Chinese drone manufacturer Yuneec announced the latest release in its Typhoon series, the H3 featuring an ION L1 Pro camera which represents the first product resulting from a new strategic partnership with Leica Camera AG.
For Leica, the partnership is a chance to ease its way into the drone market while Yuneec benefits from the German company’s expertise in optics and digital imaging technology. “In the partnership between Yuneec and Leica, the focus is on the photographer and their artistic vision,” said Yuneec International’s founder and chair Wenyan Jiang. “This manifests itself in our first jointly developed product, which will soon be released as a perfectly matched tool that meets the highest quality standards.”
The ION L1 Pro camera features a 20-megapixels, 1″ CMOS sensor. It can capture 4K/60p video at a maximum bitrate of 100 Mbps on a stabilized 3-axis gimbal that offers up an unrestricted 360° view for panoramic shots. Imaging modes optimized and calibrated by Leica (Auto White Balance, color reproduction, sharpening, and de-noising) promise top-notch vibrancy, contrast, and resolution.
Developed in accordance with Leica specifications, the camera offers a range of options including automatic exposure bracketing and semi-automatic through wide dynamic range. 10-bit Y-Log and DNG profiles offer optimal conditions for professional post-production workflows on programs including Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Lossless digital zoom (specs unknown at the moment) and short JPEG intervals for seamless hyper-lapse creation are also included.
Photography speaking it features a 23mm f/2.8 equivalent, with a 91 percent field of view, and ISO 100-6,400 of light sensitivity.
Wenyan Jiang, Founder & Chairwoman of Yuneec, said the following regarding the new Typhoon H3 drone:
“The Typhoon H3 with ION L1 Pro camera merges art and technology, craft and modernity in a unique manner and, in doing so, takes our aerial photography to dizzy new heights. This symbiosis makes it possible to take unique aerial photographs from unlimited angles that are so breathtaking, they not only reflect the creativity of each and every photographer and filmmaker but also constantly push them to achieve more. In the partnership between Yuneec and Leica, the focus is on the photographer and their artistic vision. This manifests itself in our first jointly developed product, which will soon be released as a perfectly matched tool that meets the highest quality standards.”
The H3 hexacopter has 730 kV motors and if a rotor fails during flight, the drone will automatically activate a 5-rotor mode to compensate and safely continue its mission. There are also Return Home and Failsafe functions, and an adjustable virtual fence. Flight modes include Follow Me, Orbit (where the drone circles a subject) and Journey (where it “ascends along a linear path and then automatically returns for the perfect shot”).
Retractable landing gear means that the camera can capture all-around action without any components spoiling the shot, obstacle avoidance is helped along by integrated ultrasound sensors, and the 5,250 mAh Li-Po battery caters for around 25 minutes in the air per charge. The H3 can fly to an altitude of 500 m (1,640 ft) and has a top speed of 20 meters-per-second (45 mph). The drone with battery and camera tips the scales at 2 kg (4.4 lb).
Following some impressive shots captured with ION L1 Pro by three professional photographers in a photographic journey across Europe: Tomas van Houtryve, York Hovest, and Alexander Arenhold.