Adorama launches camera drone
One of the world's largest photographic retailers is now getting into the camera-equipped drone market, with Adorama announcing its Aries Blackbird X10 quadcopter. Among other things, the little copter shoots 1080p/30fps video, captures 16-megapixel stills, and has a flight time of 25 minutes per charge of its 5,300-mAh lithium-polymer battery.
Some of the X10's other features include 6-axis gyro stability, GPS-enabled position-holding, and first-person-view on a Wi-Fi-linked iOS or Android mobile device. A camera control app on that device also allows users to remotely stop and start recording, switch between video and still modes, change settings, and adjust the camera angle.
The camera itself has an F/2.8 120-degree lens, and can automatically tilt relative to the horizon in order to help keep subjects centered. Footage is recorded onboard the drone, on a user-supplied MicroSD card of up to 32GB capacity.
The dual-joystick radio remote controller includes a smartphone mount and has a range of approximately 500 meters (1,640 ft), although the communications range of the user's mobile device can reportedly be boosted by up to 1,000 ft (305 m) if the included Wi-Fi repeater is used – depending on current conditions.
Should the flight controls be released, the X10 will automatically hover in place using its GPS module. Should it completely lose contact with the user (such as if it's flown out of range, or the controller craps out), it will automatically ascend to a "safe" altitude, and then return to its take-off point.
Unfortunately, the company has yet to post any footage shot with the X10. It would be particularly interesting to see how stable the video is, as there are no visible means of isolating the camera from the drone's vibrations.
The Aries Blackbird X10 is available now, exclusively from Adorama. It's priced at US$799.
[UPDATE – Dec. 9: In response to our inquiries, Adorama has informed us that the X10 is an upgraded version of a drone already sold under a different name by Chinese manufacturer AEE]