YI to launch the Pixie – a Spark-like tiny drone with 4K video

Apr 3, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

YI to launch the Pixie – a Spark-like tiny drone with 4K video

Apr 3, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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It appears that YI Technology are about to finally release a drone. Although it’s not the one we’ve all been waiting over 18 months for. There’s still no word on what’s happening with the YI Erida, but what is coming is a new tiny Spark-like drone. The Pixie. Unlike the DJI Spark, though, this one will shoot 4K video.

While this is technically a rumour, there is a complete user manual online. It seems unlikely to go to all the trouble of creating that if the drone itself weren’t real. According to specs, it’ll shoot 4K, 1080p and 720p video with timelapse and burst mode 15MP photo features. It operates on 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi, with a suggested range of 100 metres.

When it comes to the looks, it’s very similar to DJI’s spark, although with some slight differences on the arms. They appear to be more of an outline frame design, which should help a little with weight to increase battery life and flight time.

And as for that battery life, it looks like they may be going away from the proprietary battery solutions of most drones. While they don’t mention it specifically, the diagrams look an awful lot like a pair of standard 18650 batteries. This would be very useful if they are. 18650 batteries are dirt cheap, very easily obtained, offering a whole lot of potential flight time.

  • 15MP 4K Camera
  • Adjustable Pitch
  • Adjustable settings for manual, ISO adjustment, White balance, and Video size
  • Time-Lapse
  • Burst Mode
  • Resolutions: 720P, 1080P, 4K
  • Gyro (probably EIS not gimbal)
  • GPS
  • Optical flow sensors
  • Brushless motors
  • Easy propeller replacement
  • 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz WiFi
  • Cheap replaceable batteries (possibly 18650)
  • App features:
    • One-button take off and land
    • Flight task (waypoints)
    • One-Key return
    • Fix-point surrounding (point-of-interest)
    • Face follow (facial recognition)

There’s also a “YI Pilot” mobile app, which offers some clues as to settings. The 1080p video of the Pixie is capable of 60fps, which is double that of the DJI Spark’s 30fps. It also shoots 4K, which the Spark isn’t capable of at all, and 720p slow motion at 120fps. No word on bitrates, though. There’s a little conflicting info on the stills resolution. Some parts of the manual refer to it as being 15MP while others state 13MP.

There’s no word, obviously, on price or release date for the YI Pixie yet, as this isn’t an official announcement. But, it will have to come in at a very competitive price if it wants to succeed against the Spark and new DJI Mavic Air. You can check out the full user manual and specs here.

[via PhotoRumors]

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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