5 Remote Controlled Helicopter Camera Copters

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This guide looks at 5 remote controlled helicopter camera copters. There aren’t as many camera choppers as there are helis with no cameras. That means limited choices, but it’s also a good thing as it makes choosing a model less overwhelming. Camera helicopters are much cheaper than camera drones too. Still, they can’t rival the quality of a costlier camera quadcopter.

Choppers with cameras—sometimes called Spy Cam Helis—provide more fun for pilots. They do all that regular models do with the addition of aerial photography and recording vids. The footage these tiny cameras capture won’t win any awards, but the quality is viewable.

Budget
best-budget-remote-controlled-helicopter-camera-copter
SilverLit Nano Spy Cam RC Heli
4.3/5.0
Heli Type: Coaxial Spy Cam
Camera: Built-in Hi-Res
Great fun to fly, 2 shooting options, MicroSD, storage slot, Micro USB support.
Check Amazon
Best Value
best-value-remote-controlled-helicopter-camera-copter
S977 Metal RC Camera Heli
4.4/5.0
Heli Type: Coaxial Spy Cam
Camera: Built-in 1.3MP
Built-in gyro, easy to fly, bendy props, flashing LEDs, MicroSD card, cool controller.
Check Amazon
Top Pick
top-value-remote-controlled-helicopter-camera-copter
UDI U13A RC Spy Heli
4.8/5.0
Heli Type: Coaxial Spy Cam
Camera: Built-in Hi-Res
3-axis gyro, easy to fly, LCD controller, 1GB card, EVA shocks, decent range.
Check Ebay

Choosing Your RC Helicopter Camera

The important thing here is to have realistic expectations. It’s more enjoyable when you accept the limitations along with the benefits. This guide can help. The reviews are simple yet cover all the essential points in an easy-to-follow format. All the models on this page are between 25–50 dollars, so setting a budget is easy.

Get familiar with the items on the list below as they can help you to understand the mini-reviews:

  • Availability and cost of extra parts
  • The heli’s max flight time on a single charge
  • Battery recharging time and charging options
  • The price of spare batteries (if swappable)
  • How far can the camera heli fly, known as the control range
  • Add any other considerations based on wants and expectations

Batteries and Flight Times Matter

Each review addresses most of the points above. Note that flight time is only a few minutes for each model. That makes charging times and the cost of extra batteries essential considerations. Flying for 6–10 minutes is not long. Extra batteries let you continue the fun after a brief cool-down period between flights. You can decide how many extra batteries you need based on the charging times.

Batteries are often built-in to tiny models like these, but some are still accessible and swappable. If in doubt, ask the seller. Look for shorter charging times with models that have fixed batteries.

Dual Rotor Helicopters Vs. Single Rotor

Coaxial RC helicopters have two rotors or blades, one above the other. Most coaxial arrangements use 3-channel (CH) transmitters to control them. A 3CH transmitter is ideal for entry-level users. It gives pilots control over left/right, up/down, throttle and spin. Some are 3.5CH (see below). 4CH and more provides extra functions and maneuvers but are harder for beginners to fly and control.

Coaxial rotors and 3CH controllers make flying camera helis much easier. The less you need to focus on flying, the more you can concentrate on operating the camera. All models in this guide are coaxial.

The .5 of a 3.5-channel RC Camera Copter

Most of the models in this guide are 3.5-channel helis. It sounds confusing, and it is a bit. Every channel controls a specific range of motion, so what’s with the .5 channel. Well, the half channel extra is something of a marketing ploy and not a simple flight control. Some models may use the .5 to indicate a built-in electronic gyro. Others may use it to switch 2-speeds or to manage the LEDs.

Four out of the five models in this guide use 3.5-channel controllers. You’ll also see that they have built-in gyros and flashing LEDs. The Best Budget pick doesn’t have these things and is a 3CH heli.

About My RC Camera Helicopter Guide

These reviews are short and to the point. Each piece has everything you need to know about the respective model and nothing you don’t. The five picks in this guide are the result of expert opinions, personal thoughts, and real user reviews. The first three are Best Budget, Best Value, and the Top pick. The table below shows the models as they appear on the page.

Remote Controlled Helicopter Camera Copters Comparison Table

Make and ModelHeli TypeCameraPrice
SilverLit Nano Video Spy Cam RC HelicopterCoaxial Spy CamBuilt-in Hi-ResCheck Price
WLTOYS S977 Metal RC Helicopter W/ CameraCoaxial Spy CamBuilt-in 1.3MPCheck Price
UDI U13A RC Spy Helicopter W/ Video CameraCoaxial Spy CamBuilt-in Hi-ResCheck Price
Unbreakable Hercules Spy Camera HelicopterCoaxial Spy CamBuilt-in Mini SDCheck Price
Nano RC Spy Copter W/ CameraCoaxial Spy CamBuilt-in Hi-ResCheck Price

1. SilverLit Nano Video Spy Cam RC Heli | Best Budget

SilverLit Nano Video Spy Cam RC HeliView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.3/5

The SilverLit Spycam is a nano-sized 3-channel coaxial helicopter. It doesn’t look like a conventional heli. It’s more like a flying camera with a unique appeal (see below). It’s also a perfect gift for kids.

  • Best feature 1: Built-in 640 x 480 photo/video camera
  • Best feature 2: Foldable, compact design
  • Plus points: Great fun to fly, 2 shooting options, MicroSD, storage slot, Micro USB support
  • Minus points: Low average footage, short flying time, not good in the wind

The smart feature for this nano camera heli is its foldable design. It’s already tiny, but folding it down makes it even smaller. It then fits into a special storage section on the top of the controller. That protects it and makes it more portable, but that’s not all. It can function as a regular handheld camera from inside the controller. There’s even a flip-up viewfinder—how cool is that?

Flying & Filming with the SilverLit Spycam

This flying camera operates on 2.4Ghz, not an infrared (IR) control system. That means you can fly it outside on sunny days. Infrared (IR) control systems can suffer interference from bright sunlight. Only one of the models on this page uses an IR control. There are plusses for using IR in some instances.

SilverLit’s Spycam is a stress-free copter to fly with easy-to-manage controls. It does turn painfully slow, though, especially to the left. Slow turns can be a good or bad thing depending on skill level. Using the camera is a doddle, with a light on the transmitter to let you know it’s working. The camera quality isn’t stunning but it’s good enough to keep the kids entertained.

The Not So Good

Filming and shooting with the tiny camera is easy, but the footage is a low-average quality. The older the pilot, the more disappointed he or she is likely to be with the stills and video. For younger kids, though, it’s a perfect flying camera heli. The short 5-minute flight time is typical for a model in this class but still annoying. Lastly, don’t fly it outdoors unless there’s no wind or you’re asking for trouble.

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Tech Specs
Heli Type: Spy Cam Nano
Dimensions: 4 x 4.2 x 3”
Product Weight: 13 oz.
Camera: Built-in 640 x 480 photo/video
Range: N/A
Battery: Built-in (non-removable)
Charging time: Not specified
Max Playing Time: 5 minutes
Controller: 3CH 2.4G transmitter
The Pros
Foldable, compact design
Front-facing hi-res camera
Storage slot for MicroSD card
Great fun to fly indoors
Aerial and handheld camera
Micro USB
The Cons
Low average stills and vid (don’t expect too much)
Short flight time
Not suitable for outdoors

2. S977 Metal RC Helicopter W/ Camera | Best Value

S977 Metal RC Helicopter W/ CameraView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.4/5

The Best Value slot goes to WLTOYS S977 radio control RC camera helicopter. This model comes with a built-in gyro. The gyroscope helps to steady the craft in flight and thus makes it easier to control.

  • Best feature 1: Built-in 1.3-megapixel photo/video camera
  • Best feature 2: Crash-resistant metal frame
  • Plus points: Built-in gyro, easy to fly, bendy props, flashing LEDs, MicroSD card, cool controller
  • Minus points: Camera use drains the battery fast, fragile parts, not good outdoors

The S977 is an affordable and capable camera heli. It also looks more like a traditional chopper, unlike the first pick. The metal frame makes it crash-resistant, though not all components are as sturdy.

Flying & Filming with the S977 Camera Heli

Anyone who’s familiar with a regular games pad will take to the 3.5-channel controller. The built-in gyro helps to keep the S977 stable in flight which also benefits filming. Flying and operating the camera is easy even at the beginner level. All the aerial pics and video save to the 512MB MicroSD card. It’s then a simple case of transferring the card to a computer or a smart device for viewing.

The restricted 3.5CH control is also a blessing for learner pilots. It keeps flying and maneuvers basic so that they can focus on the camera. Flight control includes: Forward / Backward / Up / Down / Left / Right /. The 3.5CH also means crashes are less common than models that use four or more channels.

What makes this camera heli stand out is its longish 10-minute flight time and fast 45-minute charging. The 10-meter range is also ideal for keeping the tiny model in the pilot’s line of sight (LOS).

The Not So Good

The flight time is decent for a small metal-framed RC camera heli—until you use the camera. It makes sense that camera usage shortens battery life, but this one seems a tad extreme. Some reviewers say the LEDs and camera usage halves the flight time from ten minutes to five.

Another gripe is that the parts are fragile and break easily on impact, but not the metal frame. Some report that it stops working after a hit. Others say its crash-resistant, so there’s inconsistency in the feedback. The model I had was on loan so I didn’t crash it to find out. Overall, more people praise this model than criticize it. It’s a lightweight heli, though, and better suited to indoor-only flying.

amazon

Tech Specs
Heli Type: Coaxial Camera Heli
Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 4.7”
Product Weight: 1.1 lbs. (17.6 oz.)
Camera: Built-in 1.3MP photo/video
Range: 50 feet (15.24 meters)
Battery: Built-in 3.7V 280mAh LiPo
Charging time: 45 minutes
Max Playing Time: 10 minutes
Controller: WL S977 3.5CH Infrared (IR) transmitter
The Pros
Slick looking model heli
Built-in stabilizing gyroscope
Crash-resistant metal frame
Easy to operate/fly
Bendy props
Flashing LEDs for night flying
MicroSD card included
Cool transmitter
The Cons
Camera use drains the battery
Some parts are fragile
Not ideal for outdoors

3. UDI U13A RC Spy Helicopter W/ Camera | Top Pick

UDI U13A RC Spy Helicopter W/ CameraView on Ebay

Editor’s Rating: 4.8/5

The sleek-looking U13A makes the Top Pick. It’s a metal-framed helicopter with a neat video camera. It comes equipped with a built-in 3-axis gyroscope that does an excellent job of steadying the craft.

  • Best feature 1: Built-in hi- resolution spy camera
  • Best feature 2: Sturdy metal alloy frame
  • Plus points: 3-axis gyro, easy to fly, LCD controller, 1GB card, EVA shocks, decent range
  • Minus points: Not good in the wind, short flight time, tricky MicroSD card reader

This 3.5CH camera helicopter is easy to fly at any level and great fun indoors. It has a decent range and can fly outside too, but only on calm days (see the last section).

Flying & Filming with the U13A Camera Copter

This heli’s remote controller (RC) has a traditional layout and feels comfortable to hold. It also has a built-in LCD screen. LCDs are handy as they display all kinds of useful data and let you make minor adjustments. LED light indicators on the craft and controller tell you when it’s ready for takeoff.

You must insert the included 1GB MicroSD card in the card slot at the rear of the heli before you can use the camera. There’s a single video button on the RC for filming. You know when the heli is recording video by a red flashing light on its underside. That’s all there is to it. Flying, filming, and taking aerial photos is as easy as it gets for an RC heli.

This is a crash-resistant little bird if it flies into something hard. Its sturdy metal alloy frame, flexible blades, and elasticated flybar help to protect it. The EVA shock absorbers also add an extra layer of crash-resistance. What they do is reduce the risk of damage in the event of a hard landing.

The Not So Good

Alas, the UDI U13A RC Spy Helicopter is one of the worst there is for flying outdoors. Don’t buy it if you hope to play outside as well as inside. Even the slightest wind will prevent this copter from moving forward. Seriously, anything above a breeze is likely to blow it into the nearest tree or another obstacle. And the short flight time of only 7-minutes is average but frustrating.

The final gripe is that the MicroSD reader is fragile and fiddly for folks with bigger fingers. Putting the card into its slot and taking it out can prove vexing to say the least.

amazon

Tech Specs
Heli Type: Co-axial Camera Heli
Dimensions: 11” long x 6” high
Product Weight: 2.2 lbs. (35.2 oz.)
Camera: Built-in hi-res spy cam
Range: 500 feet (152.4 meters)
Battery: 3.7V 580mah LiPo
Charging time: 60 minutes
Max Playing Time: 7+ minutes
Controller: 3.5CH LCD transmitter
The Pros
Sleek design RC helicopter
Sturdy metal alloy frame
Built-in 3-axis gyro stabilizer
Easy to fly at the beginner level
Built-in video camera
1GB card included
EVA shocks
Decent range
LCD controller w/ audio feedback
The Cons
Flies outdoor but useless in winds
Tricky MicroSD card slot
Short flight time

4. Spy Hercules Camera Unbreakable 3.5CH RC Heli

Spy Hercules Camera Unbreakable 3.5CH RC HeliView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.7/5

They call this the world’s first unbreakable radio controlled helicopter. It’s true, the Spy Hercules has an incredibly tough frame for a camera helicopter and deserves the forth slot.

  • Best feature 1: Built-in mini SD picture/video camera
  • Best feature 2: Hard-wearing polymer body (see review for details)
  • Plus points: Low-maintenance, built-in gyro, beginner-friendly, three colors available, LEDs
  • Minus points: No memory card, short flight time, fragile controller

The Spy Hercules camera copter uses a hard-wearing polymer material for its body. I highlight the polymer as it can withstand up to around 200 pounds of pure force. Is it really unbreakable—no, but it’s about as durable as it gets for a model in its class. Let’s see how this puppy behaves in the sky.

Flying & Filming with the Spy Hercules Camera Heli

The company challenges users to crash, smash, and step on their so-called unbreakable heli. I say don’t. Just enjoy flying it with the knowledge that it’ll most likely survive any bangs it endures. All RC heli pilots have occasional accidents, so crash-resistance is no minor detail.

This copter is enjoyable to fly, especially at the beginner level. It’s a coaxial model with a single rear rotor to keep the bird constant. It’s a low maintenance model too. The 3.5CH control and gyro enable precise movements with impressive flight stability. And the mini SD picture/video camera is super-easy to use. It produces good-average footage for an electric powered RC copter in its class.

The Not So Good

You need an 8GB micro memory card to save the camera footage. This model doesn’t include one, so that’s an extra cost. Be sure to add 7–10 dollars on the price if you don’t already have a spare card. The max flight time is only 8-minutes or less when using the camera or flying with the LEDs on.

The remote controller (RC) is fragile and easy to break, especially its antenna. That’s a pity seeing how much care has gone into making such a crash-resistant camera copter.

amazon

Tech Specs
Heli Type: Coaxial Camera Heli
Dimensions: 15” long x 7.5” high
Product Weight: 8 oz. (0.5lbs.)
Camera: Mini SD picture/video
Range: 150 feet (45.72 meters)
Battery: Built-in 7.4V Li-ion
Charging time: 90+ minutes
Max Playing Time: 8 minutes
Controller: 3.5CH Transmitter
The Pros
Built-in mini SD camera
Beautiful design
Extremely hard-wearing body
Low-maintenance model
Built-In gyroscope
Advanced beginner-friendly
Three colors available
Bright LEDs for night flying
The Cons
Memory card not included
Short flight time
Some fragile parts

5. Nano RC Spy Copter W/ Video & Picture Camera

Nano RC Spy Copter W/ Video & Picture CameraView on Amazon

Editor’s Rating: 4.5/5

The last spy heli in this guide is the Nano Spy Copter Camera by World Tech Toys. It has a built-in solid-state stabilizing gyro, a tough metal body, and a video/picture camera.

  • Best feature 1: Integrated hi-res video camera
  • Best feature 2: Micro SD card storage w/ 1GB card (included)
  • Plus points: Steady hover, easy to pilot, USB cable, flashing LEDs, controller charging
  • Minus points: Long charging time, not good in the wind

Camera helis don’t get much more stable than the Nano Spy Copter, at least not in this class. Stable fliers make piloting easier and produce vids and stills with less blur and shake.

Flying & Filming with the Nano Spy Copter Camera

This whirlybird is the perfect indoor camera copter due to its 3.5CH control and slow speeds. The traditional controller is uncluttered and straightforward for flying, recording video, and shooting stills. Kids love its push-button photo capture for high or low-down selfies and to spy on their siblings. The stills and video quality is pretty good for a model that costs less than 50 dollars.

The Nano Spy comes with a 1GB MicroSD memory card—ample storage for a single mission. There’s no need to remove the card to view the video and pics either. All you do is plug the heli into a computer or tablet using a USB cable (included).

Another practical feature is being able to charge the model on the go. It can plug directly into the controller and reenergize that way. The only downside is that it drains the controller batteries faster. It’s a useful feature, though, and there’s always the wall charger for when you’re at home.

The Not So Good

The good thing about the Nano RC Spy Copter is that it has a reasonable 10-minute flight time. The letdown is the long 90+ minutes it takes to charge the battery. The other setback is that it’s an indoor-only bird despite some sales pages showing it as an indoor/outdoor model. It’s too light to fly in anything above a gentle breeze. It’s also controlled by infrared (IR) that suffers from direct sunlight.

amazon

Tech Specs
Heli Type: Coaxial Spy Cam Heli
Dimensions: 19 x 3.5 x 7.5
Product Weight: 1.1 lbs. (17.6 oz.)
Camera: Built-in hi-res picture/video
Range: Not specified
Battery: Built-in LiPo
Charging time: 90+ minutes
Max Playing Time: 10 minutes
Controller: 3.5CH IR transmitter
The Pros
Good-looking model, sleek design
Integrated hi-res video camera
Micro SD card storage w/ 1GB card (included)
Steady hover, easy to pilot heli
Charge using controller
USB cable support
Bright, flashing LED lights
The Cons
Long charging time
Not good in the wind
0/50 ratings