The Best Cheap Drones with a Camera in 2020

Last updated: 18th February 2020
EACHINE E520S

EACHINE E520S

Holy Stone HS110D

Holy Stone HS110D

Holy Stone HS270

Holy Stone HS270

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Drone technology has advanced a lot, from expensive tech to a consumer product. The best budget drones with cameras today do exist and can have all of the advanced features once delegated to the high-end market.

The fact that even entry-level drones can have good cameras is because of smartphones. Advances in miniature-camera technology have made cameras light and energy-efficient, the most important features when it comes to drone technology.

What makes any drone expensive are the battery and the AI. If you want a drone that can follow you around for a long time and listen to gesture commands, you will be out of luck. 

But, if you want a drone that can film your trip or give you a bird’s eye view of your environment, then you can definitely do that on a budget. Some models in this class are quite close to the top market competitors when it comes to consumer drones.

Can You Get a Good Camera Drone On a Budget?

That will depend on your budget.

Technically speaking, some drones cost just a couple of dozen dollars, which will have some type of camera installed. But, only when you get closer to the $100 mark, you start seeing some better quality models.

The quality of the camera alone is usually quite good, with the aperture quality rising with the price. The HD cameras can make some nice videos and images of the area you are flying.

Additionally, the best budget drones with cameras will allow you to see what the camera sees and stream that to your phone. This way, you can feel like flying yourself.

Finally, as your budget expands, so do the drone features. And, if you are willing to hunt for a good deal, some drones almost match the high-end models that have fallen in price in recent months.

The Best Cheap Camera Drones

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EACHINE E520S

Hold on, a drone with a 4K resolution camera for less than $200? Yep.

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EACHINE E520S
  • Flight Time: 14 – 16 minutes
  • Range: 250 meters
  • GPS Equipped: Yes
  • Flight Modes: GPS One Key Return, Follow Me, Altitude Hold, GPS Position, Waypoint, Orbit
  • Camera: 5G WiFi 4K resolution with 120-degree wide-angle FOV
  • Weight: 280g

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Eachine is really the dark horse of the quadcopter market. With the E520S model, they are breaking most of the rules when it comes to budget drones, thus bringing joy to drone pilots around the world.

This drone has all of the features of much more expensive drones, sacrificing a bit of range and flight time because of it. But, with the camera, it has you will not want it too far regardless.

The E520S comes with a whopping 4K UHD camera that can bring amazing shots, especially with the added GPS stability. When the resolution is reduced to 2K, it gives additional stability allowing you to make some genuinely cinematic footage.

The video connects to your smartphone, which will give you the full view of what the camera is seeing. As the connection is using a 5G local network, the stream has no lag and is not choppy.

As the camera is placed on a 90-degree axis, you will be able to pan your shots from your smartphone.

The interior features of this quad are amazing, allowing you the full utility of the GPS. With it, you can make the drone follow the remote, your face, or go through waypoints.

Additionally, this will keep the drone in one place and let you adjust the camera ever so slightly.

For anyone interested in drone photography and video, but not interested in spending too much money, this is one of the best options on the market today.

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+ Pros

+ The 4K resolution camera, while not up to par with other 4K drones, is still one of the better ones in its price tier
+ Lots of flight modes like Follow Me and Waypoint gives you lots of options to create stunning aerial footage
+ Extended flight time of 16 minutes that’s better than its peers

- Cons

- No gimbal stabilization means you might get jittery footage with excessive movement

Holy Stone HS110D

1080p HD video, tricks and flips, gravity control…please remind us how the RRP is less than $100?

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Holy Stone HS110D
  • Flight Time: ~10 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~120 minutes
  • Range: 100m / 325ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 2.4GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 2MP fixed with 720p HD video
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 60m / 200ft
  • Weight: 145g / 5.11oz
  • Working Temperature: ~0°C  to ~40°C
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

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Finally, the HS110D has seen a price adjustment making it one of the best budget drones with cameras currently available. With just under $100, it has a separate module for the HD camera that can stream FPV video to your smartphone or VR headset.

With the camera engaged at all times, it can get ten minutes of constant recording and streaming. Considering its very low weight, this is amazing.

The drone is not exactly compact, as it has the traditional HolyStone design for quads. But, as is the rule with this company, it has a lovely finish and looks very slick.

Inside the drone, there are both barometers and gyros that will help any pilot orient. The HS110D is easy to fly in either ‘headless’ or first-person mode.

The large 720p camera has a 120 degrees view and a large lens that takes in a lot of light. While this might not be at the level of flagship smartphones, it can provide some fantastic wide shots from far above.

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+ Pros

+ Easy to fly
+ Excellent camera
+ Good durability

- Cons

- Relatively short range
- Slightly bulky

Holy Stone HS270

A little more pricey, but the 2K video, Follow Me, GPS & extras certainly make it a worthwhile investment.

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Holy Stone HS270
  • Flight Time: ~16 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~330 minutes
  • Range: 600m / 2000ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 2.4GHz & 5.4GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 2.7K QHD  with 12MP fixed FPV
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 400m / 1300ft
  • Weight: 595g / 21oz
  • Working Temperature: ~0°C  to ~40°C
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

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Holy Stone has taken a few hints from its competitors for this model, and the results are astounding. It used to be a solid mid-range option, but with an adjustment in price, it has become one of the best budget drones with cameras.

The design is entirely foldable and becomes very compact when not in use. This will allow you to carry your HS270 in a backpack without damaging it. When the wings extend, they show a robust set of motors and a slick finish.

Unlike many drones in this category, the HS270 has an astonishing range of up to 2000 feet. This will allow any photography enthusiast to spread their wings.

And, with an 18 minute flight time, it is more than possible to use this drone for holiday videos or vlogs. The camera can even focus on following your face on a certain distance. It will be as if you have a little cameraman following you around.

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+ Pros

+ Very easy to fly
+ Extreme range
+ Excellent camera
+ Good flight time

- Cons

- Boxy design
- Long charging time

EACHINE E58

This is one of the coolest looking drones that you’ll find at a sub-$100 price.

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EACHINE E58
  • Flight Time: ~8 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~65 minutes
  • Range: 100m / 325ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 2.4GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 2MP fixed with 720p HD video
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 30m / 100ft
  • Weight: 96g / 3.38oz
  • Working Temperature: ~5°C to ~35°C
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

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The Eachine E58 is a new take on an old concept. The drone has almost all of the features of top-range drones, simply brought down a peg.

The chassis looks very cool, and the wings can fold so to make the E58 more compact. And the light components allow for a nine-minute flight time with all of the features engaged.

This quad comes with three 500 mAh batteries meaning that you can charge two while flying on the third, which will significantly reduce your waiting between flights. The full charge time is slightly over an hour.

For the features, the Eachine E58 has improved speed control and a gyroscope to sense where is down. Also, you can switch to the headless mode and fly the drone from the ground with ease.

The camera is a solid 2MP that floats in a fixed position. It will give you good photos or a 720p HD video.

Once you get familiar with taking drone videos, you can make some nice additions to your vacation collection.

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+ Pros

+ Very easy to fly
+ Good flight time
+ Solid camera
+ Good durability

- Cons

- Low range
- No GPS

Potensic T25

The Potensic T25 GPS Drone is a great value drone with a wide range of features including Follow Me and 1080p video.

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Potensic T25
  • Flight Time: 7-8 minutes per battery
  • Charge Time: 1-2 hours
  • Range: 300 meters
  • Remote Controller: dedicated controller included
  • Camera: 1080 HD camera with 120 degrees FOV and 75 degrees wide-angle lens
  • Weight: 2.25 pounds
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

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Potensic is one of the biggest global drone manufacturers, and they have been putting out high-quality products for a while now. The T25 is no different.

While definitely on the lower range of their lineup, this quadcopter has high-quality components that will do what they are supposed to every time.

This drone comes with the full range of GPS capabilities, allowing even a novice pilot to take off and land at any moment safely. Additionally, you will be able to chart a flight path and make the drone follow you directly from your smartphone.

One of the best features of this drone is the protruded camera on the bottom that offers Full HD video and excellent photography. The extension allows the camera more stability, making the video seem as if you were filming from your hand.

Finally, as is the case with many high-end models, the T25 can ‘return home’ if low on battery or out of range of the controller. In that case, the drone will land inside a 1ft radius from where it took off.

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+ Pros

+ Easy to fly
+ Myriad of GPS-enabled features including 'follow me'
+ Dedicated controller with FPV and VR support
+ Excellent camera quality

- Cons

- Short battery life with relatively long charge time
- Not capable of indoor flight
- Not overly wind-resistant despite its weight

Holy Stone HS370

We’re still not sure how Holy Stone managed to get 720p HD video recording into such a low cost drone.

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Holy Stone HS370
  • Flight Time: ~2×12 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~120 minutes
  • Range: 400m / 1300ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 2.4GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 2MP fixed with 720p HD video
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 100m / 325ft
  • Weight: 171g / 6.03oz
  • Working Temperature: ~5°C to ~40°C
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

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Holy Stone has established itself as one of the largest competitors in the drone game. But, unlike many others, it doesn’t shy of using their parts to make smaller drones.

There is an advantage here for drone pilots. There are now affordable drones that are made by an experienced manufacturer. You will be able to see this in the build of this little drone that has a beautiful overall finish.

On the inside, there is a ‘gravity sensor’, which is basically a barometer and a gyro. These instruments calculate the distance and position between the drone and the ground. While not as good as a GPS, this is a huge boon for new pilots.

There is also a ‘return to home’ button, but it is not as accurate as in the high-end models. You can expect the drone to return inside a five feet radius from where it took off. If you are in an open field, this shouldn’t be an issue.

The camera is the regular HD 720p, but it has a large lens that floats inside the casing. This gives a clear and bright picture that is sent directly to your phone through the app.

The Holy Stone app is not as filled with features as some other manufacturers, but it is easy to understand and use.

Finally, the HS370 has up to 12 minutes of flight time, and comes with two batteries. The power will give you enough time to master all this little drone has to offer.

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+ Pros

+ Very easy to fly
+ Solid range
+ Good camera

- Cons

- Not compact or foldable

Potensic D85

A fast, affordable drone with decent battery life, capable of recording 2K video footage.

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Potensic D85
  • Flight Time: 20 minutes
  • Range: Up to 1500 metres
  • Camera Resolution: 1080p HD
  • Weight: 525g

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Similar to how protruding cameras work better than those fixed inside the drone, external gimbals work better than everything else. The weight is gauged for the entire camera, which will usually include the battery, giving you more range and better cameras.

Additionally, as is the case with the D85, it is possible to exchange the camera you get with the drone with something better. There is a 2K 130°FOV camera included in the set, but it can be easily exchanged for your GoPro.

The rest of this drone is very strong, with powerful motors and excellent guiding systems. The GPS connects to up to six satellites, allowing you smooth sailing and all of the features that come with auto-pilot.

Not only can the D85 take off and land automatically, but it can also follow you around and take continuous video. Every activity you choose can be recorded for up to 40 minutes of flight time when using two batteries.

Finally, the brushless motors will work even in strong winds and can follow you up to 50mph. This will also make it possible to film driving with your drone following you around.

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+ Pros

+ A budget-friendly videography option
+ Brushless motors
+ Reasonable flight time

- Cons

- No 4K video
- Shaky in any winds

Holy Stone HS700D

An incredibly strong drone offering at this price with 2K video and a long battery life.

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Holy Stone HS700D
  • Flight Time: ~22 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~360 minutes
  • Range: 1000m / 3280ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 5GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 90°Adjustable 2K Camera with 12MP
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 800m / 2624ft
  • Weight: 520 g / 18.34 oz
  • Rated for outdoor use

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There is nothing ‘budget’ about the HS700D, except the price. It has excellent features across the board and is a generally good consumer drone for most needs.

The camera has a 2K capability with a large lens and a high-quality gimbal. Combined with the strong motors above it and reliable GPS capabilities, it can make some fantastic shots from up above.

Additionally, it has a 22 minutes flight time, which is more than enough to have your fill of flying through the skies. It will offer you an FPV view to about 1300 feet, letting you soar above the city or countryside.

Also, the high stabilization of the camera will make some good group selfies and personal imagery. You will be able to share these images with your friends and family through the app.

Finally, the GPS inside has all of the features that come with your drone being helped by the satellites. You can easily land this quadcopter with a single button, or use the app to fly it around on the same altitude using only GPS.

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+ Pros

+ GPS guidance
+ Picture stabilization
+ 22-minute battery life
+ Very maneuverable
+ 13MP camera

- Cons

- Fixed wings
- Bulky legs

Ruko F11 Pro

Arguably the best drone around with these specs. A true competitor to the DJI Spark in this price bracket.

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Ruko F11 Pro
  • Flight Time: ~28 minutes
  • Charge Time: ~210 minutes
  • Range: 1219m / 4000ft
  • Remote Controller: WiFi 5GHz (included in the set)
  • Camera: 90°Adjustable 4K Camera with 13MP
  • Live Video Transmission Range: 500m / 1640.4ft
  • Weight: 520 g / 18.34 oz
  • Rated for indoor and outdoor use

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You might have thought that drones like the Ruko F11 Pro are above your means. But, if you spend some time looking for deals, you will often find it for under $300.

This little drone is amazing and is basically a flying smart video recorder. The whole drone works as a giant camera stabilization gyro and will give clear 4K panning shots even in windy conditions.

And, if you are willing to scale your resolution down to 2K, you will be getting crisp and clear images even when zooming around trying to take a good action shot.

The GPS functions are as precise as you can get. On tests, the F11 Pro returned inside a 6-inch radius of where it took off, and it will follow any flight plan to the letter.

Finally, with a 2500mAh exchangeable battery, the F11 Pro can have up to 30 minutes of flight time, allowing you to film anything you want. And, if your battery is depleted, Ruko sends a spare to extend the flight to a full hour.

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+ Pros

+ Full GPS automation
+ Extreme controller range
+ 4K video
+ Excellent 28-minute flight time

- Cons

- Mediocre app

Best Camera Drones with a $100 Budget

Most newcomers to drone flying will be amazed at what can be bought for $100 or under.

Some of these drones look really cool and have multiple features that you can see in more expensive models. There are even dedicated buttons that will help novice drone pilots with their first steps.

These drones have slightly weaker motors that the norm and don’t have the range that can be seen on drones that cost ten times as much. But, if you plan on flying the machine in fair weather and right conditions, it will be hard to notice the difference.

Finally, these drones now look good. There is no need to buy a weird heap of plastic because of your budget, as the standardized drone shapes can be seen on these models as well.

Best Camera Drones with a $300 Budget 

When talking about best budget drones with cameras, buyers usually referred to the ‘under $500’ range. Today, even buying with $300 is no longer an issue because these drones can already be considered mid-range.

If you are willing to be crafty and invest some time in research, there are a lot of good deals that will give you much more expensive drones in exchange for Benjamin Franklin in triplet.

Unlike for smartphones and similar terrestrial gadgets, taking the best model from an older generation is not the best idea. Drone technology is progressing so quickly that a new mid-range model is often much better than the last flagship.

But in that mid-range, you can look for reputable manufacturers that already know what they are doing. Many companies made good drones of the last generation and have now learned how to make them even better and cheaper.

Almost every drone for $300 will have some sort of a camera. But, if you are willing to invest some time and patience in waiting for deals, you can find some exceptional drones for this affordable price.

Buyer’s Guide: Cheap Drones

It is incredible how some industries and gadgets need other things to progress as to become viable. Drones alone might be cool, but for a long time, it was too expensive to have a consumer drone with a camera.

Now, the best budget drones with cameras have most of the same features as do professional drones. Smartphones have propelled miniature cameras to become light and energy-efficient, giving drones their best feature.

You can get a good camera drone for under $100, which is a good stepping stone to becoming an experienced drone pilot. Here you can learn everything you need to know about drone photography relatively cheaply.

Also, if you are a crafty buyer, you will notice that deals are frequent, and many manufacturers want to build up their reputation.

By combining information, patience, and just a little bit of money, you can end up with a good quality camera drone.

What to Look for in a Budget Camera Drone?

The obvious answer here would be ‘the camera’, but megapixels are not magic, and there are many more features that make a good photo, or a good drone.

Camera drones combine needs for photography with the requirements of drone piloting, which do overlap in multiple places.

The first thing to look for in a camera drone is stability. There is no point in having a strong 12MP camera on a drone that will shake like a salt shaker every time it flies. Having a steady shot is worth much more than the resolution.

Ideally, the drone will have a gimbal or a protruded camera that will give more stability to the image using gyros. This will keep the camera straight even if you are turning to twisting.

Then there is post-processing that will compensate for any instability or weird light flares you can encounter. Even budget drones will have some sort of AI that will inform the storage on what exactly came through the camera.

Finally, there is the lens. Bigger is better, and the more light comes in, the more precise the image or video will be. This might not be as much of an issue with smartphones, but even budget cameras film from over 100 feet and don’t focus on your face from an arm’s length.

Beginner Models vs. Entry Models

As stability is one of the main focuses for any camera drone, your experience as a drone pilot will mean a lot when trying to get a good shot. Taking your skill into account will change what you are looking for.

Even entry model camera drones can make good photos in the hands of an expert. But, if you are a novice drone pilot, it may be a better option to spend just a little bit more money to get AI assistance.

Having GPS features in a drone will make it much easier to fly and much less likely to crash. Additionally, it will keep the drone in place while you adjust your shot, letting you ease in drone photography at your own pace.

Always Have Fun

Regardless of your skill, your needs, or your budget, the drone needs to be fun to have. If you get frustrated every time you take off, you will simply stop using your drone.

Because of this, it is a wise move to opt for drones that will suit multiple needs and can be taken everywhere.

Some of the best budget drones with cameras also come with foldable wings, making them easy to pack and keep by your side. This way, you don’t need to plan trips to fly your drone, but rather have it on standby at all times.

Once you get hooked on fling your first drone, you will have a lot more information about what you want and how you fly.

It is often a better idea to find budget drones with cameras first before you spread your wings a bit. Once you become an expert, you can go for more expensive stuff.  Your next drone will have the exact features that you need or plan to make a business from.

Conclusion

Camera drones used to be reserved for the very wealthy for a while, but that is no longer the case. Budget drones with cameras became easier to fly and come with much better cameras.

If you are willing to spend a little time with introspection and do a little bit of research, you will be able to find a remarkable camera for a very reasonable price.

And, once you have it in your hand, you will be able to make all of the photos you always imagined, feeling yourself to a bird’s eye view of the world.

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EACHINE E520S

EACHINE E520S

Hold on, a drone with a 4K resolution camera for less than $200? Yep.

Holy Stone HS110D

Holy Stone HS110D

1080p HD video, tricks and flips, gravity control...please remind us how the RRP is less than $100?

Holy Stone HS270

Holy Stone HS270

A little more pricey, but the 2K video, Follow Me, GPS & extras certainly make it a worthwhile investment.