Best 10 Drones with Camera and GPS Integrated 2018

Radio controlled model planes have been around for decades but it wasn’t until the emergence of the quadcopter that remote-controlled aerial vehicles really took off. That’s likely because with a standard model airplane you had one navigational choice: straight ahead and fast enough to keep the bird aloft. With quadcopters, however, the drone goes where you want it and can even hover in place. This navigational versatility got manufacturers and enthusiasts to think “Gee, if I can maneuver it wherever I want wouldn’t it be great to have a camera on it?” So the drone as the photographic platform was born.

The next logical step was an even higher degree of control and to achieve that engineers looked up. About 12,500 miles. To the collection of geostationary satellites that comprise the Global Positioning System. Today, any camera drone worth its salt is GPS enabled which allows for incredibly precise navigation and even hands-off control. Below we’re going to look at the best camera-ready drones with GPS capability.

The Best Drones with Camera and GPS Capability for 2018

Without further ado let’s jump right into it, shall we? Here are our choices for the 10 best camera drones with GPS, presented in no particular order.

1

DJI Phantom 4 PRO Drone Quadcopter

If you really want to take your drone experience to the next level we’d recommend trying the Phantom 4 Pro from DJI. This is ahead of the class aerial vehicle with a generous feature set and image capturing capabilities that are beyond reproach.

Features:drones with camera and gps

  • Unparalleled obstacle sensing
  • Full 20MP camera for crystal clear images
  • Unmatched 4K recording at 60 fps
  • 30 minutes of flight time from a single charge

You can make excuses why your drone doesn’t produce the kind of imagery you really want, or you can suck it up and spend a little more on the Phantom 4. Imagine being able to achieve 60 fps 4K from your aerial vehicle. Amazing.

Other Important Stuff

The Phantom 4 Pro is an extremely nimble aerial vehicle capable of stopping on a dime and hovering like a statue for prolonged periods while you get your shot. DJI claim that under ideal conditions you can operate the vehicle more than 4 miles downrange. We’re skeptical.

PROS:

  • Outstanding range no matter how you cut it
  • A host of useful flight modes
  • The best camera you’ll find on a consumer drone
  • 5 point collision avoidance system

CONS:

  • You’ll have to pay extra for a touchscreen

Verdict

If you need to be sold on the virtues of crystal clear aerial 4K video at 60 fps then you likely aren’t flying drones for the imagery. Beyond that, the Phantom 4 boasts top of the line GPS integration that makes pinpoint control over long distances as easy as pie.

2

UPair One Drone Quadcopter with Camera, GPS

UPair makes some fine drones, and their One Drone Quadcopter with camera and GPS is no exception. With a 2.7K, 18MP camera the UPair One is an image gathering dragon ready to soar.

FeaturesUPair mini drone with camera

  • Crystal clear HD Video
  • Live stream capability
  • An array of useful navigation features
  • 19 minutes flight time per full charge
  • 7” FPV Screen w/ FPV real-time video

UPair is a relative newcomer, but they’ve obviously done their homework. This doesn’t feel or operate like a discount starter drone. The GPS control is excellent and intuitive, the camera is outstanding given the price, and there are a range of useful navigational features including Follow Me.

Other Important Stuff

Besides the good to the excellent camera (which can be upgraded to 4K by the way), the UPair One features a 7” color LCD screen which allows for crystal clear FPV video. Flight time is a bit disappointing at around 19 minutes per charge, but overall control is excellent with only a bit of lag when stopping or changing directions. Auto return and headless modes are also big pluses.

PROS:

  • High quality 1080p HD video
  • 1km operational range
  • High quality 7” display screen
  • Full flight recording capability with 32 GB class 4 SD card

CONS:

  • 2 axis gimbal rather than 3

The UPair One is a perfectly serviceable beginner drone that’s easy to assemble, easy to understand and easy to navigate. The key is to be sure you purchase from a reputable reseller.

3

HUBSAN H109S X4

Hubsan is anxious to carve out a significant space for itself in the consumer drone market, and with a few more products like the H109S X4, it’s likely they’ll get their wish. This is a GPS enabled camera drone that exceeds all reasonable expectations and may be the best value in its class.

Featurescheap drones with camera

  • 1080p HD video with real-time FPV
  • Headless and altitude modes, auto return
  • 9 ⅛” touch screen for ease of control
  • 6 axis gyro flight control

The H109S X4 will stay aloft for a full 30 minutes on a single charge. The 7000 mAh Lipo battery sees to that. This enables you to cover some serious terrain and capture more video than you’ll know what to do with. The camera itself pulls in full 1080p HD at 30 fps, and overall the quality of the product is excellent.

Other Important Stuff

The standard FPV1 transmitter is actually decent and wonderfully compact. GPS integration which is sometimes spotty on other drones in this class is spot on, and the build quality is what you’d expect from something costing twice as much.

PROS:

  • 30 minutes of flight time per charge
  • Good to excellent HD video capability
  • Full GPS integration that works like a charm
  • Nice big control screen of 9+”

CONS:

  • The 1km range is, let’s say, optimistic.

Verdict

Overall this is a high-quality drone that performs beyond what you’d expect for the price. It doesn’t really have any significant flaws although we found the company’s claim of 1000 meter range to be really optimistic.

4

DJI Phantom 3 Standard Quadcopter Drone

The Phantom 3 was designed by DJI to be an entry-level drone for those who are on the fence about buying a remote aerial vehicle. It has the same impressive build quality as the company’s more prestigious offerings although to be sure the feature set is not as rich.

Features long range drone with camera

  • 12MP stills and 2.7K HD video
  • Live image stream is viable for up to 1/2 mile
  • Robust GPS integration enables pinpoint control
  • 25 minutes of flight time on a single battery charge

Video quality is typically excellent; waypoint navigation means you can focus on the image capturing and it’s all fully controllable from your mobile device (should you prefer). Another thing in its favor is that its claim of 1,000 meters of operational control is not just wishful thinking.

Other Important Stuff

Capture 12MP images in both JPEG and DNG formats. Use the Go app on your smartphone to adjust camera settings on the fly. The time-lapse feature is also something we really enjoy. Waypoint navigation is precise and easy to program.

PROS:

  • Excellent 2.7K video resolution
  • An array of intelligent flight modes
  • Follow me mode brings your drone to heel
  • 12 MP photos in JPEG and DNG formats

CONS:

  • Lacks a visual positioning system

Verdict

The Phantom 3 is definitely one of the most polished performers in its class. Flight performance is outstanding, video quality good to excellent, navigation simple and intuitive, it can be controlled via mobile and the price is right.

5

Hubsan H501S X4

Hubsan has been making a name for themselves within the drone community by offering high-quality products with rich feature sets at reasonable prices. The H501S X4 is just such a product.

Features:drone with infrared camera

  • Up to 20 minutes of flight time per charge.
  • 6 axis gyro stabilization
  • 1080p HD video
  • Fully GPS enabled

FPV (first person video) is one of the first things buyers look for in a new drone, and the Hubsan H501S X4 does its best to give the people what they want. The 1080p HD camera is built right into the chassis of the vehicle and can’t be removed without damaging the copter. The camera is also a Hubsan product which may turn off a few people, but if you give it a chance, you’ll find it’s more than adequate.

Other Important Stuff

The H501X X4 has a decent if unspectacular flight time of about 20 minutes per charge. It’s not great, but if you’re hot for more, you’ll have to pony up for a premium drone. The 2700 mAh Lipo battery is dependable, and range for the vehicle is approximately 300 meters. Again, decent but not spectacular.

PROS:

  • An extensive set of useful features
  • High quality 1080p video capability
  • Slightly better than average flight time
  • Durable construction throughout with brushless motors

CONS:

  • Flight duration and range are okay, but not great.

Verdict

For the price, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better overall value than the Hubsan H501S X4 quadcopter drone. GPS integration is flawless and the vehicle, while not the most powerful out there, is a great starter drone for novices.

6

DJI Spark, Fly More Combo

The DJI Spark can be sent aloft from the palm of your hand and carries with it a full range of features that make it a compact powerhouse among aerial vehicles.

Features:DJI Spark drone with camera

  • Full 1080p HD video
  • An array of intelligent flight modes
  • Precise control via seamless GPS integration
  • Tap Fly mode allows navigation by touching your mobile screen

The DJI Spark is a good drone for the money with one feature that allows it to stand clear of the crowd: TapFly mode. The ability to send your drone where you want by simply tapping a location on the screen of your mobile device is a revelation at this price point.

Other Important Stuff

The camera on the Spark features a nifty shallow depth of field option that allows you to take professional looking videos and photos with an attractive bokeh in the background. There’s also a plethora of intelligent flight modes including Circle and Gesture modes.

PROS:

  • A palm-sized dynamo
  • TapFly hands-off navigation
  • Dual sonar sensors to avoid collisions
  • Seamless GPS integration

CONS:

  • With all its other features we want more than 16 minutes of flight.

Verdict

Although it’s not a unique feature, at this price, the TapFly makes the Spark worth the price of admission. Fortunately for the greedy, you also get a lot more where that came from including a dizzying array of other flight modes and a top-notch video and stills camera that thinks it’s a DSLR.

7

DJI Mavic Pro Quadcopter

The DJI Mavic is a serious drone for those ready to take the next step up to greater agility, more robust navigational control and professional grade high-resolution video and still imagery. This is a consumer grade drone that you could imagine NASA using to scan launch pads.

Features:DJI Mavic Pro drones with cameras

  • 4K or full HD video
  • Trace, Profile and Spotlight subject tracking modes
  • Fly by phone and screen tap navigation
  • 3 axis gimbal stabilization

The fixed F2.2 lens allows you to capture clear images in low light. Shoot at 120 fps in standard HD and create slo-mo videos. The full range of flight stats are also provided on the screen so you can monitor altitude, speed, battery life and more in real time.

Other Important Stuff

If your vehicle has disappeared o’er the horizon simply hit “return to home” and it will make a beeline for your location. Dual compass orientation provides a navigational failsafe. A pair of motion sensors insure the Mavic avoids obstacles and satellite navigation is both GPS and GLONASS enabled.

PROS:

  • Hovers motionless even in a heavy breeze
  • Outstanding video and still quality
  • Best in class navigational control
  • Hands off navigation with Waypoints or tap nav

CONS:

  • Collision avoidance system needs some work

Verdict

If you’re serious about your love of drones you’ll want one of these horsies in your stable. It’s fast, it’s nimble, it produces outstanding video and stills, it has an impressive range, is compatible with your mobile device, and stout wind won’t bring it down.

8

Yuneec Q500 4K Typhoon Quadcopter

The Typhoon series from Yuneec is intended to compete for head to head with DJI’s Phantom line and it’s definitely up to the challenge. Everything from looks to video quality to aerial performance are all first rate.

Features:Yuncce Q500 drone with hd camera

  • 4K video at 30 fps
  • 3 axis gimbal control
  • Sleek, stylish design
  • 16GB micro SD card included

The Q500 soars through the air with the greatest of ease and while the top speed is nothing terribly special (and the whole thing looks both stylish and fragile at the same time) you buy this GPS drone for the mind-blowing quality of the imagery. Don’t forget that.

Other Important Stuff

The standard controller is the first rate with the built-in touchscreen while the Wizard remote provides a high degree of versatility that allows you to capture aerial action rather than settling for a GoPro helmet shot. Overall control is very intuitive and while you wouldn’t say this drone is “quiet” it’s quieter than most.

PROS:

  • A radically different look for the Typhoon
  • The outstanding feature set and tons of accessories
  • Good to very good video quality
  • Easy to control with full and effective GPS integration

CONS:

  • Flight range is not what we hoped

Verdict

Yuneec has hit it (or is that flown it) out of the park with their Q500 almost entirely because of the unbelievable quality of the video and still imagery you’ll capture. The GPS navigation allows you to preprogram your entire route so you can concentrate on capturing the perfect shot.

9

Autel Robotics X-Star Premium Drone

The Autel X-Star is a snazzy looking aerial vehicle whose performance lives up to its good looks. You’re allowed pinpoint navigational control by way of its dual GPS/GLONASS satellite positioning system integration, and when you get to your destination, you’ll capture breathtaking 4K video at 30 fps.

Features:rc drone with camera

  • Ultra HD 4K video
  • securely protection from magnetic interference
  • The live stream is viable up to 1.2 miles from the base
  • 64GB Micro SD card included
  • 1-hour fast charging capability

The video capabilities of the X-Star drone are as good as anything you’ll find in the consumer drone sector. The 12MP stills are also first rate. (Just as an aside the camera gimbal can be removed as well to protect it from damage during transport.)

Other Important Stuff

The Lipo smart batteries used by the X-Star automatically discharge after several days of non-use which helps prolong their life. The smartphone rig on the controller is as stout as you’ll find anywhere. The actual operational limit is more like ¾ of a mile rather than 1+ mile. And the LED lights on the bottom of the vehicle ensure it doesn’t get lost after dark.

PROS:

  • Outstanding moving and still image quality
  • 4K at 30 fps or 2.7K at 60 fps
  • Follow, Orbit and Waypoints flight modes
  • A clean, vibrant look that works

CONS:

  • The range tends to come up short of claims.

Verdict

This is an affordable drone that does a great job capturing high-quality imagery even in a fairly stiff breeze. There aren’t the variety of features you’d find in a premium drone, but for the money, you’d be hard-pressed to do better.

10

AEE Technology Toruk AP9 GPS Drone Quadcopter Aircraft System

AEE Technology’s Toruk AP9 is the little brother to the company’s more feature rich AP10. Still, it’s a reliable, well-built camera drone with full GPS capability that’s easy to wrap your head and wallet around.

Features drone with camera for sale

  • Full GPS integration
  • 10” props ensure optimal in-flight stability
  • Cruising velocity up to 33 mph
  • Rated to class 4 wind resistance

The AP9 tips the scales at less than 3 pounds. While that sounds impressive (and in some respects it is) one has to remember that the AP9 comes without a camera. What? That’s right. The AP9 leaves the choice of the camera up to you. And that’s a good thing because in some cases the cameras that come with GPS enabled drones to leave something to be desired.

Other Important Stuff

The AP9 is a solid product, with decent to the good flight time of about 25 minutes and a max range of 500 meters. The AP9 sports a robust 5300 mAh high capacity battery and, should it fail to make it back to base before that battery dies, there’s an emergency landing function that prevents it from simply crashing to the ground. The AP9 can be controlled by way of your mobile device.

PROS:

  • Lightweight design
  • Very quick during straight level flight
  • Decent to very good wind resistance
  • GPS lock is solid and benefits all navigational functions

CONS:

  • No camera

We can envision that when fitted out with a state-of-the-art camera the AP9 would give its big brother the AP10 a run for its money.

#

Do I Need a GPS Drone?

There have been some incredible technological leaps that have enabled the quadcopter remote control drone to capture the imagination of the public. First and foremost is the fact that it operates like a helicopter rather than an airplane. This enables you go wherever you wish, raise and lower your vehicle in a vertical column and turn on a dime. So when GPS capability appeared on the scene it had a lot of people questioning whether it was a real ‘feature’ or just another ‘gimmick’.

The Case for GPS Enabled Drones

Without GPS a drone is a fairly labor-intensive affair that requires you to keep an eye on it throughout the flight and even then there’s a fairly decent chance you might lose track of it if it disappears over the horizon. That said here are some of the other reasons why having a GPS enabled drone is just plain smart.

  • Return to Home – Should your drone disappear over the aforementioned horizon and you don’t have GPS your options come down to mounting a rescue mission or abandoning your drone. With a GPS enabled drone that offers “return to home” (and most all do) all you need do should you lose track of your vehicle is press a button and the drone returns to its takeoff position. Drones are expensive so this feature will not only save you a lot of heartaches it will prevent a significant financial loss as well.
  • Position Hold – Mastery of remote flight takes time and practice. Sometimes you really need to just take a minute and think about what you’re doing. If you have a drone without GPS capabilities and things aren’t going well you’re likely to wind up driving the vehicle into the ground or a tree or a building. GPS, however, enables you to engage a feature called “position hold” that brings your bird to a halt in mid-flight where it simply hovers in place for as long as you need to regroup.
  • Collision Avoidance – This feature allows you to program in specific locations where you don’t want your drone flying. That would include airports of course as well as schools, factories or a hundred other places where your vehicle is not just unwelcome, but may, in fact, encounter unfriendly fire of the shotgun kind.
  • Waypoints – The thing that makes non-GPS enabled drones so labor intensive if that you need to constantly monitor their position and make necessary course alterations to keep them away from the airport or that curmudgeonly neighbor with the shotgun. With a GPS enabled drone you have the option of programming in a series of GPS coordinates known as waypoints. When your vehicle reaches one it then changes course and sets off for the next. You’re then free to either sip your coffee and watch things on the monitor or make in-flight adjustments to your camera settings to insure you get the perfect shot.

None of the above would be possible without GPS. So do you need it? Not necessarily. But should you want it? Absolutely.

#

What Should You Look for in Drone Camera with GPS?

If you’re looking for a camera drone with GPS capability it’s because you want the kind of pinpoint location control you get with GPS. Maybe you’re an established or budding filmmaker. Maybe you have a surveying company. Maybe you’re a videographer who works with local TV stations to produce traffic reports. Whatever the reason for wanting a drone with both camera and GPS here are a few features you’ll want your GPS enabled camera drone to have.

  • All of the things listed above – Every one of the reasons to purchase a GPS enabled drone that we listed above are things you’ll want to appear on the feature list of your new quadcopter. Position hold, return to home, collision avoidance and programmable waypoints are all things you’ll want to have to get the most out of your drone.
  • Price – It goes without saying (or at least it should) that a GPS enabled drone is going to cost more than a non-GPS enabled drone. As such you’ll need to decide exactly how much extra you’re willing to pay. You can keep the price reasonable by opting out of other features such as obstacle sensing, mobile compatibility and extraordinary speed.
  • Emergency landing capability – Some, not all, drones offer what’s known as “emergency landing capabilities”. This is a feature that kicks in automatically should the battery die before you’re able to guide your bird safely home. The high-end systems calculate the distance to the base and weigh that against the charge left in the battery. If it determines the drone won’t make it back to base it sets the vehicle down safely with the last bit of charge remaining.
  • FPV – FPV stands for First Person View and it refers to what you see when you’re watching the monitor on your controller, whether that’s the factory controller or your mobile device. The first person view, in this case, is what the camera sees in real time as it soars above the neighborhood or park or whatever. You’ll want this so that you know when your GPS system has guided you to the perfect position to begin filming.

Conclusion

Today’s GPS enabled camera drones are marvels of technological innovation. They represent the coming together of myriad disciplines as far-flung as lens design, aeronautics, battery design and remote sensing. Not to mention the cherry on the cake: the network of geostationary satellites hovering in place more than 12,000 miles above the earth that are themselves the culmination of thousands of man-years of cumulative R&D. Should any one of those disciplines be lacking the drone of today would still be a fairly hidebound creation.

The Tacxtactial team shortlisted the best 10 drones with the camera and inbuilt GPS system, hope you find the above information useful in helping you determine which is the right GPS-enabled camera drone for you.

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