The new Voyager 4 prosumer superzoom drone boasts a 16x optical telephoto zoom and, with 4G wireless internet connection for both the drone and its controller, could potentially be flown anywhere in the world by a user located anywhere else in the world.
Manufactured by Walkera, the drone can shoot footage quality to rival the Phantom 4 from up to a kilometre (0.6 mi) away. The drone’s gimbal-stabilised 360-degree camera offers a 16x optical zoom lens with a maximum focal length of 1500mm.
Another drone with a telephoto lens was released recently, DJI’s Zenmuse Z3 Zoom camera for the Inspire 1. It boasts 7x zoom from a 22-77mm lens equivalent, paling in comparison to the Voyager 4’s capabilities.
The Voyager 4 can also operate using its own Wi-Fi network, giving it a range of about 1.5 kilometres (0.9 mi) in the air, or users can connect the drone and the controller to 4G wireless internet, allowing them to user either anywhere they can get good signal.
Those operating the Voyager 4 will have to be careful not to run afoul of the various rules emerging to govern drone use, such as the stipulation that UAVs cannot be flown beyond the sight of users. With the drone having such range, its subject will likely not even hear it flying.
If you want the gimbal-stabilised superzoom camera, you’re going to have to make do with 1080p footage for now, to get 4K you’ll have to choose a fixed wide lens. As yet, Walkera have not announced pricing or release date information, though when its predecessor the Voyager 3 was launched in early 2015 it was US$800 cheaper than the Inspire 1 at US$2,399.
It remains to be seen whether Walkera’s superzoom claims can be backed up by the Voyager 4’s performance, and whether DJI’s Inspire 2 will have emerged to challenge it by the time it makes an appearance.