Sony has announced its first ever drone – the Sony Airpeak S1. Teased at CES 2021, this professional drone is designed to work with a wide range of Sony Alpha mirrorless cameras, and packs some seriously powerful features.
The Airpeak S1 is described as 'professional-level', which goes some way to explaining the eye-watering price tag of "approximately $9K" – 10 times the price of our best consumer drone, the DJI Air 2S, and that's sans camera and gimbal. Not one your average techhead looking to capture cool shots on their holidays, then.
It'll be the first in what is planned to be a full fleet of Airpeaks to swoop its way onto the market, and as you'd expect from the maker of some of the very best mirrorless cameras round – it's all centred around capturing amazing images. The Airpeak S1 is the smallest to work with a full-sized, mirrorless, interchangeable lens Alpha camera.
Buyers can pick the precise camera that suits their needs – it's compatible with a wide range of cameras, including the Alpha 7S series, Alpha 7R series and the Alpha 9 series, as well as the Alpha 1, which is capable of capturing 8K footage. On the gimbal front, there'll be a third-party gimbal made specifically for the Airpeak S1, sold separately to the drone.
There's an option to use the Airpeak S1 in 'dual operation mode', which means one person can operate the drone while another mans the gimbal and camera simultaneously, for total control over more complex shots.
Elsewhere there's plenty to pique our interest. The drone is powered by proprietary brushless motor, 17" propeller, control system and sensing technology, designed to allow super high-speed flight and impressive wind resistance. In fact, it'll reach speeds of up to 55mph (90km/h), and can be flown in winds up to 44.7mph (20m/s) (there's a video to prove it).
Sony has harnessed its imaging expertise into the safety features, too. Five stereo cameras, each equipped with Sony image sensors, are installed at the front, back, left, right and bottom of the drone. Sony's Vision Sensing Processor can then process the data at high speed, with low power consumption, to track the drone's position and orientation at all times to keep it stable and prevent collisions, even when there's no satellite reception.
“Sony is excited to launch our new drone business with the Airpeak S1,” says Sony's Yang Cheng. “Combining an extremely compact size with some of Sony’s most advanced imaging, sensing, AI and robotics technologies, the S1 will allow content creators, storytellers and commercial professionals to capture that which they’ve never been able to capture before.”
The Airpeak S1 has only just been announced (June 2021) and isn't quite available to preorder yet, but Sony says it'll be ready to ship to customers in autumn 2021.
Find out more at electronics.sony.com/airpeak.