Finally Sony has showcased and revealed their UAV during the CES 2021. It is a quadcopter capable of carrying its Alpha Range of cameras. Like the Inspire 2, it carries 2 batteries for redundancy and safety purpose.
Although Sony has not release the specs of the drone, it is likely to have a flight time of 15-20mins based on the payload and size of the batteries. It should also be capable of flying at least 70-80km/h. This drone also allows dual pilot system where one person controls the flight the other controls the main camera gimbal.
As for the price range, it should be around the price of the Inspire 2 Advance Kit. My guess will be about US$9500 if it is released. It will be interesting to see what kind of lens can fit onto the gimbal.
So where does this drone fits into the industry? In my opinion, Airpeak tries to hit one level above the Inspire 2 series like the m600, but with a smaller footprint and a lower cost. As an aerial videographer, I often received request to film footages using the same camera as the ground shots. With only Inspire 2, Phantom 4 pro and Mavic 2 Pro in our inventory, we are unable to provide that service. Technically, we can deploy the m600, but the size and high maintenance cost makes it not practical. I am excited to see how the Airpeak can bridge that gap, and at what cost?
Sony has indicated her intention to enter the UAV filming industry, going to compete with DJI directly. Sony has traditionally been supplying imaging sensors to DJI’s camera, and now she has decided to make her own flying camera. Will Sony be successful or will she crash and burn like GoPro?
Personally, I am really excited and believe that Sony has the ability to make their own UAV and also to make their own processor and sensors without relying on a 3rd party. If Sony can bring their industry leading camera technology to their flying cameras, it may potentially bite off a big chunk of business from DJI. Now filmmakers can shoot with the same color profile from their ground cameras to their flying cameras.
Beating DJI in this industry is not going to be easy. DJI has already deeply captured the market and has many years of experience in making the world best gimbal. Can Sony create the same or better gimbal?
This is going to be exciting. Competition in the market is always good for consumers. It will bring about new innovation! Let’s see what Sony can offer in Spring 2021! Check out: https://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/airpeak/ for more details.
Today we have the full specs of that the Mavic Air 2 can do. I believe this is somewhat a response to Skydio R2 with the new FocusTrack which is said to be much more effective than the Mavic 2 active track 2.0. From the demo we can see that the Mavic Air 2 can navigate through a forest trail avoiding the trees and etc. See the video here
Is it worth for owners of Mavic 2 Pro / Zoom to buy the Mavic Air 2?
Well, I must say I was really tempted by the 4K60p video and the 48MP camera. But without the ability to adjust aperture, to do dolly zoom is a huge sacrifice for me. Also, a 1″ sensor vs a 1/2″ sensor is also a big sacrifice for night video. You notice there is no night video of the Mavic Air 2 produced by DJI, except for the hyper-lapse video which is a series of still photos and not video. HDR Video is a plus point if the user wants to use the footage straight out of the drone. However, for most production house they rather shot in D-log and do color grading in post-production.
There are definitely some nice cool features and a huge upgrade from the first Mavic Air, but compared to Mavic 2, it may not be a real upgrade in some sense for the pro videographer who wants more control. But for those who want to have their first UAV, the Mavic Air 2 is a great choice.
Some dealers are said to have already gotten stocks of this new drone and will be ready to sell them when DJI officially release it end of February 2020.
This update is critical as it addresses some of the key problems that the 200 series have. One of which is the transmission and control problem. There are many reports that the 200 series loses control from the pilots very often resulting in crashes. The 300 series will allow 2 pilots to be separated kilometres apart and one pilot can hand over control to another pilot remotely. This is a fascinating idea, it means the drone can fly from point A to B without returning to A to land.
Personally, I do hope that this drone can use the Zenmuse X7 DL lens mount. Then this drone can also be used for filming and not just industrial application. Another feature I will like to see is an all-round obstacle avoidance like the Mavic 2 pro.
Skydio released their version 2 of their autonomous drone. This drone is priced at US$999 (No controller) to compete with DJI Mavic Pro 2.
The selling point of this drone is in its ability to fly autonomously in a highly cluttered environment like the forest. It has no problem navigating the complicated and narrow flight path through the tree branches.
Drone registration will ensure that operators are made aware of their responsibilities and undertake to conduct their activities in a responsible manner, said Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min
Personally I welcome this move by the government to ensure that the limited airspace of Singapore remains safe. As UAVs gets cheaper and easier to fly, many forget that they are not a toys and are capable of causing serious injuries or damages. However, will this move slow down the adoption of UAVs in Singapore as new tools for business?