Most camera drones come equipped with wide-angle lenses. For most use cases this makes sense from an image framing point of view but it also helps keep camera shake at bay. That said, thanks to improved gimbal and stabilization technologies we are now seeing the first consumer drone cameras with optical zoom appear on the market. The recently released Zenmuse Z3, DJI’s first zoom camera, offers a 7x zoom. The new Walkera Voyager 4 drone is now more than doubling the DJI’s zoom range by offering a 16x optical zoom lens that tops out at 1500mm.
The camera records 1080p Full HD video, can rotate 360 degrees and is stabilized by a gimbal. Drone and camera can be controlled from up to a mile away via a mobile app using the drone’s built-in Wi-Fi network. In addition the Voyager 4 offers a new 4G connectivity feature which means it can, as long as a mobile network is available, be controlled across much larger distances.
Both new features, the 16x zoom and 4G connectivity, won’t help to alleviate the privacy concerns related to drone use, but we will have to wait and see how the new technologies will be used. The Voyager 4 also comes as a 4K version with wide-angle lens. At this time pricing information has not been released. A product video is available on the Walkera website.