Remote Control Helicopters with Cameras
Choosing a Helicopter with a Camera
You’ve wanted one for ages. Let’s face it. Being able to fly something in the air is just plain amazing – the freedom to wing (or at least rotor) your way through spaces that are ordinarily impossible to reach, having your hands on technology that lets you pilot a machine you fully control into the outer reaches of the lower atmosphere, is a dream for pretty much every man on the planet. Even though you can’t quite sit inside one and get the full joy of transcending your earth-bound existence, you at least get the pleasure of watching a stunning piece of equipment perform advanced manoeuvres over the neighbour's garden, a public park or the more adventurous scenery of a mountain range, beach or lake.
There has always been something lacking though. As much fun as it is to pilot a piece of kit through the air, you never quite get to enjoy the unique vantage point that you’re swerving, hovering and careering your way through. Whoever thought of putting a camera on a remote control helicopter was a genius. It’s the perfect accompaniment – not only do you get two fantastic pieces of kit, but you get to enjoy all those unique angles and otherwise unattainable views that you’re helicopter has such privileged access to. Now all you have to do is work out which of a range of remote control helicopters with cameras are right for you.
With this in mind, here is a brief run down of some of the best models available, for a variety of different budgets.
Syma S107C with Camera and Gyro
One of few preassembled remote control helicopters with cameras, the Syma S107C improves on earlier versions with little more than the addition of a camera. This is a good thing, however, as earlier versions were great value for money, flew well, and were very durable. The S107C retains all of the qualities, and comes with a512 MB micro SD card that can store up to 5 minutes of video. With a flying time of around 7 minutes, this is a perfect amount of time to position the helicopter in your chosen location and bring it safely back down again.
While 7 minutes may not seem like a long time, it requires on 4 AA batteries to keep it going. You can have a stock of rechargeable batteries and keep going all day.
UDI U13A 3 Channel 2.4GHz Metal RC Helicopter
Responsive, easy-to-handle and with an impressive range of 500 feet, the UDI U13A is an ideal choice for beginners, both young and old. A durable metal alloy frame and elastic blades are combined with a sleek looking design, meaning that even when you crash, you’re helicopter still looks cool. Its robust construction is resistant to the ordinary breaks and wear that would leave many other RC helicopters to gather dust in the garage as you await new parts, and, with 3 channels giving it 6 directions, flying and hovering simple enough for a child. For the price, it’s durable construction, ease-of-use and video quality is excellent.
Egofly Hawkspy LT-712 RC
This is the chopper you want if you’re going for good quality video, a goodly amount of flight time and minimal expertise required to fly it. The gyro keeps the helicopter very stable, and it can cope with light winds. It outperforms many other remote control helicopters with cameras in it’s price range with a flight time of up to 15 minutes. Its robust metal construction is enhanced by EVA shock absorbers and readily available, and cheap, replacement parts.
It’s suitable for both indoor and outdoor flight, easy to use in small places, and comes with a free 1GB memory card.
Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 Quadricopter
Not strictly speaking a ‘helicopter’, but a quadricopter with the advantage of being controlled through an iPad, iPod touch, iPhone or Android device. The AR.FreeFlight 2.0 piloting app lets you stream high-definition video from two cameras as you fly, and gives you the option to broadcast your footage live. It even has an ultrasound warning system to alert you to oncoming collisions.
Expensive remote control helicopters with cameras typically require an advanced level of expertise, but as the Parrot Quadricopter is controlled by motion-sensitive handheld devices - which you will probably have already used for 10,000 hours of gaming - you take to the skies in a good position to pilot it well. It also has the option to adjust the sensitivity of your handheld device from ‘beginner’ to ‘advanced’ settings, and in general is an easy machine to keep in the air, if not master.
The Parrot AR. Drone 2.0 is one of the most robust remote control helicopters with cameras on the market, and it’s high-tech design means state-of-the-art support when it comes to repairs and replacements.
Those looking for a professional quality piece of video equipment should check out the DJI Phantom Aerial UAV Drone Quadcopter for GoPro (at steal at $680!).
Choosing the Best Helicopter
The Parrot AR. Drone wins hands down for it’s warranty, usability, and additional features such as it’s ultrasound altimeter. It’s a sophisticated piece of kit, however, and you’ll want to know that it’s going to get used. For beginners, or for simply playing around with a new toy, one of the cheaper remote controlled helicopters with cameras offers many of the same benefits. The range presented above has been chosen not only for the durable construction, sleek and appealing design and the quality of video, but also for how easy they are to control.