About a year and a half ago, DJI Released it's first Phantom Quadcopter capable of mounting a GoPro. At the time it was an amazing value for a ready-to-fly quadcopter that was both easy to fly and loaded with features for the beginner, but it also had several issues that needed additional add-ons for camera use.
The GoPro mount caused severe Jello effects in video, which meant adding on various mounts or an aftermarket 3 axis gimbal. Without an FPV (first person view) Video stream you basically maneuvered the quad in hopes the camera was positioned for framing correctly. Without the FPV stream the operator needed to maintain a visual on the unit to steer the copter. This would limit the distance you could fly. Even if you could add an FPV stream, with all of the extra gear your flight time dropped below 10 minutes.
Fast forward today, DJI has released several new products catering to the Phantom Quadcopter line including the Phantom 2, a new 3 Axis Gimbal for the GoPro, the Phantom Vision (built in camera), and now the Phantom 2 Vision+ (built in camera with 3 Axis Gimbal).
My top pick for the best and easiest Ready-To-Fly off the shelf quadcopter for imaging is the new DJI Phantom Vision+! The new Vision+ is now a joy to fly with up to 25 minutes in the air, comes with a built in camera on a super stable 3 Axis Gimbal that streams live video back to your Smartphone. For beginners looking to dive into Quadcopters capable of incredibly smooth, incredibly stable aerial photos and videos, I highly recommend the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+. Here's a look at how easy it is to get setup for it's first flight.
The streaming video app takes all the guess work out of flying and shows important information like altitude, distance, and battery levels. Even if the unit is out sight, you can still fly through the video stream and tilt the camera through the smartphone. Without touching the remote the Phantom Vision hovers in the same spot. Stable enough they've also included a Timelapse setting in the app.
DJI Vision App for Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter
In case you dare to fly too far, the DJI Phantom will switch into Fail Safe and fly back to the location of it's original launch (just make sure you have a clear path back). While I can't say the quality of the Vision+ camera is comparable to a GoPro, the entire Ready-To-Fly system is built to work seamlessly together offering longer flight times, stable imaging, and live video streaming.
The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter can be akward to travel with, so I highly recommend a hard case, an extra battery for more play time, and you'll need a microSDHC card to store the videos and photos. The best bundle I have found comes as a complete kit with all of these extras and is available via B&H (click here).
DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ Plus Quadcopter + Hard Case + Extra Battery + microSD
[Important Note: The DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is not a toy. It is a serious flying machine. Consider your safety and the safety of others. Extreme care should be taken, and all rules, regulations, and laws should be considered at whatever location you choose to fly. ]