Sony announces the $9,000 professional drone it teased at CES

It’s built to take Sony’s cameras to the skies

Sony is now Fully Revealed Your Airpeak S1 Drone, which it teased at CES 2021 in January. Announcement contains too many details Drone capabilities, features, and reveals a $9,000 price for the drone without the gimbal or camera, all of which cement the idea that this drone will be aimed squarely at the professional video market.

The Airpeak with the A7S and 24mm lens, sold separately, is attached to the gimbal.
Image: Sony

The Airpeak S1 is built to work with Sony’s mirrorless cameras, including the A7S Mark III, FX3, or even the 8K-capable Alpha 1. They will be attached to a special version of the Gremsy T3 gimbal designed specifically for Airpeak. And you have to buy separately. With a single camera, the drone will have a flight time of about 12 minutes (though it can achieve 22 minutes without any load). It’s also worth noting that the camera requires its own battery – it’s not going to be powered by the drone.

Sony has already released a preview of the types of shots you can capture with the drone, which you can view below. You can even get a shot of the landing gear retracting into motion.

One of the biggest selling points of the drone is its stability and wind-resistance. According to Sony, it can stay stable in winds of up to 44.7 mph (that’s 20 m/s, which is more than double the DJI quote for the Inspire 2), and it has five sets of stereo cameras that can be used for drones. And an infrared rangefinder should help stop the drone before hitting obstacles and remain stable even without satellite reception. Sony has also enlisted the Japanese space agency JAXA to help. Do some tests for the drone:

The AirPeak is also fast – it can do 0-50 (which is closer to its top speed of 55.9 mph) in 3.5 seconds. It’s worth noting, though, that it’s without attachments of any kind—Sony hasn’t said what kind of speed or acceleration can be achieved when the drone is flying the camera. That said, Sony showed me and other reporters a video of the drone doing a figure-eight in the air, which it pulled off with impressive speed and agility.

For comparison, DJI’s Matrice 600 Pro, which costs about $7,000 without a gimbal or camera, has a top speed of 40 mph and 32 minutes alone using its stock battery, or 16 minutes with a 13-pound payload. The quoted battery life of . .

The Airpeak S1 can only be operated with the included controller, but Sony has an app called Airpeak Flight to help make things easier. The app is iOS/iPadOS only for now, but it will allow control of the camera and gimbal. The AirPeak can be operated by one person, but it also allows dual-operator mode, where one person controls the flight and the other controls the camera. Sony says the range of the controller is still being tested.

Controlling Airpeak flight with an iPad.
Image: Sony

While you won’t get a camera or gimbal for the Airpeak S1’s $9,000 price, it does come with two pairs of propellers, controllers, two batteries, and a charger. Sony expects to ship it in the fall, and will introduce a service plan to cover damage from accidents.

In light of all the laws and controversies surrounding drones from China, Sony is making it clear that the Airpeak S1 is designed and built in Japan; This came up repeatedly in a press briefing and again in press releases.

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