Leisure Drones (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)

version française

2021 - DJI Mavic 3 and 3 Ciné

DJI Mavic 3

the 2 cameras module of the Mavic 3

At the end of 2021, after 3 years, Dji is updating the Mavic 2 Pro with a new drone, the DJI Mavic 3 and 3 Cine.

These drones are equipped with a new module with two cameras: a camera with a 20 MP 4/3 CMOS sensor developed by Hasselblad : FOV: 84° (35mm equivalent: 24mm) and adjustable aperture: f/2.8 - f/11, ISO: 100-6400 (Video)/100-3200 (Photo, automatic)/ ISO: 100-12800 (Photo, manual), mechanical or electronic shutter and a second camera with a 12 MPX 1/2 CMOS sensor and its x28 hybrid zoom, FOV: 15° (35 mm equivalent: 162mm) and aperture: f/4.4, ISO: 100 to 3200, electronic shutter, technology Optical-sensing autofocus.

The Hasselblad sensor can record in 5.1K (5120 × 2700) up to 50fps or in 4K or cinematic 4K and 4K/120fps.
the Mavic 3 Cine is capable of recording in Apple ProRes 422 HQ and has a 1TB SSD hard drive.
The DJI Mavic 3 has omnidirectional obstacle detection, infrared obstacle detection. a battery life of 46 minutes and can be driven up to 15km away.

The DJI Mavic 3 is priced at $ 2,199, in Fly More Combo at $ 2,999 (November 2021).
The DJI Mavic 3 Cine Premium Combo is priced at $ 4,999 (November 2021).

2021 - Autel Robotics Evo Nano and Evo Lite

the Autel Evo Nano and its anti-collision sensors

the Autel Evo Lite

The Autel Robotics Evo Nano and Nano+ drones are ultralight and compact drones weighing less than 250g.
In front of their competitor, like the DJI Mini 2, they have additional functions such as automatic tracking of a subject (person, animal or car), obstacle detectors in the front, below and behind. They have an autonomy of 28 minutes, the EVO Nano has a 1/2" CMOS sensor of 48MP. The videos are stabilized thanks to a 3-axis gimbal. The EVO Nano+ is equipped with a 1/1.28" sensor of 50 Mpx, coupled with an RYYB color filter and an f/1.9 aperture.
Autel's SkyLink transmission system for the Nano provides a range of up to 6.2 miles, supports three frequencies (2.4 / 5.8 / 5.2 GHz), with a streaming quality of 2, 7K/30p in HDR.

The Autel Robotics Evo Nano is available from $ 650 and the Nano+ from $ 800 in gray, white or orange (October 2021).

The Autel Robotics Evo Lite and Lite+ drones are larger drones. The Evo Lite has a 1/1.28" sensor of 50 Mp. The Evo Lite + has a 1" sensor of 20 Mp with variable aperture from f2.8 to f11 and can do 6K videos at 30fps.
They have a 4-axis stabilized gimbal, 40 minutes of battery life per flight, intelligent shooting functions, Dynamic Track 2.1 tracking mode and an in-app video editing solution.

The Autel Robotics Evo Lite is available from 1150 € and the Lite + from 1250 € in gray, white or orange (October 2021).

2021 - Parrot Anafi AI

The Parrot Anafi AI
inspired by a praying mantis

Parrot Anafi AI's cameras

The Parrot Anafi AI, for professionals, is inspired by a praying mantis while the previous Anafi, for large public, was inspired by a bee.

The Anafi AI is connected via 4G and Wi-Fi and is able to fly independently. It has a 48-megapixel 1/2 "Quad Bayer sensor, 4K/60 video mode and HDR10, a stabilized three-axis gimbal integrating a spherical camera and two sensors to its left and to its right to be able to detect Obstacles Linked to the gimbal, these can move independently of the drone and the camera, in order to cover a wide field. The gimbal is able to rotate 90 ° both up and down. can draw up 3D images of what it is capable of filming, to provide accurate rendering for photogrammetry. It has a maximum flight time of 32 minutes. It is foldable but weighs 898 g and measures unfolded : 32 x 44 x 11.8 cm.

The use of 4G, which works with all the nanoSIMs on the market, associated with obstacle detection allows the Anafi AI to have autonomous flight functions. It suffices to indicate to the drone a place to fly over on a 3D cadastral map for it to go there and carry out its mission: surveillance, shooting, autonomous photogrammetry ...

2021 - DJI Mini SE


DJI Mini SE's blister

back of the blister

On June 16, 2021, the DJI Mini SE is seen in Walmart stores for $299 that makes it the most affordable drone in the DJI lineup.

In fact DJI says in an official statement: “The DJI Mini SE is a specialized product tailored for entry-level drone pilots in markets where consumer drone use is emerging. It uses the internal components of the Mavic Mini in the shell of the Mini 2, which generates slightly higher wind resistance but provides much of the performance of the original Mavic Mini at a very attractive price, There are currently no plans to sell this product in the US or Europe (apart from Russia). DJI Mini 2 remains our flagship entry-level drone."
DJI Mini SE has the following characteristics: weight of 249 g, maximum distance of 4 km with automatic return to its starting point, autonomy of thirty minutes, a 1/2.3 "sensor, photos of 12 million pixels, videos at 2.7K/30p or 1080/60p.

2021 - Sony Airpeak

Airpeak equipped with a Sony A7S III © Sony

The 3 photo/video modules © Sony

After months of announcements and teasers, the Sony Airpeak S1 quadcopter drone is finally presented and will be available in Fall 2021. Its price does not make it a leisure drone but a drone for professional shooting.
It competes with the DJI Matrice 600 pro which is a hexacopter, bigger but safer and cheaper. The Sony Airpeak S1 is the smallest drone capable of carrying an Alpha Series and FX3 camera. It has 0-50 mph acceleration in 3.5 seconds, up to 55.9 mph maximum flight speed, a wind resistance up to 44.7 mph for up to 22 Minutes of flight time.

The Sony Airpeak S1 is equipped with four rotors, 5 x Camera & 2 x IR Sensor vision system, two batteries on the top of the camera and folding arms for easy shooting with obstacle avoidance & braking function. It is possible to create and fly automated flight plans.
The Airpeak is doped with AI and “3R” technology meaning “Reality, Real Time and Distance”. Sony's “3R” technology incorporates the use of a Virtual Reality headset. The drone is controllable by means of a large remote control to which it is possible to connect a tablet. On the software side, only an iOS version of the mobile app is available at this time.
Information relating to the project is regularly updated on the Airpeak Site.

The Airpeak S1 drone is priced at $ 9,000, without gimbal and camera (fall 2021).

2021 - DJI Air 2 S and FIMI X8 Mini

DJI Mavic Air 2S

FIMI X8 Mini

Unveiled in April 2021, the DJI Air 2 S replace the Mavic Air 3 and has a camera with a 1" sensor of 20 MP and a fix lens equiv. of 22 mm/f2.8 able to capture Raw and Jpeg photos with SmartPhoto, photo deep learning and analysis technology, and record video up to 5.4K/30p, 4K/60p or 1080p/120p at 150 Mbps with H.264 or H.265 codec. It is equipped with OcuSync (O3) for stable streaming at a distance of up to 12 km (7.45 miles). The DJI Air 2S has the powerful flight modes and image capture modes: RTH, a four-way obstacle avoidance (Forward, Backward, Downward, Upward), a 'MasterShots' cinematic capture mode, a 'RockSteady' electronic image stabilization, several modes : FocusTrack, QuickShots, Hyperlapse. It has a flight time of 31 minutes ans a 595g (1.3 pounds) total weight

It is available for $ 999 or with Fly More Combo for $ 1299 (April 2021).

The the X8 Mini from FMI, subsidiary company of the Chinese group XIAOMI, is a direct competitor of the DJI's Mini drones. Like them, The X8 Mini weighs less than 250 grams with a "pro" battery and has the same compact, foldable structure. It has a 1/2.6 " of 12MP Sony CMOS sensor, a 26mm lens with an 80° field of view mounted on a 3-axis gimbal, a video mode with 4K/30p HDR footage at 100 Mbps with a codec H.265, intelligent tracking modes, 30 minutes autonomy and it takes JPG and RAW photos.
FIMI uses the professional HiSilicon AI algorithm for noise reduction in low light and evening images. It is possible to create panoramas, time lapses and share live streaming videos on social platforms. A remote control with 5.8 GHz allows transmission of up to 8 km.

It is available for $ 449 on the Banggood and AliExpress websites (April 2021).

2021 - DJI FPV


Presented in March 2021, the DJI's FPV is its first “immersive” first-person drone. In addition to the FPV (First Person View) drone, it includes an OcuSync 3 headset and a new joystick controller for ultra-simplified maneuverability. The drone can reach the maximum speed of 140 km/h and go from 0 to 100 km/h in two seconds. The on-board camera records 4K videos at 60 frames per second (120 Mb/s rate) with digital stabilization (RockSteady), the definition of the headphones goes up to 1440x810p in 60/120 fps with a FOV of 142° or 50/100 fps with an FOV of 150°.
The drone has 3 piloting modes and allows hovering possible, obstacle detection, RTH/automatic return to home and emergency braking. The OcuSync 3 transmission has a range of 10 kms.
In addition to a remote control, a sensitive joystick with integrated movement sensors allows the drone to be controlled in a much more intuitive way.

It is available for $1,299 in bundle (drone + headset + controller) and optional joystick costs $199. (March 2021).

2020 - DJI Mini 2

DJI Mini 2

cutaway illustration of the internal components of Mini 2

Unveiled in November 2020, the Mini 2 from DJI fixes the main concerns of the first model, the Mavic Mini, released a year ago.
The Mini 2 keeps the same 2/3" sensor of 12 Mp but now allows 4K/30p and 1080/60p video (100 Mbps bit rate) and captures Raw+JPEG files. It adopts the OcuSync 2.0 link and the Mavic Air 2's remote control. It adds two new modes to Mavic Mini modes: Panorama and Boomerang.
It still weighs 249 grams and has four more powerful and more energy efficient motors powered by a new battery.

It is available for $ 449 for drone and remote control alone or $ 599 as a bundle (November 2020).

2020 - Autel Evo II

Autel Evo II

Unveiled during in January the CES 2020, the Autel EVO II is a credible alternative to DJI drones.

The Autel EVO II features 3-axis gimbal, it supports for H.264 and H.265 codecs at 120 Mbps, HDR video at up to 4K resolution, 10-bit A-Log gamma and has a 40-minute battery life (35 minutes hovering), a controller with built-in color screen, an 9km video transmission and a total of 12 computer vision sensors located on the front, rear, top, bottom, left, and right side of the aircraft for omnidirectional obstacle avoidance. There are also two ultrasonic sensors located on the bottom of the drone for precision hovering. It does not have geofencing, which will certainly appeal to some.

The EVO II standard uses a 26mm equiv. lens (F1.8 fixed), a 1/2" 48MP Quad Bayer sensor and is the first consumer drone to offer 8K video, it is available for $ 1495 (October 2020).

The EVO II Pro uses a 29mm equiv. lens (F2.8-11) and a larger 1"-type 20MP sensor that gives 6K/30p, 4K/60p or HD/120p recording, it is available for $ 1795 (October 2020).

The EVO II Dual features both an optical 29mm equiv. lens (F2.8-11) and a 640 x 512 thermal camera in a single unit and also maxes out at 6K recording. The modular system allows users to switch cameras if needed on a single drone. Ii is available for $ 9998 (October 2020).

2020 - DJI Mavic Air 2

Mavic Air 2 © les numériques

Mavic Air 2 remote control © les numériques

Mavic Air 2 sensors

The Mavic Air 2 has the design and some functions inherited of Mavic 2.

It has a camera mounted on gimbal 3 axes stabilized with a fixed focal lens equivalent 24 mm a f/2.8, a 1/2" "Quad Bayer" Cmos sensor (probably a Sony IMX586) of 48 Mpx to shoot photos in 12 Mpx or 48 Mpx and video recordings up to 4K Ultra HD at 60 fps. It has a flight autonomy of 34 minutes maximum, an Ocusync 2.0 link offering a very long range, DJI AirSense technology, many automated shooting modes.
It has an APAS 3.0 obstacle detection and avoidance system (Advanced pilot assistance system) based on 3 pairs of cameras (front, rear and under the aircraft) and two time-of-flight cameras (Time of Flight or ToF, to measure the distance between the drone and everything that is up to 8 m below it) but no side or top sensors. It inherited the FocusTrack function of Mavic 2 which allows it to automatically follow the subject that it is indicated on the screen.

It measures 180 x 97 x 84 mm and weighs 575g and is offered at $ 799 or $ 988 in a "Fly More Combo" kit with 2 batteries, a carrying case, a 3-battery charger and a set of 3 filters for the camera. (May 2020).

2020 - Skydio 2

Skydo 2

Skydo 2 3D making

The Skydio 2 is the second version of the drone designed by former students of the prestigious MIT who notably contributed to Project Wing, the autonomous delivery drone designed by Google.

Thanks to its Nvidia Tegra TX2 graphics chip, its 6 cameras, each with a field angle of 200 degrees, the Skydio 2 is able of performing a 3D mapping of its environment by generating a 3D image of 45 Mpx in real time. and thus to calculate its trajectory completely autonomously ... and according to its manufacturer, to dispense entirely with piloting by the user.
The slogan of this drone is: "it does the flying, you do the doing".

For Photo, the Skydio 2 is equipped with a Sony IMX577 1/1.23" CMOS sensor of 12 Mpx with a 20 mm lens opening at f/2.8, mechanically stabilized on 3 axes and orientable downwards (- 110 degrees maximum) and upwards (+45 degrees), a sensitivity range from ISO 100 to 3200, a 4K video mode (UHD) at 60 fps maximum with or without HDR, the possibility of sequences in slow motion at 120 fps in Full HD (1080p).
The Skydo 2 is a compact with non-folding arm drone with a flight autonomy of 23 minutes maximum. It can withstand winds of 40 km/h and reaches a speed of 58 km/h and is more silent than its competitors.

It measures 22.3 x 27.3 x 7.4 cm and weighs 775 grams and is offered at $ 999 on the manufacturer's site (April 2020).

2020 - Yuneec Thyphoon H3 and Leica ION L1 Pro camera

Camera Leica ION L1 Pro

Yuneec Thyphoon H3

After DJI who bought Hasselblad, it's the Chinese brand Yuneec that partners with Leica to offer the hexacopter Typhoon H3.
This professional drone is positioned between the DJI Inspire and the DJI Mavic Pro. It is a stable Hexacopter with 6 rotors with the possibility of activating the 5 rotor mode in the event of a rotor failure, retractable arms for easy transport, autonomy up to 25 minutes, retractable landing gear, intelligent automatic flight modes: Follow Me, Orbit, Journey, Curve Cable Cam, Return Home and Auto Landing modes. It also has a redundant control signal, obstacle detection, a Team mode for separate control of the hexacopter and the camera (additional ST16S required).
Thanks to the integrated 3-axis gimbal and the retractable landing gear of the drone, the camera can rotate 360 ° without limit and allows to take smooth panoramic photos.
In terms of data security, Yuneec indicates that its system is a closed system. All communication is done directly between the drone // camera and the ST16S remote control. There is no detour via a cloud solution. All data generated by the Typhoon H3 (photo, video and flight data) belongs exclusively to the customer at all times and can be saved, erased or managed by the drone operator without any restrictions.
The camera developed by Leica Camera AG is the Leica ION L1 Pro which includes a 1 "20 MP CMOS camera sensor which can also shoot up to 4K video at 60 FPS with a data rate up to 100Mbit. Images are saved in Jpg or DNG calibrated Leica with corresponding ADOBE profile, the camera has a digital lossless zoom, a 10-bit YLog video mode based on Leica specifications, a semi-automatic ISO / Trigger function,   Automatic exposure bracketing (AEB), a 1/3 level adjustment of EV / ISO / Shutter ...

The Yuneec Typhoon H3 with its Leica ION L1 Pro camera is offered at $ 2,600 (February 2020).

2020 - V-Coptr Factor of Zero Zero Robotics

V-Coptr Factor of Zero Zero Robotics

Hover 2 of Zero Zero Robotics

In 2020, Zero Zero Robotics, a new American-Chinese company presented the V-Coptr which has only two tilting rotors instead of four. The tilting rotors are attached to the end of the arms which extend from the upper body of the drone and can be folded inwards when they are not used to form a compact unit of 8 , 7 x 5.9 x 2.7 inches, for a weight of 26 oz only. The autonomy of this drone is increased to 50 minutes thanks to a 4500 mAh battery and greater efficiency in the air. The V-Coptr is equipped with a 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor allowing it to capture still images at 12 megapixels and 4K videos at 30 fps. The camera is stabilized on three axis to keep the video smooth. The range with video is 4.3 miles maximum.

Zero Zero Robotics also markets the Hover 2 which replaces the first Hover "Passport" version. This small drone weighs 490 grams and measures 23 x 17, 2 x 4.5 cm.
In photo, the “Autoframe” mode allows automatic framing to follow a person. In video, the flight modes reproduce effects used by cinema professionals, namely the “orbit”, “surge”, “ricochet” and “Reveal” modes. The tracking modes is improved and the Omni-follow tracking mode allows faster movement in several directions without losing tracking even in the event of an obstacle. Its AI allows him to guess where you will reappear and find yourself. This drone detects and avoids obstacles. Its camera, stabilized on 2 axes has a CMOS sensor of 1/2.3 inches and 12 megapixels and allows 4K, Full HD and HD videos but also 2.7K in 60 frames per second and Full HD (1080p) at 60 and 120 frames per second.

2019 - DJI Mavic Mini

Mavic Mini

Unveiled Wednesday, October 30, 2019, the DJI Mavic Mini is the first new product introduced by DJI, for almost two years. The Mavic Mini is very small (it measures 16 cm long, once unfolded) and light. Its weight (249 g) allows it to be below the limit of 250 gr, which requires to report its drone to the civil aviation authorities (French DGAC) This threshold introduced by the American civil aviation, widely considered as an acceptable compromise, will be integrated into European legislation, in principle from January 1, 2021. Which will make obsolete the current French floor, of 800 gr.
The Mavic Mini can fly to a distance of 4 km from the pilot and has an automatic return system at its starting point with an autonomy of thirty minutes. It has a camera with a 1/2.3-inch sensor of 12 million pixels that can capture up to 2.7K/30p or 1080/60p. It may be piloted from a smartphone, which is integrated into a remote control. It is available from $ 399 for drone and remote control alone or $ 499 as a bundle (October 2019).

2018 - Decline in the leisure drone market.

According to the newpaper "Le Monde", If the pace of news falters in 2018, it's because drones do not become mass consumer goods like other high-tech family products. The outlook for previously uninterrupted sales growth has been brutally stopped. Highlighted by the very bad period that runs through Parrot, which is expected to dig 100 million euros of losses this year, the plummet of recreational drones rings the end of a cycle.
According to the panels formed by Gfk and NPD, the annual decrease (third quarter of 2018 compared to the third quarter of 2017) of model sales between 500 and 800 euros, located at the heart of the market, reached 33% in value on all major European countries (France, United Kingdom, Germany). In the United States, it reaches 56%. France is the only country where sales remain well oriented (+ 12%). This easily explains the drop in news for a market that may become a renewal market reserved for photo and video enthusiasts.

2018 - Parrot Anafi - DJI Mavic 2 and DJI Phantom 4 Pro

Parrot ANAFI

Mavic 2 Zoom and 2 Pro

Phantom 4 v2 Pro

The Chinese DJI firm dominates the market of leisure UAVs.
In July 2019, Parrot decides to exit toy (mass-market) drone market to shift its focus toward commercial and enterprise businesses with the Parrot Anafi Thermal with its FLIR Lepton® 3.5 radiometric thermal-imaging camera module to measure and reveal thermal differences.
The American specialist in 3D Robotics (or 3DR) professional UAVs has chosen to abandon the market of mass-market UAVs, just like GoPro after the failure of its Karma UAV.
DJI therefore races in the lead and in addition to developments in its professional UAVs have presented other public UAVs, lighter than 800 grams (see new regulations below).

The Parrot ANAFI is a folding UAV with a very special design that makes it look like an insect.
It has a 4K HDR camera with a CMOS sensor 1/2.4" of 21 Mpx with an hybrid stabilization. It can film in 4K Cine (4096 x 2160) 24p, 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) 30p, 2.7K 30p and Full HD 1080 60p. It has an USB-C rechargeable battery that offers a range of 25 minutes, weighs 320 grams and has fun features.
It is available for $ 600 (October 2018).

DJI has updated its Mavic Pro with two models DJI Mavic 2 Zoom and DJI Mavic 2 Pro that differ only by their camera.
They share the same following technical characteristics: up to 31 minutes of flight (against 27 for the original Mavic Pro), 10 sensors to avoid obstacles in all directions, 8 GB of on-board storage, a downward-pointing auxiliary light system, a top speed in sport mode 72 km/h, a Hyperlapse mode, a video transmission with a boost and an update of OcuSync in version 2, which uses both the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequencies, all two now exceed 800 grams ...
DJI bought Swedish camera manufacturer Hasselblad.
The Mavic 2 Pro has a Hasselblad L1D-20c camera with a 20-megapixel 1" CMOS sensor that has an active detection area four times more efficient than the previous Mavic Pro, a 28mm f.2.8-f/11 lens with Hasselblad's HNCS technology, a 10-bit Dlog-M color profile for greater dynamic range (up to 12800 ISO sensitivity), a 10-bit HDR video mode, and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) format support. Mavic 2 Pro has a weight of 907 grams.
The Mavic 2 Zoom has a 1/2.3" CMOS sensor of 12 megapixel and a 2X optical zoom (24-48mm and 2X digital to 96mm), a Super Resolution panoramic photo mode of 48 MP, all for a weight of 905 grams.
The Mavic 2 Pro is priced at $ 1449 and the Mavic 2 Zoom at $ 1249 (October 2018).

DJI also updated the Phantom 4.
The Phantom 4 v2 Pro is equipped with the OcuSync HD transmission system that supports automatic dual frequency band switching and connects to DJI Goggles and DJI Goggles RE wireless. It is a main feature of this model, the OcuSync HD transmission, already used on the Mavic Pro, increases the range of video transmission, which goes from 5 to 7 kilometers and improves the quality of the image, which goes from 720p to 1080p for video feedback.
The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 has improved aerodynamics propellers, which can be mounted on the other Phantoms 4 models, and the ESC (new flow-oriented ESC) makes it possible to reduce the noise emitted by the aircraft (by 4 decibels) and to improve the stability and the handling of the aircraft in flight. It keeps the same 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor that can shoot in 4K at 60 fps and shoot continuously at 14 fps. In addition, the FlightAutonomy system includes two rear optical sensors and infrared detection systems for total 5-way obstacle detection and 4-way obstacle avoidance.
The Phantom 4 v2 Pro is priced at $ 1699 (June 2019).

2017 - Parrot Bebop2 - DJI Mavic Air and DJI Spark

DJI Mavic Air

DJI Spark

Parrot Bebop 2 Power

DJI ZenMuse X7

The DJI Spark is a mini UAV with HD camera and gesture controls but with flight autonomy of 15 minutes. It has a 720p video return, a 12 megapixel Full HD camera and an improved transmission range at 2 Km.
It is available with a bright color: white, blue, green, red or yellow for less than $ 400.

Parrot reacted by updating its Parrot Bebop 2 Power direct competitor of the Spark with a 12MP 1920 x 1080p Full HD camera, a range of 2000 meters, control by Skycontroller, Tablet or Smartphone and flight autonomy of 20 minutes.
It is available with remote control and virtual headphones at a price of $ 799.

The DJI Mavic Air is a compact UAV (168 × 83 × 49 mm) and lightweight 430 grams, between the Mavic Pro and the Spark, with folding arms and no compromise. It has a microSD port and 8GB internal storage, an advanced driver assistance system (APAS) that processes the data collected by the seven cameras and embedded infrared sensors, to build a 3D map of the environment allowing blow a more secure flight. It has a CMOS sensor 1/2.3 of 12 Mpx HDR and a lens of 24mm /f2.8 (35 format equivalent) and flight autonomy of 20 minutes.
Like the Spark, the Mavic Air can be controlled with gestures. It is proposed in red white or black for $ 800.

DJI is also positioned as a camera manufacturer. Its last camera, the Zenmuse X7 allows to acquire in 24p and 25p a 6K image (6016 x 3200) in DNG RAW Cinema at 30 fps, as well as a 4K/UHD image in Apple ProRes XQ.
The Zenmuse X7 has a Super 35 sensor (24.89 mm × 18.66 mm) and a new proprietary lens mount DL DJI offers 4 new DL mount lenses, built in carbon fiber that is significantly lighter. All lenses are opened at f/2.8: the 16mm embed an integrated ND filter and 24mm, 35mm and 50mm lenses have an internal shutter (up to 1/1000s) in order to limit the effects of rolling shutter or banding.
The ZenMuse X7 is delivered with DJI Inspire 2.

The ZenMuse X7 is priced at $ 2700 for the camera alone, $ 1500 for the 16mm, 24mm and 35mm. The 50 mm will be offered for $ 1400 and the 4 optics together for $ 5 096.

2016 - GoPro Karma - DJI Phantom 3 4K, DJI Mavic Pro and DJI Matrice 600

DJI Phantom 3 4K

shooting picture with a leisure drone
(c) jarleton

drone GoPro Karma

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI Matrice 600 with Hasselblad A5D

Alongside the traditional cameras, smartphones or actioncams, new connected devices now permit to take pictures unthinkable few years ago. This is the case of leisure drones. They offer for the price of an advanced compact new perspectives. The bestseller DJI Phantom 3 is proposed with his camera to $450 (September 2016).

GoPro, that try to diversify its market presents the Go Pro Karma, a drone with folding arms to store it in a dedicated carrying case that also contents the remote control. The drone operates with a detachable 3-axis stabilizer that can be used with an actioncam independently of the drone. It accepts Hero 4 and 5 actioncams.
It is available at a price of $800 for drone Karma alone and $1100 for the Karma drone with HERO5 Black (October 2016).

A few days after Photokina, in response to Go Pro Karma, DJI presents the DJI Mavic Pro, a new drone with foldable arms, smaller than the Karma and that can fit in a backpack. It has a 4K movie mode or can take picture on 12 megapixels (28mm lens) and has many sensors (GPS and similar, ultrasound ...) allowing to fly autonomously, to track automatically the subject, to avoid obstacles, to keep a steady altitude or even to make a selfie by gesture recognition. Its sensors are duplicated to prevent incidents and it comes with a new more compact radio control.
The DJI Mavic Pro is also available for $1100 with the remote control (mid-October 2016).

If you prefer the DJI matrice 600 drone with the Hasselblad A5D, a middle format aerial camera of 50 or 80 megapixels, it will cost $26000 or more.

2021 - New European legislation.

Since January 2021, The new European law leads to new rules on the possession and use of drones in the EU
The drone legislation in France included two categories of flight: professional flight and leisure flight. European lawmakers have categorized thefts based on risk level, not use. These old categories will therefore be replaced mainly by:
the open category, which includes recreational drones (limited to scenario S1);
the specific category, which concerns professional drones (practicing specific scenarios).
In addition, there are 5 classes of drones on the market:
- C0 for drones less than 250 g;
- C1 for drones of less than 900 g having the "direct remote identification" functionality;
- C2 for drones of less than 4 kg having the "direct remote identification" functionality and a reduced speed;
- C3 for drones under 25 kg with the "direct remote identification" functionality;
- C4 for drones under 25 kg without control equipment.

The drone regulations require that operators or pilots declare themselves, in particular those who wish to pilot a drone having a weight: BR> - greater than 250 g (like the DJI Mavic Air 2 model) or
- less than 250 g, but equipped with a camera (like the DJI Mavic Mini model).

Registration is mandatory and is done online in the new "Mon activité d'Exploitant" section on Alpha Tango. the operator number (in the form "FRA + 13 characters" must be affixed to your drone so that it is clearly legible.

Drones belonging to classes C1, C2, C3 or C4 or weighing more than 800g and having an electronic reporting device must be registered.

The new legislation recommends training for pilots of CE marked drones. Those of the old drones (which are not CE marked) will still be subject to current training.
Training can be done online on the Alpha Tango website. There will soon be the "Formation pour la catégorie Ouverte", specially dedicated to pilots in the open category (C1, C2, C3 and C4). Free, it is valid for 5 years and teaches you the basics (safety, procedures, regulations, etc.).
All of these rules are described in the guide in French available by clicking on this link.

Electronic remote signaling compulsory for devices over 800 grams.

Since June 29, 2020, drones over 800 g are subject in E.U to another obligation: remote electronic reporting.
The objective is that the police can identify a drone, its owner, but also check its flight information (take-off point, direction, height, speed ...) to possibly ensure that it is not do not prepare to enter a prohibited or even sensitive area (nuclear power plant ...).
The manufacturer DJI is offering an update adding the remote electronic identification function for its newer drones (Mavic 2, Phantom 4 Pro V2, RTK and Multispectral, Matrice 200 V2 and 300 RTK).
For others, it is up to the user to purchase and set up such a device and ensure that it works well.

The DGAC's Alpha Tango site is dedicated to drones and allows to register as an operator , to follow an online training , to take the multiple choice exam and to register his aircraft and the associated remote electronic reporting device.

2021 - Automatic flight authorization in the USA.


In USA, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability (LAANC), a free service, to automate approvals, in real-time, for both commercial and recreational drone pilots looking to operate in controlled airspace. The program started out as a prototype in 2017 and subsequently became available on top airspace management apps including Aloft (formerly Kittyhawk), UASidekick, Airmap, and the FAA's own B4UFly.
Since launching in beta, over 320,000 LAANC approvals have been granted according to data shared by Aloft last year. More than one-third of those requests were made in the first six months of 2020, especially during the start of the pandemic. LAANC is a critical service for Air Traffic Controllers as well. Having awareness of where and when drones are in their airspace is crucial for safety in regards to both manned and unmanned aircraft.


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Created September 29th 2016, Updated the November 8th, 2021.
© Pierre J.