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Drones in the $300 to $500 price range come packed with great features, yet they are still affordable for most pilots.
They come with high-powered cameras, FPV capability, autonomous flight modes, and much more.
This article breaks down 10 of the best drones under $500 in 2017.
These quadcopters are in the $300-$500 price range. If you’re looking for a drone that’s less than $300, check out the links below.
You can get an overview of each drone in this list using the table below. Or scroll down to start from the beginning.
This is the fourth post in our “Best Drones Under $” series:
DJI Phantom 3 Standard
UPair One with 4K Camera
DJI Phantom 2 Vision+
DOBBY Selfie Drone w/ 13MP Camera
Ehang GHOSTDRONE w/ 4K Camera
Yuneec Breeze with 4K Camera
Hubsan X4 Brushless FPV Quad
MOTA Pro Live-5000 FPV Drone
Parrot Bebop with Sky Controller
Let’s go right out and say it:
The DJI Phantom 3 Standard is the best all-around drone under $500.
In fact, it’s one of the best quadcopters on the market, period.
The P3 Standard has a 25-minute flight time, can shoot 2.7K video, and it takes 12 megapixel still photos. This puts the Phantom 3 Standard ahead of many other drones in its price range.
It also comes with DJI’s autonomous flight modes, which allows you to concentrate on getting quality shots while the drone flies itself safely.
The Phantom 3 also comes in three other versions:
1. The Phantom 3 Advanced —The Phantom 3 Advanced also shoots 2.7k video and takes 12 megapixel stills, but control distance increases to 5 km and it offers live FPV (first person view) streaming of the camera’s view to your controller.
2. The Phantom 3 Professional —The Phantom 3 Professional’s video quality takes a massive jump up to 4K, making it an excellent choice for pro pilots.
3. The Phantom 3 4K —The Phantom 3 4K offers 4K video capture capability, just like the Professional, but control distance decreases to 1,200m.
The Phantom 3 Standard has an almost unbeatable price-to-features ratio, making it an excellent lower-priced quadcopter for aerial filming.
Also check out this bundle (under $500 as well) which comes with a lot of useful accessories.
The UPair One is a great camera drone.
It shoots video in ultra-crisp 4K, and the quadcopter comes with a large 7-inch LED screen attached directly to the controller. This allows you to get a first-person-view of what your drone is seeing in real time.
And the 5400mAh battery enables up to 18 minutes of flight time.
This UPair One package is a good starting point for aspiring aerial photographers and videographers.
This is DJI’s version 3 of their Phantom 2 Vision+.
It comes with the classic DJI Phantom features, like a 25 minute flight time, first-person-view capability, and a powerful camera.
This version includes an upgraded controller with rechargeable batteries and a gimbal control dial, updated motors, and more efficient propellers.
The built-in 3-axis gimbal also gives you smooth footage and stable still images.
The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is a great camera quadcopter that won’t break the bank.
DOBBY is one of the best selfie drones on the market.
Note: “Selfie” drones have an autonomous flight mode for taking pictures of yourself and your surroundings. They’re also usually compact and easy to transport.
This selfie drone comes packed with cool features:
You can also use your mobile device to get a first-person view of what your camera is seeing in real time, and you control it using phone’s swipe function or as a motion controller.
Then you can synchronize the photos to your phone with one click and share them immediately.
DOBBY is a cool little quad for getting pictures of you and your surroundings.
The GHOSTDRONE from Ehang comes with an ultra-powerful 4K camera that’s great for action sports filming.
And it comes with a sweet set of unique features:
After you download the EHANG Play app (iOS and Android), you can choose Avatar Control. This allows you to control the quadcopter simply by tilting your phone in the desired direction.
Using the same app, you can use Waypoints to give GHOSTDRONE a flight path and tell it to follow it automatically, while you take aerial images/videos or simply watch the world from up above on the FPV screen.
The quad also has an auto return-to-home when battery power gets low (this is a fantastic safety feature). And the camera comes with multiple image taking modes, like Cycle Recording, Wide Dynamic Range, Burst Mode and Time Lapse.
GHOSTDRONE is also ready to fly right out of the box.
With this set of features, there’s a ton of opportunity to experiment with different ways of image capture and drone flight in general.
The Breeze launched with much fanfare, and rightly so. Yuneec packed a load of fun features into this drone.
The quadcopter is specifically designed to make it easy to capture, save, and share pictures and videos through the Breeze Cam app (iOS and Android).
It comes with a powerful 4K camera, can take 13 megapixel still photos, and this package comes with the Xtreme VR Vue Virtual Reality headset to get an FPV experience through your smartphone.
The drone comes with Selfie, Orbit, and Follow Me autonomous flight modes, and it has auto-landing and return-to-home features. So even beginner pilots can get beautiful shots and fly the quad safely.
Breeze is a great flying camera that’s portable enough to be taken on trips and other excursions.
The Traxxas Aton is one of the coolest drones to date.
First off, it comes with two flight modes: Sport and Film.
In sport mode, the drone can fly up to a crazy speed of 50+ miles per hour and perform acrobatic aerial maneuvers. In film mode, you can get beautiful smooth, stable footage and attach your own camera for expert quality shots (GoPro‘s recommended).
Traxxas decided to help out beginner pilots by giving Aton dual-mode GPS, air brakes and return to home functionality, and the quad comes in a tough composite frame to help it handle crashes.
And you can use the Traxxas Flight Link app to customize Aton’s flight settings, like geofence radius, flight ceiling, control rates and more.
The drone is also customizable with a bunch of different color and light combinations.
Hubsan products are fun, durable, and they get the job done.
The Hubsan X4 Brushless FPV Quad is no different.
It comes with a powerful 1080p camera and FPV capability. The drone’s remote control comes with a 4.3 Inch LCD screen built in that gives you a real time view of what your quadcopter is seeing.
It also comes with some surprisingly advanced features:
This version of the Hubsan X4 is a compact FPV drone that’s great for having fun and getting quality shots at the same time.
The MOTA Pro Live-5000 is one of the most interesting drones out there.
It was manufactured in a y-axis build that features six propellers, yet it’s smaller than a piece of paper.
And the drone comes with one-touch take-off and landing, live FPV streaming, and mobile device integration.
The Parrot Bebop is a great all-around camera drone, and it’s one of the best quadcopters for learning aerial photography and videography.
The camera takes crisp 14 megapixel photos and shoots video in 1080p with a 180-degree field of view. And you can use their Parrot Free Flight app to control the drone, adjust settings, view battery level, and get a first person view.
This version comes with the Sky Controller, an awesome controller that can house tablets and smartphones for an FPV experience, and the controller extends the drone’s range up to 2km.
The Parrot Bebop is a great quad for aspiring photographers and videographers on a budget.