5 Best Mini Drones with Cameras

Mini drones can’t possibly capture great images? That’s exactly what most people think. However, that assessment can’t be farther from the truth. Several mini drone options have excellent, high-quality cameras onboard.

Hello folks! My name is Lavelle and I am a professional drone pilot and photographer. For the past decade, I have been using my drones for commercial photography and videography projects. During this time, I have spent a lot of time researching and reviewing drones, including mini drones.

In this article, I will go over some of the things you should look for in camera specifications and share with you, my list of the best mini drones with onboard camera systems. I will also share my thoughts on some other features you should look for in a good small drone with a camera.

Key Takeaways

  • Mini drones are lightweight and wind resistance ratings should be considered when purchasing one. Models with low wind resistance ratings are more likely to be swayed off course in flight and have a higher potential for crashing.
  • Look for the highest camera quality possible when considering mini drones.
  • Remember you often get what you pay for, so keep in mind the overall value when shopping for compact drones.
How much does a decent mini drone cost?

The cost of a mini drone depends on several factors. Depending on how you intend to use the mini drone determines the cost. Generally speaking, a good mini-drone may range in price from $50 to $300.

It depends on the level of the user. Many users find mini drones easier to fly than mid or full-size drones. A lot of the mini drones are created to be user-friendly. Also, many mini drones are designed for beginning-level users including kids and young children.

Because most mini-drones are very lightweight, it is important to consider wind conditions when flying. Look for a mini drone with a good wind resistance level to mitigate concerns in those conditions.

When mini drones experience heavy wind conditions, they are more susceptible to producing blurry images or shaky videos. Additionally, heavy winds can sway the mini drone off course causing difficulty in capturing intended images.

What Makes The Best Mini Drone for Shooting Photos

Keep in mind that there are many potential uses for a mini drone so what you should look for really depends on your usage goals. Still, there are certain commonalities that you should look for in all drone cameras, and here are a few of those features and qualities to look for.

  • Camera and Video Resolution: Typically, the camera resolution ranges from 720p to 5.2k resolution. Of course, 720p is considered relatively low. Then you can move up to the high-definition (HD) resolution of 1080p. From there you can have a 1080p ultra high definition (UHD) or also known as 4K resolution. Moving on from UHD is the 5K, 5.1K, or 5.2K resolution, which offers the highest resolution that you will get on most mini drones.
  • Zoom Capability: In addition to video and camera resolution, you want to consider the zoom capability of the camera. A camera with a good zoom will allow you to capture distant objects. However, keep in mind that a high zoom capability may also increase the size and weight of the camera.
  • Gimbal: The next feature to look for and also one of the most important is the gimbal. Having a gimbal on the drone adds weight to the drone but it also adds stability while the drone is moving in the air.
  • Wind Resistance: Since mini drones typically weigh less than 250 grams, wind resistance rating is important to the drone’s ability to withstand wind gusts and maintain stability while flying in adverse conditions. Wind ratings for drones range from zero (0) to twelve (12) with zero being the lowest and twelve being the highest.
  • Flight Range: Lastly, it is important to consider the mini drone’s range. In many cases, you may need to fly your drone to a distance (within line of sight) to capture images or video.

The 5 Best Mini Drones with Cameras

Now that we have laid the foundation for things to look for in a compact drone, let’s take a look at my list of the best mini drones with cameras.

1. GoolRC STS S66 4k Mini (Best Overall)

  • Camera: 4K high-definition camera
  • Video: 4K video resolution
  • Range: 500 meters
  • Flight Time: 13-minutes
  • Gimbal: No Gimbal (camera can adjust 90 degrees)

The GoolRC STS S66 is one of the most budget-friendly mini drones on my list. It comes with a 4K HD camera and produces 4K video as well. It has a remarkable 500-meter range and can stay airborne for about 13 minutes on a single battery charge.

Several intelligent features come along with this drone including Gesture Control, Flip Control, and Optical Flow Positioning. These are some nice features to use on any drone.

This drone offers some great intelligent features including the emergency stop feature, the stunt feature, and the tracking mode. Several other notable features contribute to the overall value of this S66 drone.

One concern with this drone is the lack of a gimbal, however, the camera can be adjusted at a 90-degree angle. Another concern is the drone’s ability to withstand heavy wind gusts.

My Verdict: This drone is a good overall value. For the price, it’s hard to beat the features that come with this mini drone. It does have some limitations and that is expected at such a low price point. 

2. DJI Mavic Mini (series) (Best Deluxe)

  • Camera: 12 MP camera resolution
  • Video: 2.7K HD video resolution
  • Range: 50 meters
  • Flight Time: 30-minutes
  • Gimbal: Yes, 3-axis

The DJI Mavic Mini (the entire series) is my number one choice for a mini drone with a camera. With a 12 MP camera, this drone produces very good, quality images. The 2.7K HD video is also very good. The 3-axis gimbal makes this mini drone extremely stable in the air.

The 50-meter range is not the longest on the list, but it is a good enough range to work with. Additionally, the 30 minutes of flight time is the best you will find for a mini drone.

This mini drone has a great flight time and is exceptionally stable with the 3-axis gimbal. The camera quality is also very good for a mini drone. My biggest concern is the relatively low transmission range of 50 meters. It concerns me that losing connection with the drone could result in a flyaway instance.

My Verdict: Overall, this mini drone is an excellent buy. It is durable, stable, and has excellent customer reports. The only drawback is that the drone does not have an obstacle avoidance feature.

3. RUKO F11 Pro (Best GPS)

  • Camera: High Definition camera
  • Video: 4K video resolution
  • Range: 1200 meters
  • Flight Time: 30-minutes
  • Gimbal: No gimbal

The Ruko F11 Pro is one of the best buys that you can make in this category. It has a decent-quality camera and produces good 4K videos. The camera is fairly stable in the air but could benefit from a gimbal.

The 1200-meter range is outstanding and sets it apart from the other mini drones on this list. It also has a level 7 wind resistance rating, which is very good. The GPS module on this drone is also quite remarkable.

There are some excellent intelligent features on this drone, including but not limited to, the Headless Mode, One Key Takeoff/Landing, Return to Home, and Follow Me mode. These features certainly make this drone attractive for use. 

My biggest concern is that some users have complained about the drone not responding to the controller even when within the transmission range. Additionally, I’m not a fan of the drone not having a gimbal onboard which can contribute to shaky video and blurry images.

My Verdict: My biggest concerns with this drone are the lack of gimbal stabilization and no obstacle avoidance. Otherwise, this drone is a very good choice for the mini drone category.

4. DroneEye 4DRC Mini (Best Budget)

  • Camera: High Definition camera
  • Video: 720p video resolution
  • Range: 80 meters
  • Flight Time: 28-minutes
  • Gimbal: No gimbal

When it comes to budget, this is the least expensive drone on my list. While it is relatively inexpensive, the DroneEye 4DRC Mini offers some good qualities.

There are some good smart features on this drone also. It comes with a one-touch takeoff and landing feature, a gravity sensor, and can perform 3D flips.

The 4DRC Mini is a great value for the price. Additionally, the flight time for this drone is very good.

The biggest concern is the camera quality. The HD camera is reported to not perform according to specifications.

My Verdict: You get what you pay for! While this mini drone is super affordable at under $50, it is not made of the highest quality and the camera and video specs are suspect. If you’re looking for an expensive dive into the drone world, then perhaps this is your best choice.

5. Holy Stone HS420 (Best for Beginners)

  • Camera: 720p camera resolution
  • Video: 720p video resolution
  • Range: 100 meters
  • Flight Time: 6-minutes
  • Gimbal: No gimbal

The Holy Stone brand is a recognized name in the drone industry. They continue to impress users with some good options on their drones, especially considering their price point. The HS420 is another example of their ability to produce a good drone in the mini drone category for a good price.

The HD camera and HD video system are both respectable, although not top of the class. The drone also has a decent 100-meter range. There is no gimbal on this drone, which, as I’ve mentioned a few times, is a big concern for me. 

This is a good drone for indoor use. It is very lightweight and basic enough for kids or beginners to enjoy.

I’m not a fan of the very low 6 minutes of flight time, which is another reason why I’d keep it to indoor use for the most part.

My Verdict: The Holy stone HS420 is a good, versatile mini drone and the camera and video quality are both decent. It is not the most stable mini drone and as such, it can produce some shaky images and video under certain conditions. It’s a great option for beginner-level drone users.

Final Thoughts

Finding the best mini drone with a camera can be challenging when there are so many factors to consider. You should determine your intended use for the drone and consider features and qualities that support that intended use.

All of the models on the list have some nice features and are a good value for their price point. Some other notable considerations include the Parrot BeBop and the Black Bird 4K. Both of these drones could easily interchange with a couple of drones on this list.

What is your experience with flying mini drones? Do you have a certain quality that is a must-have? Leave your comments and/or questions here and I will reply as soon as possible.

Until next time, happy flying and be safe!

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