The Best Drone for GoPro Cameras
The Best Drone for GoPro Introduction
This article is for the GoPro enthusiast who is looking to get his camera airborne to shoot some aerial videos and images. Deciding which drone to get can be a bit tricky. This is not as simple as picking a drone for a beginner. The information here will help you pick the best drone for GoPro aerial photography.
One key trait of the GoPro camera series is the fact they are light and portable, and can be mounted on devices such as drones. Getting an appropriate drone for your GoPro camera is not as easy as most people think. With several drone manufacturing companies releasing new products in the market, one can easily buy a low grade that will end up not serving your GoPro camera as per your expectations. Once you get yourself a nice GoPro drone and use it together with your GoPro camera, you will start pulling down awesome shots within no time.
To help you narrow down the decision, you first need to understand what the decision criteria are.
What Is My Allocated Budget?
Apart from what can be afforded by an individual, the intended use will determine what amount of capital you need. Recreational purpose GoPro drones are cheaper than those that are built for specialized tasks. The rule here is getting yourself a nice drone that is within your budget and one that gives you the ultimate flying experience needed. For example, cheaper drones may seem harder to fly for beginners because they do not have some features which make flying easy. Drone maintenance and repair should also be included in the overall budget since you may need to replace a part due to a crash.
GoPro drones are usually much bigger and more stable. Another thing that you ought to consider is the price. The best drone for GoPro camera are not cheap. They cost from around $600-800.
I also do not recommend going cheap as a GoPro camera is pretty expensive. The problem with cheap drones is that they can easily crash or just randomly fly off. Another aspect is the drone’s stability, which is not that good with cheaper drones, so you may end up with propellers in your pictures, video footage or just a blurred video. Higher end drones have got useful features and specifications for recording better videos. These features include waypoints, GPS flight mode and much more.
What is my intended use?
Remember that different GoPro drones come with different specifications to complete specialized tasks easily. If it’s going to be used just for fun, then it should not matter whether it has a nice camera or not. However, if it is for taking high quality pictures and videos, then you should make sure that it supports a high quality GoPro camera that can take high quality videos. Let general use of your drone act as the main guide when getting yourself a GoPro drone
Which Type of a GoPro Drone is the Most Convenient for Me?
Becoming knowledgeable about the types of GoPro drones available for sale is useful when making key decisions in terms of purchase. The models are differentiated by the features and the how easy it is to fly them. Common GoPro drones today are the bind and fly(BNF) drones, ready to fly (RTF), first person view(FPV) and return to home(RTH) GoPro drones. You will also find drones with GPS navigation. The above drone types offer varying specifications, assembling and flying experiences and you should consider each one before settling on what drone type best suits you.
Are There Any Registration Requirements?
Usually, the drones weight will determine whether you need to register it with the relevant agency of not. Most toy drones are pretty light to require a registration but you might need to register more sophisticated business related GoPro drones to avoid civil penalties. Apart from registering, you will be required to adhere to flying guidelines. For instance, you can’t fly higher than 400 feet, and not anywhere near an airport.
Where Will I Fly the Drone?
This is a very important question because there are places that are off limits. Think safety and legality when thinking of getting yourself a GoPro drone.
While GoPro cameras are pretty light in terms of their weight, they still need a more powerful drone than those found at toy stores.
To make the right choice you would have clearly understand your needs and uses. So make sure you select a GoPro drone that has all the necessary features needed to make your recording and flying adventure most rewarding. We have briefly reviewed the top 5 best drone for GoPro cameras to help you make your choice.
GoPro Camera Models
GoPro’s current camera model offerings consist of the Hero5 Black, the Hero5 Session, and the original Session (also known as the Hero4 Session). Early in 2016, GoPro announced that it is retiring the more inexpensive Hero, Hero+, and the Hero+ LCD to focus more on the newest camera models.
Yes, GoPro is no longer selling the older camera models. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t buy them used at a discounted price. However, there really isn’t a reason to buy one of the older models unless you can do so at a very good price.
Hero Session GoPro Camera
When this camera was released in July 2015, it was the smallest and lightest camera model available at the time. It was also the first GoPro camera that was waterproof up to 10 meters, so there was no longer a need for a polycarbonate case.
Due to its square design, it was possible to mount the camera right side up while maintaining a low profile. The waterproofing means that the battery is non-removable, and the on-screen menu and two control buttons are very, very small.
Its maximum video recording resolution is 1920 x 1440 at 30 fps. However, you are more likely to use the 1080p at 60 fps, or 720p at 100 fps modes.
Hero5 Session GoPro Camera
The design of this camera model is basically the same as the original. It is waterproof, and turns on and records with a single button, with a built-in battery. You really can’t distinguish it from the older model just by looking at it. However, its difference in performance I noticeable.
This camera can record at up to 4K resolution at 30 fps and 1080p at 90 fps. Also, the video and photo quality is much better. It also has electronic image stabilization, and lens distortion correction. It also features voice controls for starting and stopping videos, shooting photos, tagging highlights, and changing imaging modes.
Hero5 Black GoPro Camera
The Hero5 Black is the current top of the line GoPro camera. It has the features of the Hero5 Session, but has a removable/replaceable battery while still maintaining waterproofing. The touchscreen allows to switch between the various imaging options including faster frame rates of 120 fps at 1080p, and raw and dynamic photos. It also features a micro HDMI output port, and GPS overlays for your videos.
Note that the Hero5 Black is compatible with the GoPro Karma drone, and the Karma Grip Stabilizer, while the Session is not. If you are thinking of one of these camera accessories, then you want to go with the Hero5 Black.
Best Drone for GoPro Quick Comparison
DJI Phantom 2
Stable Camera Platform
Intelligent Flight Controls
The Ultimate GoPro Drone
Walkera QR X350
Entry GoPro Drone
Yuneec Typhoon G
GoPro Drone Package
GoPro Karma Review
- Simple and portable design
- Excellent video quality
- Integrated display on controller
- Short 15 minute flight time
- No follow me mode
- Short operating range
The GoPro Karma quadcopter was released with a lot of excitement, only to be followed by disappointment due to the battery design flaw that caused loss of power. Since then GoPro has addressed this issue, and re-released the GoPro Karma.
The Karma has a unique folding design which makes it perfect for extreme sports fanatics who need portable gear. The arms fold forward, and the landing gear closes flat against the drone’s body.
Unlike other GoPro ready drones that mount the camera on the underside, the Karma carries the GoPro on its nose. This ensures that the rotors and drone body will never be captured on video. The Karma controller features an integrated 5 inch touchscreen which also folds into a portable package like the drone.
The Karma’s body is made of lightweight, but very durable and sturdy plastic. Where the Karma is lacking is in the way it flies. It has no external sensors, or any intelligent collision avoidance or follow me features that other drones feature.
However, the Karma is relatively easy to fly.
You can expect to fly out to a range of 3km, and a flight time of approximately 15 minutes. Extra batteries will be need for longer action flying. After you have gained some flying proficiency with the Karma, you can engage the sport mode and fly at a blazing 35 mph.
Along with the drone, you also get the Karma Grip, a handheld camera stabilizer. I do feel that DJI drones are a better fit for a GoPro flier. However, If you have already invested in the GoPro system, then the Karma is a great purchase.
DJI Phantom 2 Review
- Excellent build quality
- Highly responsive controls
- Handy autonomous features
- Comes with only one batter
- Long battery charge time
- Annoying gimbal controls
If you are looking to get into aerial photos and videos, then the DJI Phantom 2 is a good entry point. Yes, this is a few versions old, but it still has a lot of features for a very minimal price. This drone has a very stable flight profile which means your videos will be smooth and jitter free.
This drone also comes pre-assembled. All you need to do is attach the propellers (which are self-tightening), insert a charged battery, and you are ready to fly. Even though this is an older model, it still has a precision flight and stability control system, and intelligent orientation control.
This is also a higher end product, and it should be considering you are thinking of attaching your GoPro camera.
The Phantom 2 has an advanced power management system that will give you about 25 minutes of flight time on one battery charge. The control range is up to 1km in an open area, but practically speaking it will be less. This drone has GPS navigation, and several other programmable features that will make taking videos much easier.
This lets you focus on the quality of your footage, instead of focusing on flying the drone. The camera gimbal mount makes your videos smooth. What this drone offers is convenience. All of the camera settings and controls are managed by the Vision app, including controlling the camera pitch. You can also monitor the drone’s location, and remaining battery life.
This drone offers almost the same performance as more expensive drones, but can still accommodate a GoPro camera.
3DR Solo Review
- Simple intuitive controls
- Autonomous flight modes
- Durable design
- Sometimes spotty GPS
- Need smart device to fly
- No collision avoidance
Drone videos and images look great, but trying to take them yourself can be challenging. It can be very tricky to fly a drone, and control the camera at the same time. The 3DR Solo was built to address this exact problem.
The 3DR does not come with a camera, so its intended for the GoPro enthusiast who already has a camera. 3DR also worked very closely with GoPro to build a custom drone integration.
The 3DR can also easily beat the DJI Phantom 4 in a drag race. The 3DR can fly 10 mph faster. This is important if you need the drone to keep up with a fast moving object like a snowboard or a mountain bike.
The 3DR comes with autonomous flight modes including Selfie, Cable Cam, Orbit and Follow, all of which are designed to make capturing amazing videos easier. The drone’s smart flight control handles the flying, allowing you to focus on your video.
This drone has an amazing build quality. The arms are very strong, and the props are made from reinforced nylon. The landing legs have some flexibility, and are positioned to protect your GoPro in case of a crash.
You can expect flight times of about 25 minutes without the camera, and 20 minutes with. It does take about 1.5 hours to charge the battery, so it’s a good idea to have a few spares to increase your flight time. The flight range of the 3DR is slightly under 1km.
This is a drone that is built and designed for everybody. New drone pilots will be thankful for the simple controls, while experience fliers will love the advanced piloting modes. These features make the 3DR a good contender for the best drone for GoPro cameras.
Walkera QR X350 Review
- Return to Home Function
- GPS guided navigation
- Good battery life
- Drifts at altitude
- Terrible instruction manual
- Not easy to control
The Walkera QR X350 is probably the cheapest way of getting your GoPro airborne. It is essentially an improvement of the previous Walkera X350 model. The battery life has been improved, the durability has improved by using a better plastic case, and the length of the landing legs have been increased. The Walkera uses a very similar design to that of the DJI Phantom.
The QR 350 also has improved features. The waypoint navigation allows you to draw a route on Google Maps, and send the path to the drone. While the autopilot flies the drone, you can focus your attention on video recording amazing aerial video. Additional features such as auto takeoff, landing, and return home make this drone very easy to fly. Press a button, and the flight controller does everything for you to maintain stable drone flight. Though it is easy to fly, you should still start out on a small drone to build up flight experience.
If you decide to go the Walkera route, you should opt for the Pro version that comes with FPV. You will get a G-2D gimbal, an improved radio controller unit, and a better camera. Of course you will want to switch out the camera for your GoPro camera. Most importantly, you will get a FPV controller and transmitter that has a screen that will give you a live feed display of the camera. If you just want to get your feet wet and dabble in some aerial GoPro videos, then the Walkera QR X350 is the way to go.
Yuneec Typhoon G Review
- External camera support
- Built in touch screen
- Good price
- Range not great
- Sluggish response
- Slightly bulky
The Yuneec brand is well known in the aerial action camera market. They have developed some advanced ready to fly drones with built in camera. However, the Yuneec Typhoon G was developed specifically for action cameras like the GoPro camera. This drone comes with a gimbal, and is immediately ready for your GoPro.
The Yuneec Typhoon G is designed to be very easy to fly. The intelligent flight modes include Follow Me and Watch Me. The controller has an added bonus of a built in LCD touchscreen. It is probably the nicest and complete ready to fly drone that you will experience. The design is slightly on the big and heavy side, but it is built to ensure that the propellers do not show in the video recording.
The one point against this drone is the flight time. With a GoPro onboard, and a live feed streaming to the controller, you can only expect a 15 minute flight time. However this time is comparable to other GoPro drone flight times.
This drone includes a 3-axis gimbal to stabilize the GoPro camera during flight. This will ensure that there is no jitter in the live feed you get from the GoPro camera.
This drone features 3 different flight modes: smart, angle and home mode. The smart mode is great for rookie pilots, while the angle mode is suited for experienced flyers. The home mode is a RTH function that lands the drone close to where you are located.
Given the price of this drone, and the fact that you get a 3-axis gimbal makes it a very attractive package.