It is a fact that there are not many GoPro compatible drones in the market, and the discontinuation of the Karma drone by GoPro has not improved the situation one bit. One of the reasons is that most drones nowadays come with high-quality cameras already installed. Therefore, it may be unnecessary to add another camera to the drone.
On the other hand, this situation has created a niche in the market for drones that support GoPro cameras. I am going to review a few of these drones in this article.
What You Should Know Before Buying Drone for GoPro
When you go shopping for a drone for your GoPro, there are two main factors to consider. These are design and compatibility. Other features are secondary to how well the drone supports your GoPro. However, they are critical for ensuring that you get the best results when using your GoPro. You can also find my complete buying guide for drones here.
When it comes to design, there are four main types of drones. The most common drones for aerial photography are the Multi-Rotor Drones, which also come with different rotor styles for professional work and hobby purposes. These types of drones are easy to manufacture, which makes them affordable. However, they are also limited in flight time and speed compared to the other types.
The best Multi-Rotor drones for aerial photography are the quadcopter drones, which feature four rotors in an X-shape design. Quadcopters are the most popular because they are easier to fly and to stabilize in the air more than any other model.
Other design features to consider include GPS, which helps your drone to return you when it loses its controller signal and also helps it to maintain altitude. GPS also allows you to design a flight path and to retrieve the drone’s flight log. It also assists you in finding your drone when it crashes.
Some drones feature obstacle sensors that help the drone avoid crashing into objects. Autonomous camera modes such as Follow Me, Selfie Drone features, and Smart Shots allow you to take high-quality complex shots.
Compatibility means that you can integrate your GoPro with the drone’s controller and use the drone’s in-flight features such as FPV and WiFi. There are not many drones that provide that level of compatibility. However, the 3DR Solo Drone is one such drone, and it is the only drone in the market that allows HD live streaming from your GoPro to your smartphone. The DJI Phantom 2 comes with a GoPro compatible gimbal but does not integrate with the in-flight features.
The type of mount or gimbal that comes with the drone is also a critical factor to consider. Most GoPro drones feature mounts that support Hero 3 and Hero 4 GoPro models. The Bugs 3 drone is unique because it supports all GoPro models on its mount. The DJI and 3DR Solo drones provide 3-axis gimbals, which offer better stability and flexibility for aerial photography than mounts.
Size and weight are critical factors when you are looking for a GoPro drone. It is easier to carry a lightweight drone for all your outdoor activities, but on the other hand, it is much harder to stabilize a lightweight drone against the wind than a heavier one. You will also need to consider the drone’s payload because the GoPro camera will add extra weight to the drone. It may also slow down the speed of the drone and also wear out the battery faster.
Flight Range and Time
Having a longer flight time and control range gives you greater flexibility to work on your aerial photography. Most drones have an average flight time of 22 minutes, while premium-quality drones such as DJI Mavic Air 2 will give you a fantastic flight time of 34 minutes.
At the same time, it is equally essential to consider how long it takes to charge the batteries. The Mavic Air 2 gives you a battery charging time of 55 minutes compared to the Bugs 3 drone with a charging time of six hours. Therefore, the Mavic Air 2 will give you more productive time, especially if you have extra batteries, than the Bugs 3 drone.
The maximum control range defines the distance from which you can have control of the drone. The average control range is about 2500 feet for most drones. However, you will notice that the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone features an impressive range of 10 kilometers.
There are two types of controller modes available. In Mode 1, the left stick controls the pitch while the right controls the throttle, while in Mode 2, the controller works vice versa. Most drones use Mode 2, while the more advanced drones allow you to use your smartphone as the controller.
What’s the Best Drone for GoPro?
The primary objective is to get a drone compatible with your GoPro model, and I’ve rounded up five of the best drones you can buy to help you with that. In the end, your choice will depend on the drone’s performance and how well it supports your GoPro. I’ve also included a FAQ section that gives you more information about GoPro drones.
Weight: 1.3 lb (0.6 kg)
Size: 8.7 x 8.7 x 6.1 in (22 x 22 x 15.5 cm)
Flight Time:: 22 Minutes
Charging Time:: 44323 Hours
Max Control Range:: 3280 Feet
I begin my reviews with the HS700D drone from Holy Stone, and it is also my top choice for the best drone GoPro. It is a reasonably priced, mid-range drone that comes with lots of excellent features to help you get the best shots. The drone comes with a high performance 4K camera, which you can interchange with the Hero2, Hero3, and Hero4 GoPro models.
The HS700D drone comes with Intelligent Flight Assistance features that allow the drone to return home automatically when it loses connection or when the battery is low. The Auto Return is a fantastic GPS feature for beginners because if you accidentally fly your drone out of range, you can be sure that it will find its way back to you. The drone’s Custom Flight Path feature allows you to design a flight path for complex sequence shots.
Another feature that many users like is the 5G FPV live video transmission. It gives you high-quality real-time videos from up to 3280 feet away. On the downside, this feature is not compatible with your GoPro camera, so it is only useful if you utilize the onboard camera. The drone also doesn’t come with a gimbal to stabilize your GoPro camera, but it only features a camera mount. However, the smart flight assistance features highlighted above will help you focus on controlling your camera to get clear shots.
- Supports Hero2, Hero3, and Hero4 GoPro models,
- Brushless motors deliver quiet performance,
- GPS intelligent flight assistance,
- Longer flight time of 22 minutes,
- Excellent customer support from Holy Stone
- It does not include a stabilizing and self-adjusting gimbal,
- Smart flight features do not integrate with GoPro cameras,
- Batteries take 5-7 hours to charge
Weight: 3.1 lb (1.4 kg)
Size: 16.4 x 16.4 x 5.9 in (41.7 x 41.7 x 15 cm)
Flight Time:: 15-20 Minutes
Charging Time:: 6.6 Hours
Max Control Range:: 1640 Feet
The Bugs 3 is the most budget-friendly GoPro drone on my list. Although it is cheap to buy, it is of surprisingly good quality, easy to use for beginners, and supports all the GoPro models. It also does not come with smart flight features like GPS and WIFi, but it still delivers stable flights due to its extra weight and its 6-axis gyroscope. These features allow the drone to handle wind better than other drones in its class, which gives you clear camera footage.
One thing to note is that the Bugs 3 does not come with a camera, but it does feature a GoPro compatible mount. The drone also features a powerful brushless motor that allows it to move quickly for fast action shots. It has LED lights for night flying, which I think is a nice touch. The drone comes with a 1800mah battery that delivers at least 15 minutes of flight time in full throttle. As great as this drone is, some users have reported losing control of their drones while flying, which led to a complete loss of their equipment.
- High-quality, affordable drone,
- Powerful and fast brushless motor,
- Compatible with all GoPro models,
- Excellent flight stability performance,
- Low power and signal alerts,
- Great for newbies and pros alike
- The drone comes with just the basic features,
- Issues with syncing the remote controller with the drone
Weight: 1.3 lb (0.6 kg)
Size: 7.4 x 3.8 x 3.3 in (18.8 x 9.7 x 8.4 cm)
Flight Time:: 34 Minutes
Charging Time:: 55 Minutes
Max Control Range:: 32800 Feet
The Mavic Air 2 is a high-performance drone that comes with premium features to take your aerial photography to the next level. Although this drone is at the high end of the spectrum, it is one of the easiest drones to use for newbies and one of the best for professional work.
The Mavic Air 2 features a high-performance camera that delivers 48MP photos and 4K/ 60fps video resolution and includes smart functions that make the photography and video sessions super easy to execute. The drone comes with a 3-axis gimbal to stabilize the camera while giving you a dynamic range of video shots. However, you will need to fix the Mavic Air 2 mount to use your GoPro, which you can buy separately.
Other premium features include the impressive 34-minute flight time and the lithium-ion batteries that take only 55 minutes to charge. I also like that you can get HD live stream transmission with its onboard camera from an impressive distance of 6.2 miles. The drone also comes with an obstacle sensor, which helps to keep your drone from crashing onto obstacles in flight.
- Impressive 34-minute flight time,
- Short 55-minute battery charging time,
- Low noise and power-efficient propellers,
- Foldable and lightweight design for easy portability,
- Easy to use for newbies and pros alike
- It needs a separate gimbal for GoPro,
Weight: 4 lb (1.8 kg)
Size: 16.7 x 16.3 x 9.1 in (42.4 x 41.4 x 23.1 cm)
Flight Time:: 20-25 Minutes
Charging Time:: 1.5 Hours
Max Control Range:: 2625 Feet
Like the Bugs 3 drone above, the 3DR Solo quadcopter does not feature an in-built camera. However, it offers a better advantage than the Bugs 3 drone by enabling in-flight access for your GoPro camera. The drone comes with a 3-axis gimbal for GoPro Hero 3, Hero 3+, and Hero 4 models, but you can buy the gimbal separately here if you decide to get the Basic Quadcopter Package. The Bundle Quadcopter Package offers better value because it comes with the gimbal, battery, and eight replacement propellers.
Another advantage is the drone’s intelligent flight support, which helps deliver impressive aerial shots and videos. These include smart features like Smart Shots for crystal clear footage, Cable Cam, Follow Me, and Selfie features. It is also the only drone in the market that offers wireless HD video live stream from the GoPro to your mobile device at a range of up to 800 meters.
The drone also comes with a video game-style controller that many users find easy to use. The controller features a smartphone mount with an HDMI port to connect your smartphone device for FPV flying.
- Allows seamless in-flight compatibility with GoPro,
- Features a variety of smart flight modes,
- Streams wireless HD videos from GoPro to your smartphone,
- Smooth flying that delivers high-quality footage
- Poor customer support service,
- Only compatible with Hero 3 and Hero 4 models
Weight: 3.1 lb (1.4 kg)
Size: 15.5 x 14 x 8 in (39.4 x 35.6 x 20.3 cm)
Flight Time:: 20-25 Minutes
Charging Time:: 1.5 Hours
Max Control Range:: 1000 Feet
Finishing up my list is the Phantom 2 quadcopter from DJI. Unlike the Mavic Air 2, this model is significantly more affordable, and it comes attached with a 3-axis gimbal specifically for GoPro Hero 4 Black and Silver. If you have the Hero 3 and Hero 3+ GoPro models, you can get a separate H3-3D gimbal here.
This drone is in its second version, and it features a new remote controller with a rechargeable battery and a gimbal tilt control. It also features a larger battery with a longer flight time, upgraded motors, and propellers for more power.
The Phantom 2 drone comes with a 1080p FHD camera that provides live streaming up to a range of 980 feet. On its own, the camera provides excellent quality footage and comes with a variety of smart features and compatibility with 46mm lens filters. Other features I like include the GPS feature and the easy setup out of the box.
- Includes an H4-3D gimbal for GoPro Hero 4,
- Smooth and stable control for clear footage,
- Easy to set up and use for newbies,
- Quick battery charging time
- Some users have had issues with charging their batteries
As you will notice, all the drones featured on my list all offer certain advantages in supporting your GoPro. However, I found Holy Stone HS700D drone to be the best because it provides the best balance between price, compatibility, and quality. It has a significant number of positive ratings from users, it is lightweight for easy portability, and has a fantastic control range of 3280 feet.
Questions and Answers About Drone for GoPro
What is a GoPro camera?
GoPros are compact action cameras designed to capture high-quality photos and video in extreme conditions. They are popular with outdoor adventurers and extreme athletes because they feature a waterproof, rugged construction with a simple interface. The camera’s most defining features include its wide-angle lens that allows the users to take in more detail in their shots and its dynamic mobile application that allows its users to share their photos and videos on social media easily.
Can you use a GoPro camera on any drone?
No all drones in the market are compatible or can support GoPro cameras. There are a few available, and they come with additional mounts or gimbals to fit the GoPro. Compatible drones allow integration of the camera with the drone’s control system, while supportive drones only provide the structure to carry the GoPro camera.
Are GoPro cameras better than in-built cameras?
GoPro cameras have certain advantages over the in-built cameras in the footage quality that you will get. For example, GoPro cameras have a wider angle, which captures more details compared to in-built cameras. It is also easier to upgrade your GoPro camera than the in-built camera. The GoPro also has a more rugged construction, which gives it more durability.
On the other hand, it is more complicated to integrate a GoPro camera with the drone than to set up the in-built camera.
What are the advantages of GoPro drones?
The GoPro camera is, in many ways, a more advanced camera than most drone cameras. It then becomes a good idea to pair them up to get professional quality work. It may also be more cost-effective to use your GoPro than to get a premium quality drone with a professional standard camera.
Another advantage is that it is much easier to upgrade your GoPro camera than to upgrade an entire drone for its camera. Pairing up a GoPro camera with a drone is a choice that many professional and amateur photographers have taken in the course of their work.
Who should get a GoPro drone?
GoPro drones are perfect for aerial photography, especially where the photographer needs a wide-angle lens to capture more details. They are also great for outdoor activities that require action cameras.
Why did GoPro stop making drones?
GoPro discontinued its Karma drone in 2018 due to a technical glitch that prevented the drone from starting up. Karma was the company’s first and only foray into the drone market and was not well received by the market.