Home Guides Cameras 10 Best Camera Drones under 500 Dollars to Fly in 2017

10 Best Camera Drones under 500 Dollars to Fly in 2017

Best Camera Drone

The Unmanned Arial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones have come a long way since they started the journey as military equipment. The manufacturers have found different possibilities for drones in the commercial and civil world. These little pieces of technology have one or the other way to fit right into your day to day life. If you do not have a reason to buy one, they are cool enough to still be your companion for the free time.

Still, there is one issue that will bother most of the buyers and that is the cost of the drones. A good UAV will cost anywhere from USD 200 to more than USD 1500. The price mainly depends on what kind of drone you are looking for and what features it has.

It is quite understandable that no one wants to buy one without asking several questions about the built, price, features, and specifications.

It is not hard to find good drones under $500 with some good features.

What are the points that one should keep in mind while buying a drone?

  • Size and weight: In no circumstances, until your project requires, you should buy a drone that is hard to transport. There are a lot of drones in the market that are compact and even foldable. A smaller yet powerful drone should be your choice.
  • Video and photo resolution: One of the main features of the drones is their video capturing capacities. You can buy one that comes with the camera or buy a camera separately. Just make sure the resolution of the camera is good enough for your work.
  • Remote control: There are two types of drones available in the market. One that can sync with your smartphones and other that cannot. Prefer to buy one that can sync with your smart device and controller-based video players need a lot of battery power in comparison to your smart device.
  • Flight features: There are a lot of useful features like ‘return to home’ and ‘follow’ that drones are equipped with. These features often come in handy while you are almost out of power or flying alone. Look for the drone that has these features so that you do not lose it and make full use of it.

DJI PHANTOM 3 STANDARD, USD 459

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DJI has produced some very good products for both entry-level and high-end users. The DJI PHANTOM 3 STANDARD is one of the best drones in the Under USD 500 section. The drones come bundled with a 2.7K camera. It is capable of producing high-resolution videos and pictures. The drones are equipped with a lot of useful features.

The GPS enables the drone to run on auto pilot mode. The FPV or real-time video transmission is of very good quality.

There is also the ‘follow me’ me mode which allows the drone to follow a specific target point. It comes in handy if you want to make a video of a specific moving object. It also comes with ‘Point of Interest’ feature that allows the drone to fly around a specific object.

It is a good option for both hobby flyers and professionals. It has the highest control distance of 3.5 KM to 5 KM depending on the controller interface.

Main selling points of the drone

  • Comes with 2.7K 12 MP camera
  • GPS enabled for autopilot feature
  • Follow me and Point of Interest feature for selective recording
  • Vision position system
  • Flight Live Data

Main specifications of the drone

  • Control distance of 3.5 KM to 5 KM
  • Flight time of approx 25 minutes
  • Charging time of approx 2 hours
  • Remote frequency of 2.4 GHz
  • Compatible with smart devices

Why should I buy it?

The DJI PHANTOM 3 STANDARD is considered as the monster in under $500 section of drones. It has a lot of features which are missing in most of the drones in the price range. The control distance of this drone is much higher even than most of the high priced drones.It is made of sturdy material and comes with a high power camera. Overall it is the best camera drones under 500 dollars that you can find.

WLTOYS V303 SEEKER, USD 285

WLTOYS V303 SEEKER

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WLToys makes some great drones for both personal and professional purposes. The V303 is often considered as a good alternative for DJI Phantom 1. Though some hobbyists do not consider it as a good choice for the professional drone, it still has some great features that an entry level professional drone should have.

One of the most interesting features of the drone is to hover perfectly in steady mode over the ground for a best possible video shot. The enhanced altitude sensor embedded in the drone allows it to hover in such steady position.

There is also a manual flying mode in the drone. Apart from that, it uses its GPS capabilities to set off autopilot in the case of low connection of low battery and returns back safely to the take-off location.

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Main selling points of the drone

  • Has gimbal that supports Go Pro3
  • Comes with 6-axis Gyro
  • GPS compatibilities for safe return to home
  • Autopilot function
  • One key landing and take off
  • Failsafe function

Main specifications of the drone

  • Controlling distance of 500 meters
  • Flight time 13 to 15 minutes
  • Charging time approx 2 hours for complete charge
  • Vertical and horizontal speed of 10.2m/s and 4m/s respectively
  • Remote frequency 2.4GHz
  • Dimensions of the drone are 30.5 x 30.5 x 21cm

Why should I buy it?

Though the controlling distance and flight time are much lesser than the most of the budget drones in the market, it is still a good choice if you are looking for an affordable drone with a lot of features. It is small and lightweight which makes it easy to transport. In it indeed one of the top rated drones under 500 dollars.

XIRO XPLORER AERIAL, USD 219

XIRO XPLORER AERIAL

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Xiro might not be a very popular company in the field of drones but it makes some amazing devices. The XIRO XPLORER AERIAL comes with amazing features that are often missing from the budget drones. One of the most interesting features of the drone is the ‘follow me’ that allows the drone to follow the pilot or any selected target automatically. It is a great device if you want to shoot a single moving object continuously.

One cooler feature that this drone is equipped with is the ‘Circle Around Me’. It enabled the drone to circle around a fixed object and record the video.

Once the recording is done, it safely returns to the point of origin. It also comes with vibration alerts on the controller to warn about low battery. It comes with a non-removable 5200 mAh Li-Ion battery.

Main features of XIRO XPLORER AERIAL

  • Easy to upgrade camera
  • Follow me function
  • Return to home or origin point
  • Vibration alerts on the controller
  • Non-removable battery
  • Circle around me function

Main specifications of the drone

  • Control distance of 1000 meters
  • Flight time of 18 minutes approx
  • Charging time of 2 hours for full charge
  • Vertical and horizontal speed of 6 m/s and 15 m/s respectively
  • Remote frequency 2.4 GHz
  • Dimensions of the drone are 37 x 35 x 16cm

Why should I buy it?

Lesser known company and drone but it is a power packed performer. It is a complete device for hobbyists and professional pilots. The XIRO XPLORER AERIAL has upgradable camera mount which makes it a long lasting product.Features like a circle around me and follow me makes it even more interesting.

PARROT BEBOP 2, USD 395

PARROT BEBOP 2

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It is one of the coolest looking drones available in the market. Not only design, but the features of the drone also make it stand out of the crowd of budget drones. The body of the drone is made of ABS plastic that makes it lightweight and very easy to transport. It is heat and impact resistant. The structure of the drone is reinforced with fiberglass which ensures great resistance.

The PARROT BEBOP 2 is a high-performance drone that uses four brushless motors. It can easily fly at a speed of 13 meters per second horizontally. It comes with 14 MP built-in camera which can record 180-degree videos.

There is no bundled controller but it syncs easily with your smartphone or tablet. There is also an option to buy a Skycontroller Remote made by the parent company Parrot.

Main selling points of the PARROT BEBOP 2

  • Inbuilt 14 MP camera with FPV capabilities
  • Made of strong ABS plastic
  • Reinforced with fiberglass for better resistance
  • Autopilot for better videos
  • GPS capabilities
  • Brushless motors
  • Return to home features

Main specifications of the drone

  • Control distance of 300 meters with smart device and 2 KM with Skycontroller
  • Flight time of approx 20 to 22 minutes
  • Charging time of 2 hours for full charge
  • Top speed of 38 miles per hour
  • Remote frequency 2.4 GHz

Why should I buy it?

The PARROT BEBOP 2 is a compact but very powerful drone. It comes with 14 MP camera which can record 180-degree videos. It uses brushless motors, has sturdy design and body that makes it durable and long lasting.

DJI PHANTOM 1, USD 449

DJI PHANTOM 1

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DJI is one of the leading brands in drone manufacturing. The DJI PHANTOM 1 is the first product by the company for professional category. Unlike other drones, the DJI PHANTOM 1 comes with some out-of-the-box features and excels in the specifications. The drone comes with a camera mount that is suitable for GoPro 3 camera. The Intelligent Orientation Control or IOC enabled the drone to memorize the positions.

It is compatible with Naza-M software that enables the Autopilot features. It is compact and easy to maneuver. The learning process is little harder that the other products in the market. The return to home feature makes sure that it returns safely in case of communication break or low battery.

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Main features of DJI PHANTOM 1

  • Comes with camera mount for Go Pro 3
  • GPS enabled
  • Have autopilot function with Naza-M support
  • Intelligent Orientation Control for memorizing positions
  • Fail safe to ensure safety of the drone
  • Return to home feature for low battery of failure in communication

Main specifications of the drone

  • Control distance of 800 meters
  • Vertical and horizontal speed of 10 m/s and 6 m/s respectively
  • Flight time approx 15 minutes
  • Charging time approx 60 to 100 minutes
  • Remote frequency 2.4 GHz
  • Dimensions of the drone are 30 x 30 x 18cm

Why should I buy it?

It is compact and equipped with a lot of useful features. The GoPro 3 compatibility makes it a perfect choice for both personal and professional buyers. The IOC feature allows the drone to memorize different positions. It is one of the best selling drones under 500 dollars.

WALKERA F210, USD 444

WALKERA F210

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Walkera has produced some good drones like Furious 320 and Runner 250. Apart from those, the WALKERA F210 is also a very durable and long lasting affordable drone by the company. It is light weight and fast with very strong structure. It is designed to avoid collisions and sudden drops. The drone uses four very powerful WK-WS-28-014A 2500kv brushless motors.

It comes with 800 TVL camera with an adjustable 120-degree view. It also packs features like night vision and FPV. It is considered one of the best racing drones in the market. If you are looking for a start in drone racing then this piece is one of the best choices for starters.

Main selling points of the drone

  • Equipped with 800 TLV Night Vision Sony Camera
  • Uses powerful brushless motors
  • FPV antenna
  • GPS enabled

Mail specifications of the drone

  • Control distance of 1000 meters
  • Flight time of 25 minutes
  • Charging time approx 100 minutes
  • Includes three different flying modes for better control
  • Remote frequency 2.4 GHz

Why should I buy it?

It is one of the best racer drones in the market and as it belongs to the budget range, it can be a good choice for the first time racing drone buyers as well. It comes with a high-performance night vision camera that makes the flight easier even in low light conditions. The drone uses high-performance brushless motors that make it durable and long lasting.

BLADE 350 QX3, USD 489

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Horizon Hobby has recently entered in the quadcopter market of drones with cameras. The BLADE 350 QX3 can record steady and smooth aerial videos. It comes with two different flight modes that are Smart Mode and Aerial Photography Mode.

The smart mode basically creates a virtual barrier between the drone and the pilot and saves the person flying it from getting injured. It also allows the pilot to fly the drone in whatever direction he likes with a simple push on the stick.

The second mode mimics the standard GPS controlled flight mode. The pilot can also set the flight boundaries to make sure it does not go too far.

The drone is also equipped with ‘return to home’ feature in case of low communication or battery.

Main features of the drone

  • An option to choose higher resolution (16 MP) camera
  • Comes equipped with GPS antenna
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Advanced SAFE technology
  • Return to home feature
  • Autopilot mode
  • Smart flight mode

Main specifications of the drone

  • Control distance of 1000 meters
  • Flight time of approx 10 to 15 minutes
  • Charging time of 2 hours for full charge
  • Remote frequency 2.4 GHz
  • Dimensions of the drone are 46 x 46 x 14 cm

Why should I buy it?

Apart from general features like a return to home and autopilot, it also has a Smart mode that keeps the pilot safe from getting injured. The flight boundaries keep the drone in the reachable distance makes it hard to lose it while flying.

WALKERA QR X350 PRO WITH DEVO F7, USD 469

WALKERA QR X350 PRO WITH DEVO F7

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The Walkera is a popular brand for drones and it’s QR X 350 model has gained a lot of praise since its launch. The Devo-M GPS system embedded in the drone enables the drone to have a lot of great features like ‘return to home’ and Arducopter Mission Planer which is in layman’s terms is an autopilot function.

The program basically Waypoints on the map and the device will fly to the specific points while recording the video.

There is one more feature that makes the drone even more interesting. It comes with Devo F7 transmitter with an inbuilt LCD screen for real-time video flights.

The drone also saves the GPS coordinates of the take-off location and in the case of a loose connection of low battery, it will return to that point automatically.

Main selling points of the drone:

  • G-2D gimbal for the camera
  • High power GPS chipset included
  • One key takes off and landing capabilities
  • Return to home feature
  • Arducopter Mission Planer or autopilot feature
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Main specifications of the drone:

  • Control distance of 2000 meters
  • Flight time approx 25 minutes
  • Charging time approx 2 hours for full charge
  • Including Altitude and compass sensors
  • Remote frequency 2.4 GHz
  • Dimensions of the drone are 28.9 x 28.9 x 20.5cm

Why should I buy it?

There are several features that make the drone a good choice for personal as well as professional use. The Arducopter Mission Planer makes it easy to record a longer duration of video without human interaction. The control distance is much higher than most of the drones in this price range.

TRAXXAS 7909 ATON, USD 384

TRAXXAS 7909 ATON

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Traxxas is one of the most famous companies in the field of RC cars and trucks. The company has got very good reviews for its drones as well. TRAXXAS 7909 ATON comes with a very powerful 3-cell liPo battery with a capacity of 5000 mAh. It is equipped with a 2-axis gimbal that can hold a GoPro or any other action camera.

There are a lot of features that makes the drone very special. It has One Key Return feature which when pressed, returns the drone to the point of origin. It also comes with LED lights that make it visible in low light conditions.

The air brake feature makes it easy to change directions during the flight. It is considered as one of the best choices for those who want something extra in their budget drones.

Main features of TRAXXAS 7909 ATON

  • Comes with gimbal support for action cameras
  • Autopilot feature for automated flight patterns
  • Return to home feature in case of low communication or low battery
  • LED lights for night visibility
  • Air brakes for easy change of directions during flight
  • GPS capabilities

Main specifications of the drone

  • Control distance of 1000 meters
  • Flight time of approx 25 minutes
  • Charging time of 100 minutes for full charge
  • Three different flight modes for better control
  • Remote frequency 2.4 GHz

Why should I buy it?

It is one of the best budget drones available in the market. It is compatible with a number of different action cameras. The LED lights on the drones make it easy to spot in low light conditions. The air brakes in the drone make it easy for the pilot to change directions during the flight.

XK DETECT X380, USD 453

XK DETECT X380

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The XK DETECT X380 is one of the finest under $500 products manufactured by WLToys. The company has promoted the drone as an upgraded version of one of the best selling toy drones 303 seeker.

This device is more of a professional drone that can easily handle SJ4000 or GoPro3 camera. It is good for aerial photography, inspection and surveillances purposes.

One of the main features of the drone is the ‘One Key’ take off and ‘One Key’ landing capabilities. The drone is equipped with a GPS chipset that helps in takeoff and landing process. It is also capable of recording 360-degree panoramic video.

For this, you have to set a radius distance the drone will fly around the fixed point to record the video.

Main selling points of the drone:

  • Bundled gimbal for the camera.
  • GPS enabled.
  • One key Take Off and Landing.
  • Return to home feature in case of low battery.

Main specifications of the drone

  • Controlling distance up to 1000 meters
  • Flight time up to 30 minutes
  • Charging time approx 2 hours for a complete
  • Remote frequency is 2.4GHz.
  • Measures 30.5 x 30.5 x 21 cm

Why should I buy it?

It is a lightweight professional drone that comes with a lot of interesting features like one key take off and landing along with 360-degree video recording. The battery life of the drone is much better than most of the under $500 drones.

Conclusion

When drones entered the civil and commercial market, there was hesitation in using them in different fields. The drones are much safer and full of features now. They can come in handy in inspection, surveillance, product delivery, video capturing, filmmaking, and sports action films or just for enjoyment. Drones are proving their usefulness even during the location inspection of areas that were hit by natural disasters.

During sporting events, drones are often used to capture the real time action from the bird’s eye view which looks totally amazing. These little pieces of technology are also worth during inspection of monuments where it is hard for humans to reach.

Overall drones are useful in a lot of different areas. The drones with the camera are also a good choice as a gift for your family and friends.

All you need to do is to make sure it has all the features that you are looking for.

Happy Flying!

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