With 4K televisions going mainstream and the smartphone ecosystem on the verge of catching up to this pixel-dense tech, the demand for 4K content is on the rise. Drone manufacturers aren’t falling behind on this rising demand.
And hence we, have seen quite a lot of 4K recording drones being launched this year. While there are drones which give you an option to mount your own cameras, the list we have compiled (in a random order) here today all have their own built-in 4K cameras.
Top 10 4K Camera Drones
DJI is in a league of its own when it comes to aerial photography and the company’s inspire series is made specifically to prove that. The DJI Inspire 1 has a number of variants sharing the name but the Inspire 1 RAW gets all the points thanks to its dedicated camera controller. The other variants come with a Zenmuse X5 4k camera while the Inspire 1 RAW has an integrated Zenmuse X5R camera that can record at 30 fps with video bitrates averaging at 1.7 GBps.
The Inspire 1 has a 500 GB SSD to store the recorded content in CinemaDNG format making it a go-to option for Professional video makers. The Inspire 1 has a lot of useful features like Waypoint, Point of Interest, Course lock and home. Starting at $1,399 for the base variant, the price goes up to a whopping $5,399 for the Inspire 1 RAW making no mistake in letting people know that its primarily for the professionals as mentioned earlier.
Yet another flagship drone by DJI, the $1,399 Phantom 4 drone is a professional-consumer hybrid. No multiple controllers here as the Phantom 4 is made for more simpler flight control requiring minimal skills to get the drone up flying. The phantom 4 has a 3-axis gimbal to eliminate shaky footage from the camera.
Smart features like altitude hold, follow-me, waypoint, etc are all there but the Sports Mode is what sets it apart from the rest as in this mode, the drone can record and move fast with stabilization. The phantom 4 can downlink real-time HD streams at low latency( so does the Inspire 1) thanks to its lightbridge technology, making FPV flights with VR headsets also a possibility.
The Phantom 3 series happens to be the most popular of the DJI lot. The original Phantom 3 could only record at 2.7K resolution and missed out on features like lightbridge downlink. All that is taken care of in the Phantom 3 Professional and also has vision positioning for areas with poor GPS signals and indoors which was the major shortcoming from the original Phantom 3.
The Phantom 3 Professional manages to provide a maximum flight time of 23 minutes which can be utilized to record gimbal stabilized footage.
You might curse us for including yet another DJI drone, but that’s how good the company’s drones are. The Phantom 3 4K has been a hobbyist’s favorite choice as at the time of writing it retails at just about $599 (launch price $999) on the official site. And even at this price it still manages to include most of DJI’s goodness like altitude lock, follow-me, waypoint, point of interest,etc.
The camera on the Phantom 3 4K uses a Sony Exmor 1/2.3″ sensor with a 96 degree fov and is stabilized by a 3-axis gimbal.
Yuneec has been making a name for its high performance drones with minimum compromises. The Typhoon H will set you back $1,299 but what you get for the price is a professional grade hexacopter with a wide angle 12 MP camera mounted with a 3-axis gimbal stabilization system. Just like the Inspire 1 RAW, the Typhoon H also has an option to have a dual controller setup for the flight and camera. Speaking of the controller, it runs on full fledged Android OS with a massive 7 inch HD touchscreen giving the possibilities of building dedicated apps for the Drone.
The Typhoon H despite being large makes itself convenient to carry around in its backpack thanks to its folding arms and retractable landing system.To top it all, the Typhoon H uses Intel’s RealSense technology for its smart flight system.
6. Xiaomi Mi Drone
Dubbed as the DJI Phantom 4 killer, the Mi Drone is Xiaomi’s first attempt in Drone manufacturing. The company being extremely popular for their aggressively priced but high quality smartphones is bringing the same intentions now to the Drone world.
Priced at just $460 but yet to go on sale, it’s cheaper than DJI’s entry level Phantom 3 4K and yet has the specs (on paper) on par with the Phantom 4. The Mi drone comes with a 12 MP camera with an f/2.8 aperture and is stabilized by a 3 axis gimbal.
The Mi Drone also inculcates smart flight features like wayppoint, realtime GPS tracking, live HD video downlink, auto landing at low battery levels, etc. The Mi Drone delivers a flight time of up to 27 minutes and has a signal range of up to 2km.
The Yuneec Typhoon Q500 4K has this futuristic design in all black, giving it a badass look. With a price tag of $900, the Typhoon 4K does pretty much everything that a Phantom 4 does like the waypoint flight, auto follow, point of interest, etc. The camera sensor used is a 12 MP one and is stabilized with the help of a 3-axis gimbal.
The coolest thing about the Yuneec Q500 4k is that it includes a handheld camera adapter in the box (take that Osmo!) which lets you record stabilized 4K videos even when on the ground by detaching the camera-gimbal system from the drone.
The Blade Chroma uses the popular Blade CGO3 camera which can also be found on drones from other manufacturers like Typhoon Q500 4K we mentioned earlier. The Blade Chroma costs just about $700 and comes with an Android based controller with a 5.1 inch touch screen display.
The Blade Chroma has a massive 6,300 mah battery and promises to deliver a 30 minute flight time. Smart flight features like follow me mode, tracking mode, return home, adjustable flight boundaries are included to make it easy for even beginners to control the drone. More skilled flyers still have an option for manual over-ride if they prefer that way.
Coming from the company that made their way into headlines earlier this year for their single passenger carrying drone prototype- Ehang 184, the Ehang Ghostdrone 2.0 also has a similar crazy appeal to it due to its downward facing motors.
The Ghostdrone 2.0 comes in two variants- standard and VR. The standard edition costs $600 while the VR edition costs $1,100 as it is bundled with a fpv VR goggles. All smart flight features are covered and also includes a flight control method where you just have to move your phone to control the drone.
The price mentioned for the drones also includes a one year accidental damage insurance which other companies generally offer at a premium.
The Autel X-Star Premium houses in a gimbal stabilized 108 degree wide angle 12 MP sensor. Bearing the looks of a DJI Phantom 3, the features set of the X-Star doesn’t fall short of a Phantom 3/4 either.
The X-Star Premium has some useful features like Start point positioning system for areas with poor GPS signals, the android or iOS app for the drone has a pre-flight check feature that ensures every aspect of the drone is fine before each takeoff to prevent accidents.
The drone has a flight time of 25 minutes on a single charge and can do HD fpv real-time downlink to the controller from up to 1.2 miles.
Top 10 4K Camera Drones: Have your say
These are pretty much the who’s who of the drone world. These are the top 10 4k camera drones according to the sales and general reviews, so you know you probably won’t go wrong with any one in the list. That said, there might be better ones out there, so let us know if there are in the comments section below!