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Best Camera Drones Under $5,000

Drone camera quality is unshakeable in the $5,000 and under category.

Professionals who must collect the highest-quality footage will typically seek these drones out, as might the most serious hobbyist who wants a cutting edge.

What are the best camera drones for under $5,000?

These are the top camera drones for less than $5k:

  • DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine
  • Autel Robotics Evo II Pro
  • DJI Mavic 3 Classic
  • SwellPRO SplashDrone 4
  • DJI Inspire 2

A drone in this price range is an investment, so you’ll want to make a wise decision with your money.

In this guide, I’ll review each drone in detail, including specs and features. I’ve also included a buyer’s guide for your consideration.

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1. DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine

DJI Mavic 3 Cine Premium Combo
$4,999.00 $4,399.00

Camera Drone with 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera, 5.1K Video, Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, 46-Min Flight, Apple ProRes 422 HQ, Max 15km Video Transmission.

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03/01/2024 10:46 am GMT

Dimensions: 347.5 x 290.8 x 107.7 mm
Weight: 963 g
Max Range: 9.3 mi
Max Altitude: 6,000 m
Max Speed: 21 m/s
Max Flying Time: 43 mins
Camera: Hasselblad with 4/3 CMOS, medium tele camera with 1/1.3-inch CMOS, tele camera with ½-inch CMOS

✅ Pros

  • Features a triple-camera system with lenses suited for various shooting scenarios
  • Some cameras can zoom in 28x
  • Image quality up to 48 MP
  • 5.1K video quality
  • The color profile includes over a billion hues
  • AppleProRes supported
  • Can fly for a remarkably long time

❌ Cons

  • On the upper end of your budget if you want the Mavic 3 Pro Cine Premium Combo

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine Premium Combo could be yours for just under $5,000. Boasting the DJI RC Pro, a 1-TB SSD card, and a drone with Apple ProRes support, it has all the professional-grade equipment commercial pilots need.

Why settle for one camera when you can have three?

The Mavic 3 Pro includes a Hasselblad camera with a 4/3 CMOS sensor that shoots in 20 MP image quality, a medium tele camera with a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor that shoots in 48 MP image quality, and a tele camera with a ½-inch CMOS sensor that produces 12 MP image quality.

The last camera isn’t the best quality, but the medium tele camera exceeds them all, and the Hasselblad is a beast.

Besides, you’ll use them all tri-directionally to expand your photography horizons and perspectives.

Each camera has Apple ProRes support so you can retain premium image quality when editing with tools like Final Cut Pro.

Here’s another undeniable perk of a triple-camera system: seamless focal length adjustments.

The medium tele camera has 3x optical zoom, but the tele camera with the ½-inch sensor has it beat with 7x optical zoom and 28x hybrid zoom.

Are you into RAW photography? The Hasselblad camera supports this format and produces a native dynamic range of 12.8 stops.

This camera also utilizes Natural Colour Solution technology, a DJI exclusive designed to integrate color naturally so you don’t have to spend as much time in post.

What if you’re into videography? You should expect great things from the Mavic 3 Pro. This drone can shoot in 5.1K quality at 50 fps or 4K quality at 120 fps.

Its 10-bit D-Log color profile brings out the best of the sights around you with one billion colors.

The color gradation has a more natural effect with such a large swath of hues to choose from and is another invaluable tool that reduces editing time.

Did I mention this drone can fly for a whopping 43 minutes at a clip? That’s practically unparalleled, even from DJI.

Additionally, you can use a myriad of automatic flight modes, from Cruise Control and Waypoint Flight to Advanced RTH. The latter will preserve your pricy drone so it can fly another day.

You can also take advantage of features like Panorama, QuickShots, MasterShots, and FocusTrack to expand your tracking, shooting, and editing capabilities.

2. Autel Robotics Evo II Pro

Autel Robotics EVO 2 Pro
$2,099.00

6K HDR Video Rugged Bundle, Version 2, No Geo-Fencing (2022 Newest Fly More Combo)

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03/01/2024 10:11 pm GMT

Dimensions: 18 x 22 x 4.3 in unfolded
Weight: 1,187 g
Max Range: 5.59 mi
Max Altitude: 7,000 m
Max Speed: 45 mph
Max Flying Time: 40 mins
Camera: 1-inch CMOS

✅ Pros

  • High-quality camera that churns out 6K video quality
  • Has an impressive transmission range of almost 10 miles
  • Boasts a flight time that rivals high-end DJI drones
  • Has 12 main camera sensors and 19 sensor groups to offer 360 degrees of obstacle avoidance
  • Supports real-time streaming with Live Deck 2

❌ Cons

  • It’s quite a heavy drone

Most high-quality drones for around $5,000 can be kind of big, bulky, and heavy. Not the Evo II Pro from Autel Robotics.

This folding drone is the first in its class according to the manufacturer, which is why I had to include it.

Its 1-inch CMOS sensor from Sony utilizes new and improved technology, allowing this drone to produce image quality up to 20 MP and video quality in 6K at 30 fps.

The image quality might be standard, but the video quality is something else entirely.

When you film with this drone, you can expect enough depth, richness, and detail that when someone watches your footage back, it’s like they were standing right there beside you when you filmed it.

The camera has an adjustable aperture range, which is always a nice benefit. Set the aperture between f/2.8 and f/11.

The max ISO is 44000, the frame rates are elevated, there’s less noise, and the dynamic range is improved in this V3 drone.

Autel included its Moonlight Algorithm in the Evo II Pro, but not the standard edition. This is the improved edition, Moonlight Algorithm 2.0.

Even if you can’t shoot with your drone at night because of restrictions in your country, you’ll want to spend every minute of daylight soaking in the views.

The range of clarity and detail this drone camera provides, even when shooting in lower-light environments like sunset, will wow you.

Create 6K hyperlapses and then export your images in RAW or JPEG formats. The support for 68.6 billion colors is incredibly impressive and will produce more portfolio-ready footage in post with less effort.

The EVO II Pro can achieve speeds of 45 mph and fly for up to 40 minutes, an incredible feat. It’s also wind-resistant up to 27 mph or 12 m/s.

3. DJI Mavic 3 Classic

DJI Mavic 3 Classic (DJI RC)
$2,398.00

Drone with 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera for Professionals, 5.1K HD Video, 46-Min Flight Time, Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, 15km Transmission Range.

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03/01/2024 09:26 am GMT

Dimensions: 347.5 x 283 x 107.7 mm unfolded without propellers
Weight: 895 g
Max Range: 15 km
Max Altitude: 6,000 m
Max Speed: 21 m/s
Max Flying Time: 46 mins
Camera: 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad

✅ Pros

  • Includes APAS 5.0 for omnidirectional obstacle detection and avoidance
  • Has an incredible camera, especially for videography
  • VDAF helps you focus on your target with less manual effort
  • Top-notch color support
  • The best battery life on the list

❌ Cons

  • Its max range could be better

A flagship DJI drone, the Mavic 3 Classic is a more simplified version of the Mavic 3 Pro.

It has only one camera, a breathtakingly impressive Hasselblad L2D-20c aerial camera with a 4/3 CMOS sensor that can produce 5.1K HD videos and 20 MP images.

Durable, rigorously tested, and professional-grade, the camera includes Vision Detection Auto Focus or VDAF technology that automatically homes in on a shot.

The focal length of the camera is 24 mm, and you can adjust the aperture from f/2.8 to f/11.

The Hasselblad camera supports a great dynamic range of up to 12.8 stops, and its 12-bit image color depth for RAW photos ensures you’ll marvel at your results.

You won’t even have to fix up your images as much in post anymore.

As was the case with the Mavic 3 Pro, DJI also added its HNCS color range to the Mavic 3 Classic’s camera.

What does this mean for photographers? You only have to press the shutter to see more lifelike colors with every shot.

The Mavic 3 Classic edges out the Mavic 3 Pro in the battery life department, with a 46-minute flight time.

Is a whole three minutes really going to add up to much? It certainly can, especially if you’re on the clock and working hard to wrap up a project in enough time.

You can also hover this drone for 40 minutes.

Its precise positioning system will keep the drone in one place even if you choose to hover it for extended periods so you can focus more on photography or videography.

The same smart features DJI offered in the Mavic 3 Pro are included with the Mavic 3 Classic, from Advanced RTH to Cruise Control, Waypoint Flights, Hyperlapse, MasterShots, Panorama, QuickShots, and ActiveTrack 5.0.

Do you use LightCut for post-processing?

The Mavic 3 Classic connects to this app. You can edit photos in the tool without downloading them so you don’t bog down your phone with a huge camera roll. How handy!

Debating whether the Mavic 3 or Mavic 3 Classic is better? Don’t miss this post!

4. DJI Inspire 2

DJI Inspire 2
$3,499.00 $2,599.00

Auto-return, follow-me, gps, image-stabilization, integrated-camera, obstacle-avoidance, video-downlink-capable, wi-fi

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03/01/2024 05:11 pm GMT

Dimensions: 42.7 x 31.7 x 42.5 cm
Weight: 3,440 g
Max Range: 4.3 mi
Max Altitude: 16,500 ft
Max Speed: 58 mph
Max Flying Time: 27 mins
Camera: Zenmuse X7

✅ Pros

  • The Zenmuse X7 camera is capable of impressive videography and photography
  • Multiple format supports to save you time in post
  • Reaches 50 mph in seconds
  • Includes two batteries so the drone can keep flying if one battery has issues
  • Can reach speeds of almost 60 mph

❌ Cons

  • Its flight time is just okay

The DJI Inspire 2 is built for filmmaking, making it a suitable selection for this list.

Its Zenmuse X7 camera includes CineCore 2.1 image processing and 5.2K video quality with Apple ProRes support and 6K quality with CinemaDNG/RAW.

What about image quality, you ask? That’s also 6K quality when shooting in RAW at 4.44 Gbps CinemaDNG. If you use Apple ProRes, the quality is 5.2K at 2.08 Gbps.

Take more photos with burst photography, including continuous bursts at 20 fps. The image quality is 24 MP per DNG shot.

When you save video footage taken on this remarkable drone, it’s stored in two places at once, a MicroSD card and the DJI CINESSD.

You can catch the action no matter how fast-moving with the Inspire 2, as it reaches speeds of 50 mph in a mere five seconds. Its top speed is 58 mph, which is quite fast for non-FPV DJI drones!

The Inspire 2 has plenty of intelligent modes, but Spotlight Pro might be my favorite.

This amazing tracking mode features advanced algorithms to find a subject and keep centered on them regardless of drone direction.

The gimbal and drone will auto-rotate as needed when using Spotlight Pro for one seamless shot.

The other intelligent modes are ActiveTrack, TapFly, and Smart RTH. 

5. SwellPRO SplashDrone 4

SplashDrone 4

Boat Mode Equipped with floating foams, the boat mode allows SplashDrone 4 to sail on water just like a boat.

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Dimensions: 153.6 x 82.4 x 48.3 mm
Weight: 2.18 kg
Max Range: 3 mi
Max Altitude: 400 ft
Max Speed: 22.4 mph
Max Flying Time: 30 min
Camera: 4K waterproof

✅ Pros

  • Weatherproof and waterproof for taking your drone photography and videography further
  • 4K camera supports high-quality image and video quality above or in the water
  • Smart GPS functions to prevent the drone from getting lost
  • Durable body built to withstand the rigors of the sea

❌ Cons

  • Not the best flight time on the list

The SwellPRO SplashDrone 4 is not your average drone. It’s waterproof!

This fifth-generation product has an IP67 rating. It supports a waterproof 4K camera with a stabilizing gimbal, so whether you take footage over the water or in it, you don’t have to worry about shakiness.

Use Boat Mode to transition seamlessly to underwater photography and videography. A Return to Pilot mode with GPS ensures the SplashPro 4 returns to you.

If it has any issues along the way, try Power Flip mode to flip the drone over on the water.

Another cool feature of this drone is that its included remote is also waterproof with a rating of IP66!

The SplashPro 4 is built for life on the high seas with marine-grade ABS fuselage, airtight sealing throughout, and other top-notch waterproofing tech.

The drone undergoes air-pressure testing to ensure it’s 100 percent waterproof before it’s shipped out to you.

The hatch lid has a specialty membrane (also waterproof) that releases heat and provides ventilation. This preserves the drone’s inner electronics. Additionally, the electronics have corrosion protection.

You can fly the SplashPro 4 in snowy and rainy conditions without worries, and its Level-7 wind resistance is a thing of beauty.

Of course, check your drone laws about flying in inclement weather before launching, as you’re typically not allowed to.

Best camera drones under $5,000 – Buyer’s guide

It’s my goal to help you get your money’s worth, especially when you’re spending so much on a drone. Here are some considerations as you choose the best camera drone for under $5,000.

Camera quality

Your biggest concern by far is how good the camera quality is. Do not accept image quality below 20 MP and video quality under 4K for what you’re paying.

The DJI Mavic Pro 3 is probably the winner in this category, as it has three cameras, including one that shoots in 48 MP quality.

If you’d rather not buy from DJI, the Autel Robotics EVO II Pro can shoot in astounding 6K, so it’s camera is also marvelous.

Durability

You’re likely a more experienced pilot if you spend upward of $5,000 on a drone. Regardless, you want a drone that’s as tough as they come so you can bring it with you on many jobs or adventures.

Look for high-quality body materials that don’t drag the weight of the drone down. The drone should be airtight and waterproof (in the case of the SwellPRO SplashDrone 4).

It should contain an obstacle detection and avoidance system and failsafe measures like advanced auto RTH.

Flight time

You don’t want your work hindered because your drone has poor battery life. All five of the drones I reviewed above have a battery life of at least 31 minutes, but some can last for 40 minutes or longer.

The drone with the best battery life on the list is the DJI Mavic 3 Classic, which can fly for over 45 minutes.

That timeframe gives you enough juice to check off tasks on your to-do list before you must stop and recharge your drone.

Flight modes

You can create magic with any of these camera drones, but the less manual effort you have to expend yourself, the better. This way, your focus can remain on photography and videography.

DJI always has a suite of intelligent flight modes for tracking and performance, and the EVO II Pro has some of its own smart flight modes in the same vein.