Pros and Cons
Filed under:Accessories, Cameras & Cams, Gear reviews, Anafi, drone, Parrot
With its low weight and foldable arms, could Parrot’s new Anafi be the best drone yet for capturing action in the mountains? Chris Kempster takes it for a flight to find out…
Up till recently, drones have been a tad on the cumbersome side to realistically take along on many mountain adventures, but with the introduction of foldable models such as the DJI Mavic and now the new Parrot Anafi, this is no longer a barrier to capturing aerial footage of your treks and climbs.
The Anafi weighs only 320g, and with its four arms folded flush to its body and packed away in its carry case, it offers a package that’ll easily fit inside your daysack, ready to pull out when you want to capture the action. A dedicated controller is included with the Anafi, however you can leave this at home if required and just control the drone from your smartphone. For easy of flying and access to all its functions, however, Parrot suggest using the controller along with your smartphone, which mounts horizontally to the controller and gives you live footage from the drone and also instant access to all the flying data.
In the box you get the drone itself, the Skycontroller, a soft carrying case, a 16 Gig SD card, a USB-A to USB-C cable for connecting the controller to your smartphone, 8 additional propeller blades, and a mounting tool. Before you do anything, you must download the Anafi app to your smartphone and link to the drone via WiFi, after which any updates to the drone and controller can be installed. Your phone connects to the controller via the supplied USB lead, and once you have slotted in your phone to the extendable cradle of the Skycontroller you are pretty much ready for your first flight.
The key features of the Anafi to know about are that it takes 4k HDR quality video and 21 Megapixel stills, it has a 2.8x lossless zoom lens, and a 180- degree tilting gimbal (all the way up and down), combined with three-axis image stabilisation. These features combined open up an amazing range of creativepossibilities (which we’ll talk about a bit later) but of course getting up-to-speed on the drone’s basic operation is the first task for any new Anafi pilot, and this is surprisingly easy to achieve.
The Anafi can be either launched from the ground or out of the hand, and you merely need to press the Fly button on the controller or the same button on your phone screen for the drone to take off and hover a metre or so off the ground. From here you can use the two joysticks and several buttons on the Skycontroller to fly the Anafi backwards, forwards, up or down, and rotate. The speed of all these actions, by the way, can all be adjusted in the app.
One of the annoying things about drones – and especially in the mountains, is their noise – but luckily the Anafi is one of the quietest models out there, and significantly quieter than the DJI Mavic. It has a flight time of 25 minutes, and before the battery runs out it will return to your position and land, rather than falling out of the sky! There are a number of automated flying features that offer ‘cinema-style’ shots, such as Reveal which is the camera slowly moving upwards as it flies forwards (often used over water). There’s not enough space here to outline all the creative possibilities, but suffice to say, there’s plenty to keep you busy.
We found the Anafi really easy – and fun – to use, and the quality of the footage was very natural. The zoom feature is a really great addition, and we found this superb for getting close-ups of climbers on a rockface, for example. Overall we felt that the price, quality and portability of the Anafi really makes it stand out in a crowded drone market.