It’s undeniable that drones have made quite a climb in every sort cinematography area in the past few years and they’re becoming more and more affordable. But what are the best drones for under 1000 dollars?

But certainly now, you can’t really afford a drone to get stable movie shots or for videography services that’s under a few thousands.

Wrong!

Of course there’s a price for anything, but in the past year a few very capable quadcopters that are way under the price of many budgets have appeared.

Don’t expect to get DSLR or Hollywood type of footage out of them, but I’m talking here about up to 4k footage with super stable 3 axis gimbals and return to home technology.

Should you get an expensive drone as a beginner?

There’s certainly a range of drones that you shouldn’t touch as a total newbie.

But funny enough, the best choices you can make for a beginner drone are at the extremes. I would personally recommend you to get a beginner drone under $1000 and/or go directly for a more expensive one that comes with GPS and even positioning sensors.

That will make it much safer than paying like $200 for an average quadcopter that is powerful but comes with the risk of crashing in the first tree just because it can’t keep its position steady.

In this article I’ll present a few of my favorite drones that all meet the beginner safety criteria I’m talking about here, but if you want to see my more complete list with specs and advantages and disadvantages, I recommend checking out my full list with drones under $500 that should help you pick the best one for you.

What to look for in a camera drone

There is a list with specific basic criteria that any camera drone should match to some extent. So you need to be aware of what you need to be looking for in a capable camera drone and know what you’re willing to compromise for the price.

Battery life

Obviously important, battery life is something that will help you not feel pressured to land the drone quickly and focus enough on taking the shot. The battery life for drones around $500 should be over 15 min in general.

Camera resolution

Everyone needs different camera resolutions, some are happy with 1080p, others with 4k, but frankly I prefer shooting in a higher resolution and downscale it later. Bitrate is also important, most capable drones coming with a bit rate of 60-100 mbits.

Flight range

This one is more subjective depending on what you plan to use it for. In my opinion a strong 500m distance signal is all you need to do your job. But the drones in this list are way above that range.

Image stability

There’s no doubt in my mind that having a non-shaky drone camera is much more important than resolution and even image quality. The main ways to stabilize video are 2 or 3 axis gimbals and EIS (electronic image stabilization)

GPS and return to home

This takes care of the safety of the flight and usually comes in handy with a few flight modes like follow me, RTH on low battery life or low signal.

Best Drones For Under 1000 Dollars

As promised initially, there are actually a couple of good to fly quadcopters that can meet the criteria mentioned above and even more.

They have upsides and downsides, depending on what requirements you personally have.

I’m not affiliated with any of these companies, so I’m quite unbiased when picking them. I have reached these conclusions after testing a whole lot of drones, as both a website and youtube drone reviewer.

1. Xiaomi Fimi X8 – 4K drone with amazing stability

Xiaomi, as a company took over the world in many technology areas with products that are better and cheaper than that of the competition.

A few years back they decided to launch their first drone, which was a big success.

However, in 2019, a new series of drones called “FIMI” has been launched and they fit the “more compact” trend of foldable drones.

The more expensive and better one out of these is the FIMI x8, a budget drone that does the simple things really good.

This quadcopter is a response to the foldable models that DJI has released in the past years and it does indeed come with powerful brushless motors and a very high quality build that rivals the one DJI has, for even lower prices (but less fancy specs, I guess).

How does it mainly differ from the Mavic series from DJI besides being half the price?

The FIMI x8, first of all, doesn’t come with any obstacle avoidance technology, even the black glass you see in the front isn’t for detecting obstacles, as you’d expect.

Besides the obstacle avoidance technology, it’s pretty much like the Mavic Pro that we’ve been used too. I would consider the building materials and especially the transmitter to be better built.

The camera image is subjective, but the gimbal does a stellar job in stabilization.

What are the advantages of this drone?

  • Very stable 3 axis gimbal
  • 4k 100 mbits bitrate
  • Advanced manual video controls
  • LOG video
  • DNG RAW photos
  • Return to home
  • Super stable GPS
  • Optical flow sensors underneath for better stability close to the ground
  • Foldable design
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Aoile FIMI X8 SE 5KM FPV with 3-axis Gimbal 4K Camera GPS 33mins Flight Time RC Drone Quadcopter RTF
  • With Foldable and portable design, the drone is easy to carry.
  • 4K 100Mbs Videos: The drone shots video at an incredible 4K/30fps and captures every moment...
  • Smart Tracking Mode: With the powerful visual tracking system, the drone can precisely lock the...
  • Precise Vision Positioning System: GPS+glonass dual-satellites positioning systerm ensures more...
  • Toy

2. DJI Spark – Cheap 1080p drone with a lot of features

Although for quite some time on the market, the DJI Spark is getting cheaper and cheaper and maintains its supremacy as one of the better drones in this price range.

Being even cheaper than the Xiaomi, it might be worth especially for photographers who want to shoot really good 12mp photos without the need to buy a more expensive camera.

I have personally compared the photos of the Spark to those of a more expensive Mavic, and I could not see any difference, as even though the video is shot in 1080p, the photos are taken in 4k resolution and the sensor is from a 4k camera originally.

One drawback is when it comes to video.

It comes with 2 axis gimbal stabilization and EIS, so when quickly turning to the side, the camera can move a bit weird. Even so, if you look online for some videos, you’ll be amazed what good quality such a tiny drone can have.

What are the advantages of this drone?

  • Automatic Obstacle avoidance (front)
  • 1080p video 4k photos
  • DNG RAW photos
  • Return to home
  • Super stable GPS
  • Optical flow sensors underneath for better stability close to the ground
  • Quickshot modes like Dronie, asteroid, helix, orbit, etc.
  • Very small frame ( legal to fly without a permit in certain countries)

The spark also has some gimmick features like hand control, gesture modes and so on that can be a fun addition if you want to impress people.

Sale
DJI Spark with Remote Control Combo (White)
  • DJI spark remote control Combo includes remote controller and standard spark accessory Kit (see...
  • 2-Axis Stabilized Gimbal Camera 12MP Still Photos/ 1080P/30 Video gesture and Tap Fly control
  • Flight autonomy with obstacle detection subject tracking from various angles GPS- & vision...
  • Top speed of 31 mph in sport mode up to 16 minutes flying time
  • Up to 1. 2 mile control range control, edit, share with DJI go app

3. Hubsan Zino – Fully fledged 4K drone

Although I would consider this to be a not so high quality build compared to the Xiaomi for example, the fact that it comes slightly cheaper might be important for some people.

If you’re unhappy with the 1080p camera and 2 axis gimbal of the Spark, then this is the choice for you.

The video is really smoothly stabilized and I would consider it to be as good as it can get when it comes to stability itself.

Otherwise, a disadvantage is that it doesn’t come with optical flow sensors underneath and so it only works by using its barometer and GPS to stay in the same spot. That means it’s not as precise as the other two.

I would recommend getting another toy drone to fly before this one, so you are more confident on your flying skills.

What are the advantages of this drone?

  • Foldable design
  • 4k video
  • Return to home
  • GPS only
  • Very smooth 3 axis gimbal
  • Flight modes
  • Many spare parts online
  • Great USA support
HUBSAN Zino Drone Foldable Arm FPV with 4K UHD Camera H117S with carring Bag
  • Each arm on this drone folds making it extremely portable.
  • The built in UHD 4K camera is tuned amazingly to capture pictures and videos from the sky. You can...
  • The advanced GPS positioning system allows for precise positioning.
  • After take-off, you could simply select a desired destination on your screen and this drone will fly...
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Best Drones For Under 1000 – In Conclusion

Whatever you decide to buy, you won’t regret the purchase, but keep in mind to fly responsibly and actually read the manuals beforehand so you know what to expect.

If you’re still undecided what drone to get and want to better sort them by your own criteria you should check out this drone finding tool. Otherwise, if you’re still a bit confused about what all these terms mean, you should check this drone term glossary I found online.

Make sure you avoid flying in crowded areas and learn doing camera moves step by step by watching youtube videos.

We hope you’ve found this article on the best drones for under 1000 dollars helpful in making a purchasing decision. What’s your favorite drone? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.