When it comes to lifting heavy cameras such as DSLRs into the air, photographers have mostly been limited to large and cumbersome aerial photography platforms that were not only heavy but also complicated to set up and transport.
Most of these heavy duty drones also make use of open airframes with exposed components and wiring. One company is hoping to change all that with a highly portable and integrated turn-key solution that is capable of lifting some of the most popular professional camera gear in use today.
Enter the ProDrone Byrd — a ready-to-fly GPS-enabled drone that can be quickly folded into a square form factor similar to that of an iPad (albeit a lot thicker) with an impressive payload capacity of 4.5lb (3.8kg).
The Byrd, which was unveiled some time last year, was designed with complete portability in mind. The arms, propellers and landing gear all collapse into a package small enough to fit into a typical backpack. The drone also has a modular design that allows operators to fly different types of cameras with it.
Just a week ago, the company released the new Ultimate Flying Platform line of static mounts capable of lifting and integrating with several of the world’s most popular pro cameras. These new mounts are compatible with the Byrd and will allow it to carry cameras such as the Sony DSC-RX100M4, Canon 5D Mark III, Panasonic GH4 and Sony a7RII.
Understanding that the Byrd will be used mainly by professional film makers and photographers, ProDrone has provided the option of using two transmitters/controllers with it. This option allows the pilot to focus on flying the Byrd with a co-pilot to operate the camera. The two-controller setup can also be used by drone intsructors who are training less experienced pilots to fly the Byrd.
The ProDrone Byrd will be available in 3 different versions — Standard, Advanced and Premium. ProDrone have not announced any official pricing yet but rumors indicate that it may cost between $800 and $3,000, depending on configuration. It is now available for pre-order at official ProDrone partners Carolina Dronz, 4KFly and Aces Deals.