Sony Airpeak S1 drone will start shipping on Dec. 24

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Sony is now accepting pre-orders for Airpeak S1, the world’s smallest drone that can carry a full-frame Alpha series mirrorless camera. The company says it will begin shipping pre-orders on December 24, 2021, on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Pre-orders can be placed through major retailers including Adorama, B&H Photo, and Drone Nerds.

Sony Airpeak S1 drone price and features

The new Sony drone carries a price tag of $9,000. While it’s quite evident the drone is aimed only at those with deep pockets, Sony has a few key selling points up its sleeve that could make the Airpeak S1 attractive to professional filmmakers.

First, the “made in Japan” cinematography drone with obstacle avoidance integrates seamlessly with Sony’s full-size Alpha cameras and comes with an advanced remote controller.

Payloads could include powerful low-light cameras like the a7S series or FX3 that leverage high sensitivity with stability to capture vivid images even in dark conditions. High-resolution cameras like the a7R series are also supported with huge potential for commercial and industrial applications. In the meantime, the a9 series can capture high-quality images with low distortion, while the a1 can shoot 8K video in the air.

As a dedicated accessory for Airpeak S1, there is Gremsy gimbal “T3 for Airpeak” that is compatible with Alpha series cameras. Once the gimbal is connected, the quick release mechanism allows for easy attachment. And the temperature-controlled IMU allows for accurate control of the gimbal in any temperature.

The hovering accuracy of Sony Airpeak S1 is 9 cm with GNSS and Vision Positioning enabled. As such, the drone is less likely to drift in the air and will be more stable when shooting long exposures and time-lapse shots. For comparison, the DJI Mavic 3 delivers a hovering accuracy of 50 cm with GNSS Positioning and 10 cm with Vision Positioning.

It’s also worth highlighting that the Airpeak S1 drone can provide wind resistance in strong wind speeds up to 44.7 mph (20m/s), which can be a real advantage to combat unexpected gusts and changing flight conditions.

The maximum transmission distance of the drone is, however, quite limited. At 2.4 – 2.4835 GHz and 5.725 – 5.82 GHz, the drone can cover a distance of up to 1.2 miles or around 2 km.

In the meantime, a web application called “Airpeak Base” allows drone pilots to manage the equipment, create flight plans, and manage flight logs. Operators can set the position (latitude, longitude, and altitude) and speed of the drone along the timeline. They can also specify the orientation of the gimbal and the timing of video or still image shooting. And then, the app creates advanced flight plans through which the pilot can automatically fly the Airpeak S1. This provides accurate repeatability – as if the drone were on rails installed in the air.

Meanwhile, to control, monitor, and manage the aircraft, remote controller, camera, and the gimbal in-flight, you will need the “Airpeak Flight” mobile app which is available only on iOS.

Interestingly, Sony has built a lot of components and technology in-house, including a proprietary motor, 17-inch propellers, a flight control system, and image sensing technology.

Flight time

Airpeak S1 has a maximum flight time of 22 minutes without a payload, and it can still maintain flight for up to 12 minutes when fitted with a heavy payload like the a7S III and FE 24mm F1.4 GM. The hot-swappable battery allows for power supply exchange without powering down the aircraft for minimal downtime.

Where to buy the new Sony drone

You can place a pre-order for the Sony Airpeak S1 drone through major retailers including Adorama, B&H Photo, and Drone Nerds.

Read more: Japan-based Drone Fund invests in Wingcopter

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