Camera Technology in Drones (Explained) – Droneblog


Drone cams assist us rise into the sky and experience brand-new perspective we might never ever attain on our own 2 feet.

Have you ever questioned and stopped how the innovation behind these cams works?

Drone cams include image and video stabilization and high-res sensing units. When photographing and shooting, they work with other sensing units like accelerometers and gyroscopes to keep the drone steady.

You can utilize your remote controller or smart device to manage the drone, changing the focus, zoom, angle, and other specifications. It’s remarkable things!

This guide to drone video camera innovation will paint an in-depth photo of how these cams work, consisting of all the subtleties such as video bitrate and ND filters.

How does a drone video camera work?

Drone cams include lots of parts, so let’s determine them initially and after that talk about how they operate in tandem.


A drone gimbal offers assistance to the video camera. When your drone ascends and glides through the sky, the gimbal lets the video camera remain at a constant angle. The gimbal offers stability, reducing vibrations to make sure smooth video footage.

The gimbal includes motors and an electronic camera install, which guarantee vibration decrease and stability.

Some gimbals have a single axis, and others have a number of axes. A three-axis gimbal is the most typical, however some sophisticated drones have a four-axis gimbal.

Using a three-axis gimbal as an example, it will change according to the pitch, yaw, or roll.

Pitch is a step of the drone tilting up or down, with a cogwheel on your remote for setting it. The roll is the degree of tilt, and the yaw changes the gimbal to the right or left while keeping the drone from kipping down any instructions.

” MORE: What Is a Gimbal in Drones? (Explained for Beginners)


A sensing unit is how you see the world through the drone video camera. The size and quality of a sensing unit figure out the image and video resolution. Bigger sensing units produce higher-resolution images that many pilots aim towards.

A bigger sensing unit produces much better quality video footage since it can get more light, supplying the complete scope of the visual information of your environments.

Most sensing units from significant drone makers like DJI are one inch. That may appear little compared to the full-frame sensing unit on an electronic camera like the Canon 5D Mark IV Full Frame, however it’s plenty huge for a drone.

For example, the DJI Mavic Air 2 has a half-inch sensing unit, so a design like the DJI Air two with a one-inch sensing unit has a clear benefit in the photography and videography departments.

Another distinction in between bigger and mid-sized sensing units is pixel size. Pixels take in the light, transform it into an electrical signal, and after that into the signal that becomes your digital image. The bigger the pixels, the more light they take in. Your image will have more sharpness and information, raising your photography and videography video game.

As bigger sensing units end up being more of an essential in drone innovation, they will likely end up being more fairly priced. As it stands now, drone cams with bigger sensing units are more expensive.


Drone cams likewise have a lens, normally in between 10 and 1,200 millimeters. Focal length is determined by glass curvature and sensing unit size. A long focal length decreases the resolution, which can be available in useful for surveying and examinations however not always for photography and videography.


Not every drone has a gimbal. Lower-cost entry designs will bypass the gimbal to minimize production costs. Those drones should have some methods of stabilization without a gimbal.

The highlight here is electronic image stabilization, abbreviated as EIS.

EIS decreases jittering in pictures and videos that can make your video footage appear like a deleted scene from The Blair Witch Project The innovation utilizes a movement sensing unit to figure out where the motion is originating from, then changes the video or image to lower the restlessness.

Between a gimbal and EIS, the previous offers more dependable stability. Lower-cost drones specifically tend to experience restlessness or blurriness, even with EIS.

Putting everything together

Once you release your drone, the remote controller and an accompanying app enable you to see your video camera view. You can utilize your smart device or the controller to change the video camera while the drone remains in flight, focusing on particular targets, altering angles, or setting the focus.

Many drones have transmission systems that enable you to send your videos and pictures as you take them. You can modify and publish them on the go, even live-streaming in some circumstances.

What’s the size of a drone video camera?

The size of a drone video camera differs by producer and design. As drone innovation has actually continued to race forward at the speed of light, drone cams have actually ended up being more advanced.

Drone makers have actually found how to size an electronic camera so a drone weighs under the 250-gram limit needed for FAA drone registration.

Camera sensing units are likewise amazing. I’ll look more into them later on, however for now, here are some sizes of sensing units consisted of with the most advanced drone cams:

  • DJI Mini 3: 1/1.3 inches
  • Autel EVO Pro II: 1 inches
  • DJI Mini 3 Pro: 1/1.3 inches
  • DJI Mini 4: 1 1/.3 inches
  • DJI Mavic 3 Classic: 4/3 inches

Can you connect ND filters to drone cams?

Let’s talk about ND filters. Called neutral-density filters, these photography help lower the light and wavelength strength. Some ND filters are gray, and others are clear.

Although you may believe that reducing the light that comes through will lower information and image fidelity, that’s not constantly the case. Utilizing an ND filter increases your control over some aspects of photography, consisting of the direct exposure time and aperture.

” MORE: Best ND Filters for DJI Avata

With that little lesson out of the method, can you utilize an ND filter for drone cams? You sure can!

The world of ND filters is large. They’re readily available in different strengths, which are appointed by number. An ND64 filter is more powerful than an ND4 filter.

That does not always suggest you must get the greatest ND filter. The proper type depends partly on the weather condition. You must pick an ND32 filter on a clear, bright day.

You can likewise choose a polarizing ND filter developed to decrease reflections and glare by avoiding some light wavelengths from coming through. When photographing water, glass, or metal, polarizing ND filters are best.

For more suggestions on which kind of ND filter to utilize for drone photography and videography, take a look at these posts:

Best ND Filters for DJI Mini 3

Best ND Filters for DJI FPV

Latency of a basic drone video camera

Thus far, I’ve discussed functions you wish to discover in a drone video camera, like EIS and gimbals. Now, it’s time to talk about one you do not: latency.

Latency is a step of just how much time it requires to catch a frame and show it. As you can think of, latency can trigger disturbances in the connection of drone videos and make photography undecided, specifically if you’re attempting to catch something distinct that’s there one 2nd and gone the next.

Now that you comprehend the fundamentals of latency, just how much does a basic drone video camera have? You must anticipate about 100 milliseconds. That’s about the basic rate, with a latency ranking of under 100 milliseconds much better and under 50 milliseconds best.

You may be able to enhance the drone video camera’s latency by playing with the brightness and resolution, however remember that your changes will impact the quality of your videos or pictures.

What is the bitrate in a drone video?

When shooting drone video, the video footage will have a bitrate for encoding. Determined in megabits per second for video, bitrate determines the video quality when streaming. A greater bitrate produces much better quality however features the sacrifice of needing more bandwidth.

A 1 Mbps bitrate is 7 megabytes, and an 8 Mbps bitrate is 40 megabytes.

The following table exposes the bitrate of popular drone designs.

Drone Model Bitrate
DJI Spark 24 Mbps
DJI Mini SE 40 Mbps
DJI Mavic Mini 40 Mbps
Hubsan H1175 Zino Pro 60 Mbps
Xiaomi Fimi A3 60 Mbps
SwellPro Spry+ 64 Mbps
PowerVision PowerEgg X 75 Mbps
Skydio 2 100 Mbps
DJI Mavic Air 100 Mbps
Parrot Anafi 100 Mbps
DJI Mavic 2 Pro 100 Mbps
Autel EVO 100 Mbps
DJI FPV 120 Mbps
DJI Air Two 150 Mbps
DJI Mavic 3 200 Mbps
Parrot Anafi AI 200 Mbps

What CMOS does a drone video camera have?

CMOS is brief for complementary metal oxide semiconductor. It’s a kind of sensing unit utilized to produce the image your drone video camera gets.

The size of the CMOS sensing unit depends upon the drone design. Here are the types and accompanying measurements:

  • 2/3-inch CMOS: 6.6 millimeters high, 8.8 millimeters broad, 11 millimeters diagonally
  • 1/2- inch CMOS: 4.8 millimeters high, 6.4 millimeters broad, 8 millimeters diagonally
  • 1/2.3- inch CMOS: 4.55 millimeters high, 6.17 millimeters broad, 7.66 millimeters diagonally
  • 1/2.5- inch CMOS: 4.29 millimeters high, 5.76 millimeters broad, 7.18 millimeters diagonally
  • 1/3-inch CMOS: 3.6 millimeters high, 4.8 millimeters broad, 6 millimeters diagonally
  • 1/3.2- inch CMOS: 3.42 millimeters high, 4.54 millimeters broad, 5.68 millimeters diagonally
  • 1/4- inch CMOS: 2.7 millimeters high, 3.6 millimeters broad, 4.5 millimeters diagonally

Drone video camera shooting resolution

Video resolution describes the number of pixels remain in each frame. Like image resolution, a greater number signifies much better quality, so you can produce natural video footage with your drone.

Quality and resolution have actually developed with drone innovation, with fantastic resolution readily available. 4K is the requirement, however even that’s been taken over by 5.2 K and 6K resolution.

Whether your drone uses such an incredible resolution depends upon just how much you spent for it. Even 4K isn’t universal throughout all drones. If you’re looking around for a beginner-friendly, entry-level drone, it’s not unusual to see 2.5 K quality as the greatest resolution.

This is a cost-saving procedure. A low-res video camera likewise fits the kind of drone much better. A newbie drone is for somebody attempting whatever out. You can constantly update your drone to something more pricey with a greater resolution if you find you like drone videography.

Drones with high video resolution are terrific, however do your wallet no favors. These are a few of the costliest customer drones on the marketplace.

FPV drone video camera with digital transmission (DJI)

DJI’s Digital FPV System for its FPV drones consists of the DJI FPV Remote Controller, DJI FPV Goggles, DJI FPV Camera, and DJI FPV Air Unit Module.

Built for drone racing however appropriate for other functions, the Digital FPV System has a low-latency max video transmission series of 4 kilometers or 28 milliseconds.

Its image quality, as viewed through the DJI FPV Goggles, is 120 frames per second in 720p quality. When utilizing the Digital FPV System, you can fly up to 8 drones at.

That’s not all! The DJI FPV Air Unit will tape video in 1080p at 60 fps. The transmission in between the DJI FPV Air Unit and DJI FPV RC is 7 milliseconds, so it’s definitely low latency.

The end-to-end latency of 28 milliseconds the DJI HDL FPV Transmission boasts is state-of-the-art. Its video transmission is smooth, structured, and top quality, specifically compared to analog systems.

The anti-interference digital transmission has a two-way system for more powerful interactions and signal stability.

FPV drone video camera with analog transmission

Analog video transmission is the lower of the 2, with a typical latency of 23 to 35 milliseconds. That’s greater than in digital transmission systems, specifically by DJI, however still appropriate for FPV activities like racing and severe sports.

Here’s some background information. Analog transmission utilizes a radio frequency band to transfer video, with different power settings and bandwidths readily available. The specifications are set by law, so you can’t check out to your heart’s material.

Most FPV drones will transfer utilizing analog at a frequency of 5 ghz. The FPV antenna should have the ability to get the frequency for excellent reception throughout usage. The antenna must constantly be angled away from the battery and frame of the drone and headset.

You can pick from a number of kinds of ports, with UfL and MMCX 2 of the most popular since they’re light-weight. Some pilots make a pigtail, with among the previously mentioned ports on one side and after that an SMA adapter connected to the opposite.

SMA ports are an excellent option for hard-mounting, discussing why they’re utilized for these functions.


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