- Skill Level
Posted on March 16, 2016
This is a question we hear a lot and I am hoping to give you some insight into some good options out there and ultimately what we recommend for you. We map out a few options for GoPro Quadcopters that will work best for all skill levels. Just so you know, GoPros are great on quadcopters but the industry is moving towards all in one systems that already have great cameras attached. That being said, we listed the best current options for you!
First let's recognize that there are different schools of thought on if you should buy a ready to fly quadcopter with GoPro or go ahead and try to build your own. Most hobbyists will tell you to go out and build your own quadcopter GoPro as it will most likely be cheaper and you can really get the performance you are looking for. There are plenty of arguments for going this route and we would recommend it if you are really looking to save money and learn quadcopters from the ground up. The other side of the coin is to buy a quadcopter with go pro that is already ready to fly. The benefits of these are they get you up in the air fast and have really easily replaceable parts. For this post we are going to focus on the ready to fly versions as we hope to cater to a more novice audience.
So where do we start when looking for a new quadcopter for your GoPro? First let's look at some important terminology of quadcopters to determine exactly what you want for filming and flying.
RTF - Ready to Fly. Exactly as it says, these quadcopters will come with everything that you need to fly from the transmitter to the batteries, these will come with it all. Our recommendations will be these types of quads.
BNF - Bind-n-Fly. Most likely you will wonder why quadcopters on eBay are cheaper when they have this in the title - It's because they don't come with the controller. For these quads you must already have a controller or transmitter that you can "bind" to the quadcopter. For beginners we don't recommend this until you have a controller that you really like.
FPV - First Person View. These quads have a live video feed that will display on your controller so you can "see" as the quadcopter does. Great thing about this feature is you can get outside a direct line of sight for the quadcopter and also know exactly what the camera is seeing.
Gimbal - This is a little piece of machinery that stabilizes your GoPro on the quadcopter. Very essential if you want to have a perfectly smooth video but not necessary. Some quads come with it and some you would need to purchase separately.
GPS - Global Positioning System. Quadcopters that have this are smart enough to know where they are. This can be very helpful with controlling them as well as making them come back to you if you lose them.
Great, now that we got the basic terminology out of the way let's take a look at some options!
DJI Phantom 2 >> Check Current Price
This is the gold standard of quadcopters and has been around since 2014. With a flight time of around 20 minutes this is a great quadcopter GoPro. There are different variations of this model that you can purchase. For a bit higher price point you can get the Phantom 2 Vision+ which actually comes with a great camera included. With this Vision+ version you don't actually need a GoPro as it comes with a high definition FV camera with recording capabilities. If you do not want the FPV version you can get the version that comes with a Zenmuse H3-2D Gimbal which allows you to attach your GoPro to it for super smooth camera shots. While you won't have FPV capabilities with the Gimbal, you will have an awesome platform for which to attach your GoPro. The Phantom 2 is the only quadcopter from DJI that allows you to mount a GoPro to it. The newest versions - Inspire 1, Phantom 3, and Phantom 4 all only come with pre installed cameras.
3DR Solo Drone Quadcopter >> Check Current Price
3DR is a great company out of the Bay Area in California. They have been working on drones for quite a while and this 3DR Solo Drone is a great purchase if you are looking for something with a long battery life and a great gimbal for your GoPro. It pretty much comes with all the features you would want for a quadcopter that is going to carry your GoPro and compares well to the DJI Phantom 2. Between the 2 it really comes down to personal preference.
With the quads listed above, you really can't go wrong. Both are in that mid size range that will be plenty capable to carry your GoPro. It really comes down to if you want FPV and how stable you want your video to be when you fly. Make sure to check out the videos to get a better idea of how each of these machines fly.
PLEASE remember to start small with something like our Hubsan X4 to really learn how to control these things. They are unlike anything else you have controlled before and we highly recommend you start on something that is less expensive to crash. Get more beginner advice from our guide HERE.
So, what quadcopter GoPro do we recommend?
1. DJI Phantom 2
2. 3DR Solo Drone
3. Yuneec Typhoon
4. Blade 350qx
5. Walkera x350
We recommend the DJI Phantom 2 as it is the best in class for the mid sized quadcopter GoPro. While a bit more on the expensive side, it does come with plenty of benefits as it is the standard for all ready-to-fly quadcopters. The best thing is the community around this device. Any questions that you have, someone will be able to answer and you are sure to find everything you need online. This is huge when it comes to quadcopters as there are always plenty of questions when starting out. DJI also has a reputation for a bit better customer service than 3DR at the moment.
Regardless of what you go for, we hope that this post gave you a good overview of three solid ready-to-fly quadcopters for your GoPro. Feel free to give us your thoughts in the comment section as we would love to hear of more options if you know of some. Thanks again and come back every week for more insight!
-Ready Quadcopters Team
The Blade 350 QX & Walkera QR X350 are older models from 2014 that we hesitate to recommend at this point but wanted to keep the information if you are curious. They are both still available for a cheaper price point.
This is another great platform for mounting your GoPro. While it is a bit inferior to the Phantom in terms of battery life, it makes up with price point. You will be looking at a few hundred dollars less for this quad but will need to purchase a gimbal separately. It has some great features like a super beginner mode where the quad actually knows what direction you are standing and the controls will work relative you. The one thing this quad doesn't allow for is live video feed from your GoPro as it can mess with the controls, so just be aware of that when making a decision. See more in the review below on how that works! Purchase here.
Another great quadcopter from a company that has been at this for a while. You will get between 10-15 minutes of flight time with this bad boy. From our friends at HobbyKing, "There are flight modes for every type of flyer, from the cinematographer capturing a sunset with the optional GoPro mount utilizing the smooth stabilized flight mode with GPS and altitude holding or a beginner that gets a little disorientated utilizing the “One Key to Home” feature." This seems like a really solid choice and the price is right for what you get. The other thing this copter allows you to do is fly FPV from your GoPro so you will be able to see what the GoPro does. Some people like this and some don't as sometimes there can be a lag with the video feed. Do some research and see what makes the most sense for you! Check out the review on the video below and purchase here.