The mosquito-like buzzing of drones overhead is no longer new.
Just flip open Facebook or YouTube and you are bound to encounter some aerial drone footage integrated into the video.
And why not?
Drones are cool, cheap and are available at any budget. From cheap little toy flyers to full Hollywood Film Production drones and everything in between. So why not spice up videos with a few aerial views?
Today, Parrot unveiled its new drone – the ANAFI.
Parrot isn’t a new drone-kid on the block. It isn’t trying to get in on the drone action but has years of drone-experience under their belt. I have flown their Bebop 2 drone in South Africa several years ago and that drone was quality! Therefore, I was excited to check out how the ANAFI Drone from Parrot stacks up in this hyper-competitive consumer drone world:
ANAFI is all about portability
It’s a decision: do I take a drone with or not.
This is the question we ask ourselves before heading out if we think there might be an opportunity to fly the drone and shoot some epic shots. However, if the drone is big and cumbersome then its easier to say no and leave it behind. If the drone simply folds up and takes little space, then more likelihood that it comes with.
The ANAFI certainly looks portable. It has four-arms which fold and unfold in less than three seconds an even the remote control, called the Parrot Skycontroller, unfolds in 1 second and automatically connects to ANAFI. Nice touch to connect automatically.
Thanks to the carbon fiber filled with hollow glass microbeads, ANAFI looks robust and built for performance. It weighs only 11.2 ounces so it won’t add any weight to your backpack.
Ease-Of-Use – ANAFI in the air
To fly the drone you need to install the FreeFlight 6 application. Beginner pilots can use the automatic control modes, such as SmartDronies or CineShots so anyone could take off, fly and capture some great images.
Professional photographers can select and customize camera settings such as the incline of the drone, its rotation speed, the speed of the camera tilt as well as adjust the resolution, photo format, shutter speed, white balance, exposure value and rendering.
There are several built-in modes: Smart Dronies, Cameraman mode and Follow Me, which use a neural network to reevaluate the target track for each image, with a focus on the shape recognition tracking system. Would love to test those and see them in action.
The interaction between the app and the controller allows users to control the movement of the gimbal and the zoom with two dedicated keys and change the settings directly on the smartphone screen.
Flip the camera to sports mode and the ANAFI achieves speed peaks at 33 mph and withstands winds of 31 mph.
It’s all about the Battery Power
The ANAFI battery is equipped with a smart polymer lithium battery which allows ANAFI to achieve a 25-minute flight time. The ANAFI battery continuously monitors its charge level (regardless of the temperature and aging of the cell). During a flight, ANAFI evaluates the load level and returns to its take-off position.
You can charge ANAFI’s battery via a USB-C cable which means it can be charged via a phone charger, powerbank or laptop. It adapts to the power source, and the charge is faster when it is attached to a powerful charger. The ANAFI battery has a hibernation mode to protect its internal chemistry.
Remaining in control with strong connectivity
One of the biggest fears of drone pilots is losing connectivity with the drone. Each foot of ANAFI is equipped with a dual-band antenna (2.4GHz & 5GHz) to ensure an optimal connection with the remote-control – regardless of the orientation of the drone. This omnidirectional transmission system uses Wi-Fi compliant protocols developed by Parrot.
ANAFI constantly monitors its Wi-Fi environment and will switch to another channel when the one it uses is too crowded. This guarantees optimal spectrum utilization performance and allows ANAFI to fly up to 2.48 miles.
ANAFI Image Quality
The camera on ANAFI is uses the Sony IMX230 1/2.4’’ CMOS sensor and an Ambarella video processor to produce spectacular 4K HDR images with its 21 MP sensor. It can shoot video in 4096×2160 (24fps), 4K UHD 3840×2160 (24/25/30fps), FHD 1920×1080 (24/25/30/48/50/60fps). Those 60fps should give amazing slow motion shots!
Images and video are recorded to the local16 GB SD Card which is included in the package.
Using both mechanical and digital stabilizations methods to stabilize the camera which is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal. The gimbal can point the camera down as well as up something that other drones cannot do and this should make for amazing drone footage.
ANAFI is equipped with a lossless zoom of 1.4x in 4K and 2.8x in full HD (1080p). It is also possible to zoom 3x in digital zoom. Zooming in is usually a hit/miss situation so I would love to test how this works in real-world
What worries me:
1. There are no prop guards which means that new pilots might lose a few props as they get used to flying. In the purchased package, there are 8 additional props so you get a few more shots.
2. There is no object avoidance system. This means that if your depth perception is off and you misjudge that branch, the drone will continue to head in that direction until hitting it. Be careful.
3. The price point is very close to its competitor which has been out for longer and has both prop guards and object avoidance. Naturally, this will be the consideration for those planning on buying the Anafi Parrot.
So in summary:
It’s exciting to have another drone in the race. Having competition is important for innovation and pushes companies to shorten their new product release cycles.
For me, its all about preformance in the real-world. How a “rgular” person would use it, how often will software updates be made, does it live up to the paper-specs?
I am particulalarly excited about the ability to look up from the drone. Varying angles on video shoots are so important and this will offer amazing scenes not possible with other consumer drones.
I am also really keen to hear it – or not hear it. The Anafi is said to be quieter than other drones which means one less mosquito buzzing in the sky above!
It seens like my fellow tech Youtubers share the sentiment.
“I love the idea of new drones on the market to compete with DJI. I can’t help wondering if this drone is actually a DJI Mavic Killer or simply a subpar Mavic clone. I’d have to get my hands on it to be sure.” says Jeremy
ANAFI will be in store beginning July 1, 2018 at a price of $699 in select consumer electronics retailers, on Amazon.com and can be pre-ordered now on Parrot.com