Thursday, January 8, 2015

Photography Soars at CES

Harwar-Mega Industrial UAV
Harwar-Mega Industrial UAV
Returning home after the Photo Marketing Association conference and CES is a good time to reflect on the most important new developments in the field of imaging. While there were incremental improvements in most still camera lines and a strong push for 4K resolution in video capture, I believe the most interesting developments were in the area of unmanned aerial photography.

The Parrot AR Drone quadricopter has been popular at CES for several years, but this year they were joined by a plethora of other companies offering powerful aerial platforms in a wide array of sizes and capabilities. From autonomous swarming drones small enough to fit in the palm of your hand to large industrial units with enough power to carry a full-size DSLR or professional video camera, there were units every application.

If you like your unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) large, you will be impressed by the Harwar-Mega series.  These are industrial units with a unibody built from carbon fiber and enough power and range to travel up to 10 kilometers under self navigation. The three axis camera head allows shooting 360 degrees with a control accuracy of .02. TD-LTE 4G cellular communication resolves any concerns about transmission range.

At the other extreme, the Zano, designed for "taking your selfies to new heights" is about the size of the smart phone you will use to control it. This Kickstarter project, with an estimated delivery of June 2015, can be controlled by tilting your phone or tablet forward, back or to the right or left. You can also set the Zano to follow you so it can capture everything you do. 

Phantom 2 Vision+
Phantom 2 Vision+
The Phantom 2 Vision+ by DJI fits between the two size extremes. With a 14 megapixel camera and a 110 degree field of view, you should be able to capture impressive images and full HD video. The control range can be extended up to 700 meters.

Some of the other UAVs at CES included the Ehang Ghost, Micro Drone 3.0, MaxAero X-Star and the Hubsan X4 Pro.

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Harwar-Mega UAV Applications