Best Drones for Video Under $200

November 19, 2016

Quadcopter drones can get pretty expensive and the market has surged in popularity with a huge range of (varying quality) options, you don’t need to invest a fortune to get started though, and this article lists some of the best drones for video under $200. 

A good drone can provide you with breathtaking video footage, offer unique angles, or allow us to record locations previously inaccessible.

However a decent video setup can get pretty Expensive , and going for cheaper options you run the risk of ending up with unusable shaky or low quality video.

Lucky for you, being on a budget ourselves we’ve taken the time to research the drones that will get you the “best bang for your buck” in features and video quality in the sub $200 price range.

If you are looking for the best cheap drone for video, read on to find which is the quad for you.

Which drone should you get?

Update 14 April 2017
Right now you can get the superior Hubsan H501S 
for just over $200 on gearbest.com!
hubsan-x4-h501c

The Hubsan X4 H501C Quadcopter is our pick for best video drone under $200

The well featured Hubsan X4 H501C  Quadcopter is our pick from the multicopters of this list.

For ~$160.00 it has many of the features seen in much more expensive drones, such as GPS, automatic return, Brushless Motors (offering considerably more power than brushed motors), a 1080p camera and a very impressive 20min flight time which almost doubles most other drones on this price range.

Hubsan X4 H501C Quadcopter

Hubsan X4 H501C Quadcopter
From
$189.99 on amazon.com

The main advantage of this model is you get a good flyer and very good video quality right out of the box, without having to replace cameras or invest in accessories.

That said,  other options in this list can provide greater video quality with a little tinkering, specially if you already own an action camera.

What’s the catch?

Hubsan H501S X4 Brushless

Hubsan H501S
From
$205.99 on amazon.com

Unlike it’s pricier (and fuller featured) bigger brother the Hubsan H501S X4 , at the moment this model is not that easy to find, which might drive the price up or force you to order from china.

The H501C  also lacks FPV (first person view) capabilities meaning you won’t be able to see what is being filmed in real-time like some of the other options on the list.

Any of those downsides a deal breaker?  read on to see some other very good alternatives.

You can see some sample video footage of the Hubsan X4 H501C further down the page.


Related: Create Stunning Aerial Videography and Photography Using Drones

BAYANGTOYS X16 Brushless Quadcopter

bayangtoys-x16-brushless-quadcopter

The Bayangtoys X16 can be a good choice if you already own a decent action camera, it is a very affordable brushless motor drone, making it a good and stable flyer, both important characteristics for taking video.

Like all other drones in this list it has headless mode capabilities meaning that the drone will always travel in the direction pushed on the control by the user (regardless of where it’s facing).

This reduces the risk of the drone going out of control and helps bring the drone back, this is especially important with non GPS drones.

For ~$150 The X16 offers standard features such as altitude hold and headless mode, the stock camera also offers FPV mode (transmitted through WiFi to your phone).

X16 Brushless Quadcopter

Bayangtoys X16 Quadcopter
From
$239.00 on amazon.com

But if you want good quality footage you will need to switch it for a better action camera (which can significantly bring up the price of this setup).

Pros

Cons

  • Strong brushless motors
  • Stable flight
  • Can optionally carry an action camera and gimbal (usually sold separately)
  • Decent flight time (15min)
  • powerful LED lights
  • No GPS
  • No flight assist features
  • Disappointing stock camera will need to be replaced if you want quality footage bringing the cost up

BAYANGTOYS X16 Video Sample


Syma X8HG HD Camera Drone

syma-x8hg

The Syma X8HG is a very popular beginner drone, and it offers some well rounded features: 360 degrees flip stunts, 6 axis gyroscope, Headless mode, flashing LED lights, hover function and a very decent HD camera which you can also swap out if you own a better GoPro style action camera.

Syma X8HG Drone

Syma X8HG Drone
From
$119.99 on amazon.com

The X8HG is also very affordable going for roughly $130, but it lacks some more advanced features such as FPV and GPS, and it uses brushed motors which are considerably less powerful compared to their brushless counterparts in other drones.

If you don’t want to spend a lot of money this is a good sturdy drone , and specially if you swap the camera it is capable of some very impressive footage on a budget.

Pros

Cons

  • Affordable
  • Stable
  • Brushed motors
  • Good video quality and upgradable camera (specially if you already own an action camera)
  • Some difficulty assembling (looking for YouTube tutorials is recommended)
  • Long charge time
  • No FPV mode or live view with default camera

Syma X8HG  Video Sample


Hubsan X4 H501C Brushless Quadcopter

hubsan-x4-h501c

The H501C is our pick for the best video drone under $200, although it lacks FPV capabilities it makes up for it with it’s video quality, powerful motors, impressive range,  GPS features and long  battery life.

This strong and stable flyer is also more than capable of lifting you GoPro or similar action camera should you want even higher quality video, although you will need to rig or  purchase a special mount and of course have a compatible action camera and the extra weight will impact the overall flight time you get on a battery charge but the gains in video quality might be worth it.

 

Pros

Cons

  • GPS
  • Very stable flyer
  • Impressive 20 minute flight time
  • Brushless Motors
  • Compact portable size
  • Good 1080p internal camera
  • No FPV (First Person View) mode
  • Can be difficult to find outside of chinese online retailers
  • No camera stabilization
  • No rotor guards

Hubsan X4 H501C Video Sample


X8AMG Brushless Quadcopter

x8amg-brushless-quadcopter

The X8AMG is a fairly new drone that looks a lot like the similarly named Syma X8HG, the main difference is it offers more powerful brushless motors, a fantastic 300m range and a few more flight assistance features like One Key landing and takeoff.

Unfortunately while it does offer FPV, the quality of the stock camera is not up to par, so this is another one where those of you who already own a GoPro or other action camera will benefit by swapping it for the stock camera, otherwise you will need to spend a bit more to get that breathtaking HD footage.

Pros

Cons

  • Altitude hold and Flight Assist functions (One Key return, landing, takeoff)
  • Strong brushless motors with stable flight
  • Camera can be swapped if you have another action camera
  • FPV mode with the stock camera
  • vibration damper
  • Long range  300m
  • No GPS
  • Below average quality in the stock camera
  • On the large side (not necessarily a disadvantage)
  • 8-10min Flight time
  • landing gear is on the way of the camera

X8AMG  Video Sample

LiteHawk Focus Quadcopter Drone

focus-fpv-droneThis is a small lightweight, drone with a 720p HD camera  is aimed at those wanting a small portable drone for shooting video.

Focus Drone

LiteHawk Focus Drone
From
$129.98 on amazon.com

The Focus  stands out by having digital stabilization and headless controls as well as a return home mode, all of which will be invaluable for beginners.

The controller features an inbuilt screen providing live video feedback to the user. This is a great feature for recording video with a quadcopter as it allows the user to easily control the drone in a way that creates the desired style of recording.

This LiteHawk model also boasts a durable construction made from plastic that is resistant to damage from impact and weather, making it ideal for filming in tight situations.

Pros

Cons

  • Impressive video quality at this price range
  • The controller has an inbuilt screen.
  • Soft landing pads
  • Good battery life
  • No altitude hold capability
  • Very light so it won’t do well in windy conditions

 

LiteHawk Focus Video Sample


UDI U818A WiFi FPV Quadcopter Drone

This Quadcopter drone from UDI features Altitude hold and FPV capability, boasting easy integration  with VR headsets. Some models even come include a VR headset (needs a smartfone) in the purchase price and allows user to experience a live video feed of the drone’s camera in first person.

UDI U818A Drone

UDI U818A Drone
From
$89.99 on amazon.com

The camera is able to capture video at 720p (1280 x 720), and is capable of OK quality footage and stills for the price range, but you definitely won’t be blown away.

It has a long flight time and is easy to control for beginners, all for a very affordable ~$60 which earns it a place amongst the top 5 best drones for video under $200.

The drone comes with multiple rechargeable batteries included which will help extend the 7-9 minute flight time, as the user can easily switch between them while recharging flat batteries.

Unfortunately despite the wide range of features and ease of flying, as you will see in the video below the quality of the camera could be better and it’s the only thing that keeps this drone from being a top choice.

 

Pros

Cons

  • Easy to fly and control
  • Lots of features
  • FPV capability via smartphone
  • Body designed to resist impacts and protect blades
  • Unreliable “Return Home” capability
  • Video quality is below average

UDI U818A Video Sample

 


MJX X101 FPV Quadcopter Drone

mjx_x101_quadcopter

This drone stands out  by providing different camera options and even an action camera mount allowing you to add your own GoPro or other high quality action camera.

MJX X101 Drone

MJX X101 Drone
From
$73.88 on amazon.com

It has a fairly standard set of features like  6-Axis Gyro Stabilization System, One Key Auto Return, Headless Mode, Throttle Limit High Mode, however it joins this list (Best video drones under $200) thanks to its very affordable price since it can usually be picked up for well under $100.

The four rotor design will provide a good level of stability and control resulting in smooth video quality. The system has good connectivity features both to smartphone and virtual reality headsets, and if you upgrade the camera it is another good contender for high quality footage on a budget .

ProsCons
  • Different camera versions
  • GoPro and action camera compatible
  • Stock camera can connect to phones and VR
  • First person view capability
  • Battery life 7-9 minutes
  • Design of rotor arms is flimsy
  • Some assembly required
  • Low-Battery warning can’t be seen in daylight
  • Small battery
  • Some users are reporting defective units (Which have been promptly replaced)
  • No GPS

MJX X101 Video Sample

 


Have a bit of extra cash?

Hubsan H501S X4 Brushless

Hubsan H501S X4
From
$205.99 on amazon.com

If you are able to spend a little more, then the Hubsan H501S X4 is a fantastic choice, price varies from $220-$300 and if you pay more you can get the Pro version which has a better transmitter and range (the drone is the same though).

This drone offers everything the  X4 H501C (our top pick for this article) in pretty much the same body, but the extra price adds some nifty features, like FPV allowing you to see in real time what is being recorded and “Follow Me mode” where the drone will automatically follow you around and keep you in frame. Weather these features are enough to justify the extra price is up to you and your needs.

What’s more at the time of writing it is being offered at just over $200 on gearbest.com!


We hope you found your list helpful, as you can see If you are looking for a cheap drone for video you have plenty of choices!

We hope you found this article has helped you narrow down your choices of video drones. If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below.

 

 

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