenever the signal is available. It also has a follow me mode, where it will follow the pilot around, keeping them in the camera at all times and providing hands-free flying.
Best for Video – DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0
Inexperienced quadcopter pilots will often have issues with the clarity of their shots. That’s because a drone won’t always be well-balanced, especially if the weather is windy and unstable. No such problems with DJI Phantom 4 Pro! This drone has a 3-axis gimbal, a device that always keeps the camera horizontal, no matter the swinging and tilting.
The camera also has a mechanical shutter and will shoot 4K video at 60 frames per second. There are drones with even better camera resolution, but you would have to dish out even more cash for those!
You can use various modes to fly it. The most enjoyable one for beginners, we’ve found, is the so-called TapFly. You can also have it track moving objects, draw its route on the screen, and more. This potent aircraft will whiz around at up to 45 miles per hour in Sports mode. There’s your racing drone if that’s what you were after! At maximum speed, the battery will last about half an hour. Not bad considering the drone’s weight and size!
Photographers and filmmakers will especially appreciate the ND8 filter for eliminating overexposure. Another neat feature is excellent noise control.
Note, however, that you have to be careful until you get to know this powerful drone. It has a bunch of sensors to detect obstacles. And it avoids them very efficiently – but only in the beginner mode.
DJI has already garnered much praise for their Phantom series. The only drawback of Phantom 4 is bulkiness, which can be a problem if you need your drone often.
Best for Portability – SNAPTAIN Foldable FPV Drone With 2.7k Ultra HD Camera
This very user-friendly drone is another perfect option for beginners with no flying experience. SNAPTAIN First Person View Drone features a one-button take off, land, and return feature. It even allows you to control it with your voice or draw a line on your smartphone to set the drone’s path.
You can also control the camera with gestures, allowing you to take a picture by simply raising your hand. There isn’t an easier drone to fly on the market. These features allow even younger children to fly this drone accurately with minimal parental help. Kids will be thrilled with the camera that you can rotate with remote control.
If you lose sight of the quadcopter, just turn the headless mode. It will allow you to redefine what’s head and tail, so you can easily fly it back. Since it’s foldable and only weighs about 0.6 pounds, it’s a very handy quadcopter to tag along on any trip.
The only downside to this drone is its relatively short battery life. You have just 16 minutes of flying before the batteries run out of juice.
If you’re a fan of small drones, make sure also to check DJI Mavic Mini. It’s a successor of the famous but discontinued DJI Mavic Air 2 and has incredible specs at a very fair price. Ryze Tech Tello and the discontinued DJI Spark are also decent options.
What to Consider When Buying a Quadcopter for Beginners
Different Types = Different Purposes
Not all drones were made equal. Don’t want to splurge serious cash on an all-powerful space shuttle of a drone? Then make sure to figure out your primary purpose.
If you’re looking for the best drone for photography, you’ll want to focus on the camera specifications. These aircrafts will typically be relatively heavy and bulky for increased stability in bad weather. On the flip side, they are also more expensive and won’t exactly fit in your backpack.
On the other hand, drone racing or stunts require a smaller, lighter, and faster drone. Such a quadcopter doesn’t need a good camera, but it needs to be agile for obstacle avoidance and maneuvering.
How Experienced Are You?
As a beginner, the best type is an RTF (Ready to Fly) quadcopter. You’ll get everything you need inside the box. It is the most convenient and most affordable option. Plus, such quadcopters will be easy to fly.
However, if you’ve taken to this hobby, you might want to try either a BNF or a PNP drone. The BNF (Bind ‘n’ Fly) type means you’ll need to buy a separate transmitter and hook it up to the drone. A PNP (Plug ‘n’ Play) will require you to get a receiver battery, charger, and transmitter. Both of these options allow for more customization – certainly an excellent choice for enthusiasts.
It’s pretty self-explanatory, and it will be an essential consideration for most people. Still, many first-time pilots will make the wrong choice in that department.
How’s that even possible? Well, many people opt for a mid-range or even a high-end drone as their first option. Keeping quality in mind is admirable. But the fact that a drone is well-built doesn’t mean it can withstand a nasty crash.
And crashes are an almost inevitable part of learning. If you must crash (and you must), get a cheap drone that won’t give you a headache when it breaks into bits and pieces.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which drone to buy for beginners?
Most beginner pilots have experienced it more than once. A drone starts taking off. Your adrenaline level soars. And then the drone disappears. Three hours and eight miles later, you find it in a tree. Flying a drone isn’t easy, and many people will learn it the hard way.
There can’t be a single camera drone that is best for beginners. However, you should narrow down the selection to the options that are easiest to operate. An intuitive app, a good and clear instructions manual, a bunch of video tutorials – those are the basic considerations.
But your choice should also have a Return to Home option. When you lose sight of it, just press the button on your transmitter, and it will automatically get back to the departure point.
The so-called headless mode is also a plus. A sense of direction is a massive issue for beginners, and such flight modes will help you deal with that.
For safety reasons, you will also want to look for a drone with propeller guards. Even in the smallest drones, the propeller blades can really hurt a person if you lose control of the vehicle.
What countries are drones banned in?
If you live in the US, the good news is that flying drones is legal in all of our states. You don’t even need a special license to fly a standard commercial drone. However, you do need to register the more massive models with the FAA (Federal Aviation Authority) and abide by federal, state, and local standards and regulations.
On a global scale, however, drones are banned in 15 states. These include Madagascar, Iran, Iraq, Cuba, Barbados, Morocco, Syria, and more. All of that is subject to change, though. So if you’re traveling, make sure to check regulations before you pack your quadcopter!
How do you fly a mini drone for beginners?
Whether it’s a regular or a mini drone, the procedure is the same. With most models, you will either get a remote control or an app for your smartphone. Do your homework and get acquainted with the transmitter. Then, take some time to practice and learn your rolling, pitching, yawing, and other maneuvers.
Many people will advise you to make your first flight indoors. Not a good idea! If you want to test your new pet, it’s best to try in an open space where there are no people, trees, or buildings. It’s also best to take things slowly if you don’t want to lose your drone before you’ve even tried it properly.
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Last update on 2021-01-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API