THE BEST IN
These cameras will help take
your cinematography to
PRODUCT ROUNDUP BY GREG SCOBLETE
GDU Byrd Premium
While this drone features foldable props to easily pack down into a backpack,
we didn’t place it into the compact category because, unlike most compact
drones, the Byrd can hoist some heavy payloads. While the Premium ships with a
small 4K camera onboard, it’s actually built to carry payloads of up to 5 pounds.
The Byrd has an interchangeable gimbal system, and GDU plans forthcoming
gimbals for cameras like Sony’s a7 series for much higher quality aerial imagery.
Of course, with heavier cameras onboard, you’ll lose flight time. With the 4K
camera, the GDU Premium gets about 32 minutes in the air—with a Sony a7
camera and lens in tow, flight times drop to about 5 to 7 minutes.
Autel Robotics X-Star Premium
The X-Star sports a 4K/30p camera affixed to a three-axis, stabilized gimbal
to keep your aerial footage smooth. When you need to capture faster
motion, the X-Star records 2K video up to 60 fps, full HD video at 120 fps
and 720p video at 240 fps. It snaps 12-megapixel stills with support for
JPEG and RAW formats and uses the company’s Starpoint Positioning
technology to fly accurately even when GPS is lost. It taps both GPS
can program the drone to follow a subject, orbit a location or fly to user-
selected waypoints for hands-off flight. If you’re just getting started, the
X-Star’s beginner mode creates a geo-fence beyond which your drone
won’t fly; it also limits the craft’s airspeed, making it easier to control.
Walkera Voyager 4
This drone was one of the first to incorporate a zoom
lens and it has the distinction of having the longest
zoom of any prosumer drone you can buy (as of this
writing). Packed with an 18x optical zoom, you’ll
achieve a zoom range of 6.7-134.5mm, giving you
the flexibility to film sweeping establishing shots
and then tighter close-ups without moving the drone
from its position. The camera rests on a three-axis
brushless gimbal and records 4K video at 30p or HD
video at 60p via a 1/2.3-inch Sony sensor. You’ll get
roughly 20 minutes of flight time on a fully charged
battery. The remote works with your mobile device
and displays a live video feed and flight settings.
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