Best 360 cameras for drones (And what to avoid)

Updated for 2021
best-360-cameras-for-drones

So you’re looking to record 360 degree video from your drone and you can’t find any decent drone out there to do the job.

There’s a reason for that: a drone with a good 360 degree camera doesn’t exist.

Some people tried in the past to create drones that are exclusively made to hold 360 cameras but the results were less than desirable.


Adding a 360 camera on a drone

There have been a few tries at creating such a drone before, one called the Janus 360 by Drone Volt, which was released in 2017 and cost over $10000, but the results were sub-par. Another one would be the Aerial Pro 360, which also had very unstabilized results, despite its high price.

How to use a 360 camera on a drone

The most serious way in which you can actually achieve 360 quality video from your drone is by attaching a 360 camera on it.

Fortunately, there’s plenty of accessories and increasingly good cameras that can be used for this build.

Here’s what the build will consist of:

  1. Your drone (preferably a compact mavic-like foldable drone)
  2. A mount for action cameras/360 cameras that fits to that drone
  3. A good action 360 camera with good stabilization and quality (and weight to fit your drone)

I’m going to recommend specific 360 cameras for drones a bit below, so now let’s see what you need for building a 360 camera drone:

Choosing the right drone and 360 camera mount for it

This is quite important as picking a popular drone (especially one from the DJI Mavic series) will allow you to easily find a mount for fitting any 360 degree camera.

If you would buy or own a less popular drone you might have to either 3d print or somehow build your custom mount for the drone.

Most action camera mounts for drones also fit a 360 camera as they have the same screw size for the fitting.

So here are the drones on which you can easily mount a 360 camera drone, without the need for printing one:

DJI Mavic Air2 - a powerful but compact drone, it’s easily able to carry even some of the heavier action cameras and 360 cams. It also happens to be my favorite camera drone under $1000.

DJI Mavic 2 - An even stronger and sturdier Mavic drone, the mavic 2 pro or zoom have accessories you can find on amazon and can easily carry a gopro or a 360 camera on their body.

Xiaomi Fimi x8 - Thanks to its Mavic-like body shape and folding system, the Fimi x8 can fit a universal camera mount made for the Mavic series.

DJI Mini 2 - Although very tiny, this quadcopter can actually fit an accessory and even carry a smaller 360 camera on top. But it will indeed make it slower in flight.

DJI Phantom-like drones - There are mounts that fit the Phantom 3 and Phantom 4 series just as well, being mounted on the bottom legs. These types of mounts would also fit similarly shaped drones like the Autel X stars for example.

Best 360 cameras for your drone

360-cameras-for-your-drone

In this section we’ll take a look at the best 360 degree cameras for drones on the market, see which fit your favorite drone and how much they weigh.

1. Insta 360 One R - best 360 camera for any drone

Specs
  • Upgradeable - Modular design with 3 different camera choices
  • 5.7k 360 degrees
  • Flow State Stabilization
  • Waterproof to 5m
  • Smart modes:
    • Hyperlapse
    • Point to track
    • Voice control
    • Slow motion
    • Stop Motion
    • Time Flip
  • HDR photo and video
  • Follow cam
  • Invisible drone mode
  • 100Mbps
Compatible Drone
  • Mavic 2 Pro and zoom ( they sell a mod specially made for it)
  • Mavic air 2
  • Phantom models
  • Xiaomi Fimi x8
  • Autel Evo 1 or 2

One of the best and most popular action cameras also happens to be one of the best 360 drone cameras. Even more, it comes with a drone mounting package for the mavic 2 pro and Zoom called “Aerial Edition”. So it’s more than able to stabilize drone shakiness.

The insta 360 One R is a modular action camera that can allow you to get a few different modules on it so it is super versatile:

  • 360 mod - Dual- lens 360 - weighing 130.5 grams
  • 4k wide angle -121 grams
  • 1 inch mod

It’s lightweight, versatile  and can be used on most drones I listed previously (even on the DJI Mini 2, but with a little bit of trouble).

It’s best used for the following drones:

  • Mavic 2 Pro and zoom ( they sell a mod specially made for it)
  • Mavic air 2
  • Phantom models
  • Xiaomi Fimi x8
  • Autel Evo 1 or 2

It’s a great 360 camera for a drone thanks to its relatively low weight and the amazing video results it creates.

The invisible drone mode is achievable with the Insta 360 R aerial module and a DJI Mavic 2 and it makes it so the drone completely disappears from the shot, unlike any other camera out there.

You can also buy ND filters for it.

2.Gopro Max 360 camera for your drone and more

gopro max 360 is good for drones
Specs
  • 5.6k resolution
  • 78mbps
  • Waterproof to 5 meters
  • Hyper Smooth Video Stabilization
  • Slow-Mo
  • Time Lapse videos and photos
  • Time Warp
  • Horizon Leveling
  • Ability to change to normal shooting mode (as a normal Gopro)
Compatible Drone
  • Mavic 2
  • Mavic Air 2
  • DJI Phantom or Autel
  • Autel  Evo 1 or 2
  • Xiaomi Fimi x8
Check the Price and reviews

The GoPro Max is still one of the better 360 cameras you can buy, and even though I thought it would be heavier, it only weighs 154 grams. This makes it one of the heavier on this list, but still light enough to be carried by most serious camera drones out there like:

  • Mavic 2
  • Mavic Air 2
  • DJI Phantom or Autel
  • Autel  Evo 1 or 2
  • Xiaomi Fimi x8

Can you mount a Gopro Max on a DJI Mini 2?

Yes, you can mount a gopro max on a DJI Mini 2 as you can see in the video below, however it is on the heavier side, so it will drain the battery faster and might result in crashes if you’re not careful.

3. Insta 360 One X 2

insta 360 one x2
Specs
  • 5.6k resolution
  • 78mbps
  • Waterproof to 5 meters
  • Hyper Smooth Video Stabilization
  • Slow-Mo
  • Time Lapse videos and photos
  • Time Warp
  • Horizon Leveling
  • Ability to change to normal shooting mode (as a normal Gopro)
Compatible Drone
  • Mavic 2
  • Mavic Air 2
  • DJI Phantom or Autel
  • Autel  Evo 1 or 2
  • Xiaomi Fimi x8
Check the Price and reviews

The Original Insta 460 One X has been replaced by the One x2 and is no longer in production. The new camera has a larger battery so it’s a bit heavier than the original.

However it also comes with additional features that you might find interesting.

While it didn’t seem on paper lika big upgrade from the original, this version does come with quite an improvement in the footage itself along with other things:

 

Here are the main differences between the One X and One x2:

FEATURES

INSTA360 ONE X 

 INSTA360 ONE X2

Display

LCD Display

OLED Touchscreen + 360° Live Preview

Waterproof

X

IPX8 to 10m (33ft)

Microphones

2x

Stereo

4x

360 Directional and Stereo Audio

Battery

1050mAh

1630mAh

Run Time

60 Minutes

80 Minutes 

Video Coding

H.264

H.265, H.264

Color Profiles

Standard, LOG

Vivid, Standard, LOG

360 Video Resolution

5.7K

5.7K

Wide Angle Video Resolution

X

2560×1440

Weight

115g

149g 

Dimensions

48 x 115 x 28mm

46 x 113 x 30mm

One of the best and most popular action cameras also happens to be one of the best 360 drone cameras. Even more, it comes with a drone mounting package for the mavic 2 pro and Zoom called “Aerial Edition”. So it’s more than able to stabilize drone shakiness.

The insta 360 One R is a modular action camera that can allow you to get a few different modules on it so it is super versatile:

  • 360 mod - Dual- lens 360 - weighing 130.5 grams
  • 4k wide angle -121 grams
  • 1 inch mod

It’s lightweight, versatile  and can be used on most drones I listed previously (even on the DJI Mini 2, but with a little bit of trouble).

It’s best used for the following drones:

  • Mavic 2 Pro and zoom ( they sell a mod specially made for it)
  • Mavic air 2
  • Phantom models
  • Xiaomi Fimi x8
  • Autel Evo 1 or 2

It’s a great 360 camera for a drone thanks to its relatively low weight and the amazing video results it creates.

The invisible drone mode is achievable with the Insta 360 R aerial module and a DJI Mavic 2 and it makes it so the drone completely disappears from the shot, unlike any other camera out there.

You can also buy ND filters for it.

360 cameras you should avoid

drone-kit

I think a part where I talk about what to avoid for sure is necessary, as it will make the process of decision simpler and maybe helps you figure what's important in a 360 camera for a drone (and in general).

Vuze + and Vuze XR (large size and low quality)

The Vuze series are cameras from a few years ago that aren’t great quality like you’d expect nowadays.

More so, they’re large and bulky so wouldn’t fit well with a drone.

vuze xr camera drone

Yi 360 VR (not good for drone video)

Another quite old release, but the main factor that makes it not so great for using on a drone is the fact that it weighs 230 grams, which is quite heavy compared to today's alternatives.

yi 360 vr old 360 camera

Kandao Qoocam

Besides the funny name, it also hasn’t aged that well.

The Qoocam is a 360 camera that doubles as a 180 3d camera and while it was pretty good when it came out, this year it’s way below standard compared to the competition.

kandao qooCam aged

Creating a 360 degree panoramic photo with your drone

best-drones-podium-arm

A short guide and video on how to create a panoramic photo with your drone (even if you don't have a 360 degree camera)

If all you need is a 360 photo from the air, you might not actually need to buy an expensive 360 camera.

All you need to do is take photos around the drone and stitch them together in a software or manually.

Of course this is pretty tedious to do, however many of the drones today have automatic 360 panorama photo options. The drones with 360 panorama features are:

There might be other drones out there with this automatic function, but I just haven’t heard of it.

These drones can take more than sphere panorama, there’s also an Asteroid quickshot as well that stitches a 360 panorama together with a video to make it look like you’re on a tiny planet and you’re filmed through an asteroid or something.

Conclusion to 360 cameras for drones

If all you need is a 360 aerial panorama photo, you can most of the time do this with the drone itself, but if you want actual 360 video from the air, getting a lightweight 360 camera is necessary. Make sure you buy a more recently released one, as they have made considerable progress during the past few years.

best-drone-checklist-infographic
paul posea
Paul Posea
Hi, I'm a long-time drone reviewer and I hope my articles and comparisons on this site as well as Dronesgator's youtube channel are of as much help as possible.

Get a FREE Beginner Drone  Checklist

drone-preflight-checklist-free-graphic.png
This checklist is made so you can always make sure you bring the things and do what's important before you fly. 
LET'S GO!
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram