Small camera drones on Kickstarter and Indiegogo – how many of those have we seen already? Remember the Lily Camera drone that we reported about? It doesn’t seem to be shipping yet, and there seem to be some problems with it with another “fake” campaign claiming to sell their drone too, and according to this report they are under review by the “Indiegogo Trust and Safety Team”. Not very reassuring, to say the least.
So, we have honestly become more cautious with crowd funding campaigns in general and drone crowd funding campaigns specifically – there are just a lot of things that seem to go wrong, and a lot of products that never see the light of day, even after being successfully funded.
Now, the drone market is huge – if you look at this article, it becomes apparent why so many companies try their luck. And I am not only talking about camera drones. It’s growing fast, and so is the need for regulation. This article here gives a good overview of industry trends in the drone field (PDF link).
But let’s look at the drone crowd funding campaign du jour – the UP&Go Arial Camera on Indiegogo. It’s already overfunded by now with over three weeks left, which is another good indication about how much hype still surrounds the drone business.
What’s so special about it? It’s quite cheap with a starting price of $299, and it’s really supposed to be for amateurs who want to film their outdoor adventures by having a drone follow them automatically.
It records only 1080p at (up to?) 60fps and 720p at 120fps, and takes 12MP stills. The demo footage looks okay but I expect this to essentially look like an older generation GoPro.
Speaking of which, they officially call this an “Aerial GoPro” and even copy the style of GoPro’s logotype, which is daring to say the least, because I am sure that there is no real association with GoPro.
Seriously? The logo looks like a GoPro rip-off …
So, if you are thinking about pre-ordering the UP&GO camera drone on Indiegogo, be careful – you might get a very cheap drone for more “fun stuff”, but there is always the danger that a crowd funding campaign like this won’t materialise.
Also, as far as I can tell from the campaign page, the drone is not aware of its environments with sensors (unlike, for instance, the DJI Phantom 4), which means that it will crash into trees when it follows you if you’re not careful. Let’s hope that’s something they will add before they ship the product.
The new Aputure Full HD Monitors bring more affordable options to an already competitive market.
A quick look online for 7-inch external monitors will bring up a long list of offers of varying prices, features and resolutions, with most affordable options falling into the 800 x 480 category. Once you filter out your search to HD monitors only, you will find the list is populated mostly by products in the 4-digit price range.
Enter Aputure, the Chinese manufacturer that brought us the affordable Amaran range of LED light panels as well as the innovative DEC Wireless Remote Adapter. The new Aputure Full HD Monitors – a recent upgrade to their VS line – offer HD resolution at a very competitive price.
These new FineHD incarnations bring several improvements over the previous VS-1 and VS-2. In addition to the leap in resolution to HD, both models boast improved Fine IPS screens with better contrast and brightness. This is useful for challenging outdoor shooting environments. A battery level reminder, input selection and shortcut functions are other improvements at the operating system level.
These Aputure Full HD Monitors start with an RRP of under $200 with the VS-1 FineHD. But in terms of features, the improved resolution is pretty much it. This, of course, may be all you need as an alternative to the LCD screen on your camera.
But if you require any kind of assist functionality, then the VS-2 FineHD is worth looking at. At an RRP of $279 you get the same HD 7-inch screen, plus features such as histogram, focus peaking, zebras, false colour and audio level meters. You also get a battery to use with the included Sony NP-compatible plate.
Some features lacking in these models are support for LUTs, HDMI output and SDI support. But products offering these features at this resolution cost many times more, so it is easy to forgive the “basic” functionality at this price point. Even the VS-1 FineHD doesn’t seem so basic if you can output the assist functions you may have available in your camera to the larger display of the Aputure.
For shooters wanting to invest in their first field monitor who are happy to compromise some of the higher-end features, HD resolution just got a lot more affordable. Check out the monitors on their site – we will post links to B&H once the items become available for pre-order.
What do you think? Will you up your game this year with an external HD monitor?
Blackmagic Design was never shy of dropping prices when they smell competition – it’s all over town that the Panasonic GH4 is a blockbuster and the Sony A7s is on its way of becoming one. So someone powerful at Blackmagic Design decided to cut the Pocket Cinema Camera’s price – in half.
Yes, you heard that right.
The Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera will be $495 until August 31st, 2014. I doubt they will raise the price back to the $995 after that and I’m sure it’s a marketing trick to get everyone buying quickly, but it might just work as I see the possibility of many retailers running out of stock soon.
Our favorite retailers B&H (in the US) and AF Marcotec (in Europe) already list the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera for $495 or €375 (excluding VAT), respectively.
[AF Marcotec seems to have had a wrong price on their site before – it’s now been corrected, also in this post.]