The French company Parrot introduced the new Anafi drone, unlike anything in its portfolio and able to compete with DJI both in terms of capabilities and price. Over the past two years since the launch of its previous flagship Bebop 2, the company, apparently, has done a great job.
Anafi looks like a dragonfly, bears the name of a small Greek island, belongs to the category of quadrocopters, weighs 320 grams, has a folding structure and is transferred from the transport position in 3 seconds. When folded, it occupies a space of only 244 × 67 × 65 mm. In the luggage, a sheathed drone will resemble a bottle of water, and a folding control panel weighs an additional 386 grams. The casing is made of an unusual high-strength material: “A structure reinforced with carbon fiber with hollow glass microspheres.” The closest competitor is the 430-gram DJI Mavic Air.
For the first time, the Parrot drone is equipped with a suspension camera, which, by the way, is protected from wind and shock. Moreover, freedom of tilt of the camera is ensured in the range of 180 °, that is, it is possible to shoot not only perpendicularly downward, but also in the opposite direction. Even DJI Inspire 2 is not capable of this. And, it seems, the problem of screws in the frame is completely absent.
Unfortunately, only biaxial mechanical stabilization is used, as in DJI Spark. The absence of a yaw axis is compensated by the built-in digital stabilization. How successful this approach is, the results of testing and comparison will show, but the manufacturer claims that stabilization also minimizes micro-jitter and the effect of the floating shutter present in most drones.
The camera is equipped with a Sony 1 / 2.4 ″ 21-megapixel CMOS sensor and is capable of shooting in 4K (3840 × 2160) resolution at 30 frames per second and – for the first time on the consumer drones market – in the expanded HDR color range, which allows you to save more details and opens up advanced post-processing capabilities. The official website does not say what is meant by high dynamic range, but we can assume that we are talking about 10-bit H.264 format. Bitrate is limited to 100 Mbps.
Wide-angle ASPH lens with high sharpness and minimization of glare differs by 26 mm EGF, 84 ° viewing angle (69 ° when shooting video) and fixed focus in the range from 1.5 m to infinity. The resolution reserve of the Parrot sensor was used for the possibility of zooming without loss of quality during shooting: 1.4 times in 4K resolution and 2.8 times in Full HD.
A frame rate of 60 frames per second is achieved when shooting at 1080p. There is also a hyperlapse mode with acceleration up to 240 times. Photos are taken in the size of 5344 × 4016 with recording in RAW and JPEG formats. Like competitive solutions from DJI, the Anafi drone is equipped with GPS and GLONASS receivers, as well as a visual positioning system from below for automatic take-off and landing. Unfortunately, unlike the DJI Mavic Air, there are no machine vision modules for collision avoidance.
The drone is able to follow the object or control panel highlighted on the screen, and also recognizes commands with gestures for taking self-portraits. The direction of movement can be set by touching the Touch & Fly screen, you can also plan a flight on a map in Flight Plan mode, indicating the points of interest on which the camera will focus. There are 4 preset cinematic scenic scenes for CineShots panoramic shooting: Reveal, Epic, Rise and 360 °, as well as 5 portrait SmartDronies: Dolly Zoom, Boomerang, Orbit, Tornado, Parabola. Particularly noteworthy is the Dolly Zoom mode – the automatic Vertigo effect (transraf): zoom in on the camera in combination with reverse zoom.
In the air, Anafi can last up to 25 minutes on a single charge – a little more than that of the Mavic Air. The lithium-polymer batteries are replaceable, have status sensors and are charged via the USB-C port for 1 hour 45 minutes and 60% faster – from an external battery up to 24 watts. The remote control works autonomously for 2 hours.
During the flight, the necessary time to return to the base point is estimated, about which the user is notified by the appropriate signal. There is a mode of automatic return home when the signal is lost or the battery is low. In sports mode, the flight speed reaches 55 km / h. The manufacturer claims low noise and claims to be the quietest 4K drone on the market.
Management is done through the new FreeFlight 6 application from the compact Skycontroller 3 remote control, to which an Android or iOS smartphone is connected via cable. Communication is carried out via 2.4 and 5 GHz channels and operates in a radius of 4 km. The manufacturer did not specify what standard they are talking about: probably the American FCC, then this corresponds to the capabilities of Mavic Air and in European countries the communication range will be from 2 to 8 times less. The video channel has a resolution of 720p. Users can also control the drone directly from a mobile device via Wi-Fi.
Parrot Anafi will go on sale on July 2 at a price of $ 700 for a set of drone, one battery, remote control, 8 screws, a hard case, a 16 GB memory card and two cables. Perhaps the Chinese DJI will have to slightly adjust the prices set during a period of almost unconditional superiority over competitors.