January 23  

When consumer video camera drones were initially launched way back when, people fretted about the personal privacy ramifications of airborne “eyes-in-the-skies” that can see over hedges as well as right into people’s bathrooms. Yet in reality, many drones on the marketplace came with such a broad angle lens that the regular backyard sun-tanner would be just a minor detail in any shot unless the camera was right up close. However, it was just a matter of time before some bright spark came out with a drone that crammed in major telephoto zoom capabilities…and lo and behold, 2 have been released just recently, one of which is so potent, it's a little worrisome: the Walkera Voyager 4 has a mind-blowing 16x optic zoom which is essentially the same as a 10-1500mm zoom lens on a regular camera. But why would anyone, other than your local neighbourhood spy, want such power? Such zoom capability is often essential when filmmaking from the air, because regular airborne cams normally only have really broad angle lenses - this made them easier to fly, but at the cost of visual filming prowess. Certainly, there's also the personal privacy ramifications, because having such zoom means it can film ‘close-up’ from a couple of neighbourhoods away, which is far enough that the person being observed has no chance of hearing it flying. But it doesn’t stop there, the Voyager 4 has another powerful attribute, particularly from a monitoring viewpoint. It may be set up to run via its own Wi-Fi network, up to 1.5 kilometres away, and it can also operate via a 4G wireless network which basically gives it a limitless range. Walkera hasn't yet released pricing or availability information, however we are certainly looking forward to seeing exactly how the Voyager 4 compares to other high-end camera drones on the market.