ProDrone Byrd flying camera focuses on power and portability (pictures)

The Byrd's flight features sound powerful, but it's the unique folding design and modular camera system that is sure to get your attention.


Joshua Goldman

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ProDrone Byrd

There's been a seemingly never-ending parade of consumer drones this year made for aerial photos and video. Several of them seem stuck in development, but ProDrone's Byrd is on its way to market in November.

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Three styles to choose from

Byrd comes in Premium, Advanced and Standard versions. Not unlike DJI's current Phantom 3 lineup, the Premium and Advanced systems have different cameras, but are otherwise the same. The Standard, however, has a lower-end camera and is missing a couple key features.

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Full-featured controller

The controller has a discrete Return-to-Home button for bringing the drone back to you. You'll also find direct camera controls on the top corners, too. A smartphone/tablet mount will allow you to use an Android or iOS device to control the camera and get a live view from the camera.

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Standard 1080p camera

The Standard's 1080p-resolution camera can record at up 60 frames per second and captures 16-megapixel stills.

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Advanced GoPro-ready gimbal

Got a GoPro already? Just pop it onto the Advanced's three-axis stabilization gimbal and you're ready to go.

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The Premium model comes with a camera that records video at resolutions up to 4K at 30 frames per second. This model and the Standard also support the GoPro gimbal.

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Camera and ultrasonic sensor

The Byrd uses visual and sound sensors on its bottom to help stabilize flight indoors or when GPS isn't available.

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Time to travel

Along with the modular camera system, another key differentiation is its foldable design. With the camera off, the landing gear folds in.

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Arms in tight

The props fold in and then the arms. If you haven't noticed yet, the rear arms are set lower than the front to allow them to fold in on each other.

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Folded down it measures 273 × 223 × 107 mm (10.7 x 8.8 x 4.2 inches) and weighs 1,890 grams (4.2 pounds).

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Thick, but still plenty compact

You'll still need room in your backpack for the controller, but it's certainly more portable than similarly powered quadcopters.

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Ready for takeoff

Once in the air, the Byrd can fly for up to 30 minutes on a single charge.

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Coming in November

Priced at $1,400, the Premium includes a 4K-resolution camera with a 3-axis gimbal for image stabilization that can be swapped for an infrared camera or a GoPro-ready gimbal or future add-ons.

The Premium version also has visual and ultrasonic sensors on the bottom for more stable indoor flight and positioning when GPS isn't available; a long-distance HD video downlink system for a live view from the camera from up to 2,000 meters (1.2 miles) away; and a Follow Me option that will allow the Byrd to record you on the move. The Advanced model comes in at $1,060 and has all the same features as the Premium, but trades the 4K camera for a GoPro-ready gimbal.

The Standard is priced at $950 and includes a 1080p camera, but sheds the long-range video downlink -- it just reaches distances up to 500 meters (0.3 miles) -- and it doesn't support the Follow Me mode.

Pricing for the UK and Australia wasn't available, but the prices convert to £620, £700 and £915 or AU$1,315, AU$1,470 and AU$1,940.

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