Parrot says the ANAFI's design was inspired by insects. Image: Parrot

Parrot introduces ANAFI foldable flying camera

Equipment & systems Photography • filmmaking

France’s Parrot, the world’s N°2 c-drone manufacturer by units after China’s DJI, has announced a foldable c-drone for the mass market. Dubbed ANAFI and claimed to be quieter than previous models, it is positioned as a flying camera for selfies and dronies and offers features not previously available on c-drones of its class, such as a 180° vertically rotating gimballed camera.

Said to be in development for over two years, the company says insect biomimetics was key to the design of the carbon-body ANAFI, which places the camera at the head of the drone, not underneath. Weighing only 320g (0.7 lb), the c-drone is said to have 25-minute autonomy from the 2-cell 2700mAh lithium-polymer (LiPo) smart battery which can be charged in a car, from a computer or a powerbank using a USB cable. Parrot claims a wind resistance for the drone in sport mode up to 50km/hr (31 mph) and a top speed of 55 km/hr (34 mph) with operating temperatures from -10°C to +40°C (14°F to 104°F).

The camera has 4K HDR 100 Mbps H.264 video — a first for a light c-drone — and 21MP photo capability using a Sony IMX230 sensor and Ambarella video processor, similar to those used in self-driving automotive applications. Videos can be saved to an onboard microSD card (previous Parrot models such as the Bebop used internal flash memory) or streamed in 720p HD over the unit’s wifi-connection which has a range of 4km (2.5 miles). The gimbal can tilt through 180° up and down on the roll/tilt axes and through 80° horizontally. A 2.8x lossless zoom in HD (1080p) is standard, with 3x digital zoom available.

A multitude of video effects are available including slow-motion, hyperlapse (for lengthy films such as sunsets), 17:9 cinema and high frame rate modes, and Dolly Zoom, an effect first seen in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo. Dronies — aerial selfies — have several effects available, although these require in-app purchase of the hands-free FollowMe software option.

The foldable Skycontroller3 controller has a smartphone cradle for running Parrot’s Freeflight6 app which features GPS & GLONASS positioning and user-defined geofencing. Autonomy is 2.5 hours with an Android phone, 5.5 hours with an iPhone. This discrepancy is due to the controller’s battery charging the Android phone while in use, which is not the case for the iPhone. In case of controller connection loss or low battery on either the c-drone or its controller, the craft is programmed to return to its point of origin.

The ANAFI is available from July 1 and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $699 US, €699 EU, and £629 UK. The FollowMe feature is an in-app purchase available for $19.99.

ANAFI c-drone
The ANAFI carries its wifi antennas in its feet

ANAFI c-drone folded
When folded, the ANAFI is about the size of a water bottle