Last Updated on February 15, 2022 by Devaun Lennox
Initially, when drones first hit the consumer market in 2016, they were mostly flown outdoors for FPV purposes. But, gradually, the camera technology improved, and so did their hovering precision. So, in time, aerial photography became a real possibility. And today, drones are widely capable photographic machines, easily apt for grabbing high-quality photos.
Selfie drones, a subdivision of camera drones, are one such way of capturing photos. And, in fact, they’re quite a popular use for today’s drones and a viral sensation, of sorts. Today’s selfie drones cram better sensors and processors into ultra-portable form factors. Yet, they’ve made taking photos easier than ever. So gone are the days of whipping out a selfie stick and facing mild scrutiny. Instead, you can capture images with a personal flying photographer with an interesting aerial perspective to help your photos stand apart in style.
But, when it comes to picking the right selfie drone, there are many things to consider. There’s also a lot of knock-off brands recycling generic products in this particular segment. So choosing the right drone that’ll be reliable and providing similar images to your smartphone will be tricky. But, the best selfie drones are ones with solid image quality along with excellent stabilization and aerial performance. And they’ll do so in a manageable form factor, unlikely to weigh you down. With that, we compiled a list of the best selfie drones on the present market. And we’ve also created a brief guide on the relevant factors to consider beforehand.
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5 – FIMI X8 Mini
FIMI’s X8 Mini is a shrunken X8SE, their most popular and best-selling release. And it’s the first real challenger to come to market to face DJI’s Mavic Mini lineup. But, it’s quite the challenger indeed. It features a 1/2.6-inch CMOS sensor and a 26mm lens with 3-axis stabilization, capturing 12MP images. For control, it connects to smartphones via the FIMI NAVI Mini App, rated for a maximum range of 8,000m and 31 minute flight time. But, you can also use the connected smartphone alone to fly this drone via Wi-Fi, albeit at a reduced connectivity range. Even so, it’s a great bonus that makes the entire package more convenient, especially great for capturing fleeting moments.
With the Pro flight battery, the drone comes in at 245g, so you can fly without registration. It also captures RAW (DNG) photos and HDR photos merged in-camera. So, together, you have more creative flexibility if you prefer editing in post-processing. Otherwise, the drone offers two distance sensors and a bottom-facing optical flow sensor, combined with a three-tiered GPS system for excellent accuracy and precise landing, even in class 5 winds of 24 mph. Thus, you can capture great photos despite relatively heavy winds. Or easily capture images indoors, with its rock-steady tripod mode. But, crucially, its key advantage is that it debuts an AI Smart Tracking mode, similar to DJI’s ActiveTrack 3. Here, the X8 Mini can confidently track subjects as they move about the frame. And it’s also one of the first drones offering live streaming support from the flight app to boast. Other bonuses include replacement propellers, intelligent flight modes, HDR video, time-lapse, a 3x zoom, panorama, and the Night Mode.
Overall, FIMI’s X8 Mini obtains similar high-end features to its bigger brother. Yet, it does so in a much smaller and lighter body, making it far superior for traveling creators.
4 – PowerVision PowerEgg X
PowerVision’s PowerEgg X is their second PowerEgg model. And it comes to market to solve an interesting problem, especially for those looking for something more versatile. It features a 1/2.8-inch CMOS sensor and a 27mm lens with 3-axis stabilization, capturing 12MP images. For control, it connects to smartphones via the Vision+ 2 app, rated for a 6,000m and 30 minute flight time.
The drone itself weighs 862g, so it will require registration. But, while not as portable as rivals, it makes up for portability with endless versatility instead. In this case, it boasts a modular design that’s not only a drone but also converts into a handheld camcorder or a remote autonomous camera when mounted on a tripod. Merely remove the detachable propellers, fold them away, and convert the drone as needed. Either way, though, you can take advantage of its advanced AI tracking functionality, 3.5 hours of battery life, and excellent stabilization. It even features a built-in microphone, letting you capture audio too. As such, it’s a great option for air selfies but also for vlogging solo adventures, and it opens a wide range of creative possibilities. But, crucially, you can also opt for the optional Wizard package, equipping the drone with a water-sealed housing and landing floats. There you can fly in the rain or snow and land it virtually anywhere. And this becomes another key selling point over rivals who cower in fear from even a mild sprinkle by contrast. Other bonuses include replacement propellers, QuickShots, RAW photos, and time-lapse.
Overall, PowerVision’s PowerEgg X is an exciting release that competes favorably in a market dominated by drones defeated by inclement weather. And it’s a solid option for those wanting more versatility and a comprehensive solution, rain or shine.
3 – Parrot Anafi
Parrot’s Anafi offers quite an interesting feature set compared to rivals. It features a 1/2.4-inch CMOS sensor and a 26-78mm lens with 3-axis stabilization, capturing 21MP images. For control, it connects to smartphones via the Freeflight 6 app, rated for 4,000m and 25 minute flight time.
The drone itself weighs 320g, so it will require registration. But, unlike rivals, the Anafi offers a 180º tilting camera, letting it take photos upwards. And it remains a distinct feature in this class that’s perfect for capturing unique below or low-angle shots. It also offers a 2.8x zoom lens, providing a penalty-free zoom to get you closer to the action without losing image quality or risking danger in the process. Yet, crucially, it offers RAW files at a whopping 21MP, which provides a noticeable improvement in fine detail. Other bonuses include replacement propellers, QuickShots, the Dolly Zoom effect, time-lapse, RAW, and HDR video.
Overall, Parrot’s Anafi is a strong choice for selfies given its excellent Follow Me mode. But, it’ll do so with a unique angle that’s currently unmatched amongst the competition.
2 – DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI’s Mavic Air 2 is a significant improvement over the original Air and a powerful all-rounder. It features a 1/2-inch Bayer sensor and a 24mm lens with 3-axis stabilization, capturing 48MP images. For control, it connects to smartphones via the DJI Fly app, rated for 10,000m and 34 minute flight time.
The drone itself weighs 570g, so it will require registration. Even so, it offers a full complement of obstacle avoidance and landing sensors. This configuration gives the drone advanced autopiloting functionality, so it can automatically reroute to avoid nearby obstacles. As such, it’s an excellent option for casually snapping images while moving about without fearing it’ll crash. But, crucially, it captures 48MP HDR photos. And it does so with a much larger 1/2-inch sensor. Together, it produces images with exceptional detail and better latitude for post-processing, especially in low light. It even obtains the SmartPhoto mode, which uses intelligent scene analysis to optimize contrasting scenes automatically. So its camera rarely struggles in strong lighting conditions. Other bonuses include replacement propellers, QuickShots, HDR video, panorama, time-lapse, and RAW photos.
Overall, DJI’s Mavic Air 2 ups the line with more power. And it’s the ideal option for selfie lovers who want better than average images.
1 – DJI Mavic Mini 2
DJI’s Mavic Mini 2 is a substantial improvement over the original model and continues their domination in this particular segment. It features a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor and a 24mm lens, capturing 12MP photos. For control, it connects to smartphones via the DJI Fly app, rated for 10,000m and 31 minute flight time.
At 249g, the Mini 2 doesn’t require registration. Even so, DJI refined the design of the drone, making it more precise and stable. So much so, it now offers class 5 wind resistance, letting it fly stable even in 24 mph winds. Even so, it also obtains several high-end features from their mid-range lineup. Namely, it receives the full suite of intelligent QuickShot modes, superior transmission technology for low latency connections, and a rock-solid three-tiered GPS system for near-perfect positioning. Yet, it remains pocketable and can easily accompany you tucked in a jacket pocket without hassle. Other bonuses include replacement propellers, HDR, panorama, time-lapse, and RAW photos.
Overall, DJI’s Mavic Mini 2 is the ultimate selfie drone companion. And it obtains a good number of high-end features from the Air lineup without its price, weight, and bulk. And considering it’s performance, reliability, and ease of use, it’s sure to be a hit for this purpose.
What to look for in Selfie Drones:
Below is a list of the most important factors to consider before purchasing a selfie drone.
Image stabilization becomes, arguably, the most crucial factor for this kind of drone. As even the best drones on the market wobble once airborne due to winds. And image stabilization, specifically 3-axis mechanical stabilization, ensures that your photos won’t turn out blurry due to unforeseen winds. And it’s a must if you plan on shooting a long exposure selfie, say to compensate for low light. Without it, the photo will have ghosting and artifacts due to movement. So if you plan on taking selfies outdoors when it’s windy or at night, look for models with a 3-axis mechanical gimbal.
Selfies are rarely planned. So, you’ll want a selfie drone that’s convenient and portable, so it’s not a hassle to carry around. And if you want to take selfies wherever you go, size and weight will become the next biggest consideration. With that, consider models with a folding design, so they collapse to make the entire package more compact. And you’ll also want to consider models below 500g. As you’ll likely find anything over too bulky for frequent outings. Instead, those drones are better served for special occasions where high-end image quality is a must. But, either way, look for drones that offer the portability that fits your workflow.
When it comes to selfie drones, most offer 12-megapixel cameras that produce images slightly below today’s flagship smartphones. So the main thing to consider here is whether you plan on taking photos at night. If you do, it’s best to look for drones with larger 1/2 or 1-inch sensors. Drones with this sensor size will fare far better in this regard. Even so, drones with smaller sensors can still produce excellent social media-worthy images given adequate lighting.
Ease of Use
Not every drone offers a well-designed and intuitive companion app. Some are poorly designed with clunky interfaces that are difficult to navigate. And the features available to each also vary wildly. As such, you’ll want to look for drones that offer well-designed apps that make sense to you. Consider watching videos about the app specifically to ensure the layout and general functionality works.
Ideally, you want a selfie drone with the Follow Me intelligent flight mode. This mode lets the drone activate its subject tracking mode to track you as you move throughout the scene. It’s an excellent bonus feature that’s helpful when you want to capture moving selfies without manually piloting the drone. Otherwise, it’s not a feature many would end up using frequently. So, it’s mostly a bonus in this category, where some models have it, others don’t. However, if you can find it, it’s a separating point between models.