Best Drones & Action Cameras
2017 Holiday Gift Guide TOC
Drones have gone from a novelty to a necessary item for cinematographers to create stunning aerials that used to only be achievable through helicopter rides. The technology that allows them to fly kind of developed at the same rate as the quality of digital cameras. Similarly, there was no such thing as an action cam before GoPro came along and now... they're everywhere. These rugged and compact digital cameras are designed to go anywhere you want while surviving the heat, cold, and all sorts of conditions that would destroy normal digicams. They are the cameras of our extreme athletes and adventures and have followed people from the depths of the ocean all the way up to the edge of our atmosphere.
If you love to hike and bike or surf, or just the great outdoors, check out our list of the Best Drones and Action Cameras or 2017, presented here in alphabetical order!
Sensor size: 1/2.3" | Resolution: 12.35MP | Viewfinder: Supply your own smartphone | Display: Supply your own smartphone | Max Burst Shooting: 7fps | Video Recording: C4K/24p, 4K/24/25/30p
PROS: Very Small, Very Stable
CONS: Complex Controls
If you want an incognito drone you can throw into your bag and still have room for other things, The DJI Mavic Pro is for you. It's a small yet powerful drone with 24 high-performance computing cores, an all-new transmission system with a 4.3mi (7Km) range, 4 vision sensors, and a 4K camera stabilized by a 3-axis mechanical gimbal. Inside the Mavic's pocket-sized remote controller is DJI's brand new OcuSync transmission technology, with a range of 4.3mi (7km) and Full HD 1080p video streaming. You can send it out and get your shots faster than ever.
Sensor size: 1/2.3" | Resolution: 12.4MP | Viewfinder: Provide your own tablet or phone | Display: Provide your own tablet or phone) | Max Burst Shooting: 7fps | Video Recording: C4K/24/25p, 4K/24/25/30p
PROS: Long Distance Control, Return to Home
CONS: Side Sensors limit Functionality
The DJI Phantom 4 is able to fly intelligently with a tap, automatically create seamless tracking shots, fly intelligently over or around obstacles and much more with its VISUAL TRACKING feature which allows you to lock on to your subject and track them as they move!.Capable of capturing 4K video at 30 frames per second and slow motion 1080p at 120 frames per second, creating impressive footage has never been so easy.
Sensor size: NA | Resolution: 12MP | Viewfinder: Need to supply own smartphone or tablet | Display: 2" LCD on GoPro | Max Burst Shooting: 30fps | Video Recording: 4K/60fps, 1080p up to 240fps
PROS: Improved frame rates, Fun
CONS: Buggy, Noisy in low-light
The GoPro Hero 6 Black Karma Drone Kit combines the amazing power of the mighty GoPro Hero 6 Black which can capture 4K at up to 60fps with a wily little drone that can fit in a bag. The drone is loud and a little buggy, but this is a fun little drone and you know that the video is going to look great in bright, high-contrast scenarios because the new GoPro Hero 6 is an incredible little camera (though it is rubbish in lower lighting conditions, but honestly, all small sensors fail at this). This is a beginner drone kit for those who don't want to sacrifice quality over price.
Sensor size: 1" | Resolution: 21 MP still, 15.3 MP (video) | Viewfinder: 1.5" screen on back | Display: 1.5" LCD | Max Burst Shooting: 16fps | Video Recording: 1080p up to 1000fps internal - 4K/60p external
PROS: Large Sensor, Amazing Slow Motion
CONS: No internal 4K, Expensive
The Sony RX0 has a 24mm1 F4 ZEISS Tessar T* lens This large 1" (1.0-type) stacked back-illuminated Exmor RS image sensor with DRAM chip allows 21 MP RAW stills! It's submersible up to 33ft and can shoot epic slow motion up to 1000 fps at 1080p. There is no internal 4K recording, but with the camera's large sensor and lens combined with the ability to time code sync a few of these up and create a VR rig or Matrix style shooting contraption. This is a really powerful little camera that would blow every action camera away if it recorded 4K. Even though it doesn't you can do a lot with the Sony RX0 that you can't do with other action cameras.
Sensor size: 1/2.3" | Resolution: 12MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 3.0" LCD | Max Burst Shooting: 20fps | Video Recording: 4K/30p 1080/120p
PROS: Waterproof, small sensor
CONS: Lens not very long
A point-and-shoot camera for someone who's going to be physically active to the extreme. The Olympus Tough TG-5 is waterproof (50 ft / 15 m), shockproof (7 ft / 2.1 m), crushproof (220 lbf / 100 kgf), freeze-proof (14°F / -10°C), and dust-proof to survive everything from an intense hike to a toddler tossing it in the pool. With its F2.0 high-speed lens, 20 fps burst shooting in RAW, and anti-fog dual pane glass for spectacular images in every environment you'll be sure not to miss any action.
Sensor size: 1/2.3" | Resolution: 12MP | Viewfinder: Electronic | Display: 2.2" touch screen | Max Burst Shooting: 30fps | Video Recording: 4K/60p
PROS: Time Lapse feature, 4K 60fps
CONS: Not Water Proof, Voice controls shakey
The image quality of the Yi 4K+ is undeniable. By shooting 4K at 60fps, this camera is capable of creating stunning images for the price. It can do photo bursts of up to 30fps and as it's kind of a GoPro rip off, but in many ways it outperforms the Hero 6 while working with ALL GoPro accessories, which makes it an easy pick up for those of you who already live in the GoPro ecosystem and want to give it a shot. The only downside to this camera is that it's not waterproof. You need a housing to use it, but it's often for sale just over $250. It's a great little action cam for the price.