My Drone Professional

Best Drone Cameras

At first glance you may be tempted to pick the drone with the highest specifications that your budget allows but it’s worth taking a moment to check which drone really meets your needs. Drones generally have fixed camera lenses unlike normal cameras so it’s important to choose the right UAV for the type of photos you’re planning to take such as:

Drones are now widely used by professional and amateur photographers alike to take amazing aerial photographs & video. There is an incredible range of features available on the market so let’s cut through the marketing and break down the important bits.

For the biggest impact on your image quality we’re looking at stability, resolution, frame rate and the sensor.

To get straight to the results you can skip to my drone comparison table.

Best drone cameras

Resolution; Do I need a high resolution camera for my drone ?

The drones reviewed in our comparison table range from 12mp to 48mp but do you need a 48mp camera? There are two main factors to consider when looking at drone camera resolution; your intended print size and cropping. The higher the resolution the larger the image you can print and have the ability to crop your images down more.

To understand how big you can print your photos from a 12mp camera we first need to understand a couple of concepts.

high resolution camera for drone
48mp Autel Evo 2
  1. MP is megapixels (million pixels) so this is just how many pixels are in your image. The higher the number, the bigger you can print the image without it becoming grainy.
  2. PPI is pixel per inch. This is simply how many pixels (the smallest component of the image) fit into once inch. This defines the digital print quality, 300 ppi is considered high quality.

The lowest resolution we have in our comparison table is 12mp. The resolution of the photo is for example 4,256 x 2,832 pixels. If we wanted to print this photo at 300ppi then we can divide the number of pixel in length and height to see how big the print could be before we start decreasing the quality. 

 4,256 pixels / 300 ppi= 14.2″ and 2,832 pixels / 300 ppi= 9.4″

This works out to be 14.2 x 9.4 inches (36cm x 23cm ) or slightly larger than A4.

To print larger than this with this 12mp drone camera you would need to lower the quality/ ppi or consider a higher spec drone…

Now let’s look at the other end of the scale with the 48mp (for example the Autel EVO 2 and DJI Mavic Air 2 ).

48mp = 8000×6000 pixels, 26 x 20″ (66cm x 50cm) maximum print size at 300ppi.

Drone Camera Sensor

The sensor allows light in to record an image, generally a larger sensor captures more light and results in larger pixels. The sensor size is important if you are taking photos in low light environments so if you are looking at choosing between two 12mp cameras, the sensor size could be the deciding factor.

high resolution camera for drone

Drone Camera Stability

Drone gimbal axis
Image credit :

The stability of the camera is managed by a gimbal. This holds the camera in a horizon position counteracting the drone’s movement. Some drones don’t come with a gimbal so it is required to be purchased separately. For drones that have a built in gimbal choose a 3 axial gimbal over 2.

Three axial gimbals are usually preferred for recording video because it stabilises the camera on the yaw, pitch and roll (shown in the diagram). When using a 2 axial gimbal the pilot will need to pan the drone along the yaw axis rather than rely on the gimbal to do this.

Drone Video – FPS

FPS (frames per second) or frame rate is the number of still images per second. Each image is a frame. For the DJI Mavic 2 Pro with 30fps there are 30 still images making up one second of video footage. Low frame rates can make movement look staggered.

24fps is standard in movies and tv shows because it displays realistic motion but higher frame rates can start to look unnatural. Sports and footage with a lot of movement may benefit from 30fps because they capture fast, detailed movement that can be played back in slow motion.

Best Drones for Professionals

At the professional end of the market, for low light environments the DJI Mavic 2 Pro or the DJI Mavic Phantom 4 Pro both have a 1 inch sensor, the Mavic Phantom 4 can capture video at 60fps!

If your wanting to take high resolution stills then either the DJI Mavic  2 Zoom or the DJI Mavic Air 2 , with the Mavic Air capable of capturing 60fps.

Best under $500

The DJI Mini offers solid entry level specifications at an affordable price but the improvements seen in the new version (DJI Mini 2) make it a serious contender for some of the much more expensive models.

It features 4x digital zoom, 30fps video, 12mp camera and 10km flight range. Check out the comparison table below to see how they stack up.

Read the full article on my recommendations for the best drones under $500 here.

Best for the adventurer

On a slightly different note we have to mention the PowerEgg X Wizard for its waterproof and water landing mode! If you are shooting near the beach or lakes then this is worth considering. For those who are into living the ocean life, check out the post on under water drones.

PowerEgg X Wizard
PowerEgg X Wizard with full waterproof kit.

Drone Comparison Table

Camera ResolutionVideoGimbalZoomSensorFlight timeFlight rangeWeightPrice
Autel EVO 248 mp8k38x digital1/2″40 min5.5mile
6.55 lbCheck Price
DJI Mavic Air 248 mp4k
60 fps
32 x digital1/2″34 min11.49 mi
Check Price
DJI Mavic  2 Zoom48 mpFHD Video34x Lossless Zoom
2x Optical zoom
1/2.3″34 min11.49 mi
Check Price
DJI Inspire 220.8 mp5.2k
24 fps
3NoneSony M4/3
image sensor
25 min4.1mi
Check Price
DJI Mavic 2 Pro20 mp4k
3None1″31 min5mi
Check Price
DJI Mavic Phantom 4 Pro20 mp4k
3None1″25 min4.1mi
Check Price
PowerVision PowerEgg X Wizard12 mp4k
60 fps
35x1/2.8″30 min3.7mi
Check Price
DJI Mini 212 mp4k
34 x digital zoom1/2.3″31 min6.2 mi
Check Price
DJI Mini12mp2.7k
34 x digital zoom1/2.3″30 min2.5 mi
Check Price
Drone Comparison table