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Best Affordable Drones for Video

Shooting videos on a drone is one of the coolest things you can do with an unmanned device. You can’t see from the same vantage point as the drone, which is a major part of its videography appeal.

You’d love to purchase a drone with robust video functionality, but you don’t want to spend too much money, either.

You’re trying to cap your budget at $1,000. Is it possible?

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Is it indeed! We’ve rounded up the best video drones for $1k or under so you can get your video fix. We’ll include specs, pricing, pros and cons, and features, so make sure you don’t miss it!

1. DJI Mini 3 Pro

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)
$909.00 $799.95

Lightweight and Foldable Camera Drone

  • 4K/60fps Video
  • 48MP Photo
  • 34-min Flight Time
  • Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing, Integrated RC and screen
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03/03/2024 07:27 pm GMT

Dimensions: 171 x 245 x 62 mms when unfolded
Weight: Less than 249 grams
Max Range: 7.5 mi
Max Altitude: 4,000 m
Max Speed: 35 mph  
Max Flying Time: 47 mins with the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus
Video Resolution: 4K
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • Small and compact for easy travel
  • Lightweight enough that you might not have to register it
  • Automatic features make you look like a drone pro
  • Incredible footage quality for videos you’ll gladly add to your portfolio

❌ Cons

  • Some packages push the Mini Pro 3 over the threshold of $1,000

Let’s start our list with one of the most proficient little drones in the DJI family, the Mini 3 Pro. This drone is the literal definition of small yet mighty!

The weight is low enough that the normally strict drone laws about flying over crowds and near buildings could be relaxed for you.

However, please read up on the drone laws in your country (or the country you’re visiting) before assuming you can fly as you please.

The Mini 3 Pro includes a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor capable of shooting in HDR 4K. The camera doesn’t sacrifice one iota of quality, even if you slow down the footage or zoom in.

When shooting in slow-mo, the quality is 1080p 120 fps.

DJI gives you a multitude of modes for capturing footage with this drone, and better yet, they’re all automatic! With MasterShots, your drone executes a series of maneuvers around a subject.

The FocusTrack suite includes storytelling options, Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 4.0, and Point of Interest 3.0.

You can also create hyperlapses using the aptly-named Hyperlapse feature or the Digital Zoom for 4x the zoom. You can stand further from the precipice but still look like you’re right there!

Vertical videos are all the rage these days, so it’s a good thing the Mini 3 has a vertical mode.

Its powerful camera gimbal can rotate up to 90 degrees so you can upload shorts to YouTube or TikTok and rack up millions of views.

Fly the Mini 3 using either the DJI RC or the DJI RC-N1 Remote Controller.

No matter which option you choose, you can rely on its max video bitrate transfer at 18 Mbps. The latency is only 120 ms, which we’re sure you’ll agree with is very low!

The QuickTransfer feature makes it exceptionally easy to share your newly edited video creations with the world. The Mini 3 Pro transfers footage at 25 Mbps when on a reliable Wi-Fi connection.

Another video transmission method is the DJI O3, which can maintain live feed quality of 1080p/30 fps up to 12 kilometers away.

You’ll want to take your drone with you everywhere, capturing the sights and sounds around you!

The Mini 3 Pro is also equipped with the Advanced Pilot Assistance System or APAS 4.0, which is the best version of APAS yet from DJI.

The real-time detection of possibly hazardous obstacles will keep you flying free.

The Mini 3 Pro also boasts backward, downward, and forward obstacle sensing with dual-vision sensors. You can just focus on the videography and let the drone take care of safety.

2. DJI Mavic Air 2S

DJI Air 2S
$999.00 $949.00

DJI Air 2S has the ability to perceive its environment in four directions: up, down, forward, and backward, allowing it to actively avoid obstacles, even in complex scenarios and at high speeds.

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03/03/2024 07:46 am GMT

Dimensions: 183 x 253 x 77 mms when unfolded
Weight: 595 grams
Max Range: 7.5 mi
Max Altitude: 5,000 m
Max Speed: 42.5 mph  
Max Flying Time: 31 mins
Video Resolution: 5.4K
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • Has a stunningly high-quality camera for shooting impeccable video footage
  • Includes a variety of safety features, from environment sensing to ADS-B
  • Automated features will help you take footage you’ll want in your portfolio
  • Expedient video streaming in real-time 

❌ Cons

  • Heavy
  • On the more expensive side

The Mavic Air 2S is another DJI drone for videographers that just barely meets your price threshold but is still technically under $1,000 if you don’t add too many additional features and packages.

This all-in-one drone features a 1-inch CMOS sensor for taking 5.4K quality video. Its video resolution usurps the Mini 3 Pro’s, but it’s not nearly as lightweight.

You will definitely have to register this drone, and you can forget about laxer drone laws.

Use DJI’s excellent autonomous drone modes in FocusTrack for more advanced flights and incredible footage. Your options are Point of Interest 3.0, Active Track 4.0, and Spotlight 2.0.

You can also try MasterShots, the next step up from DJI’s QuickShots.

MasterShots is an intelligent drone feature that tells the Mavic Air 2S where to shoot by subject. You can capture breathtaking footage of landscapes, professionally-made proximity shots, or amazing portraits.

You also have the power to control movement and speed with the Hyperlapse feature.

Panorama expands your field of view, and Sphere, 180-Degree, and Wide-Angle take your drone videography and photography to new heights.

The Mavic Air 2S can produce a billion colors thanks to its 10-bit Dlog-M color profile. Your environments will look crisper and more lifelike.

By night, the high resolution and dynamic range of the drone’s camera allow colors to maintain their luster, including in dim light. 

The four antennas on the Mavic Air 2S make it adept at switching between 2.4 and 5.8 GHz frequencies for the clearest frequency at any point.

The drone can also transmit video in 1080p up to 12 kilometers thanks to the OcuSync 3.0 transmission system.

The Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast or ADS-B flight location safety system produces helicopter and airplane data in real-time near you so you can determine when aircraft may be on the horizon.

Further, the DJI Fly app will send you visual and audio alerts so you can exit the manned aircraft’s radius.

Another excellent safety feature built into the drone is environmental sensing. The Mavic Air 2S has sensors to gauge hazards in directions like backward, forward, down, or up.

The drone also uses APAS 4.0, which further augments its ability to avoid oncoming obstacles.

3. DJI FPV

DJI FPV Combo
$999.00

Enjoy crystal-clear real-time and HD Low-Latency Transmission video, even at distances of up to 6.2 miles.

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03/03/2024 03:06 am GMT

Dimensions: 255 x 312 x 127 mm with propellers
Weight: 795 grams
Max Range: 16.8 km
Max Altitude: 6,000 m
Max Speed: 87 mph 
Max Flying Time: 20 mins
Video Resolution: 4K
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • Powerful camera that captures the sights around you in crisp detail
  • Share your FPV goggles view with others anytime you want
  • RockSteady stabilization to keep your footage crystal clear
  • Slow-mo, distortion correction, and a 150-degree view for amazing video capture

❌ Cons

  • Flying this drone is very difficult without prior FPV experience
  • It’s heavy
  • No side obstacle detection

Coming in right under $1,000 is the DJI FPV, an FPV drone that allows for a more immersive experience.

It can shoot at 4K/60 fps at 120 Mbps. Your footage will contain lifelike details that will leave your jaw on the floor when you rewatch what you took.

Built-in RockSteady EIS technology stabilizes your footage. You’re free to fly as dynamically as you wish, and your videos won’t suffer for it! 

Distortion correction and 4x Slow Motion are awesome features that enhance your video footage. The DJI FPV includes a 150-degree, super-wide FOV to capture more of the universe around you with your drone.

The DJI FPV is compatible with the DJI Fly app, which you can use with the Fly Spots feature to discover new places to fly your drone.

You can also edit and share your video clips to social media or see your goggles view from your phone if you have the right cable.

Do you want to share the view with someone special? With Audience Mode, you can.

Set the Goggles V2 to an aircraft channel and let others partake in what you see when you fly the DJI FPV.

The DJI FPV uses the ADB-S safety system to help you avoid manned aircraft.

If you’re new to flying FPV drones and eager to learn, DJI also has a practice app, the DJI Virtual Flight app, that’s free to download.

Your drone can effortlessly veer between 2.4 and 5.8 GHz frequencies to always connect you to a stronger and more reliable frequency.

That’s part of how the DJI FPV drone promises a bitrate of 50 Mbps when transmitting video. You’ll notice far fewer compression artifacts and less stuttering.

The four receivers and two transmitters are high-gain antennas that enable smooth video transmission.

The DJI O3 system makes a return here, giving you a video transmission method that works from up to 10 kilometers away. The video transmission latency is under 28 ms at 10 kilometers, and you can transmit clips at 50 Mbps.

DJI added top-of-the-line safety features to this FPV drone, such as an auxiliary bottom light for providing illumination in dimmer conditions.

You also get forward and backward obstacle sensing.

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The return-to-home features include a low-battery RTH and Smart RTH that will bring your drone back to you so you don’t have to worry about losing it.

This drone also includes an emergency brake and hover.

Switch between three modes for flying: Sport, Manual, and Normal.

In Manual Mode, you have the highest degree of control but must know how to fly FPV.

Normal Mode is much more beginner-friendly with obstacle-sensing features. Sport Mode is for adrenaline junkies who like the dynamism of FPV flight.

4. Autel Robotics EVO Nano+

Autel Robotics EVO Nano+ (Premium Bundle)
$859.00

249g Mini Drone with 4K RYYB Camera, No Geo-Fencing, PDAF + CDAF Focus, 3-Axis Gimbal, 3-Way Obstacle Avoidance, Extra 64G SD, Nano Plus Fly More Combo, Gray.

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03/02/2024 06:32 pm GMT

Dimensions: 260 x 325 x 55 mm when unfolded
Weight: 249 grams
Max Range: 6.2 mi
Max Altitude: 4,000 m
Max Speed: 15 m/s
Max Flying Time: 28 mins
Video Resolution: 4K
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • Light enough that you don’t have to register it and can usually benefit from relaxed drone laws
  • Has a great camera that can shoot in 4K quality due to its powerful sensor
  • MovieMaster makes it easy to edit your footage on the go
  • Sharing options mean you can post while still onsite!

❌ Cons

  • On the more expensive side

The Autel Robotics EVO Nano+ rightfully deserves a spot on this list for its incredible videography capabilities.

Recording in crisp 4K 30 fps with a ½-inch CMOS sensor, the EVO Nano+ includes an anti-vibration three-axis mechanical gimbal for stabilizing your videos.

HDR will automatically adjust the exposure for better dynamic range and contrast.

Let’s talk further about the sensor, as it’s truly incredible. It includes an RYYB color filter array, a sizable aperture, and noise-reduction technology.

The PDAF + CDAF autofocus system allows the EVO Nano+to track even fast-moving subjects, while HDR mode maintains highlights, shadow, and detail regardless of very bright or dim lighting.

When you’re finished taking video, all you have to do is put your phone by the drone, and it will begin downloading videos and photos through the Autel Sky app at a rate of 20 MB a second or 160 Mbps.

Also within the app is a feature called MovieMaster with video templates for creating short films and editing the footage you’ve taken.

SkyLink will transmit your videos and photos in 2.7K 30fps up to 6.2 miles. Anti-interference technology maintains QHD video quality.

The SoundRecord Feature allows you to record ambient sounds and voices with your phone so you can narrate your drone footage as you take it.

Promising to fly for up to 28 minutes, you’ll have plenty of time to capture as much video as you desire. Don’t worry about obstacles, as the EVO Nano+ has a built-in obstacle avoidance system.

This advanced system uses three-way binocular vision sensors for detecting obstacles below, behind, and in front of the drone. The EVO Nano+ can even navigate around obstacles and brake on a dime.

EVO Nano+ has several autonomous drone flight modes, including Flick, Orbit, Fade Away, and Rocket. These pro-level shooting modes will add variety to your portfolio and make using the drone more exciting.

If you want to track subjects, try Dynamic Track 2.1. Its masterful tracking enables the drone to follow people on the go.

The EVO Nano+ is also exceptionally lightweight, weighing just 249 grams.

It’s easy to travel with, but more so, you can go without registering the drone due to its weight, and you may have more leeway with drone laws.

5. Fimi X8SE

FIMI X8SE
$449.00

V2 Drone with Camera for Adults, GPS 4K Foldable RC Quadcopter, 35-min Flight Time, 10km Video Transmission, 48MP Photo, Follow me, 3-Axis Gimbal(1 Battery+128GB SD Card+Megaphone).

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03/02/2024 06:36 pm GMT

Dimensions: 204 x 106 x 72.6 mm
Weight: 768 grams
Max Range: 6.2 mi
Max Altitude: 800 m
Max Speed: 40.3 mph
Max Flying Time: 35 mins
Video Resolution: UHD 4K
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • Has a high-quality camera and sturdy stabilizing gimbal
  • Has incredible search and rescue features
  • Weatherproof
  • Features automatic flight modes so you can focus on taking videos

❌ Cons

  • It’s heavy

How about a non-DJI drone? The Fimi X8SE fits the bill perfectly, as this is an excellent videography drone.

A Sony ½-inch CMOS sensor 10 supports 48 million pixels and promises four times the dynamic range of similar sensors. You’ll take HDR-quality video that retains more color tone, light, and detail.

After dark, multi-frame fusion noise reduction technology comes to life so your drone footage doesn’t lose any quality.

The X8SE includes a third-generation, three-axis mechanical gimbal with LOS stabilization, a closed-loop servo system, and a highly accurate precision sensor, all designed to reduce shakiness when taking video.

This drone is also snow-proof and rain-proof so if you get caught in inclement weather, you can wrap up taking your footage and use the RTH function.

Remember that flying a drone in inclement weather is often illegal, so don’t linger too long.

Expand on your videography with time-lapse features, including Waypoint, Focus, and Free modes.

You can also shoot three-by-three rectangular panoramas, 180-degree portrait panoramas, and 180-degree landscape panoramas.

Other great autonomous modes included with the X8SE are circular flights and smart tracking modes.

Lock allows you to fix your perspective on one subject, while Profile adds a parallel perspective. Trace is another way to track targets.

Flight-planning features make it easier to get up and go.

You can review map settings, flight settings, and task settings. The X8SE even remembers your route so you can return to the same place again someday.

The X8SE comes with an extensive list of safety features, including an excessive power warning, a low-battery alarm (with an RTH feature), no-fly zone protection, real-time GPS tracking, two IMU systems, waterproofing, and an RTH mode.

Do more with the Fimi app, such as sharing footage on social media or with friends. You will need an OTG cable to connect your phone to the drone.

A downside camera can determine the launchpad position and land precisely on the spot. This ensures you can always make a safe landing, even if you’re new to flying drones.

You’ll also fly longer, as the X8SE can stay in the air for up to 35 minutes.

GPS coordinates that update in real time make it easy to determine your location.

This drone even includes a Search and Rescue Mode. Although the average drone pilot will never use it, it’s still cool that it’s there.

Another cool feature is sound and voice transmission.

The X8SE Supports automatic loop playback and text-to-audio and can hold several audio files. The sound projection is up to 100 meters but can vary in some environments.

Best Drone Courses for Beginners (Part 107 & More)

To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.

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Drone videography is merely a hobby for some and a means of earning a living for others.

No matter which side of the coin you’re on, the drones we reviewed today are each suitable for taking high-quality videos (and images!).

You’re now ready to get out there and fly!

» MORE: Best Affordable Drones with HD Camera