DJI Air 2S

When the first drones hit the retail market, they were best flown outdoors, the higher and faster the better. As cameras got better, and the drones began to hover with amazing precision, close up photography became possible. Even newer drones offer zoom on the cameras, making many drones even more viable for snapping your photo.

Quadcopters were then built smaller and smarter, to the point they could be stored in your pocket, flown indoors without worry of a crash and are getting their selfie game on. That is, they’re allowing you to get your selfie game on. Here are some of the best selfie drones on the market today.

Jonathan Feist, Drone PilotJonathan Feist

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.

 

Things to know before you fly: Understanding drone laws


DJI Air 2S: Best value high-end camera drone

Drone Rush Recommends

The DJI Air 2S is simply the best camera drone under $1,000. Rocking 5.4K video recording, 8X zoom, and 20MP still photo capture, it’s also one of the very best consumer-grade camera drones on the market. The superb camera, solid auto-hover, and next-gen flight and safety features make this an ideal drone for close up work, while the 8X zoom allows you to be even safer, keeping the drone a bit further away as you capture your media.

Why we fly the DJI Air 2S

The DJI Air 2S is our top pick for a consumer camera drone. We think you should buy it if you want to capture photos and video from the sky without breaking the bank. It’s fast, fun, and easy to fly, and we love the new connectivity range, seriously, 7.5 miles is a long way. Since we can’t legally fly that far, we’re just happy with the rock-solid connectivity at closer range. We have yet to see a hiccup or stutter in the HD live video transmission.

What we like


  • Easy to fly
  • Superb 5.4K camera
  • 20MP and 8X zoom
  • Newest DJI safety and flight features

What we don’t like


  • Lacks safety features from higher-end drones
  • No display in the remote

DJI Air 2S
DJI Air 2S
  • Great camera
  • 5.4K video
  • 8X zoom
  • Compact and easy to use
  • Fantastic range
Affordable 5.4K camera

The DJI Air 2S is easily the best camera drone for most uses. The 1-inch sensor produces fantastic images from the sky, and the compact, folding design of the quadcopter is familiar and reliable – it may not be in the name, but this is still a Mavic drone.

$ 1279 at Amazon
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DJI Mini 2: Best bang-for-the-buck

DJI Mini 2 flying angle sky

The DJI Mini 2 is the kind of drone most pilots should consider. It’s not the best camera drone around, nor is it ideal for indoor flight, but if you have a $500 budget there is absolutely no competition. The 4K camera is silky smooth, connectivity is solid enough with decent range, and it’s strong enough to have some fun in the sky.

Why we fly the DJI Mini 2

If you want a solid starter camera drone, or are looking for a fun drone that easily packs in your backpack, we can’t think of a better machine. the Mini 2 isn’t just good for the money, it’s a fun drone that we enjoy to fly. We think you’ll get a lot of user from this drone, at least until you get hooked on the hobby and desire the best of the best.

What we like


  • Fun
  • Affordable
  • Solid 4K camera
  • Easy to fly
  • Weighs under 250g
  • Very portable

What we don’t like


  • Too small for bigger payloads
  • No display in the controller
  • Camera is not as good as larger 4K drone

DJI Mini 2
DJI Mini 2
  • 4K camera
  • Very portable
  • Easy to fly
  • 249 grams
Best drone under $500

The DJI Mini 2 is a superb update from the Mavic Mini, now offering a 4K camera, Ocusync 2.0 and more power.


DJI Mavic 2 Zoom: Best zooming lens

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom front angle

The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is one of the largest Mavic drones on the market, but also one of the safest with one of the best zooming cameras around. The combination of optical and digital zoom make for great image quality from afar, which is what makes it a solid selfie drone.

The last thing you want to do with a drone is compromise your safety, the Mavic 2 Zoom lets you keep the drone at a safe distance and still capture all the action.

Why we fly the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom

While the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom remains one of the best DJI drones on the market, we are hesitant to recommend it due to its age. Launched in 2018, we can’t but expect a new model to launch relatively soon, and we’re seeing nearly as good of camera results from machines half the price. Still worth it if you ignore those external factors, I enjoy flying mine from time to time.

What we like


  • Great camera with 8X zoom
  • Display in remote
  • Good connectivity range
  • Great battery life
  • Large and powerful enough for payloads

What we don’t like


  • Older drone
  • A little expensive for the camera output
  • Heavier drone

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
  • Reliable drone
  • Solid build
  • Powerful zoom on the camera
Great zooming camera

The DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is near identical to the Mavic 2 Pro, the main difference being the camera. The zoom capabilities of the Mavic 2 Zoom are impressive, with a hybrid 4x zoom in total. As great as that is, we wish they would have used the same 1-inch sensor as the Mavic 2 Pro, instead of the 1/2.3-inch sensor that is common in drones these days.


DJI Mavic Air 2: Best balance of camera for price

DJI Mavic Air 2 package

The DJI Mavic Air 2 launched as a machine that broke the rules. It was smaller and less expensive than drones with similar camera capabilities, was able to keep up with great battery life and enough power to scoot along at higher speeds. Plus, it offered a new remote control.

The Air 2 was a leading recommendation for hobby pilots, all the way up until the Mavic Mini and the Air 2S launched. The Air 2 remains a great value, but the Mini and Mini 2 are better suited to beginner pilots, and the Air 2S has a far better camera.

Why we fly the DJI Air 2S

We like the DJI Mavic Air 2, it’s fun and satisfies most of our desires of a hobby camera drone. However, you can get nearly as good of camera results from the less expensive DJI Mini line, and you can get far better camera results from the marginally more expensive Air 2S. We think the Mavic Air 2 is wroth it, but the other drones may better quite your needs.

What we like


  • Solid 4K camera
  • Up to 48MP still images
  • Great flight time
  • Easy to fly
  • Fun

What we don’t like


  • Not as affordable as the Mini for beginners
  • Camera not as good as the Air 2S for the price
  • No display in the remote

DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI Mavic Air 2
  • Great battery life
  • Large camera
  • AirSense transponder
A technological leap in small flying cameras.

Mavic Air 2 takes power and portability to the next level, offering advanced features in a compact form factor. Intelligent shooting functions and excellent image quality put aerial masterpieces within reach. Safer, smarter flight enables you to up your game while fully enjoying the creative process.


DJI Mavic Mini: Very affordable 2.7K drone

DJI Mavic Mini review side logo and remote top

The DJI Mavic Mini is the most affordable DJI camera drone. It rocks a stabilized 2.7K camera, which is the best camera in the sky, but more than enough for some fun selfie shots. The drones is small enough to fly in relatively close range, and easy enough to fly for most pilots new and old.

Why we fly the DJI Mavic Mini

The DJI Mavic Mini is one of our favorite drones, we fly ours frequently, as it is quiet and easy to get in the sky. Make no mistake, we prefer the Mini 2 if we are more concerned with camera output or are in an area with more interference, but the original Mavic Mini is becoming our go-to drone to use when we are teaching new pilots to fly.Pros

What we like


  • Weighs less than 250g
  • Easy to fly
  • Affordable

What we don’t like


  • A simple aircraft for pilots that want more
  • Limited range
  • Limited flight time

DJI Mavic Mini
DJI Mavic Mini
  • 249 grams
  • Great 2.7K camera
  • Very portable
The smallest Mavic drone

The DJI Mavic Mini is the best drone to hit the market in 2019. It's no Mavic 2 series drone, but we've seen nothing this good under $500 before.

$ 298 at Amazon
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PowerVision PowerEgg X: Doubles as a smart camcorder

The PowerVision PowerEgg X is a fun aircraft that has been well thought out for your selfie needs. Primarily, the object tracking AI and fast moving camera gimbal make for a fantastic follow-me experience. Best of all, you can remove the propeller arms and mount the fuselage to a tripod, using the drone as a camcorder.

Why we fly the PowerVision PowerEgg X

The PowerEgg X is a fun machine, we enjoy watching the object tracking follow an object around, but we had some difficulties getting it to connect to Android devices. The waterproof shell makes the PowerEgg X one of our favorite machines when the weather isn’t cooperating, however, if wet weather is not in the forecast, we still feel the newer Mavic drones are better for your money.

What we like


  • Waterproof
  • Usable as a camcorder
  • Great follow-me algorithm

What we don’t like


  • Inexperienced drone brand
  • Slightly underperforming camera

PowerVision PowerEgg X
PowerVision PowerEgg X
  • Waterproof drone
  • Works as hand-held Camcorder
  • Good object tracking
Versatile waterproof camcorder drone

The PowerVision PowerEgg X is a camcorder and waterproof drone all in one. Fly in the rain, remove the shell to add some flight time, or just use the AI as a handheld camera.


Phone or drone?

Let’s get a few things out of the way first, primarily, I am about to share my thoughts on camera capabilities. I just want to reaffirm that there are many small drones with cameras that can allow you to take a selfie. It is merely my opinion that the difference between a toy and a tool is dramatic.

As fun as it is to use a flying camera to take shots, I wholeheartedly believe it is important to consider what your purpose is for a drone. Fun toys are one thing, a serious camera is another; these two things rarely cross paths in a single product.

This is where I draw the line between toy and tool, folks, and if you have been using smartphones over the years, what I am about to say should make perfect sense. The best drone cameras on drones under ~$1000 are on par with the cameras in better phones on the market today. In some cases, we’re talking about the same internal sensors, actually.

If you think of a $1000 drone like a flagship smartphone, you can appreciate that a $500 drone is still going to be good, but not the best. A $100 drone is going to be, likely, not a great camera experience. Not trying to up-sell you on anything. I just thought it fair to point out that drones are a young and hot market, that manufacturers are still learning how to make better products – many are throwing their hat in the ring without much experience.

My point is simple, we are about to lay out some of the best selfie drones, but none are going to be better than a smartphone of the same price. If you are looking to have fun flying, please be prepared to spend a little more if you also want great shots.

Important consideration: Image stabilization

The absolute most important thing you are going to want on your selfie drone is image stabilization. Once airborne, even the absolute best drones wobble in the air. Image stabilization is the tool that makes for great photos and video.

If you are not sure what image stabilization is, I won’t explain it all, but a combination of hardware and software is used to keep your image steady. Flexible parts and motorized leveling arms work on the outside, while software uses cropping or other techniques to compensate for the jolt of rapid movements.

Related: Tour of the DJI booth at CES 2017 using the Osmo Mobile Silver

Bottom line, a fixed camera will never produce the same quality as a camera affixed to a Gimbal. However, you may not need the very best, check out the options, there might just be a lower cost unit that does exactly what you need.

Final thoughts

DJI Matrice 600 Pro camera drone

I want to express a thought before you dive into the camera drones below, well, that was sort of it, actually. Many of the top quadcopters on the market today are highly capable at hovering in place and offering up great photos, so what makes a selfie drone so special? Bottom line, the best images from the sky come from the drones with the best image stabilization.

Larger drones offer many flight assist features, including larger batteries, redundant flight controllers, and a multitude of positioning and collision prevention sensors. Most of the drones on our list today lack in these departments, mostly just to limit the size of the unit. The DJI Mavic Pro, which was at the top of this list when we first published it, was one of the smallest drones to include the best flight features DJI could muster at the time. Those flight features were what made the drone great for capturing images from the sky.

Bottom line, camera stabilization is the most important tool for capturing great aerial photos

This is not a written rule, it is entirely possible that smaller drones pack just as many safety and flight features as machines like the Mavic Pro. Certainly, the Mavic Mini and Mini 2 do a great job, but they are only marginally smaller airframes. Which is why we will simply say that the best selfie drone is going to be the best camera drone with the form factor you can handle.

Please do remember that the best selfie drone, in terms of image quality, is not going to be one of the compact flying machines that can fit in your pocket. However, because the little machines can fit in your pocket, or close to, they do offer a unique experience, and may just be the best machine for your needs.

If nothing else, one of the pocketable drones on our list today should perform about as well as your smartphone.


Frequently Asked Questions

Do people really take selfies with drones?

The majority of pilots I know do not care about snapping photos of themselves. Truth told, many pilots go out of their way to not get into their own drone footage. That said, there is nothing quite like a drone photo of a family gathering, a wedding party or other crowd, whether posed or candid. Growing up, my school took a full school photo every year. It was a smaller school of about 300 students, so the photographer would get onto the roof of the building and we’d all pile into the school yard. A drone could have changed the game in a big way.

On an individual ‘selfie’ scale, we find that most want an action cam to follow them while they do cool stuff. In that regard, the higher-end camera drones are the answer, DJI is pretty good, but Skydio has gone all in on the follow-me mode. As far as taking a legit still-photo selfie, it’s really hard to compete with smartphones right now.

Can I make my phone fly?

Now we’re talking! Yes, and no. There are plenty of drones that are capable of lifting your phone into the sky, a basic mount can make it secure, and a Bluetooth trigger or gesture control can make the phone actually take the photos.

As far as carrying a super small and easy propeller set to just attach to your phone, things get more difficult.

The kind of power needed to lift the average smartphone would require a battery nearly as heavy as your phone as is, at least if you want to get more than a few seconds of flight time. The propellers needed for that much lift would be nearly as long as the phone as well, meaning you’d need to attach propeller arms, adding more weight and bulk.

Making your phone fly is not hard, making it happen in a convenient way that you’d actually take the bits with you on your daily travels… not likely.

Are small selfie drones exempt from drone flight laws?

Sorry, no. The FAA requires registration for any drone that weighs 0.55 lbs (250 grams) or more, and all drones are subject to all flight laws, even if only a few feet off the ground.

The same concepts apply for the Remote ID requirements. Perhaps, think of this like taking a bicycle onto a roadway, you may or may not need to register and license a bicycle, but you best follow the rules of the road, else you’ll be risking lives, and may face fines for unsafe actions.


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