Parrot Drones has been quiet of late, but the company launched a salvo against DJI, the market leader, with the announcement of the Parrot Anafi. It’s about damn time too. While a fan of DJI, we all want to see the camera drone market pushed forward.
Parrot Anafi Drone
The Parrot Anafi does that with an ultra-portable drone which at points exceeds the DJI Mavic Air. What’s the biggest want for every new drone hitting the market? Camera sensor. At a $700 price, the Parrot Anafi blows the Mavic Air apart. It features a Sony 21MP CMOS sensor capable of 4K HDR recording at 30fps. With a 100mbps bitrate.
Contrast that with the Mavic Air’s 12MP sensor with similar recording modes and bitrate. If you’re going strictly by camera specs, the winner is the Anafi.
Give us that marketing video goodness, Parrot.
Yeah, the company isn’t playing around. There are some features you’re giving up. There isn’t much in the way of obstacle avoidance, but if you’re decent flying a drone, you can get by without it.
One area Parrot touts is the zoom capability of the camera. It’s almost like they are afraid of DJI’s rumored entrance into interchangeable lenses for the Phantom 5. Fellas, that’s a different market segment.
The company promises a 3x lossless digital zoom, with 2x being at FullHD and 1.4x at 4K. Digital zoom? I’ll pass and seems a bit off when the Anafi has tons more going for it.
As you can tell in the marketing video, the camera sits on a 3-axis, 180-degree tilt gimbal. You read that right. The camera can look up. Focus on that Parrot. Who cares about digital zoom? The Anafi has a feature none of the current DJI drones have in the consumer market.
There are quite a few shooting modes with the Anafi. Of course, the dronie, but there’s one I want to focus on, and that’s the hyperlapse. Users can select to speed up the footage 240 times. Other modes include slow-motion and up to 60fps below 4K. That’s a bit of a bummer not having 4K60p but can’t have everything in life.
What about drone noise? Parrot is promising around a 35% reduction in noise in comparison to the Bebop 2. It still has the drone noise, but you can tell the difference. Not sure why drones have the high pitched whine in the first place, but hopefully future iterations get rid of that.
Battery life is rated at 25 minutes with swappable batteries. Those will set you back $99 per and even with fast charging, each takes 90 minutes to charge.
You’ll see a lot made of the portability and it does look sleek as hell. But, in that case is zero room for the controller. Now that can be tossed in another bag, but it’s a bit disingenuous when the entire package doesn’t fit inside that footprint.
Parrot Anafi Price and Availability
Here’s where DJI is probably more than a bit concerned. The Anafi is priced at $699 and comes with the controller. It’s a $100 discount, and the only discernible difference is the Mavic Air has obstacle avoidance.
The Parrot Anafi has to prove itself. Deliveries are not until July and DJI has a way of letting a company announce something seemingly amazing to completely crush it within weeks. Remember the GoPro Karma Drone? Huge reveal to be entirely overshadowed by the Mavic Pro. Today, GoPro is out of the drone business.
Parrot Anafi or DJI Mavic Air
Right now, it’s a tough call. The Anafi isn’t out in the wild, and all videos are in controlled environments. Thankfully, that changes in under a month. We will need more videos and plenty of stills to judge the sensor. It’s from Sony, so it bodes well for the Anafi. Unless you need a camera drone in this market segment right now, my recommendation is to wait. The difference between the 12MP and 21MP is massive.
There are caveats to everything. DJI is the dominant force in the industry. They’ve ironed out the manufacturing issues, and in the consumer market, it’s them and then everyone else. Parrot’s new drone could infuse some competition into the market as a whole, and that’s a damn good thing. The space needs it desperately to push the limits of what we can create with camera drones.
Sound off below. What do you think of the Parrot Anafi? Is this the drone consumers need to force faster innovation? My take is a resounding yes, but let’s hear from you.