We’ve always liked Yuneec, but it wasn’t until recently that we truly recognized their efforts, accomplishments and unique take on remote controlled flight. We included the Yuneec Tornado H920 to our best camera drones list, and we’re glad we did, with a new update to the hexacopter taking things to the next level.
If I had to sum up the announcement of the new Yuneec Tornado H920 Plus in one item, I’d have to focus on the updated CGO4 camera. Built in cooperation with Panasonic, micro 4/3 users will enjoy this update. Good thing I can say more than one thing, because the new flight systems and hand-held gimbal, the ProAction Grip, look pretty slick as well.
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Truth is, there is not much to be said here in terms of changes to the Tornado H920 drone itself. You’re still looking at a carbon fiber built, six-rotor design with all the power you need to take a camera, like the Panasonic GH4 or Sony A7, into the air. 24 minutes of air time, 25 mph speeds, 1.2 mile remote transmission range and more.
Retractable legs lift out of the way when in flight, providing full 360 degree rotation of the camera gimbal. 20 degree upward tilt add to the capabilities of the camera, reducing the need to fly around in order to see more – a great feature for film makers and commercial inspection alike.
Flight controls are where it’s at, with a focus on the needs of professionals. Fly with confidence and ease through waypoints in aerial maps, mission task modes with follow-me modes and more. All this through the updated ST16 Pro Ground Station with 7-inch display.
Dual pilot setup is available, with one pilot flying and the other operating the camera, precisely what the film industry needs. Shoot 4K in the air, but send 720p live video streaming to the remote, with HDMI output for connection to larger monitors or broadcast equipment.
The CGO4 camera is an interesting update over the CGO3. A 4/3 CMOS sensor is on deck, with 3x optical zoom on the default 14-42mm lens, this is a 16MP shooter with 4K video at 30fps and 100 Mbps speeds. Optional lenses include all Olympus glass: 12mm at f2.0, 45mm at f1.8 and 14-42mm at f3.5-5.6. Of course, you can always affix your older CGO3, if you’ve got one.
Additional cameras in the arsenal are focused on commercial and emergency services – thermal imaging, residual light capture, zoom lenses and more. Finally, don’t forget you can affix your own Panasonic GH4 DSLR.
When you are done flying for the day, put that camera to use on the ground using the new ProAction Grip. A light-weight, hand-held unit with 3-axis gimbal and mobile device mount. I particularly like the one-handed run-and-gun configuration.
With the idea that the new Yuneec H920 Plus can compete with the likes of the DJI Inspire 2, Yuneec has competitively priced the new drone. A starting price of $2499 will get you in the air, with all toys on deck flying up to $3999. Or, for those on the ground, the ProAction Grip handle and a CGO4 camera can be yours for $1500.
We’ll reserve our full judgement until we get some hands-on time with the hexacopter, but, is this the drone you’ve been waiting for?
Things to know before you fly
- You must register your drone with the FAA before you fly
- You must affix your drone registration number to your craft
- Coming soon: The FAA will require you to pass a test before you fly your drone
- You must acquire your Part 107 certificate if you are to receive any compensation for your flight
- You must follow all of the FAA’s airspace rules if you are flying outdoors
- Hobby flights have different requirements from commercial flights
- In the eye’s of the FAA, drones are aircraft. Period.
- You need to acquire authorization to fly in controlled airspace