For most modern drone enthusiasts, the appeal is the ability to put a camera into the sky. While the absolute best camera drones are larger machines, maybe you’re looking for something a little smaller, something a little more portable and discrete.
There is plenty of fun to be had with a mini drone with camera, but which one is the best? Let’s take a look at some options.
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.
Best mini camera drones
DJI Mini 2: Best 4K drone under $500
The DJI Mini 2 is the best GPS camera drone for under $500, for most pilots, that means that the Mini 2 is the very best drone under $500 entirely. It has a decent 4K camera that is fully stabilized for silky smooth capture, it has a very stable auto-hover, and it has solid connectivity range. The higher-end Mavic drones are better in almost every way, but they all cost much more, and only the Mini line from DJI weighs under 250g.
The Mini 2 becomes our top pick as it is the best camera of all of the mini drones on this list. It’s also the most capable airframe, with the longest flight range, good battery life, and still matches the original Mavic Mini for compact size and portability.
Should I buy the DJI Mini 2?
The DJI Mini 2 is a drone that I happily reach for when I want to fly for fun. The original Mavic Mini remains a fun machine to fly, but the improvements in the Mini 2, particularly the bump in camera quality, make the Mini 2 my top choice for a simple drone to toss in a backpack and hit the trail. If you do not need a higher-end camera, the Mini 2 is well worth your consideration.
- Small and easy to pack
- Weighs under 250g
- Easy to fly
- Good battery life
- 4K camera
- Too small for a decent payload
- Limited range and camera compared to bigger drones
DJI Mavic Mini: Capable 2.7K drone
The DJI Mavic Mini opened up a whole new world for DJI drones, proving that a capable GPS-enabled aircraft with a decent camera was possible for both under $500 and under 250 grams. The 2.7K shooter on the Mavic Mini is by no means a superb camera, but it is at least as good as your smartphone, and far better stabilized. The drone itself has decent flight time, decent range and decent flight capabilities. Totally worth the asking price.
Should I buy the DJI Mavic Mini?
This is a tough question, simply put, we really like the DJI Mavic Mini, but we like the Mini 2 better. If the pricing makes the difference, rest assured that you will be pleased with the original Mini, but if you can afford the newer machine, we recommend it instead.
- Good 2.7K camera
- Easy to fly
- Under 250g
- Limited range
- Not as good as V2.0
Hover Passport: Super-simple flying camera
The Hover Passport was a fun little drone in its time. It is now hard to find and there are drones that produce better results, but we’ll credit it with inspiring a drone type that is very portable, and uniquely equipped to serve one main purpose, it’s a flying selfie camera.
Should I buy the Hover Passport?
We don’t want to say no, but, we would not recommend buying the Hover Passport at this time. if you can find it for under $100, it’s a fun craft to try out, but it is no longer worth the original MSRP.
- Easy to use
- Very limited capabilities
- Poor flight time
Ryze Tello: Fun educational drone
The Ryze Tello is a fun little drone with some educational aspects to it. It’s easy to operate, has some fun flight features, if simple, and is a solid drone for indoor flight. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a contender as a great camera drone, but it does have a little camera to capture some shots from the sky.
Should I buy the Ryze Tello?
The Ryze Tello remains one of the best drones for beginners. We like it most because you can learn to code some navigation tasks for it, which is fun and rewarding to see a drone do what you’ve coded it to do.
- Easy to fly
- Fly by smartphone
- Controller is an optional add on
- Limited flight time
- Not great for outdoor flight
Yuneec Mantis G: Voice activated controls
The Yuneec Mantis G is getting to be a large drone for a mini drone list. It is a compact, folding design that is easy to transport, but is too large to safely fly indoors for the average living room. The stabilized 4K camera offers decent video from the sky, performing better with still images. The cool part is the ability to control the drone by voice. Speak into the controller and it the drone will follow your commands.
Should I buy the Yuneec Mantis G?
We really like the fun trick of controlling the Mantis G by voice, but, if you are looking for a camera drone to capture video from the sky, the Mantis G is not our first choice, nor is it our top choice at its price point. Not to mention that we’re having a hard time finding the Mantis G for sale. Yuneec brought it to Europe, but we haven’t seen it much in the United States.
- Easy to fly
- Voice commands are really fun
- Not a great camera
- Hard to find to purchase