Take your Sony Alpha camera to the skies this Christmas, for a hefty price.
Sony is finally letting its Airpeak S1 fly. The $9,000 drone is now available to pre-order, with units expected to ship starting on Dec. 24.
Sony first teased the Airpeak S1 drone in November 2020, offered up a couple more details at CES 2021, and said in June that the drone would arrive in the fall. It looks like Sony will just miss that launch window by introducing it a few days into winter, but it’s landing in 2021 at least.
Sony’s drone is for serious videographers looking to send their Sony a1, a9 II, a7S III, a7R IV, and FX3 cameras into the skies. The pricey package includes the drone, a pair of flight batteries, a remote control, and charging accessories. But that $9,000 does not include the price of a camera, lens, gimbal, or even spare propellers.
The drone offers powerful functionality with intelligent obstacle avoidance systems, retractable landing gear, and motors that see the drone get from zero to 50mph in 3.5 seconds. But shoppers who want the drone for its mirrorless-camera-holding capabilities will be looking at an additional purchase of a special Gremsy Gimbal T3 that adds another $2,200 onto the price.
The gimbal holds the camera and supports remote control of it. With Dual Operation Mode, one user can pilot the drone and another can manage the gimbal and camera. Though the Airpeak S1 offers a 22-minute flight time on its battery, the added payload of the gimbal, a camera, and a lens can reduce that to 12 minutes. Those wanting more flight time will be looking at $230 per additional battery.
Pilots looking to meet the FAA’s upcoming Remote ID requirement for their drones may also be disappointed to learn that the Airpeak S1 lacks this feature, according to a consumer question answered by B&H Photo and Video staff and confirmed by Sony.
Editors’ Note: This story was updated with confirmation from Sony about Remote ID.
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Mark Knapp has covered tech for most of the past decade, keeping readers up to speed on the latest developments and going hands-on with everything from phones and computers to e-bikes and drones to separate the marketing from the reality. Catch him on Twitter at @Techn0Mark or on PCMag, IGN, TechRadar, T3, Business Insider, and Reviewed.
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