Canon SAR Drone with Full Frame ME20F-SH Camera

Discussion in 'Drone Minds Blogs' started by Jonathan, Apr 6, 2017.

  1. Jonathan

    Jonathan Drone Expert

    Aug 31, 2013
    Drone Aerial Photographer
    #1 Jonathan, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
    Out of the blue, it seems, long standing camera manufacturer Canon has leaped into the drone fray with a search and rescue platform equipped with a full-frame 35mm camera with a CMOS sensor boasting five times bigger than normal photosites that will allow it to see incredible detail in low light, read near pitch black, conditions with an ISO going higher than 4 million!


    The camera records video in 1080P, which is way behind the times these days. Most modern camera manufacturers would not dare release anything with less than 4K video recording at this time, but Canon says they need to do this in order to achieve their incredible high ISO numbers.

    The Japanese company's drone is a hexacopter, or six rotor drone. I don't know how much of it is manufactured in Japan, but if it has the same build quality as their cameras it should be an interesting departure from the Chinese offerings the consumer and commercial drone industry has being used to. Having said that, being Japanese isn't a guarantee of quality, any more than being American was for the 3DR Solo, but we can live in hope.

    To be honest, other than being Japanese, there isn't much particulary special about the drone itself - it's a fairly basic hexacopter akin to the DJI Matrice series and only sports a 2 axis camera gimbal. Who makes a two axis camera gimbal these days for crying out loud? The real, and perhaps only, USP for the Canon drone is its super sensitive camera which will have some uses I'm sure.

    The Cost
    Oh, the cost! The somewhat unremarkable drone will set you back $20,000... without the camera! The camera alone was nearly $30,000 when it was released, but may be bought at a snip for $20,000 with the drone - giving this setup a $40,000 price tag. Erm, good luck with that Canon!

    The Problem with Canon
    I was at a drone lecture a few weeks back where the virtues of always looking to the future and creating new things and new experiences was praised over relying on past successes. To me this sums up Canon in a nutshell, relying on loyal long-standing followers and past successes. Canon revolutionized the film and video production world with the Canon 5D MKII back in 2008. It was an amazing camera, and is still in use by many people today. It produced beautiful 1080p video that has been used in countless movies and TV show. That's right, 1080P in 2008... and what does Canon give us now on a $40,000 drone? Yup, 1080P in 2017! 11 years of progress from Canon.

    Canon has turned into this kind of old guy who's always late to the party. Not fashionably late, but late in a way that no one cares because loads of far more interesting people showed up ages ago, and already left.

    I mean, why would you? Why would anyone want this when you can get something like the M210 RTK paired up with a Sony A7rII or Panasonic GH5 for less than $10,000? or even the M210 RTK with thermal imaging and night vision. Overprised, too little, too late. Sorry Canon, all the cool guys have been and gone, moved onto to someplace better. ;)

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