Thread: Sony Airpeak

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    #11
    Resident Preditor Matt Gottshalk's Avatar
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    #12
    Senior Member ahalpert's Avatar
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    Well, the AirPeak got announced for $9k: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.tec...fficial-launch


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    Quote Originally Posted by ahalpert View Post
    Well, the AirPeak got announced for $9k: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.tec...fficial-launch
    That's a weak article - you don't get to talk up speed (something hardly anyone cares about) while looking past the terrible 12 minute flight times. After image, ease of operation is the next major deciding criteria for any serious drone user.

    I'm sure dedicated drone companies will still buy/rent/use them when needed, and we'll see some STUNNING footage but as a regular workhorse, the airpeak battery times would be really frustrating. Plus it's a gamble loading up on batteries not knowing if the next version will make a lighter aircraft and keep using the same batteries or come out with a completely new and incompatible type.

    I doubt sony will lose too much sleep though, this is their first release in a series of products. DJI i2/x7 is capable of amazing images but the software is still largely buggy - nothing critical but a lot of small things you have to deal with on the fly. Maybe Sony will excel in this area. Either way there's huge room for improvement in the medium sized drone space.

    In summary - for a complete takeover, Sony just need the a7siii sensor/interchangeable lenses with eVND in a single gimbal/camera body, double the flight time and bullet proof software and takeover complete (separate from the company moving slowly etc).

    Unrelated I swear - we're selling an i2/x7 package if anyone is interested!
    Last edited by rob norton; 06-10-2021 at 05:17 PM.


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    Yes it's expensive. That 12 min flight time is with gimbal (costs extra) and a7siii loaded. Let's look at the competition. DJI's Matrices 600 costs $7K without gimbal and camera. With gimbal and camera it has a flight time of 16 minutes. Wind resistance is big think when flying a drone. Sony is claiming 20mm/s wind stability. That's over 44mph. That's double the wind resistance DJI is claiming for the Inspire 2. Also the fact that it has five stereo cameras and IR rangefinder means you can fly it and position it indoors with great accuracy without satellite GPS assistance. It can be positioned and stay where it was positioned. I cannot do that with a DJI indoors when there is no GPS reception to maintain altitude and geo position. You are constantly twitching the joysticks to hold position. Basically you need two opearators and two controllers. A pilot and a camera op. Looks like the Sony would make indoor no GPS flying much easier for solo flying I would suggest. Not that speed is a major factor other than for motor race following but the Sony tops out a around 55mph as opposed to the Matrice's 40mph. Another plus is it is 100% manufactured in Japan so will not come under the tightening restrictions on Chinese made drones. Which for govt agency work will become more and more of a requirement I'm sure. Sony will also be offering a full pro support backup for crashed and damaged Airpeaks. Don't know what is like in the US but DJI offers nothing like that here in Oz. I just think this Airpeaks may be what a few of us have been looking for for pro work. A lot of its development work was carried out in conjunction with JAXA the Japanese space agency. Sony acknowledge their expertise in things flying wasn't up to scratch hence the collaboration.

    Chris Young.


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    Great points as usual Chris.

    To continue the conversation and address some things you mentioned:

    Competition
    I think the main competition is still the i2/x7. The Matrice 600 is slightly in no person's land. If you're going down the heavy lift road, major drone players bypassed the Matrice for Altas followed by more custom options:
    - http://www.xm2pursuit.com/unmanned-platforms
    - https://beverlyhillsaerials.com/aircrafts/
    - https://www.heliguy.tv/services

    Several drone providers include cinema cameras in their packages but if not, a huge benefit of the Inspire 2 is avoiding the need to tie up the production camera for rigging/derigging. The airpeak will be used in the same way, which is why I place them in the same category - getting as close to a cinema camera as possible without actually using a cinema camera body.

    Wind
    The 44+mph is certainly impressive but room for estimating flight times over/under aside, let's not forget 12 minutes would have been calculated under good conditions. Strong winds will only eat into flight time. My point is, what does the excellent tech matter if you don't get to use it?

    Flying inside
    I'll be interested to see how this unfolds. I've often thought how good a drone would be for many interiors, yet they still don't get used in this way that often. I actually think noise may be working against them the most in this application i.e. too noisy for nearby businesses, sound recording etc. unless it's a warehouse or more industrial buildings.

    Solo/Dual Operator
    Adding to the list of what one person can achieve is nice but I think other than the most simple shots, drones of this level should have two operators. Firstly for safety where the dedicated aircraft operator can make sure they don't slice through any Matisse paintings and likewise the dedicated second operator can control the gimbal/camera moves.

    Other benefits/auto focus!
    There could be unforeseen benefits to using the system that I've missed. I'm just one person thinking about flight times. In my last post I forgot to mention Sony's amazing AF, which I think could be a real point of difference. Manual focus pulls on the x7 even with the focus wheel attached are still pretty difficult. The peaking sucks, it's still really tough to see what's in focus. You're usually just tracking along or orbiting around an object, or are wide enough where the tap AF is good enough. But even straight push in/pull out type shots with plans to speed ramp in post, you're sort of choosing a focus point that will be the sweet spot rather than manually changing on the fly. I wonder how far away the a7s iii can keep things sharp. Going from tracking a car then racking to the city in the background, I'd already be leaning towards the airpeak.

    Again I think Sony can do whatever they want in this space and the airpeak is only the beginning of the roadmap but I imagine a lot of people are going to pass on this one. There are bound to be several success stories but they may be in a similar vein to the 5d shooting an episode of house - the tool produced the results but was a huge pain to use. I would definitely take one for a spin if given the chance.


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    All good points Mr. N. I've had GPS problems in between high buildings in the city. Same sort of issues as with car GPS navigation where they can lose the plot. Also in underground road tunnels when shooting drilling and construction. Again I had issues in a large distribution warehouse for one of our big three supermarkets. If one can get geo and altitude stability without GPS that would be a big plus for me for those sorts of shoots. Yes, I think a lot of people will pass on this. Especially that we are now getting tougher registration and licensing requirements. The other interesting thing with the Airpeak is that Sony unlike DJI is not GEO fencing the unit. Leaving it up to the operator's responsibility. Its low-level close proximity performance looks good in the first of these videos and the tilt angle and stability in wind up to 20m/s does look quite impressive in the second video.

    Flight time has never really been a big issue for me. If I've planned out my shots it's get up there and execute them and drop back down. The fact that the Sony software, Airpeak Base that comes with the unit allows the following is interesting to me for flight repeatability at different times of day and season.

    "Workflow and automatic “motion controlled” flight

    Sony seems to have put a lot of thought into managing the drone hardware and creating flight plans. For that they developed a web application called “Airpeak Base”. The user can create or pre-program flight paths in advance using a map. These include the timing of photo and video shooting and gimbal orientation. That essentially means “motion controlling” the drone to repeatedly fly the same exact path. The drone can reproduce past flight paths based on recorded logs.
    The user can upload Aircraft information, to the cloud via the mobile app Airpeak Flight. Airpeak Base allows users to check the status of the aircraft and can provide notifications if necessary. Additionally users can manage the status of all managed aircraft in one place before flight. Past flight logs can be viewed on the logbook screen, and details such as in-flight errors can also be reviewed."


    Chris Young



    Last edited by cyvideo; 06-11-2021 at 12:16 AM. Reason: More info


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    Chris & Rob - you both make some good points here.

    For most of my work, my P4Pro is just the ticket for solo flying - and then the occasional Inspire for 2 person, higher-end work. But I've been on the look-out for what comes next... specifically since here in the U.S. the "Remote ID" system must be in place beginning September 16, 2023. This means that all drone pilots in US will be required to operate their aircraft in accordance with the final rule on remote ID. So, whatever drone I do buy next, certainly has to have this technology.... and so I wonder if Sony ticked that box??

    You also make some great points about indoor flying - which I've done very little of - because DJI's GPS positioning system.


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