In recent years, drones have revolutionised photography, bringing a whole new perspective to the art. However, not everyone has a hefty budget to invest in high-end drones. Thankfully, the market is now flooded with cheap drones for photography that don’t compromise on quality. In this guide, we will explore the best cheap drones for photography available in 2023, helping you capture breathtaking aerial shots without breaking the bank.

What Is The Best Cheap Drone For Photography?

When it comes to affordable drones that don’t compromise on the quality of photography, the DJI Mini 3 Pro stands out in the market. This drone is equipped with advanced features, designed to assist both novices and seasoned photographers in capturing stunning photos and videos.

Although it sits at the higher end of the affordable price range, its price point is justified, given the advanced functionalities it brings to the table. It’s engineered to be user-friendly, allowing individuals who aren’t professionals to still achieve amazing results with ease.

But it’s important to note that while it offers advanced features, it does carry a higher price tag within the budget category. Therefore, it’s advised to assess whether its high-end features align with your budgetary constraints before making a purchase.

The good news is, the market is packed with more cheap alternatives that still offer a great performance in aerial photography. So, you have great options to choose a drone that fits both your needs and your budget, ensuring you find the perfect tool to elevate your photography journey.

Best Cheap Drones For Photography

1. DJI Mini 3 Pro

best cheap drones for photography

The DJI Mini 3 Pro is the best sub-250g drone on the market right now, and it comes with many advanced features.

As one of the best cheap drones for photography, it blends affordability with high-end features, making it a popular drone among both beginners and experienced photographers. Its lightweight design doesn’t compromise on its capabilities, ensuring that users get some of the best features a drone can offer.

The drone’s compactness is a testament to DJI’s commitment to innovation, ensuring that users don’t have to sacrifice portability for quality. Its advanced sensing systems, combined with extended flight times and an intuitive controller, make it a standout in the market.

The main feature of the DJI Mini 3 Pro is its camera, which stands out as the best budget drone for aerial photography with its 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor, capable of delivering high-resolution 48MP images.

It supports a wide range of photography modes, from individual snapshots to detailed panoramas, and supports RAW and JPEG formats.

For video recording, the camera can record 4K at 60fps and slow-motion videos at 1080p at 120fps. It has a maximum recording rate of 150Mbps and supports both H.264 and H.265 codecs.

A compelling feature of this drone, especially for social media content creators, is its intelligent video recording modes. Features such as Mastershots, Quickshots and Hyperlapse allow users to create amazing videos without any effort.

The drone also comes with a tri-directional obstacle avoidance system, ensuring safer flights by detecting and avoiding obstacles in its path.

It has one of the longest flight times for a consumer drone at 34 minutes, which can be extended to 47 with an intelligent plus battery.

Overall, the DJI Mini 3 Pro is the best budget drone for photography, offering a perfect blend of advanced features and affordability. It is an ideal choice for those looking to get into drone photography.

Related: DJI Mini 3 Pro Review

Key Features

  • Equipped with a 1/1.3-inch sensor camera capable of shooting 4K videos and capturing 48MP photos.
  • Comes with multiple photography modes, including burst, AEB, Panorama and HDR
  • It offers a maximum flight time of 34 minutes, which extends to 47 minutes, with the intelligent plus battery.
  • Utilises DJI’s O3 technology to provide a video transmission range of 12km with a quality of up to 1080p 30fps,
  • Includes MasterShots, Hyperlapse, and QuickShots for capturing complex shots with ease.
  • Comes with ActiveTrack 4.0 and Point of Interest 3.0 for automatic tracking and flying around subjects while avoiding obstacles.
  • Comes with a tri-directional obstacle sensing system.

DJI Mini 3 Pro 48MP/12MP Photos

Pros & Cons

  • Lightweight and ultra-portable, great for people on the move
  • Fantastic camera with a large image sensor
  • Supports video recording in H.265
  • Long flight time and video transmission range
  • Autonomous flight modes, including ActiveTrack POI
  • Compatible with third-party apps for additional functionality
  • The obstacle avoidance system is limited
  • Most expensive drone on this list

2. DJI Mini 3

best cheap drones for photography

The DJI Mini 3 is the little brother of the Mini 3 Pro, it comes with many similar features and looks identical, but there are some significant differences.

Firstly, the camera is the same, although the Mini 3 comes with a lower ISO range, and so will not perform as well in low-light environments; that shouldn’t be a problem unless night photography is a priority for you.

The camera is stabilised by a cutting-edge 3-axis gimbal, enabling users to capture vertical videos ideally suited for social media sharing.

The Mini 3 stands out with its impressive flight time of 38 minutes, even exceeding the Mini 3 Pro. With the intelligent plus battery, users can further extend this duration to an amazing 51 minutes.

The drone comes with intelligent features such as Quickshots and automatic return to home; however, features like Mastershots, Hyperlapse and FocusTrack are missing from the Mini 3.

The obstacle avoidance system found on the Mini 3 Pro has also been removed. However, the removal of these features does result in a much cheaper drone, so if you have no use for the more advanced flight features, the Mini 3 is the more affordable option.

Related: DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 3

Key Features

  • It comes with an HD camera with a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor and stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal.
  • Can record images in 12MP/48MP
  • Comes with several photography modes
  • Uses DJI’s OcuSync 2.0, the drone can transmit HD videos from 10km
  • Equipped with Quickshots for effortless video creation
  • Downward vision and infrared sensing systems allow the drone to remain stable even without a GPS signal.
  • Comes with an automatic return to home function.
  • Long flight time of 38 minutes
  • Video transmission range of 10km

Pros & Cons

  • Exceptional flight time
  • 4K camera capable of recording HDR videos
  • True vertical shooting capability
  • Lightweight and compact,
  • perfect for travelling
  • Cheaper than the Mini 3 Pro
  • 5 Quickshots
  • Long video transmission range
  • No obstacle avoidance system
  • Lacks autonomous flight modes

3. Autel Evo Nano Plus

best cheap drones for photography

The Autel Evo Nano Plus is an amazing drone that comes with many exceptional features and is one of the best budget drones on the market.

Photography enthusiasts will appreciate the 1/1.28-inch CMOS sensor, capable of capturing 50 MP photos. This, combined with an RYYB colour filter and a large f/1.9 aperture, ensures crisp images even in low-light scenarios. For videos, the drone records in ultra-sharp 4K at 30fps and is stabilised by a three-axis mechanical gimbal.

With a decent flight time of 28 minutes, users have ample opportunity to get their perfect shots. The drone’s video transmission, powered by Autel SkyLink, is around 9km, allowing users to stream live video footage in 1080p at 30fps.

The camera supports recording in both H.264 and H.265 codecs and has a maximum recording speed of 100Mbps.

Intelligent features like SkyPortrait for automatic photos, Quickshots for one-click video creation, Hyperlapse for time-lapse videos and Dynamic Track 2.1 for subject tracking enhance the user experience.

Key Features

  • It weighs just under 250 grams, making it highly portable and convenient for frequent travellers.
  • Equipped with a 1/1.28-inch CMOS sensor capable of capturing 50 MP photos, ensuring crisp and detailed images.
  • The camera comes with an RYYB filter and a large aperture for superior nighttime performance.
  • Offers ultra-sharp 4K at 30fps video recording capabilities.
  • Provides a good flight time of 28 minutes.
  • Uses the Autel SkyLink for clear video transmission with a range of up to 9km.
  • Intelligent features Includes SkyPortrait for automatic photos and, Dynamic Track 2.1 for precise subject tracking, and Quickshots for one-click video creation.
  • Offers a 3-way obstacle avoidance system, using binocular vision sensors to detect and navigate around obstructions.

Pros & Cons

  • Fantastic camera with a large image sensor
  • RYYB filter
  • Great for nighttime photography
  • Good obstacle avoidance system
  • Smooth video transmission
  • The obstacle avoidance system is not omni-directional
  • Flight time is not the best
  • Lacks waypoint autonomous flight modes

4. DJI Mini 2

best cheap drones for photography

It’s been a few years since the release of the DJI Mini 2, although it still remains one of the best cheap drones for photography.

This was an innovative drone at the time of its release; it was the first sub-250g drone that came with a 4K camera.

The camera, stabilised by a motorised 3-axis gimbal, captures images in 12MP in both RAW and JPEG formats and can record 4K videos at 30fps. These features were a huge upgrade to the original Mavic Mini, which is why the Mini 2 remains a popular drone.

The drone comes with a good flight time of 30 minutes, and utilising DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 technology, it can stream live video footage from a range of 10km. The drone also comes with a couple of intelligent features, such as Quickshots and automatic return to home.

While it’s a letdown that the drone lacks autonomous flight modes like follow me, point of Interest, and waypoint, the drone is compatible with third-party apps such as Litchi that provide these functionalities.

Related: DJI Mini 2 Review

Key Features

  • The drone has a 12MP camera that can shoot 4K video at 30fps, ensuring crisp and clear photos and videos.
  • Lightweight and ultra-portable
  • Good flight time of up to 31 minutes on a single charge.
  • Uses OcuSync 2.0 technology for a range of 10km
  • Level 5 wind resistance, the DJI Mini 2 can withstand wind speeds of up to 24 mph.
  • The drone offers several photography modes, including AEB and 3 types of panorama.
  • Third-Party App Compatibility

Pros & Cons

  • Cheapest 4K drone that is suitable for photography
  • Excellent flight time
  • 5 Quickshots for one-tap video creation
  • Easy to operate
  • Compatibility with third-party apps for extra functionality
  • No obstacle avoidance
  • No ActiveTrack, POI and waypoint

5. DJI Mini 2 SE

best cheap drones for photography

The DJI Mini 2 SE is a very popular drone right now, and this is primarily because it is one of the most affordable drones for photography.

In terms of design and features, it’s nearly identical to the DJI Mini 2. The camera sensor is the same, and it can capture 12MP images in RAW and JPEG; however, for videos it can only record in 2.7K at 30fps.

The rest of the features are more or less the same, it has 31 minutes of flight time, uses OcuSync 2.0 technology for a range of 10km and comes with 5 Quickshots for one-click video creation.

The drone does not come with intelligent flight modes such as follow me, orbit and waypoint and unlike the Mini 2, it is not compatible with any third-party apps because DJI has not released an SDK for the Mini 2 SE, and it does not look like they will.

However, it is the cheapest drone on this list and for its price, it is an excellent choice.

Related: DJI Mini 2 SE Review


Key Features

  • Camera is equipped with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor and stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal.
  • Captures 12MP images in RAW and JPEG formats
  • Records 2.7K videos at 30fps and comes with Quickshot for easy video creation.
  • Comes with a long flight time of 31 minutes
  • Uses OcuSync 2.0 for a video transmission range of 10km
  • Automatic return to home function

Pros & Cons

  • Cheapest drone for photography
  • Camera can record excellent videos in 2.7K
  • Images are crisp and clear
  • Level 5 wind-resistance
  • Long flight time
  • Lacks obstacle avoidance system
  • No autonomous flight modes
  • Not compatible with third-party apps

Do You Need To Register These Drones?

If you intend to use these drones for commercial endeavours, it is mandatory to register them with the FAA and obtain a Part 107 certificate. This ensures that you are adhering to the necessary regulations and safety standards set for commercial drone usage.

On the flip side, if you intend to fly these drones purely for recreational enjoyment, registration is not required as all these drones have a weight below the 250g threshold set by the FAA for mandatory registration. This means you can start flying without going through the registration process, allowing you to enjoy your drone flying hobby with ease and peace of mind.

Are These Drones Suitable For Beginners?

Yes, these drones are beginner-friendly; they are equipped with advanced flight features that make them easy to fly. While they stand as some of the best budget-friendly options for photography enthusiasts, they might still represent a significant investment for those just starting out. It might be practical for beginners to initially opt for a more affordable model to hone their skills before graduating to one of these drones.

Related: Best Drones For Beginners

Final Thought

In conclusion, venturing into the world of aerial photography doesn’t have to be a costly affair. The market is replete with affordable drones that offer remarkable features, allowing both beginners and seasoned photographers to capture stunning aerial shots without breaking the bank. Whether it’s the high-end functionalities of the DJI Mini 3 Pro or the user-friendly features of the DJI Mini 2, there is a drone to suit every budget and skill level.