California-based UAV manufacturer PowerVision have announced the availability of their new beast of a drone, PowerEye. It’s a large professional cinematography drone with an utter mountain of goodies included.
One of the differences between the PowerEye and several of its pro-drone contemporaries is its Dual Viewing feature. PowerEye has a camera built into the nose of the main body ideally placed to monitor control of the drone from a first person view (FPV). Meanwhile a separate professional camera is mounted underneath the body on a movable 3-axis gimbal to shoot your subject matter view (SMV).
Pilots will have the ability to see the video from the FPV and SMV feeds simultaneously. Dual Viewing can be managed by one person using a single mobile device in split-screen or picture-in-picture modes using the PowerEye App. The cameras can also be split between two devices with one managing FPV, and the other managing SMV.
“PowerEye takes professional focus, special effects, and control to the next level,” said PowerVision’s CEO Wally Zheng. “By combining powerful new features and state-of-the-art aeronautics in a robust and collapsible form, we believe PowerEye sets the stage with new standards leading the market forward.”
Robust is an apt term. The SMV camera for the PowerEye is a professional piece of kit. It has a 4/3″ CMOS sensor, shoots pics at 4,640 x 3,480 max resolution, and has an maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000. Of course, it captures at 4K albeit at the standard cinematic max rate of 24fps, though it is capable of recording UHD at a slightly higher 30fps. The ISO range is 100 – 1,600 for photos and 100 – 3,200 for video, giving it a slight edge over other drones in subpar lighting conditions.
The real joy of the SMV camera is that it has a MFT mount, meaning it’s capable of handling a variety of micro four thirds compatible lenses depending on your needs.
The PowerEye is available in two camera models. The PowerEye Professional with the Panasonic Lumix G 11mm F2.5 ASPH camera and the PowerEye Thermal. The PowerEye Thermal is equipped with a specialised camera that can switch between Thermal/Natural Light modes via the PowerApp. The Thermal edition also comes with two integrated light sensors and two lenses.
As a flier, the PowerEye doesn’t have the object avoidance or follow modes of a DJI Phantom, since it’s designed to be operated by a pro pilot rather than depending on automation. It does however have object detection tech that will show you distances to nearby objects and issue warnings if you get too close. Its battery provides just under 30 minutes of fly time, which puts it at the higher end of battery life in drones.
Although it’s been advertised as compact, that battery and body size means the PowerEye is more than a little chunky. It can indeed fit in a (large) backpack by folding up to a 340x285x296mm size and at 3.95kg weighs the same as a couple of large soda bottles. Hardly massive but you’re not going to enjoy carrying it around. Impressively, it can carry an additional 2.99kg payload.
Here’s the bad news if you’re thinking of buying one; the PowerEye doesn’t just shoot 4K, it costs 4k. Well US$3,988 to be exact. PowerEye global pre-orders are now being taken at the PowerVision Online Store (https://store.powervision.me) with shipping scheduled in December 2016 just in time for Christmas.