6 Affordable Action Camera Drones

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Some enthusiasts enjoy drones for the fun of flying. Most people today, though, want a flying camera more so than a fly-only robot. This guide looks at 6 action camera drones, that is, drones that can carry quality cameras like GoPros and Yi 4K+, etc. We also look at some models best suited for quads. We often see action cameras mounted to cars, bikes, helmets, and surfboards, so why not drones?

This page reviews a few of the more affordable drones that can carry action cameras.

Budget
best-budget-affordable-action-camera-drone
DROCON Blue Bugs
4.8/5.0
Camera Setup: Mount only
Flight Time: 20 minutes
Two speed modes, brushless motors, wind resistant, 3D rolls & flips, decent range.
Check Amazon
Best Value
best-value-affordable-action-camera-drone
Altair Aerial Blackhawk
4.7/5.0
Camera Setup: Mount only
Flight Time: 18 minutes
Two speed modes, fast flier, wind-resistant, long range, automatic lock protection.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-affordable-action-camera-drone
Holy Stone HS700
4.6/5.0
Camera Setup: 5G 1080P FHD
Flight Time: 20 minutes
Headless mode, brushless motor, follow me, GPS assisted flight, custom flight path.
Check Amazon

Why Bother with Action Camera Drones?

Why not just buy drones that come with cameras and save the hassle? Well, most people do just that. But others already own drones without cameras and would like to have a go at aerial photography. Also, many drones—especially those at the cheaper end—have mediocre cameras. Yes, they can take aerial photos and shoot video, but the results are often disappointing.

Not all drones come equipped with cameras, and not every drone has the capacity to carry one. Others come with mounts and gimbals that can support and stabilize GoPros and other models. All decent action cameras produce exceptional footage. Some of you will already own an action camera and would like to get the most out of it. You should find this article valuable whatever your reasons are.

Action Cameras for Quadcopters

Action cameras are no different from any other product when it comes to quality ratings. Some are exceptional, others are very good, and a few are a total waste of money.

Here are the boxes to check if you’re still looking for an action camera for your drone:

  1. The drone can carry the camera question
  2. Dimensions. Smaller is better
  3. Weight. Lighter is better
  4. Definition. Minimum Full-HD (1080p)
  5. Waterproofing. Only vital if you plan to film over or close to water
  6. Battery life. Longer is better

We can use the GoPro HERO5 Session as an example. There are many GoPro-compatible drones out there for one. The camera is 1.4 x 1.5 x 1.5”, and weighs only 4.5 ounces. It takes 10MP stills and high-quality stabilized 4k video at 30 fps (frames per second). It has a battery life of around 2 hours. Furthermore, this model is also rugged and waterproof down to 33ft (10m).

GoPro used to have an action camera drone called the GoPro Karma. It didn’t do very well at all. The company eventually quit the drone business due to technical blunders and fierce competition. The good news is that their action cameras remain market leaders and continue to sell well.

Drones that Are Not Action Camera Ready

Most drones can carry an action camera if it’s lightweight, stable, and well-balanced. That includes drones that are not action-camera-ready, but it would take some creative modifications. That’s not something most people want to do unless tinkering is part of their bobby. Another downside to adding cameras to drones ad hoc is that they have no or limited remote control function.

About this Guide

This simple guide reviews 6 action camera drones. Each review also looks at the quadcopter’s other standout features as well as its camera capabilities. I chose the products listed here based on personal understanding and the feedback of real users. I also looked at the opinions of industry experts before finalizing this list. I have arranged the first three drones by Best Budget, Best Value, and the Top Pick.

At the end of the reviews is an extra section that looks at a few action cameras for drones.

Action Camera Drones Comparison Table

Make and ModelCamera SetupFlight TimePrice
DROCON Blue Bugs 3 Action Camera DroneMount only20 minutesCheck Price
Altair Aerial Blackhawk GoPro Compatible QuadMount only18 minutesCheck Price
Holy Stone HS700 Drone Hero 2/3/4 Compatible5G 1080P FHD20 minutesCheck Price
Force1 GoPro Compatible QuadcopterMount only12+ minutesCheck Price
Contixo F17+ RC Quadcopter for GoPros4k Ultra-HD15+ minutesCheck Price
DJI Phantom 2 V2.0 GoPro CompatibleCamera capable28 minutesCheck Price

1. DROCAN Blue Bugs 3 Camera Drone | Best Budget

DROCAN Blue Bugs 3 Camera DroneView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The Best Budget action camera drone goes to the popular Blue Bugs 3. It’s a good-looking bird and easy for novice pilots to control even in the wind. The quad comes with two speed modes, high & low.

  • Best feature 1: Supports GoPros, Xiaomi, Xiaoyi 4K cameras
  • Best feature 2: Excellent beginner drone
  • Plus points: Two speed modes, brushless motors, wind resistant, 3D rolls & flips, decent range
  • Minus points: Insane charging time, potential flyaways

Action Camera Compatibility & Features

The DROCON Blue Bugs 3 is an incredible flying robot for the money. It’s a great deal if you already own an action camera thanks to the included 4K camera mount. The camera holder can accommodate GoPros, Xiaomi, Xiaoyi 4K, and others. Be sure to check your camera dimensions before you buy, though. Or, consider the Bugs 6 quadcopter if you want to upgrade to First Person View or FPV.

The drone has a powerful brushless motor and weighs 3.09 lbs. or just over with a camera. That means it can fly quite well in winds—not something all beginner drones can do. Impressive full-throttle 3D flips and rolls are possible for pilots with more experience. And the 985 ft. (300 M) control range is remarkable for a training quadcopter. The flight time is about average at 15 minutes max.

The Not So Good

The biggest letdown with the DROCON Blue Bugs 3 is the insane 6+ hour charging time. Most new buyers order extra batteries at the same time they get the drone. There are also a few reports of flyaways. These most likely happen when pilots try to push past the maximum range. The quad does have low-power and weak signal alarms, so it’s vital that pilots heed the warnings.

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Tech Specs
Product Weight: 3.09 lbs.
Dimensions: 15.4 x 13.4 x 6.5”
Camera/Mount: Mount
Camera Compatibility: Popular HD/4k action cameras
Max Range: 985 ft. (300 meters)
Battery: 1800mah Li-Po
Max Flying Time: 20 minutes
Charging Time: 6+ hours
The Pros
Supports popular action cameras
Excellent beginner drone
Two speed modes (High/Low)
Powerful brushless motor
Sturdy build, wind-resistant
3D flips & rolls
Decent flight range
LED Night Lights
Low-power & weak-signal alarm
The Cons
Insane charging time
Potential for flyaways

2. Altair Aerial Blackhawk GoPro Quad | Best Value

Altair Aerial Blackhawk GoPro QuadView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

Our Best Value action camera drone is the Altair Aerial Blackhawk. It’s a superb, heavy-duty quadcopter for the money. This model is ideal for drone enthusiasts at the intermediate level.

  • Best feature 1: Action camera mount for GoPro and similar
  • Best feature 2: Sturdy metal body
  • Plus points: Two speed modes, fast flier, wind-resistant, long range, automatic lock protection
  • Minus points: Flimsy prop guards, long charging time

Action Camera Compatibility & Features

They call the Altair Aerial Blackhawk the GoPro quad. It accommodates HERO 3 and 4 cameras (41mm x 59mm x 30 mm). It can also carry other brands of similar size but check the dimensions first. The drone has some unique features for a model in its category like the sturdy metal body. Most quads still use plastic molded shells. The heavy-duty build makes it more crash-resistant and stable in winds.

Altair’s Aerial Blackhawk has two speed options, and it’s a quick flier in the fastest mode. Speed is especially useful for long-range drones as it gets them to their destination—and back— quicker. This puppy has a maximum control range up to 1640 ft. (500 M). Another standout feature is its built-in Automatic Lock Protection. Auto-lock protection exists to save the motor from burnout.

The Not So Good

The Aerial Blackhawk comes with prop guards, but they’re quite flimsy and next to useless. Another con is the charging time that can take several hours with a flat battery. The max flight time is just 15–18 minutes. Spare batteries are essential for those who don’t want to wait between charges.

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Tech Specs
Product Weight: 3.1 lbs.
Dimensions: 14 x 13 x 6”
Camera/Mount: Mount
Camera Compatibility: GoPro Hero 3/4 and others of similar size
Max Range: 1640 ft. (500 meters).
Battery: 1800mah Li-Po
Max Flying Time: 18 minutes
Charging Time: 2-5 hours
The Pros
GoPro Action Camera Mount
Stable metal body
Two speed modes
Fast flier
Wind-resistant
Long range
Automatic lock protection
Bright, front-facing LED
Under-body LEDs
The Cons
Flimsy prop guards
Long charging time
Average flight time

3. Holy Stone HS700 Hero 2/3/4 Compatible | Top Pick

Holy Stone HS700 Hero 2/3/4 CompatibleView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.6/5

Holy Stone makes the Top Pick with their incredible HS700 FPV Drone. This quadcopter comes with an advanced 5G 1080P FHD camera that has a 110-degree field of view (FOV).

  • Best feature 1: Advanced 5G 1080P FHD Camera
  • Best feature 2: Mount compatible with GoPros
  • Plus points: Headless mode, brushless motor, follow me, GPS assisted flight, custom flight path
  • Minus points: No prop guards, long charging

Action Camera Compatibility & Features

There’s so much to appreciate with the Holy Stone HS700 quadcopter. It comes with a camera, but you can also swap it for a GoPro if you have one. The mount is compatible with higher quality GoPros Hero 2, 3, and 4 models. The camera gives pilots real-time video transmission directly onto a smartphone screen. Best of all is that filming while flying is a cinch.

The headless mode is ideal for novices as they don’t have to consider the orientation of the craft. Less focus on the orientation lets pilots concentrate more on capturing spectacular aerial footage.

Powerful Functions Aplenty

The HS700 uses a powerful, reliable, and super-quiet brushless motor. Its GPS ‘Follow Me’ mode is especially popular for filming moving subjects. Editing and sharing recorded footage to social media sites while on the go is also a breeze. GPS assisted flight provides many beneficial functions. There’s stable automatic hovering, return to home (RTH), and GPS custom flight paths.

This drone boasts safeguards that help to prevent loss and damage. They include low power alert and weak/lost signal warnings. The simple 1-key return-to-home feature brings the quad back to base before it runs into problems. That’s providing the pilot heeds the warnings of course.

The Not So Good

Prop guards should be a standard safety feature on all drones, but they’re not. The HS700 doesn’t even have an option to buy them as extra accessories. That means no protection for fingers or the propellers, so extra caution is necessary. Battery charging times are painful at 4+ hours for 20 minutes of flight time. Those who get this drone most likely invest in a couple of extra batteries.

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Tech Specs
Product Weight: 1.34 lbs.
Dimensions: 15.2 x 15.2 x 6.1”
Camera/Mount: 1080p HD (removeable)
Camera Compatibility: GoPro Hero 2/3/4
Max Range: 3280 ft. (1000 meters)
Battery: 2800 mAh LiPo
Max Flying Time: 20 minutes
Charging Time: 4+ hours
The Pros
Removable camera included
Mount compatible with GoPros
Powerful brushless motor
Headless mode
Altitude hold
Follow me mode
GPS assisted flight features
Custom flight path
Long flight range
The Cons
No prop guards included or available
Long charging time

4. Force1 F100 GoPro Compatible Quadcopter

Force1 F100 GoPro Compatible QuadcopterView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

This is the F100 quadcopter by Force1, and it’s another drone for under 100 dollars (at the time of writing). The flight time is average, so the bonus battery with the F100 is a welcome extra.

  • Best feature 1: GoPro compatible quadcopter
  • Best feature 2: High/Low-speed modes
  • Plus points: Bonus battery, easy to fly, brushless motors, stunt capable, decent flight range
  • Minus points: No GPS, short flight time

Action Camera Compatibility & Features

Force1’s F100 comes equipped with a mount that takes any GoPro Hero 3 or 4. Attaching an action camera takes a few seconds, then you’re ready for takeoff. The mount’s position ensures perfect camera balance to optimize flight and footage. The F100 controller has High/Low-speed modes that cater to beginner and advanced pilots.

The quad’s four brushless motors provide the craft with smooth, reliable flights. They’re quieter and longer-lasting than brushed alternatives too. And the motors have plenty of oomph to perform crazy stunts like 360° flips and impressive rolls. The range of the F100 is a decent 1640 ft. (500 M).

This quad comes with high landing gear. That’s useful as it gives plenty of ground clearance and keeps the precious GoPro safe. The drone comes with four protective prop guards as well.

The Not So Good

The Force1 F100 GoPro compatible drone is a capable quadcopter but lacks some features. It doesn’t have GPS for one, and that means no return-to-home (RTH). Nor does it have altitude hold, headless mode and a few other flight features found on some models. The flight time is also disappointing at 12+ minutes per battery. It’s still an excellent quad, though, albeit short of a few bells and whistles.

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Tech Specs
Product Weight: 2.82 lbs.
Dimensions: 15.6 x 13.8 x 6.5”
Camera/Mount: GoPro mount
Camera Compatibility: GoPro 3/4
Max Range: 1640 ft. (500 meters)
Battery: 1 7.4v 1800mAh Li-Po
Max Flying Time: 12+ minutes
Charging Time: 2.5 hours
The Pros
GoPro compatible
Easy to fly
High/Low-speed modes
Bonus battery
Brushless motors
Stunt capable
Decent flight range
High landing gear
Prop guards included
The Cons
No GPS assisted flight features
Shortish flight time

5. Contixo F17+ RC Quadcopter for GoPros

Contixo F17+ RC Quadcopter for GoProsView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

Meet the Contixo F17+, an app capable camera drone. This quad is a step up from the previous pick, and it’s easy to see why once we look at what it offers. It also comes with its own action camera.

  • Best feature 1: Includes Contixo 4k Ultra HD Action Camera
  • Best feature 2: GoPro compatible mount
  • Plus points: App control, easy to pilot, one-key start/stop, brushless motors, hard case
  • Minus points: No GPS assisted flight features, exaggerated flight time

Action Camera Compatibility & Features

Contixo F17+ comes equipped with a 4k Ultra HD detachable action camera. That means you can use it off the drone as well. Pilots can view the camera’s live stream on their smartphone using the 4K camera app. The app also lets users take aerial photos, record video, and even shoot time-lapse video. The mount can accommodate most GoPro HERO action cameras.

This drone is easy to fly for advanced beginners and above (see below). It has a simple 1-key start/stop button on its comfortable, ergonomic controller. The powerful MT1806 1800KV brushless motors are highly efficient and last longer than brushed alternatives. The quad has a low battery warning alarm. Contixo’s F17+ quadcopter comes with a smart aluminum hard case.

The Not So Good

This drone isn’t ideal for the raw novice as it lacks some beginner-friendly features. There’s no GPS, so that means no emergency return to home (RTH). Nor does it feature altitude hold or a headless mode. It’s easy to fly for those with a little experience, but not ideal for first-time pilots. And the 18 minute flight time is an exaggeration even in perfect conditions. I’d say 15 minutes is a more realistic figure.

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Tech Specs
Product Weight: 4 lbs.
Dimensions: 17.7 x 15.8 x 6.7”
Camera/Mount: Contixo 4k Ultra-HD camera
Camera Compatibility: GoPro HERO
Max Range: Not specified
Battery: 7.4V 25C 2100mAh
Max Flying Time: 15+ minutes
Charging Time: 2+ hours
The Pros
Includes action camera
GoPro compatible mount
App/smartphone control
Easy to pilot
One-key start/stop
Powerful brushless motors
Hard aluminum case
Low battery warning
The Cons
No GPS assisted flight features
Exaggerated flight time

6. DJI Phantom 2 V2.0 GoPro Compatible

DJI Phantom 2 V2.0 GoPro CompatibleView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The Phantom 2 quadcopter is an older DJI drone but it still an exceptional model. It’s an easy-to-fly drone that has the option to add GoPro action cameras.

  • Best feature 1: GoPro compatible
  • Best feature 2: Supports Zenmuse H3-2D Gimbal
  • Plus points: Easy to control, long flight time, return-to-home (RTH), self-tightening propellers
  • Minus points: Mount not included, cannot live stream with GoPros

Action Camera Compatibility & Features

Anyone who’s new to flying drones should consider a DJI Phantom 2. Try not to let the age of these quadcopters put you off. This model is stable, reliable, and incredibly easy to fly—at any level. It’s also compatible for use with GoPro HERO 2, HERO 3/3+, and HERO 4 action cameras. DJI’s Phantom 2 supports Zenmuse H3-2D gimbal to provide the ultimate camera stabilization.

The Phantom 2 has an incredible 28 minute flight time which is the longest of all drones on this page. Charging time is equally impressive at around 1 hour. Its control range is 3281 ft. (1000 M). The drone also has a return-to-home (RTR) and landing feature. The self-tightening propellers are a nice touch. They prevent the accidental loss of small prop nuts when pilots dismantle the quad for storage.

The Not So Good

DJI’s Phantom 2 is no longer in production, but it still costs a few hundred dollars. It’s worth it too, but its value would increase further with a camera mount and gimbal included. Be sure to factor those into the cost if this quad makes your shortlist. The other downside is that Wi-Fi streaming is not possible with any GoPro camera.

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Tech Specs
Product Weight: 2.43 lbs.
Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 7.1”
Camera/Mount: GoPro Mount (sold separately)
Camera Compatibility: GoPro HERO 2, HERO 3/3+, and HERO 4
Max Range: 3281 ft. (1000 meters)
Battery: 5200-mAh LiPo
Max Flying Time: 28 minutes
Charging Time: 60+ minutes
The Pros
GoPro compatible
Steady flier, reliable, long-lasting
Supports Zenmuse H3-2D Gimbal
Easy to control
Long flight time
Fast charging time
Return-to-home (RTH) function
Self-tightening propellers
The Cons
Camera mount not included
No GoPro live streaming
0/50 ratings