Drones UK 2021: the best drones with cameras available for perfect aerial photos, from DJI, Parrot, PowerEgg

Staggering photos and jaw-dropping videos are a cinch with these easy to use, affordable camera drones

The five best camera drones for 2021 The five best camera drones for 2021
The five best camera drones for 2021

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You’ve seen the incredible aerial photos and videos that people have taken using state-of-the-art camera-equipped drones and you want some of that action.

Well, you’ve come to the right place: we’ve curated a list of five top camera drones that don’t cost the earth. Any one of these flying machines will produce beautiful aerial photos and ravishing videos of the earth from a vast range of high-up perspectives that would have previously involved sitting in a helicopter.

All about the camera drone

Drones have exploded onto the market and revolutionised the worlds of both photography and videography. Think of the drone as an aerial tripod because that’s basically what it is. Every decent camera drone is equipped with a 3-axis gimbal that holds the camera in position, swaying in sympathy to the drone’s movements to keep video rock steady and still images as sharp as a tack.

There’s no guesswork involved with image framing because everything the drone’s camera sees is streamed to the user’s mobile phone, which is usually clipped into a hand controller. The controller itself comes with two steering/power sticks, plus buttons and rocker switches to control the camera shutter and the gimbal’s tilt mechanism. All models require an app for full functionality and to make changes to the drone’s flight parameters and camera settings.

The drones themselves are a doddle to fly and nothing like the last model helicopter you bought and then immediately crashed into the garden fence. Every drone on this page is equipped with GPS: they will always find their way back to you and hover in one spot with your fingers off the joy sticks, even while straining against a cross wind. You could literally leave any one of these models in the air, nip home and make a cup of tea, and on your return it’ll still be hovering in the same spot.

All of these drones can be folded up for easy transport and they all boast a minimum flight time of around 25 minutes. Similarly, most models can fly as far as five miles away and many hundreds of metres up, though this is actually illegal (see drone regulations below).

Legal requirements

If you want to start getting into drone photography and videography, there are a few things you need to know before taking to the skies. New international drone laws require that any pilot flying a drone above 250g (that’s every drone on this page bar one) must register for a pilot ID. 

This involves the user taking a relatively easy online multiple-choice test and paying £9 per annum for a Flyer ID. You can find out more about drone registration at the CAA website: https://register-drones.caa.co.uk/individual

If you’re thinking of taking up drone videography as a professional career (property filming, TV and film use etc), you will need to apply for a proper drone licence which involves a costly and complex course, akin to getting a driver’s licence. Once you have that under the belt, you’re free to earn monies from flying your drone. However, bear in mind that the professional aerial cinematography arena is already saturated, so you will need to demonstrate great skill and creativity if you wish to make a go of it.

The Drone Code

•Always fly the aircraft within direct line of sight.

•Don’t fly closer than 50m to people.

•Never fly above an altitude of 400ft (120m).

•Don’t fly closer than 50m to buildings, cars, boats and trains.

•Never fly closer than 150m to a crowd of 1,000 people or more.

•Don’t fly closer than 150m to a built-up area.

•Never fly within an airport’s flight restriction zone. In fact stay well clear of any airport, no matter how small.

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