Skylark Aerial Photography operates four drones one of which is the SwellPro 3 Drone with 3 Axis 4K Camera. We were very pleased to be allowed to take delivery of one before the official launch date with the new camera system.
The camera is mounted on the waterproof SwellPro 3 and boasts these features.
- 3-axis Gimbal Camera (GC-3)
- SONY 1/2.3” CMOS sensor
- 8G All-glass non-fisheye lens array
- 4K 30FPS video (3840×2160)
- 16MP still photos
- 90° field of view (FOV)
- Camera settings changeable with built-in buttons
- Compressive vibration damper
- High-sensitivity Yaw, Pitch and Roll gimbal
- Remotely adjustable Yaw (+-25°) and Tilt (90°)
- 1080p/120fps for slow-motion
The drone itself is based on tried and known technology that has been used by fisherman for a few years to drop bait out into the water and spot for fish.
We have a lot of water in the Lake District and a lot of rain during the year. What better way to carry on providing a service than to invest in a fully waterproof drone. The drone is able to operate from water, so no more risky operations from boats and no worry about the drone and camera should the drone need to land in the water. The drone also adds another dimension to the Skylark Aerial Photography filming and capture unique shots low to the water and even in the water. One of the best is lifting from the water and capturing the water dripping back down then slowmo in the edit.
We have also been surprised by how many customers (hotels) want rain shots to show they are still open for business even when it’s not sunny. Water Sports is another area where the drone comes into its own, no problem if it gets wet.
The drone itself is very powerful and can easily lift a kilo, the carbon fibre blades really cut through the air and provide a stable platform even in windy conditions. As a side note it sounds good as well. The drone is very robust and can take the knocks, the orange colour provides high visibility and can be seen at great distances.
The control and video are still analogue; however, the system does not fall foul to having firmware updates every other week and grinding to a halt.
Battery life is around 16 mins so plan that flight as you should do anyway, also take note that the drone will not return home you have to do this when battery is low, though there is a warning. If not the drone will auto land there and then.
The system does have a locator beacon which transmits on 433mhz and allows you to locate the drone, it also transmits back its landing co- ordinates when it carries out auto landing, so with a handheld GPS system you could locate the drone.
In my opinion the camera does need more work to improve the quality and able to adjust settings in flight, its not there yet. With a suitable editing suite and knowledge, you can bring the quality up to a respectable level so to use in films. However, for those few seconds of water shots to include in a film or to offer a film crew its worth having this system in your kitbag.
Controller has the benefit its shower proof so can you use outside when light rain is occurs, its not waterproof though a model update with this ability will be available soon. The controller is very easy to operate and uses switches to control the functions not an app on the screen. The display is built in and does not rely on 3rd party to provide this. By using a Bluetooth device to an android device or iPad fully interactive auto control can be used, such as follow me, and way point etc. I have yet to test these functions.
Conclusions SwellPro 3 Drone with 3 Axis 4K Camera
We have operated the SwellPro 3 Drone with 3 Axis 4K Camera now for a number of months and although we still have a long way to go we are glad its part of the offering.
As of this time we feel the drone with the camera is more suited to aerial survey work than really high-quality film work. The drone itself is more than capable of being used in very heavy rain and high winds. I know we shall be using it for a lot of survey work this winter. As for peace of mind, I’m always worried when flying an expensive DJI system over water, with the SwellPro 3, I was more relaxed and even took off from the water and landed in the water during boat shots.
The SwellPro 3 Drone with 3 Axis 4K Camera has the ability to carry loads and drop them, such as life vests, medical kit, food and water. This combined with all-weather operation makes it a very powerful tool for SAR.