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.

  • Mavic Mini
    More Info

    DJI Mavic Mini

    (9.4)
    $399.00+ BUY
    • 30 - Minutes
    • 2.7K - 12MP
    • 29 - MPH
    • 2.5 - Miles
    The DJI Mavic Mini is the smallest Mavic drone released to date. Offering 2.7K video and great flight features in a package small enough to...
  • Hover
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    Hover Passport

    (7.5)
    $699.00 $359.00 BUY
    • 10 - Minutes
    • 4K - 30 FPS
    • 17 - MPH
    • 65 - ft
    The Hover Passport is an extremely easy to use drone, it all but flies itself,  you just stand in front of it and make hand...
  • Tello
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    Ryze Tello

    (8.4)
    $99.00+ BUY
    • 13 - Minutes
    • 720p - 30FPS
    • 18 - MPH
    • 100 - Meters
    The Ryze Tello is one of the most capable and versatile mini drones around, enjoy different designs, code your own flight features, or just fly...
  • UVify OOri

    (9.0)
    $349.00 $295.00 BUY
    • 5 - Minutes
    • Basic FPV
    • 50 - MPH
    • 500 - ft
    The UVify OOri is a fantastic drone for aspiring race pilots. It is stable and manageable in the living room, but can also run up...
  • Mantis G
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    Yuneec Mantis G

    (8.9)
    $699.00 BUY
    • 33 - Minutes
    • 4K - 30 FPS
    • 45 - MPH
    • 2.43 - MILES
    The Yuneec Mantis G adds a stabilized camera Gimbal to the Mantis Q - exactly the missing piece from the original folding drone. Now you...
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Best mini drones with a camera

Mavic Mini

DJI Mavic Mini

November 2019

Release Date

With a long list of drones that start with the name Mavic, DJI has launched yet another consumer machine, perhaps their most consumer friendly yet, the new, very compact, folding DJI Mavic Mini.

As the name implies, the DJI Mavic Mini is a very small machine, and in true DJI fashion, it has few compromises to make it all work. The first thing to note is that the Mavic Mini weighs less than 0.55 lbs, which means you do not need to register it with the FAA before flight. Registration is quick and easy, but not requiring it at all is a bonus.

Related reading: DJI Mavic Mini review

Don't let the small size fool you, this drone packs a 12MP camera, shoot 2.7K video  from a 3-axis stabilized Gimbal and has all of the flight features you'd expect from a Mavic drone today.

Starting price for the DJI Mavic Mini is $399, grab the Fly More combo for $499.

Hover

Hover Passport

January 2017

Release Date

The Hover Passport was one of the first drones to make the news for extreme ease of use. Just toss this drone into the air in front of you, and it will fly in place. The system visually locks onto you, making it ideal as a floating selfie camera. Gesture controls take photos, make the drone follow you and more. It's sort of a one-trick-pony of a drone, but it performs that trick quite well.

Check out the Hover Passport for around $199.

Tello

Ryze Tello

March 2018

Release Date

Built using many DJI parts, and sold on the DJI site in partnership with DJI, it is a common misunderstanding that this is a DJI drone. The Ryze Tello is a fun little machine that serves many purposes. On the surface, it's a functional and capable high-end, toy-class drone. You can fly by mobile device, remote control or, in the case of the Educational versions of this machine, you can code your own functionality.

The Ryze Tello is an attractive first drone for many pilots and parents of potential pilots. There are even a few different partnerships, like the Iron Man edition Tello.

Check out the Ryze Tello alone for about $99, upgrade to the Ryze Tello with remote for around $129 and explore the other options from there.

OOri

UVify OOri

January 2018

Release Date

UVify has a rich history in drone racing. They understand that the future racers need to start somewhere, developing the UVify OOri as a fantastic beginner's race drone. Slow and stable for practicing in your living room, this machine can open up to over 50MPH when you want to win a race. Agile, light-weight and fast, the UVify OOri is great for beginners on a budget.

There may be less expensive beginner drones out there, but if quality is of concern to you, the UVify OOri for $295 is hard to beat in the segment.

Mantis G

Yuneec Mantis G

October 2019

Release Date

The Yuneec Mantis G is everything we had hoped for in the original Mantis Q. We can't see the difference between these drones, save for the new stabilized camera Gimbal. Superb flight time, easy controls, voice activated features, a compact design that folds small for transport and a 4K camera all sound good to us.

Yuneec understands they have stiff competition in this portion of the drone market. They build mostly for the commercial space, but fun drones like the Mantis line and larger Typhoon hexacopters have a tough battle. The Mantis G is a leap forward for the company. We had a hard time recommending the Mantis Q to users that cared about shooting video, now we can put the DJI Mavic 2 drones and this new Mantis G in the same sentence.

Based on price and camera sensor size, the Yuneec Mantis G best competes with the DJI Mavic Air, which is to say it is a viable option for hobby pilots looking for a reliable drone to fly.

The Yuneec Mantis G is $699 today.

The best mini drones

We’ve got an entire list of the best mini drones that might serve your needs, not all of them have cameras, though. Check it out.

DJI Mavic Mini review folded with remote

 

Drone legal and safety

 


Frequently Asked Questions

If a drone is small enough I don’t have to register it, do I get to skip the other drone laws?

For authorities like the FAA in the United States, they do not care what machine you are putting into the sky, as long as you are up there, you need to be following the rules to ensure the safety of others. Bypassing registration with a drone that weighs less than 0.55 pounds, 250 grams, absolves you of no other drone laws.

Are these drones any good?

If you are looking for a serious camera drone, these mini drones may fail to produce award winning photos and video from the sky. Some of them do have the same 1/2.3-inch camera sensor as is found in many smartphones, so you should expect some solid results, but the quality bump when you get to a larger camera sensor is very noticeable.

Do I even need a camera on my drone?

A camera on a drone can serve multiple important purposes, it not only captures photos and video from the sky, but it also provides a live video feed that you can see on your remote control. In addition, some drones will use the camera as an object detection tool, to avoid any collisions. You don’t need a camera, as long as you keep the drone in visual range and fly safe, a camera is just a quality of life improvement.