Best 4K drones for beginners

Best 4k Drones for Beginners Under $1000 (2024)

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In this article, we review the 6 best 4k camera drones for beginners under $1000. Looking at everything from video resolution and flight time to features and pricing.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced flyer we’re certain there’s one that best matches your needs. Don’t worry we’ve got you covered!

As a beginner, there are a few factors that you should consider when making your choice. So if you’re itching to get in the air then read on…

Picking The Right Drone For Beginners

Firstly, it’s important to consider a few quick things when choosing your first drone:

  • Am I using it for fun or business?
  • What are my video resolution requirements? 1080P, 2.7K, 4K or 8K?
  • Will I need smart features such as obstacle avoidance, return to home or auto-follow?
  • Do I need a 2 or 3-axis gimbal?
  • Do I want to avoid a flying license by getting a drone that weighs under 250g?

This leads to another important point. Depending on your region, drones weighing under 250g allow you to fly without special permission. It’s good to be aware of restricted airspaces such as airports and public spaces.

Also, check out the FAA website (Federal Aviation Administration) for further details. Now let’s get on to the fun stuff!

1. DJI Mavic Air 2

  • Camera: 1/2-inch CMOS sensor
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Video Resolution: 4k, 2.7k & HD
  • Size (Folded): 180×79×84mm
  • Weight: 570g
  • Range: 18.5 km
  • Flight Time: 34 minutes
  • Storage: MicroSD (256 GB)

First, we’re going to cover a few options from a company that’s been driving the field forward, DJI.

When looking at drones for beginners, the Mavic Air 2 packs a serious punch that gives great results at the click of a button. With smart features such as Active Track 4.0. and Spotlight 2.0, you can lock on a fixed or moving subject while flying freely.

Also, you can capture high-resolution hyperlapses with its 48MP camera. Export next-level content in 8k. Yes, you read that right, 8k! If you haven’t seen one before then you’re missing out.

Want to fly over an ocean? Go for it! This little guy is one of the most stable drones and can transmit video up to 10km. Also, with an extended flight time of 34 minutes it gives you lots of time to play and try different shots.

In short, this 4K camera drone is very impressive and if you decide to buy it you can rest assured that you’ve gone for one of the best drones for under $1000.

✔ Smart Features: Active tracking✘ Over 250g
✔ 48mp camera 
✔ 8K hyperlapses 
✔ 240 FPS at 1080p 
✔ 8GB internal storage 

2. DJI Mini 3 Pro 4K Camera Drone

  • Camera: 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor
  • Aperture: f/1.7
  • Video Resolution: 4k. 2.7k & HD
  • Size (Folded): 145×90×62mm
  • Weight: 249g
  • Range: 8-12km
  • Flight Time: 34 minutes
  • Storage: MicroSD (512 GB)

Next on our list is the DJI Mini Pro 3. Another one of our favorite 4k camera drones under $1000 that’s perfect for beginners and here’s why…

Firstly, with the MasterShots feature, you can get all the wide shots you need. Wait just a few minutes and the drone will automatically track a subject, film different angles, and then cut all the shots together into a sequence. No editing required.

Secondly, the Mini Pro 3 can capture true vertical shots by rotating the camera and filming in portrait. This makes it ideal for social media.

Thirdly, most people starting out want to push the limits. As a result, any drones used by beginners should always have obstacle sensing. Luckily, the Mini Pro 3 has you covered with its 6 sensors offering the best chance of your drone’s survival.

Lastly, if you travel, leave that extra camera bag at home. This little guy folds up into a compact size smaller than your phone. 👌

Keep in mind, it has a fixed aperture of f/1.7. This is great for low light, however, you’ll need neutral density (ND) filters to make sure you capture all the details of a brighter setting. Check out our article on drone accessories.

✔ Super portable, very light✘ SD slot port hard to access
✔ Packed with smart Features✘ Fixed aperture – need ND filters
✔ Captures vertical shots 
✔ Under 250g 

3. DJI FPV Combo

  • Camera: 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Video Resolutions: 4k & HD
  • Size: 255×312×127 mm
  • Weight: 795g
  • Range: 10 km
  • Flight Time: 20 minutes
  • Storage: MicroSD (256 GB)

Next on our list of 4k camera drones, is DJI’s worst-kept secret, the FPV Combo. This is one of the most fun drones for under $1000. The tech is really entering an era of science fiction.

If you love playing first-person games, it’s time to strap in. This package comes with goggles that put you right in the pilot seat. Race through the sky at 39 m/s. Incredible!

This rocket-fast drone is equipped with features to increase survival like an emergency brake, obstacle sensing, and easily replaceable parts. These are all must haves when looking for a drone for beginners.

To sum up, it’s really a hybrid between a Mavic and a racing drone. But if you want cinematic shots, you’re better off getting a Mavic because shots are not always balanced (as the camera tilts with the drone).

✔ Very fast✘ Single axis stabilizer
✔ Fun✘ Over 250g
✔ Goggles included✘ No internal storage
✔ Connect video for audience viewing 

 Also, for an small extra cost, you can use the intuitive DJI motion controller.

4. Autel Robotics EVO Nano + 4K Camera Drone

  • Camera: 1/1.28-inch CMOS sensor
  • Aperture: f/1.9
  • Video Resolution: 4k. 2.7k & HD
  • Size (Folded): 142×94×55mm
  • Weight: 249g
  • Range: 10km
  • Flight Time: 28 minutes
  • Storage: MicroSD (256 GB)

Now, let’s look at other drones for beginners on the market. Autel is one of the biggest competitors to DJI and for good reason. They not only drive innovation but keep the price of 4k camera drones super low.

Whether you have experience or are completely new to flying drones the EVO Nano can produce great results. Firstly, it stands out with its .08-inch CMOS sensor and ability to take 50MP photos which is pretty impressive. We particularly liked its 16x digital zoom and aerial portrait mode.

Secondly, this unique drone can be controlled from a distance of a whopping 999m which is one of the furthest on the list.

Finally, we think it’s one of the best drones for beginners under $1000 due to the sheer amount of features included. With preset flight features like Rocket, Fade Away, Orbit, and Flick you can capture cinematic shots at the click of a button.

Also, you can worry less with its obstacle avoidance and 6 watchful sensors for protection. 👍

✔ Hight Max Bit Rate: 199mbps✘ Warranty protection is picky
✔ 50mp photos✘ Poor customer service
✔ Under 250g 
✔ Great range 

5. Parrot PF728000 ANAFI Drone

  • Camera: 1/2.4-inch CMOS sensor
  • Aperture: f/2.4
  • Video Resolution: 4k & HD
  • Size (Folded): 244x67x65mm
  • Weight: 320g
  • Range: 4km
  • Flight Time: 25 minutes
  • Storage: MicroSD (128 GB)

Next on our list of drones for beginners is a brand we see more and more – Parrot. The PF728000 ANAFI is significantly cheaper than other 4k camera drones for under $1000 but also comes with many great features.

For example, you have the ability to shoot 4k with an f2.4 lens at 100/Mbps. You can even tilt up the camera 90 degrees, which is pretty unique.

Next, the Parrot is super quiet. This means you can avoid bothering neighbors or people walking about, even at a top speed of 55kph.

Worried about wrecking your drone right off the bat? No problem with this drone you can rely on a safety bubble called geofencing. In addition to this, if you lose sight or signal, the Return To Home (RTH) feature can save the day.

One final thing to consider, this drone is marketed as a 3-axis gimbal. As a result, the pan relies on image stabilization. So when you whip left and right fast, there is a slight stutter to the footage.

✔ 100Mbps video bitrate✘ No service after warrant expiration
✔ 90 degrees camera angle✘ Technically 2-axis gimbal
✔ Charge with USB-C Cable✘ Over 250g

6. Holy Stone HS720G 4K Camera Drone

  • Camera: FOV 120°
  • Video Resolution: 4k & HD
  • Size (Folded): 164x90x63mm
  • Weight: 377g
  • Range: 999m
  • Flight Time: 26 minutes
  • Storage: TransFlash (128 GB)

The final choice on our list of 4k camera drones for beginners is from Holy Stone. This is one of the least expensive drones under $1000 but is still packed with some great features.

The Holy Stone HS720G includes many auto-flying features such as Follow Me, Tap Fly, Point of Interest, Emergency Stop and RTH. Being a drone pilot has never been this easy.

Also, despite being the cheapest 4K camera drone, it has a powerful GPS module with strong 5G transmission up to 1km. It records video at 4k 30 FPS but you need to downgrade to 1080p to capture 60fps.

Whilst it only has a 2-Axis gimbal, don’t let that stop you. So if you’re not an experienced drone pilot, this might be the entry-level drone for you.

✔ 4k for under $300✘ Over 250g
✔ Strong GPS✘ You need to register with FAA
✔ Return To Home (RTH) ✘ 2-axis gimbal

Best Drones for Beginners – Wrapping Up

In short, you don’t need flying experience or a large budget to get a bird’s-eye view. Shots that used to cost a fortune are now available at your fingertips with these drones for under $1000.

As a beginner, you could spend a lifetime comparing drones but it’s best to keep it simple and start somewhere. Our advice is to briefly compare features that best match your needs and then just pick one.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time for you to become an aerial filmmaker where possibilities are limitless. 😉

Marcus VanWormer
Marcus VanWormer
Marcus is a freelance director, cinematographer, and video editor based in Brooklyn. He has a diverse background in film production working with companies like ABC, CBS, Jeep, Harley Davidson, and Levi's. His passion is storytelling. Follow him on Linkedin.
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