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Sony’s Airpeak S1 drone goes on sale, though it ain’t cheap

Sony has started taking orders for the Airpeak S1 drone that it hopes will prove a hit with professional filmmakers and photographers.

The Japanese tech firm unveiled the drone at CES 2021, marking its entry into the highly competitive drone market.

The new machine, which will start shipping later this month, can reach speeds of 55 mph and fly for up to 12 minutes carrying one of Sony’s professional-level, full-frame Alpha cameras (or 22 minutes without a payload). Sony also claims the Airpeak S1 drone can stay steady in winds as strong as 44.7 mph, providing filmmakers with smooth footage in rough conditions.

The Airpeak S1 uses Sony-developed stereo cameras and a vision sensing processor with a custom-built algorithm for real-time 3D spatial awareness to keep it out of harm’s way. The drone also features a dual operation mode allowing one person to fly the drone while someone else concentrates on controlling the camera.

Key features | Airpeak S1

Pricing

At $9,000, Sony’s Airpeak S1 drone certainly isn’t cheap. And the spending doesn’t stop there, as you’ll also have to fork out for a gimbal ($2,200 from Gremsy), a compatible camera to attach to the drone, and an iOS device for the controller. Yes, the controller is included in the main package, along with spare propellers, two batteries, and a charger.

Sony is also offering an optional Airpeak Plus cloud subscription plan costing $300 per year. This gets you extra data storage and advanced geofencing options, among other features.

There’s an Airpeak Protect Plan, too, covering accidental damage, though we’re still waiting to hear about the pricing for that.

With a span of 64.4 cm, the Airpeak S1 drone is similar in size to DJI’s pro-level Inspire 2 machine and a good deal larger than DJI’s recently released and very impressive Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine quadcopters, which come with a Hasselblad dual-camera system and cost several thousand dollars less than Sony’s offering.

Still, on paper, Sony’s Airpeak S1 certainly looks like a solid piece of kit. We can’t wait to put it to the test to find out for sure.

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