New BETAFPV Pavo360 drone with Insta360 technology

BETAFPV Pavo360 SMO 360

This is actually about two brand-new products, intended to work together as a pair. They are the BETAFPV Pavo360 drone, along with the SMO 360 – an ultralight, twin-lens 360° camera. If you’re into CineWhoops and 360 footage, it looks like an interesting combination.

BETAFPV is a leading Shenzhen producer of smaller first-person view drones. It builds affordable products and tends to release multiple new drones annually. Now, the company is releasing a new small drone intended purely for FPV flights that capture 360° footage, meaning the drone becomes “invisible” in the process.

Interested? Let’s dive in.

360° CineWhoop

We’ll let BETAFPV have the first crack at describing the product. Here are the main points, taken directly from the company’s news release:

Pavo360, a totally new and unique drone generated by BETAFPV, aims to provide pilots with a perfect 360° video recording and stable flying. It comes with an ultralight customized SMO 360 Cam, a balanced body design to guarantee a stable flying, a retractable landing gear to protect cam away from any damages when landing on ground. It also has sufficient power because of 2204-2400KV motors and 2 tandem 850mAh 3S batteries.

Intriguing. Let’s take a look at what this combo looks like:

You can see the bubbles of the two lenses at top and bottom…

And what about that 360° camera?

Well, that’s where Insta360 comes in. The company – also based in Shenzhen – is a world leader (some might justifiably argue the world leader) in consumer 360° camera technology. (We recently highlighted the company’s GO 2, which is a phenomenal piece of tech wrapped up in a package the size of your thumb, and absolutely perfect for small drones.)

This camera is actually built by BETAFPV, but the company has done so using Insta360 technology, and both companies have their logos on the supplied product branding.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the SMO 360° camera, which fits in this drone like a glove.

Very slick.

Let’s see what it can do…

It’s one thing to see some stills; another to see some video. Here you go:

Super lightweight

Yes, you read that correctly. The SMO 360 is a mere 55 grams, so it’s not adding much weight at all to the Pavo360. Its twin lenses each have the 35mm equivalent focal length of 7mm, with one lens capturing everything above the body of the Pavo360, and the second capturing everything from below. Stitch all that together with Insta360 goodness, and you’ve got an invisible camera in the sky.

It captures 5.7k resolution and records in H.265 compression with a maximum bitrate of 100 Mbps.

Here are the complete specs for the SMO 360:

More on that camera

While BETAFPV built this one, it did so with Insta360 tech. That means the camera is compatible with Insta360’s app and free editing software. These are very powerful and tremendously easy to use. Here’s more from the release:

SMO 360 is developed by FPV drone company BETAFPV using Insta360 technology. The camera is backed up with Insta360’s FlowState stabilization, allowing FPV pilots to get ultra-smooth video via Insta360’s mobile app and desktop software.

And that FlowState stabilization? It’s excellent (we’ve used it, and are very impressed).

But what about scratching up those lenses? This is an issue that has plagued some previous efforts in the 360 drone world – since the lenses must be exposed at the top and bottom of the drone – where at least one of them is very likely to make contact with the ground.

If only there were a solution…

Landing gear

Yes, the drone features landing gear that will pop out to provide protection for the glass. Providing it works well, this looks like a pretty good fix. It’s unclear if there is another lens protection option at this time (like, in case you turtle).

Yes, that’s a landing gear…

Multiple options

Like most BETAFPV products, the Pavo360 promises to Bind and Fly with popular radios (though obviously you choose your preferred option before purchase). It also comes in both digital and analogue flavors, using the Caddx Polar Vista Kit (digital) or the Caddx Ratel+A02 800mW.

If you’re interested in this unique combo, you’ll find deets on the Pavo360 here, and on the SMO 360 Cam here. The SMO 360 Cam retails for $399.99 US, while the Pavo360 starts at $319.99 for the analog video transmitter version, climbing to $489.99 for TBS RX + HD Digital VTX model.

Wait, there’s more!

And there actually is. All of this talk about 360° cameras (and Insta360) reminded us that – despite Black Friday being gone, the company still has a major holiday sale on. You won’t find much better deals at Insta360 than this. If you’re looking for more info, we wrote about this in detail here, with pointers to all the best buys and specific cameras.

If you’re into capturing the world in 360, check it out.

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