The MJX Bugs3 is an affordable intermediate quadcopter sold by Drocon. It is capable of carrying a “Go-Pro like” action camera as a payload making it one of the cheapest drones for capturing good aerial video (dependent on the camera you are using) on the market. It is important to note that the Bugs3 does not include an action camera, only an action camera mount. For reference, I was using an Apeman 4K action camera to capture aerial footage in the video posted at the end of this review.
Opening the MJX Bugs3, you will find that the drone does not ship 100% assembled. You will have to attach the blades, blade guards, and extended landing legs (optional, if you do not plan to mount an action camera to the drone then you do not need to attach the legs). On top of that, you will also need to charge the included 1800mAh 7.4V Li-Po battery with the included charger, which takes about 3 hours when the battery is completely empty (I would highly recommend buying an extra battery) and you will need to provide 4x AA batteries for the remote control. As a side note, I registered this quadcopter with the FAA before flying since it is fairly large and weighs over a pound with my action camera mounted, registration is only $5 and takes about 5 mins.
General usage of the drone is fairly straightforward, if you run into any issues the user-manual is your best friend. To get off the ground all you have to do is turn the controller on, plug the battery into the drone, unlock the motors by holding down the red button on the controller for 2 seconds, throttle up and the drone should lift into the air. Keep in mind that this is not a drone fit for beginners, I have only flown smaller hand-held quadcopters before this and I found that I needed some practice before I could comfortably fly the Bugs3 a couple hundred meters away. Once I got the hang of the controls and the way the MJX Bugs3 responds, I found it to be incredibly fun to fly and very stable. Thanks to the 4x 1800KV brushless motors on the Bugs 3, even in light winds the drone was highly responsive. Though the controller is a little on the light side, it is pragmatically laid out, easy to use with gloves on, and the advertised 500 meter range held true during testing. One of my favorite things about this drone is that it can perform 360 degree flips in any of the 4 directions, see the video at the end of this review for more details.
On the product page the battery life is advertised to be anywhere from 15 to 18 minutes. However, during my testing I found the battery life to be closer to 7 to 8 minutes with the action camera attached. The more weight you have attached to the bugs3 the shorter its run time will be, with the action camera, landing legs, and blade guards removed (I would not recommend removing the blade guards) the battery life should be much closer to the advertised figure.
The only thing I found to be subpar about the Bugs3 was the included action camera mount. While the mount is straightforward to use, it is also incredibly frail and does not seem like it will last very long. This is especially true if you will constantly be taking your action camera in and out of the mount. I would recommend buying an extra mount in case the included one breaks on the field.
Overall, the MJX Bugs3 is an excellent intermediate action camera drone for the videographer on a budget. After a little bit of practice it is easy to fly, responsive, user serviceable, and replacement parts are readily available online. If you are interested in the MJX Bugs3, it is sold on Amazon for ~$89 (link down below).