At this stage in the game, there are not many drones that proudly rock a 1080p camera, most are 4K drones, or they keep the resolution at 720p and under in order to reduce latency. That said, there are some solid machines out there that offer a benefit or two that make up for the lack of camera resolution. Ultimately, this is a short list that is destined to remain small.
Why trust Drone Rush?
I’ve been a fan of flight since a young age; while I’ve had few opportunities at the helm of manned aircraft, the hours on my fleet of drones continue to grow. I enjoy putting cameras into the sky, silky smooth aerial imagery makes me happy. My goal is to help all pilots enjoy flight legally and safely.
Best 1080p drones
Please stop. I get it, you want a simple machine and you want a decent camera for the sky. While we’re still going to list the best 1080p drones today, we highly recommend you look for something better. If nothing else, head on down below to see why we recommend the DJI Mavic Mini and Mini 2 over any other drone on this 1080p list.
DJI Spark: GPS enabled, hand-gesture operated
The DJI Spark was discontinued a long time ago, but remains one of the best drones you can still get your hands on that is limited to just 1080P camera resolution. Like most drones on this list, we don’t actually recommend you buy it, there are many better drones out there, and most have smaller price tags, but, Spark is still one of the better options if you want to limit yourself.
DJI Phantom 3: Iconic drone, but obsolete
It’s probably safe to say that you have seen the DJI Phantom 3 series of drones before. This was the drone that got many new pilots into the hobby, and had great exposure in the media and across social media. As good as it was for its time, several updated versions have released since that supersede the 3 series in almost every way. Like the Spark, please spend your cash on a newer drone.
Hubsan H501S: High-performance toy-class drone
The Hubsan H501S was a huge stepping stone for Hubsan. This marked one of the first and best Hubsan drones to offer GPS assisted navigation and brushless motors. These are things we take for granted in DJI drones, but Hubsan is maturing from toy-class drones, not making consumer models of high-end commercial craft, so the accomplishment is applaudable! Better yet, the H501S came with GPS flight features that were not available from many more expensive drones.
Hubsan H109S Pro: Large GoPro-like camera drone
The Hubsan H109S was an attempt to compete with the Phantom series drones. With many such attempts on the market in those early days of drones, Hubsan produced not only a capable drone, but their own GoPro-Like camera to go with it. We know that smaller and more capable cameras are possible today, but the airframe remains reliable.
Parrot Disco: Powerful fixed-wing drone
The Parrot Disco was an exciting drone in its time. Make no mistake, any RC airplane pilot can tell you there’s little new here aside from the built-in FPV camera, but that doesn’t take away from the ease of operation and the sheer fun of flying a good fixed-wing aircraft.
Special consideration: DJI Mavic Mini and Mini 2
If you have the budget for most of the drones above, why not consider something that shoots 2.7K video for roughly the same price. The DJI Mavic Mini is proving an excellent drone for many users, especially new pilots. At 249 grams, you do not need to register with the FAA before you fly, but you get a more capable machine than most anything else on this list, and for just $400.
Further, if you are honestly considering one of the drones on this list, you’re in the same budget range as a solid 4K drone. The DJI Mini 2 is just a little more than the original Mini, and less expensive than some of the really old drones above. Seriously, we recommend skipping a 1080p drone, unless you’re just grabbing a little toy machine.
Please do not expect any major updates to this list over time, but if you happen to find a new 1080p camera drone that you want to see on this list, hit the comments and we’ll evaluate it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are 1080p drones good?
There is nothing inherently wrong with 1080p drones, but make no mistake, if you desire to capture great video from the sky, you’ll want to consider at least a newer 2.7K drone, or, preferably, a 4K drone. Again, camera quality is not determined by resolution, but most of the innovation we’re seeing in cameras is for larger sensors, we were actually surprised that the DJI Mavic Mini launched with a 2.7K camera, most everything is at least 4K these days.
Can I upgrade my 1080p drone camera to 4K?
Each drone is built differently, but the majority will not accept camera upgrades. Racing drones are more modular, you can swap out bits and pieces, like the camera. Machines like those from DJI have hard-coded for a specific camera in the software. For example, you can have DJI swap cameras on your Mavic 2 Zoom / Mavic 2 Pro, but they have to do a full software flash to reconfigure the drone to handle the new camera. If you can get the software and the tools to flash the upgrade, then you could swap those two cameras, but that’s the same drone, you’re just swapping cameras, none of that software would work to put the Mavic 2 Pro camera on your older Mavic Pro, sadly.
Should I buy a 1080p drone?
Your flight needs should determine the drone that you purchase. If you are not looking to capture 4K video from the sky, then, yes, a 1080p drone could be exactly what you want. The price will likely be lower for the lower resolution camera, and the camera has no impact on the capabilities of the airframe, so the choice is yours, if you do not want a higher-end camera drone, a 1080p drone is just fine.