The irony about new technology is often that newer generations are simply better, even in a model that sits in a lower price bracket than a predecessor that is still in the market. And this is exactly what we are seeing with the new Mavic Air, which I took for a hands-on spin at their press event in Monaco earlier this year (watch the video here). The Mavic Air is a classic example for this conundrum that many manufacturers face, unless they want to artificially strip newer technology off of some of the features of older, but “higher end” version of their products (C200, cough-cough!).
DJI has released many drones over the past few years. The different models may seem similar to a newcomer, but each one actually addresses a different need. In the end, it all boils down to size and portability versus image quality and performance. Here we’ll analyze the main differences between the DJI drones to help you determine which one is the right fit for you.
Price: The price point is an obvious criteria, but one must not forget all the associated costs of ownership, especially spare batteries which can run up to $169 each.
Portability: The drone size and weight will often dictate which model to buy. While the DJI Mavic won’t take more space than a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens in your bag, the mighty DJI Inspire requires a dedicated case for transportation. If you travel frequently, you may prefer a smaller model that fits in the plane’s carry-on compartment. The size also plays a role in public perception. Larger drones look more intimidating to the public and attract more attention (visibility and noise). Also, in some countries the applicable regulation on drones is based on weight threshold. The heavier it gets, the more constraints you will face (registration, mandatory parachute, and flight restrictions to name a few).
Image quality: Larger drones tend to carry better sensors and lenses. Entry-level models can only film in 1080p while the Inspire 2 can shoot up to 5.2K raw video. The Inspire 2 is also the only one to offer an interchangeable lens system while other models come with fixed focal length.
Action camsComments Off on Cinematic Motion with GoPro ND Filters – PolarPro Cinema Series Filter Review
A little edit of my recent skiiing holidays in Flachau, Austria. I used the GoPro Hero 5 black with the Karma Grip Gimbal and PolarPro ND filters – combo that works very well! Music is “High Speed Chase” by Terry Devine-King, licenced from audionetwork.com
Let me know how you like it and feel free to share it!
Action cams, GearComments Off on DJI announces the M600 Pro drone for payloads up to 6kg
DJI has announced yet another drone, but this time it is a lot larger than the Mavic Pro. The Matrice 600 Proinherits everything from the M600 with the addition of improved flight performance and better loading capacity. The M600 now comes with pre-installed arms and antennas to help reduce the setup time. This is perhaps the biggest improvement over the older M600.
The airframe is equipped with the A3 Pro flight controller, Lightbridge 2 HD transmission system, intelligent batteries and battery management system. All Zenmuse cameras and gimbals are natively compatible and there is full integration with third party software and hardware.
Action cams, GearComments Off on DJI’s New Mavic Pro Has All the Smarts of the P4, None of the Bulk
While drones can navigate pretty freely in the air, they’re still a hassle to port around on the ground. DJI’s newest aerial camera, the Mavic Pro, looks to change that. It boasts a foldable design that shrinks the drone down to a device that basically fits into the palm of your hand and slips easily into a backpack or purse.
The Mavic Pro may be far more compact than DJI’s Phantom models, but it doesn’t skimp on features. It features a 4K camera that can record at up to 3o (full HD at 96p) and snap 12-megapixel still images in the DNG or JPEG format. The lens has a 78-degree field of view and you’ll enjoy about 27 minutes of flight time with a top speed of 40 miles per hour in sport mode.
Action cams, GearComments Off on GoPro Karma: Foldable, Removable Stabilizer, ‘More than a Drone’
GoPro finally revealed their Karma Drone, but in CEO Nick Woodman’s words: It’s so much more than a drone. Foldable, easy-to-use, and equipped with a removable stabilizer that you can use hand-held or mounted to something else, this is an incredibly impressive all-around machine.
Announced during this morning’s live stream, Karma is a big deal for GoPro. Not only does it let you take your Hero 5 Black, Hero 4 Black, or Hero 5 Session to the skies, the attached stabilization system can be removed and inserted into the included “Karma Grip” that lets you use it handheld or mount it to your helmet, bike, car, or self.
Combine that with GoPro’s built in digital stabilization and the stabilizer allows users to create buttery smooth footage never before possible with any action cam.
Details like controller range, flight time, and other details that you would expect GoPro to mention right away were left out of the announcement.
Woodman, and by extension GoPro, instead focused on the experience of the thing. Like how easy it is to fly using the “game-style flight and camera control, how portable it is all folded up and packed in the Karma Case, and how cool it is that the stabilizer is removable.
Not to mention the The GoPro Passenger App, that lets a friend control your camera and see what you’re capturing using an iPad or iPhone while you pilot the drone itself.
If you dig into the landing page, you’ll find some details though. For instance, you’ll find out that that the Karma drone features built-in “No-Fly Zones” to keep you out of trouble, and a simple land button that brings the Karma drone back to you or the launch location, no matter where you’ve flown it to.
Battery wise, Karma will run for 20 minutes on a 1-hour charge, and GoPro has gone out of its way to make the drone easy to repair. Not just the “efficient” and “quiet” propellers that allegedly generate more lift with less noise, but the arms themselves can be replaced, and replacement arms come with all the tools you’ll need to do it yourself.
Here are some video intros to the Karma Drone, Karma Grip, and Karma Controller, along with product shots of the drone from all angles:
Action cams, GearComments Off on The GoPro Hero5 Black: Waterproof, Stabilized, Voice Commands & More
GoPro is calling the new Hero 5 Black “Simply the best GoPro, ever.” They’re not wrong. Waterproof to 33ft out of the box and featuring 4K video, stabilization, voice commands, and more, the Hero 5 Black is a lot of action camera for $400.
This morning’s GoPro announcement was a product release bonanza. Not only did we get to see the Karma ‘so muchmore than a’ Drone, CEO Nick Woodman also debuted the new flagship GoPro Hero5 Black.
The big news on the surface is that the Hero5 Black can survive below the surface… of the water that is. Out of the box and without a casing of any kind, it’s waterproof to 10 meters (~33ft). This thanks to a new one-button design that takes away a lot of seams and looks pretty sleek doing it.
The second most ‘exciting’ bit of news about the Hero5 Black is the voice controls, which let you “stay in the moment” while capturing said moment. Available in 7 languages at launch, you can tell your Hero5 Black to start recording, take a photo, take a burst, and more.
Over and over during this morning’s release Woodman harped on the fact that GoPro’s goal was to make a camera that “disappears.” A camera that is so easy and intuitive to use that you forget you’re using a camera—an extension of your experience instead of something that interrupts it. Voice controls are a big piece of this.
Add to that the automatic upload to the cloud that comes with a GoPro Plus subscription—every time you plug in your GoPro to charge, it uploads automatically—and Woodman is getting closer to his “invisible” camera dream.
Here’s a quick into and an overview of “what’s new” with the Hero5:
Must be action cam season again. The recent Yi 4K camera—which is about as capable as a GoPro Hero4 Black for only half the price—really impressed me. While we’re all waiting to see how 800-pound gorilla GoPro will respond to that threat, Garmin has stepped into the game. Clearly, the company is swinging for the fences.
Innovative features like voice control and excellent case-on audio quality set it apart from a crowded field. Same resolution, framerates, and shooting mode as its competition. On-board sensors let you incorporate ride/stunt/adventure data into your videos. Works with most of the common mounts and accessories on the market.
Battery life is only meh. Image stabilization feature fails to impress.
The Virb Ultra 30 is the latest in Garmin’s Virb lineof action sports accessories. There have been Virb-branded action cameras before, but the Ultra 30 represents a thorough rethink. It’s Garmin’s attempt at a kitchen-sink style, high-end action camera, and for the most part it really succeeds. Its resolution and speed reach up to 4K at 30 frames per second, or 1080p at 120fps, just like GoPro’s Hero4 Black. In fact it looks almost identical to a GoPro. Like the Yi 4K (another GoPro dead ringer) it also has a touchscreen on the back—something which the Hero4 Black lacks, but the mid-tier Silver edition has.
Remarkably, you can continue using the touchscreen even with its case on, which is waterproof to 133 feet. But that’s not the most notable thing about the case; Garmin specially designed a mic port for the waterproof case, and you may not believe it, but the sound is just as clear with the case on as it is with the case off. Crazy, I know, but watch the video comparison and you’ll see what I mean. It’s totally unprecedented in the arena of action cams, and its audio quality blows the doors off everything else.
Another terrific idea Garmin has implemented is voice control. You alert it by saying “OK Garmin…” and then “start recording,” “stop recording,” “take a photo,” or “remember that” (to add a tag to that part of the video). I tested it thoroughly while mountain biking some singletrack in the badlands of North Dakota, and I quickly grew to love the feature for one very important reason: It meant I didn’t have to take my hands off the handlebars. It’s always the dodgiest moments that you want to capture, which are the exact moments you really shouldn’t be letting go. Obviously, this applies to many different sports. It certainly doesn’t work perfectly, and your videos will always end with “OK Garmin, stop recording,” but true hands-free control is a major advantage.
Action cams, GearComments Off on Garmin’s First 4K Action Camera Takes on GoPro
Garmin has unveiled its first-ever 4K action camera, the Garmin VIRB Ultra 30, with live streaming, voice control and image stabilization, now available on Amazon for $499.99.
It’s a step up from its olderGarmin Virb XE Action Cam, which maxed out at 1080p video, but costs $100 more than its predecessor.
The camera’s sensors and GPS help it track location, distance traveled, and speed, which we’d expect from Garmin products, but it adds an LCD color touch screen that can be operated through its waterproof housing and voice control that allows users to tell the camera when to start and stop recording.
Image stabilization works on three axes, and live streaming can be activated with one touch, according to the company. The waterproof housing, which protects the camera in water up to 40 meters deep, comes free with the camera.
In a week packed full of new camera announcements, the Sony FDR-X3000R action cam shows us that its not just about top-of-the-range, flagship cameras. With this significant announcement, Sony takes aim at the GoPro market yet again with their latest 4K-capable action cam with optical image stabilisation.
One of the main characteristics of the FDR-X3000R is the adoption of the Balanced Optical SteadyShot technology found in some of Sony’s handicam models. The B.O.SS system works by moving the entire optical path rather than just individual elements, and is supposed to achieve even greater shake reduction, making it ideal for action cam applications such as helmet or handlebar mounted operation.
In terms of hardware, the FDR-X3000R weighs only 114g, and features an 8.2MP Exmor R CMOS sensor backed by a BIONZ X processor, the very same brains inside the Sony ɑ7 range, which allows for a full pixel readout without pixel binning. In addition, the new low-distortion Zeiss Tessar f/2.8 lens is adjustable in-camera to f=17 mm, f=23 mm and f=32 mm for Wide, Medium and Narrow settings respectively, and features a 3x smooth zoom while recording. All of this is housed in a splash and freezeproof body, making this action cam suitable for a variety of situations.
Action cams, GearComments Off on GoPro Hero 5 Photos and User Manual Leaked, Voice Commands Incoming
Some photos of and a user manual for the upcoming GoPro Hero 5 have allegedly leaked online, showing a camera that looks like a hybrid between the Hero 4 and Hero Session cameras, will focus heavily on GoPro’s upcoming cloud service ‘GoPro Plus,’ and may feature voice commands.
The images first appeared on (and were subsequently pulled from) the Japanese blog Nokishita, but before they could be removed the folks at Mirrorless Rumors snagged some screenshots. That’s how we come to share these real life photos and an alleged schematic for the unreleased action cam.
The camera will probably be waterproof out of the box (although an external casing will, we assume, still be required to take the camera to serious depths) given the rounded edges and rubberized look, it will feature a touch screen display, and otherwise looks very similar to the aging Hero 4.
Here’s another look at the leaked video from a couple of weeks ago, showing GoPro’s touchscreen interface at work:
Action cams, GearComments Off on DJI Announce the First Drone Zoom Camera – Zenmuse Z3
DJI just announced the introduction of a drone zoom camera called the DJI Zenmuse Z3. It is an upgrade to the popular Zenmuse X3, which is their entry level integrated drone camera used on the DJI Inspire 1 and DJI Osmo.
The Zenmuse Z3 will offer a zoom of up to 7x. That is a 3.5x optical zoom with a digital scaler doing the rest. Although the press release indicates this zoom camera is aimed mainly at industrial applications such as inspection and surveying, it certainly also gives filmmakers interesting new possibilities. A different focal length can come in handy in many filming situations.
Action cams, GearComments Off on Olympus Enters Action Cam Market with Its Stylus TG-Tracker
There is no such thing as an action camera in the Japanese company’s lineup of cameras. Until now. Today, Olympus introduced their latest piece of gear, the Stylus TG-Tracker action cam.
Yet another action cam!
It seems that we are witnessing another competitor emerging in the territory of the original inventor of the action cam, GoPro. The freshly announced Stylus TG-Tracker comes with a set of unique features and a form factor of its own, so it’s far from being another copycat GoPro clone. That said, we will have to wait to find out whether it can compete with the current “go-to” action cameras.
Action cams, GearComments Off on Wave goodbye to your brushless gimbal? Say hello to the REVL Arc 4K action cam with built-in gyroscope
Brushless gimbals are great tools for stabilising your camera and creating smooth footage, but imagine if you could get similar results with just a small action camera with no add-ons.
A new company, formed by a group of passionate kiteboarders and action sports lovers, called REVL is claiming to do just that. The REVL Arc is a tiny stabilised 4K Action Camera that has just launched on crowd funding platform Indiegogo. It uses a hybrid stabilisation system, which combines both electronic and physical stabilisation to keep the footage smooth. A built-in gyroscope keeps the view level to the horizon – even if you’re upside down, or the camera is being moved around. The launch video shows several shots that are made possible due to the camera’s small size, including one where the camera is attached to the centre of a moving car wheel.
One of REVL’s partners in this project is Sony, so it is pretty safe to assume that is who is making the camera sensor. The Arc can record 4k at 30 fps, 1080p at 120,60,30 FPS and 720p at 240,120,60 FPS. There is no mention or indication that the camera can record the more cinematic 24 or 25p frame rates and unless these are added this will limit its usefulness for professional filmmakers. There is no mention anywhere of what type of manual camera controls are available, if any.
The FAA is mulling a change in proposed regulations for drones, and big tech will have its say.
The Federal Aviation Administration announced Wednesday a committee to draft recommendations for rules that could ease restrictions on operating drones in crowded or public places. The FAA has invited mostly commercial stakeholders, including Alphabet‘s Google X, Intel and GoPro, to the group.
The committee will start working on recommendations next month and give a final report to the FAA by April 1, when the agency will review its findings and file a proposal. It comes as business interests have ramped up pressure on the FAA and Congress for wider drone use amid concerns about public safety and privacy.
If you thought thatSamsung‘s Gear VRheadset, which was made together with Oculus, was just a temporary distraction for the Korean consumer electronics company, you might have just been proven wrong. At Sundance, one of the most notable film fests in the world, Samsung took the opportunity to announce that it is opening up a studio in New York, located where Samsung’s US marketing team already works in, with the sole purpose of creating immersive experiences. In short, VR content that will most likely blossom this year. Or at least fans and believers of VR would like it to.
Virtual reality is nothing really new. What’s new, however, is the commoditization of hardware that was in the past only available to the most hardcore, or most affluent, of computer scientists. But even back in the day when VR was hyped, the problem has always been the same: the amount of available content, or the lack of it.
GoPro 360-degree camera solutions are expected to usher in the next big step in the world of digital video.
At this year’s CES, YouTube CBO Robert Kyncl held a keynote explaining how this platform is situated in a world of abounding digital video. It truly is an interesting watch. If you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet, we recommend you take a look – you might have to go to YouTube to see it as there seems to be some content restrictions in some countries for the embedded version:
In the framework of this discussion, GoPro is positioning itself as a big player in the innovative field of 360-degree video. We have known since last year about the Odyssey, where the Google Jump video assembler works in tandem with the 16-camera GoPro array. This is pricey and only available to a select few of those who apply online.