What is the point of a drone? For many, a drone in the now-popular multi-rotor configuration, is an extension of a passion for RC aircraft. For others, a drone is a tool to put a camera into the sky. We are pretty passionate about the camera in the sky experience.

DJI FPV camera

Whether for personal use or for commercial application, let’s take a look at a list of our favorites, some of the best camera drones in the sky.

Jonathan Feist, Drone PilotJonathan Feist

Why trust Drone Rush?

I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.

 

Before you fly: You may need a drone license, and there are laws to follow

 
Off-the-shelf consumer drones

Consumer camera drones

 
1. DJI Inspire 2: Professional drone

DJI Inspire 2: Professional drone

Drone Rush RecommendsThe DJI inspire 2 has been a leader in the camera drone market since it launched in 2016. The airframe itself offered the kind of forward-thinking features that keep the drone relevant today, and the interchangeable camera system has allowed photographers and videographers to keep up with newer standards. With up to 6K video capture, multiple lens support, advanced on-board file storage configurations, and hot-swappable batteries make the Inspire 2 a tough package to beat, especially since it sells for half the price of many competing alternatives.

 
Not only is the Inspire 2 a capable camera system, it’s also tons of fun to fly. It has a rated top speed of 58mph, and is best operated by two people one two controllers, one to pilot the craft, one to control the camera. One of the better features is the use of a dedicated FPV camera, allowing the camera to spin freely without confusing the pilot.
 
Ignoring the high-end capabilities of the Inspire 2, it’s just as safe and easy to fly as any Mavic or Phantom drone you’ve handled.

Should I buy the DJI Inspire 2?

We really like the Inspire 2. If I could afford one for my personal fleet, I would fly it every chance I get. Make no mistake, it’s too large to comfortably sling over your back to take on a hike, and it is not designed to haul high-end Hollywood cameras, which limits its market. It’s more than good enough to shoot for the studios, you’ve absolutely seen Inspire 2 aerial footage in many popular tv shows and movies in the last few years, but it ranks as more of a high-end consumer-grade professional drone than as a cinema drone.

 

If you are looking for the very best camera drone possible with a budget of up to $10,000.00, we can’t think of a better option than the DJI Inspire 2.   

Pros

  • Powerful and fast
  • Fun to fly
  • Two operators
  • Up to 6K camera
  • Interchangeable lenses
  • Surprisingly easy to fly
  • Well supported

Cons

  • Best flown with two people
  • Older drone
  • Proprietary payloads, cannot hang your DSLR
 

DJI Inspire 2

(9.8)
  • 27 - Minutes
  • 6K - 30 FPS
  • 58 - MPH

November 2016

Release Date

2. DJI Mavic 2 Pro: Best consumer drone

DJI Mavic 2 Pro: Best consumer drone

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is simply the best hobby-class camera drone on the market. The Mavic 2 series may be getting older at this point, but the all-direction obstacle avoidance sensors make them some of the safest drones in the sky, and the 1-inch Hasselblad camera on the Mavic 2 Pro stands up to newer cameras as well. This drone is reasonably portable, but is fairly heavy for its size. That doesn’t keep it down, as the Mavic 2 Pro is one of the fastest hobby camera drones around, and enjoys above average battery life.

Should I buy the DJI Mavic 2 Pro?

For those of us that cannot afford the Inspire 2, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is a reasonable alternative. We very much enjoy flying the Mavic 2 Pro, it somehow feels safer and more sturdy than other drones, and the camera output is still top-notch, even if only 4K resolution. 

Pros

  • Best consumer-class camera drone
  • Easy to fly
  • One of the safest drones in the sky
  • Great camera

Cons

  • Older drone
  • High price tag
 

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

(9.7)
  • 31 - MIN
  • 4K - 30 FPS
  • 44 - MPH

3. DJI Air 2S: 5.4K camera for under $1,000

DJI Air 2S: 5.4K camera for under $1,000

DJI Air 2S

The DJI Air 2S is probably the drone you’re going to buy if you’re shopping for a hobby camera drone today. The 5.4K camera is better than it should be for this price, the airframe is capable, and the entire package is small and light for easy transport. The angled top front sensors improve safety at high-speed operation, and the newest version of Ocusync connectivity rocks up to 7.5 miles of range.

Should I buy the DJI Air 2S?

Simply put, the DJI Air 2S is our top pick for a consumer camera drone today. The camera is better than anything else in the same price range, and the drone is unmatched in terms of flight range for a consumer drone. If you can only own one drone, make it this one.

Pros

  • Great 5.4K camera
  • Superb value
  • Easy and fun to fly

Cons

  • Still just a hobby drone
  • No display in the controller
 

DJI Air 2S

(9.8)
  • 31 - MIN
  • 5.4K - 20MP
  • 42.5 - MPH

April 15, 2021

Release Date

4. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom: See things from afar

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom: See things from afar

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom was one of the first consumer drones to offer a zooming lens for its camera. 4X optical zoom is a fantastic start, but then you an double that with 4x more digital zoom, the result is the ability to focus in on the mountain in the distance, or track your pet without having to fly dangerously close.

Should I buy the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom?

If you truly require the ability to zoom in, such as for inspection tasks, the Mavic 2 Zoom is a good choice, but, if zoom is just a fun feature that you are not relying on, the Air 2S is less expensive, has a better camera, and offers a digital-only 8x zoom itself. The Mavic 2 Zoom is an older drone as well, it might be a hard sell, but in its own right, it’s still best in class, so check it out.

Pros

  • 4x optical zoom
  • Additional digital zoom
  • Proven Mavic 2 series airframe
  • All-direction obstacle avoidance sensors

Cons

  • Older drone
  • Zooming cameras are not unique anymore
 

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

(9.5)
  • 31 - MIN
  • 4K - 30 FPS
  • 44 - MPH

5. DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0: Large consumer drone

DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0: Large consumer drone

DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 stock image 2

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 remains the best consumer-build of the iconic Phantom line of drones. As such, it is also one of the very best consumer drones on the market. Thing is, the Phantom line have fallen by the wayside in favor of smaller and more portable machines. The Phantom drone still packs a larger camera package, and can haul other payloads, but if all you care about is the best camera in the sky, you can enjoy similar results with smaller, lighter, more portable, and less expensive options out there.

Should I buy the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0?