Top Camera Drones for Beginners

Kim Jong By Kim Jong - updated September 1st, 2020
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Take your creativity to new heights with drones

Drones are fun and can take your videography to the next level. Despite the awe you might feel when you see gorgeous aerial footage and shots produced by drones, you might feel a little apprehensive about buying one due to a number of reasons. Are they worth splashing out on? Are they hard to fly? We’ve got some encouraging news for you! Some drones are so easy to pilot, you’ll feel like a pro in no time!

Everyone has to start somewhere and some drones make it a lot easier than others. And with the increase of popularity in drones, they’re becoming more affordable so the price points are realistic for budding videographers and beginners. To help you along with selecting your first drone, we’ve put together a list of our top four drone recommendations, sorted from the cheapest drone to most expensive!

Tello Drone

The DJI Tello comes with an affordable price tag and awesome DJI technology that makes it easy to fly, right off the bat. It's a great drone for those who just want to have fun, or to learn the basics of flight before splashing out on a more expensive drone. It’s ultra-lightweight at only 80 grams and has a durable design and blade guards so first-time drone pilots can fly with ease.

The thought of crashing your new drone can be scary for first-time pilots, but with the Tello, you can relax knowing it comes with extra safety features so you can fly with more confidence! These include Auto Take-off/Landing with just a single tap; Low Battery Protection that alerts you when your battery is low; Failsafe Protection that helps you land safely, even if you lose connection; and Vision Positioning System that facilitates precise hovering. 

Picture of Tello Drone hovering
The Tello has stable flight assitance making it great for beginners
Tello drone being flown with a phone
Fly it using a smartphone app to control both the drone and camera

Not only was the Tello built to be easy and safe to fly, but it was also built to be a blast to fly! With awesome features like the DJI flight controller, you can perform awesome tricks with just a tap on the screen. Let the drone take off and land from your hand or start the drone by simply throwing it in the air; you can even perform cool aerial stunts and 8D flips by sliding on your phone screen.

So how is the picture and video quality? Remarkably good for a beginner drone at this price point! It’s equipped with a high-quality image processor and features a 5MP camera that shoots 720p video at 30 fps. Even if you’re still getting the hang of flying, you can record pro-level videos with the EZ Shots feature which lets you record coordinated short videos with Circle, 360, and Up & Away. Electronic Image Stabilization also helps to ensure the aerial footage you capture is smooth and stable.

This drone is also a great choice if you’re interested in programming too. Play is an essential part of learning and the Tello makes it easy for students to learn the basics of programming. It can be programmed with Scratch (an MIT-developed coding system) that allows you to program flight routines and unlock new possibilities.

The DJI Tello is a great drone for beginners who’d like to learn the basics of flight, or even for more experienced drone pilots who are looking for a drone that’s fun to fly.

DJI Mavic Mini Drone

Weighing under 250 grams, Mavic Mini is almost as light as the average smartphone. Mavic Mini’s weight allows it to stay in the air longer, with up to 30 minutes of flying possible with a fully-charged battery.

With a smart foldable design, this mini drone is exceptionally portable and amongst the in this safest weight class. Mavic Mini comes equipped with a 360° Propeller Guard that fully protects the propellers and improves flight safety, plus, with advanced sensors, Mavic Mini can also hover precisely.

A dedicated remote controller maintains an HD video feed at long distance. And with detachable control sticks that can be easily stored inside. It is very portable, just like the drone.

You can slow down Mavic Mini’s flight speed and movements for an added layer of precision and stability. This mode is especially useful when flying in narrow or complex spaces.

Picture of Mavic Mini folded up and resting on a desk
The Mavic series features a folding design
The Mavic mini is a very stable camera platform

The Mavic Mini drone is great for new pilots who are looking to begin capturing great footage quickly. The new DJI Fly app offers a simple and intuitive user experience, enabling you to create cinematic shots with just a few taps. It even has Flight Tutorial, a feature to help you get started with Mavic Mini quickly and safely.

You can use DJI 'Creator Templates' that automatically generate professional videos with just a tap, using the footage you captured during your recent flight. Even beginners with no editing experience can turn any moment into a nice looking video with smooth transitions and music. For shots that look like they came from a Hollywood film set. You'll be happy to know there is a massive range of QuickShot modes for the Mavic Mini drone. Simply select your QuickShot from the menu and the Mavic Mini will execute an elaborate preset motion while recording it all, it's seriously impressive stuff.

DJI Mavic Air 2 Drone

The DJI Mavic Air series takes the advanced technology from larger DJI drones, and packs it all into a range of smaller folding drones.

The original ultra portable and foldable Mavic Air design provided us with a great balance of power and portability, delivering high-end flight performance and functionality for remarkable exploration and new photographic options.

Mavic takes photos for a couple of adventurers
The Mavic Air has a special selfie mode for taking photos while adventuring
Picture of Mavic Air Drone flying
The folding Mavic Air is a professional drone with outstanding flight capabilities

As with all DJI drones, the Mavic Air series is easy to fly. It does well in all but very strong winds, and the movements are so smooth it looks effortless. The Mavic Air series has numerous practical safety features built-in that can help reduce the number of crashes a beginner pilot might experience when flying a new drone.

Flight Autonomy uses the powerful vision sensing system to observe the surrounding environment and learn its orientation to achieve comprehensive protection. One feature of this includes the Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS) that will help the Mavic Air to avoid obstacles around in front and behind it. As you continue flying backwards and forwards, the system plans an appropriate flight path that automatically bypasses them. Other redundancies in place for safety measures include VisionCompass, more reliable Return to Home, and 3D Map Building.

Photo taken with DJI Mavic A
Photo taken with DJI Mavic B
Photo taken with DJI Mavic C
Photo taken with DJI Mavic D

All the incredible images above were captured with the Mavic Air, it's shots like these that inspired the DJI team while the designed the improved Mavic Air 2 camera and flight systems, which along with lighter new look, make possible some very cool positions for new shots. The Mavic Air 2 features modes that make capturing awesome footage even easier, it's packed full of DJI exclusive technology.

The QuickShots feature allows you to choose from different autopilot flying and camera routines, zooming off like an asteroid or boomerang into the perfect position while firmly locked onto you with its camrea. So with a tap of a button, your drone will take care of that epic zone selfie shot for you.

Mavic Air 2 targeting people
The Mavic Air 2 has improved target tracking
Picture of Mavic Air 2 folded up and held in one hand
The folding design makes it a robust travel drone

ActiveTrack has been improved too, with higher tracking precision and broader scenario applications, your drone can now follow subjects even when they're running, jumping, or cycling. With the new modes, smooth flight and excellent stabilised camera system you won't just be using this one for photos though - video is great too! Have your drone follow as you go, capturing it all with more detail.

Incredible HDR video is made possible in the Mavic Air 2, with a high-performance Quad Bayer image sensor. A single frame separates exposure levels in different areas, accurately capturing light and dark details. The images are layered to create a colorful, balanced, and eye-catching picture with higher dynamic range.

A Mavic Air 2 Drone can capture footage is exciting new ways, from the greatest places, and when you're done simply fold it up and head to the next location!

The Mavic Air 2 is truly one of the best consumer drones you can get that is easy-to-use and with great features and image quality. It's quite the step up from the Tello, which is a great starting point if you're okay with 720p images. However, if you want sharper shots and 4K 60FPS video, the Mavic Air 2 is the way to go.

Mavic 2 (Zoom & Pro) Drones

Although the price point is higher than other drones on this list, the iconic full sized DJI Mavic Pro & Zoom drones totally deserve a spot here due to the fact that they are such an easy drone to fly and capture with!

The larger size means it offers great flight time too, with the same long-range remote controls, feeding live video to your smartphone, while capturing fantastic 4K video footage in a brilliantly portable and easy-to-use package. This powerful drone allows you to turn the sky into your creative canvas easily and without worry!

Picture of DJI Mavic pro drone
The Mavic series also includes larger 'Pro' and 'Zoom' versions
Picture of Mavic Drone Camera Cover
The Mavic offers exceptionally high levels of camera detail

The first thing you’ll likely notice about the Mavic 2 is its still quite small (considering the expectations you’d have for a drone at this level). It’s small enough to throw into a pocket on your backpack or even your satchel. With its small size and level of portability, you might be wondering if it lacks in other areas such as image quality and flight stability… Let’s get onto that (spoiler alert: it doesn’t!).

Despite the size, the Mavic 2 has high-quality camera capabilities that lets beginner pilots capture professional-grade shots with ease! The two versions of Mavic 2 drones (Pro and Zoom) can capture stills in JPEG or DNG RAW format, and shoot 4K video to provide ultra-sharp and clean footage. It is stabilized by a 3-axis mechanical gimbal for super smooth aerial shots. While image and video capture is likely your biggest point of interest, you should be pleased to know that this drone comes with a host of sensors onboard that aid in-flight stability and safety so you can fly with confidence, while focusing in on the perfect shot. The additional cameras help to keep the drone from drifting in areas of poor GPS coverage and to prevent collision with obstacles, so the chances of your drone crashing into a wall or a tree reduce significantly (though the great build quality and durability of the drone provides extra insurance against that too).

The Mavic provides fantastic flight performance with effortless, agile, and very fast flight in sport mode. It has incredible response and acts instantly to your control inputs – an important factor for when you need quality and precise footage efficiently (and while using the least amount of battery power possible). It comes packed with a bunch of different features and flight modes to make flying a breeze! The Mavic 2 sports the same features as you’d find in the Mavic Air series (albeit more advanced), but here are some other features that will come in super handy:

Beginner Mode – Since this article is about drones for beginners, we thought this feature is worth mentioning. Beginner mode is designed specifically for novice pilots and places restrictions on how high and far you can fly, meaning you don’t have to worry about losing sight or control of your drone.

Tripod Mode – If you’ve become comfortable in beginner mode, you can graduate to Tripod mode. This mode is designed to reduce flight sensitivity to create the most stable video capture possible. In this mode, every move the Mavic makes becomes slow and precise.

Terrain Follow – This feature uses a Downward Vision System to maintain a consistent level distance from the group. That means you don’t have to worry about flying too low as the system will keep you at just the right height – even over uneven terrain.

The DJI Mavic 2 is one hell of a drone packed with awesome features and excellent quality image and video capture. If you're a beginner who wants to start getting those professional-grade shots right now, and you have a little bit of extra cash to spend, consider the Mavic 2 series.

So there you have it, four, well, actually five with that last great duo! All are really great camera drone picks for beginners. Look out for these ones alongside the rest of the range in the Cameras & Drones today!


Written By

Kim Jong

The one from NZ, not NK.

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4 comments

DennisL5

Love my Mavic Mini, so affordable price but offers a lot for my random vlog.

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2 months ago Reply Report

PrettyL8

where did you get a mini one?

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2 months ago Reply Report

PrettyL8

or is that the tello

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2 months ago Reply Report

Bennies

Does anyone have a Tello? I've like to see the quality on the photos/videos it captures.

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2 months ago Reply Report