In our Hofstra graduate product innovation class this semester, we have talked about the possibility of a commercially-viable, hands-free, voice-activated, floating camera. We have had fun with what we thought was a hypothetical class discussion. But, it seems that at least aspects of the product we talked about in class may be coming sooner than we thought.

As reported by Priya Ganapati for the Wall Street Journal: 

“Camera drones are increasingly popular among sports and photography enthusiasts for their ability to capture stunning images from above. DJI, a company that specializes in small remote-controlled aerial vehicles, now sells a camera-equipped quadcopter that can shoot photos and high-definition videos in winds of up to 25 miles per hour. The newly updated Phantom 2 Vision+ drone comes outfitted with a 14-megapixel camera that captures 1080p high-def video at a rate of 30 frames per second. In order to generate less-blurry images and steadier video when faced with challenging wind conditions or high flight speed, the drone camera also now has integrated stabilization.”

“The drone comes with an app — available for iOS and Android devices — that pilots and/or photographers can use to see what the aerial camera is seeing in real time and even control the camera from up to 700 meters away. (The camera has its own Wi-Fi network, so additional Wi-Fi or a cellular network are not necessary.) The app also shows flight information including altitude, distance from pilot and battery strength.”

One obstacle to the mass marketing of this device: The price of the Phantom 2 Vision+ drone is $1,299. The release date for the latest version has not yet been released.

Check out the video below.

DJI – Introducing the Phantom 2 Vision Plus from DJI on Vimeo.

Thanks to AJ for suggesting this post.

28 Replies to “A Flying Camera: Myth Or Reality?”

  1. The price point of this camera will definitely be a major obstacle, however I think it shows that this product is targeting a specific niche. This target market would consist of professional photographers and/or companies where this product would be beneficial to the services they provide. Once the product has been in the market for longer and has been proven successful other consumers and businesses may be more willing to buy. This reminds me of why Amazon has been hesitant to continue developing and introducing their drone for delivery because of various issues. The camera however is better in that the owner can control the device within a reasonable distance while tracking on the app for their phone.

  2. I found this product to be very exciting! It’s not only a camera, it’s a ‘toy’ that you could fly around. Pure fun. Of course there’s the price tag. That brings to my mind, Google glass. And to me, both seem equally exciting. I really love my HD videos and action movies and Discovery channel footage. This flying camera allows you to create all those and more; it not only records HD videos from unbelievable angles, it sort of encourages you to go out and do crazy and adventurous things. It makes me want to go hiking and surfing simply because that would give me something fabulous to record and view later. But that’s where it gets limited too for me. While you could make use of Google glass in your everyday simple acts, I feel like I wouldn’t be able to enjoy this camera unless there’s something crazy going on. Nevertheless, a very cool gadget to put on the Christmas list.

    PS: Thanks for the acknowledgement Prof. Evans.

  3. Since it can be seen as a major innovation in terms of being the first flying camera, there are going to be many risks involved. Battery life as well as durability will need to be tested. I would imagine it would be very expensive so consumers are not going to buy it until it is seen as a new successful camera. Overall I think this product will be the first of many flying cameras in the future.

  4. This is very exciting! It reminds me of a dolphin fleet footage captured by a drone ( There is no doubt that this equipment can only be marketed towards sports and photography enthusiasts as of now because not everyone is willing to fork out a sum of money for something that they may not use often. DJI may look to National Geographic and other sports and photography Magazine to advertise its products. Perhaps when the product reaches maturity, the prices would decrease and it would be more affordable to more consumers. One major concern, however, would be the legal aspects that has to be taken into consideration – who, when and where can the drones be used? From many historical data, technological advances always come before any legal rules and regulations are set into place. Hence, I would not be surprised if drones will be integrated into our lives in the near future.

  5. This camera, and it’s release, is purely exciting to me, and I’m sure many others! From the video explaining all of the different components of this device, it seems like the people who created it put a huge amount of time and thought into producing the final product. This can definitely be shown through the price of the product, as large as it is. But, at the same time I wouldn’t say this device is something that normal people would buy just for pleasure. It seems to be something that professional photographers or videographers would invest in, to advance in their work. This being said, the price doesn’t seem THAT crazy. Professionals spend thousands on their equipment, I they can get the best quality. Maybe after it has been out on the market for a little while, more people will start investing in this product.

  6. The military has been using a similar product for years, so it’s not surprise that it is now being used for non-militaristic purposes. It is a pretty amazing innovation, and something that will no doubt be useful for many purposes (filming sports, concerts, movies, etc) for years to come. The biggest downside I can think of, however, is that if the technology becomes small enough, it could be difficult to notice, making it easier to use it for malicious purposes like spying. With how new the technology is the price is to be expected; we’re seeing a similar progression with 3d printing now where the price used to be incredibly high, but as the technology becomes more common it is to the point where a single person could afford one.

  7. It is really an interesting product that can change the way how people take pictures outdoors. it can even replace the aerial photos that take by helicopters in some circumstances. However, take into the price and functions into account, this product may not friendly for family use right now. Perhaps the next generation would be designed more smaller and made it affordable for a mass consumer group.

  8. This product is very impressive, it’s beyond the function of camera. Most importantly, it brought customers fun.I think the advantage of this product is not just dynamic picture & video capturing, it makes people try to be more adventurous. Nowadays we live too peaceful and lack of excitement. This product encourages us to go out, whatever surfing, hiking , I can use this one to record the whole journey.

  9. This is an extremely interesting and fun product that is targeted to a very specific market. Most people who would buy this would be either athletes or people who travel a lot so they can capture them in action. People who have a relatively high income would be the people to target toward because of the high price point that the company set the camera at. This product could also change the way that people take pictures and videos and may end up replacing some photographers and videographers at sporting events. If this company makes a lower priced version of this flying camera, then they may get a different group of consumers!

  10. The flying camera seems like a really cool invention. Obviously it is very expensive, but you can definitely get some great shots. Never again will the person behind the camera have to sit out of the picture.

  11. I really cannot decide how I feel about this. As a photographer, I love taking photos and love the idea off innovative additions to the market. However, a huge part of taking a photo, is being behind the camera. This takes away a very big personal element to photography. I think this is an amazing invention and could be awesome for certain events and experiences, but personally I would not buy this product. It takes away a huge element of photography and leaves a lot in the air, such as correct exposures, ISO, and f-stops. It is very easy to take a photo, and have such an element mess up the shot.

  12. I think it’s really hard to do mass marketing for floating camera if it only has this one unique characteristic. The developer should focus more on the innovation or developing extra attractive function to appeal the consumer who has the certain needs for the special function. For instance, if it’s water proof, it can greatly enhance the shooting underwater. That will be one of its strategic advantage compared to the similar product. Other than this, cutting the manufacturing costs of camera is definitely a burning questions to solve.

  13. I know the flying drone camera has been used before for great causes. One such cause is to keep an eye on endangered species to better protect them from poachers in certain African nations. I think this is great! Not only can it be used to find poachers and thus stand a chance of stopping them, but it can be used as evidence in actual trials to put these people in jails. So far, this has been next to impossible as it is very hard to obtain proof.
    However, this can have very scary consequences. Maybe I am just paranoid, but I feel like the product will become used by perverts and criminals to spy on civilians and target them better. Not to mention its possible use by governments in negative way. While I think it is really cool, it makes me want to close my blinds!

  14. I totally agree with Glorya’s opinion. How to price this camera is the biggest problem marketer faced. If you search professional and general photographers online, you can find the price range of those cover from 10 bucks (mini camera) to 4200 bucks (Canon 1D digital SLR camera). There is a huge price gap among different functions of camera. Therefore, what the positioning of floating camera is the first question should be answered. After that, how do you convince your customers that this new product do perform well as those common cameras, making them be willing to pay at that price? I cannot image what it could be.

  15. I look at this prototype and the first thing that I can think of is that it will probably be ready to hit the marketplace sooner than we think. If something like this has been implemented by the military, then the company making this product can eventually get their operational effectiveness and raw materials to the point where it is economically feasible. When it comes out, the quality of the pictures wouldn’t even matter – at least in the immediate future – because people want to be able to say “Look at me! I got a flying camera!”

  16. The technology is amazing but I don’t like the idea of those things flying and snooping around. The red light cameras are bad enough. We deploy drones too nations we are conducting military operations In, we should leave it at that. Big brother is watching.

  17. What an amazing piece of technology; I find it unbelievable how small the camera is too! This camera opens the door for some great new photography moments and experiences. I just think the price might be too expensive for the average consumer and discourage a major portion of people from making such a huge investment. Maybe DJI should try and market this product more for firms…

  18. Once I bought a helicopter with camera for my brother, it seems like this one: It is much cheaper than the video shows. I was thinking why flying cameras are always shows up with a little plane and I believe it should have variety ways to make cameras flying but not only with the plane. However, the legal aspects are one of the most important things need to be considered in this product. I believe flying camera would become useful and powerful if it used in military.

  19. This is a very interesting concept. I think many people will be interested in this camera. Although it may be expensive, it could become useful in many areas such as sports, planes, etc. It is amazing what technological advancements can make possible. I think it would be ” the next big thing” in relation to products for consumers.

  20. This camera is just amazing! I really like the idea of it and feel that it’s a product that can be used for many different things. Not only can it be used for a persons own interest but it can be used for sporting events as well. I feel that this camera is going to be the next biggest thing on the market. My only concern is exactly how easy is it to control the device and follow whatever is being filmed.

  21. I think that this product is really cool and will definitely capture amazing pictures from the sky. I think that it will be used throughout sports and especially extreme sports like the
    X-games. I notice that sometimes in sports they show camera shots from the sky and I love that angle because its not something that you would normally see so it makes it fun to watch. The price is a bit high for the average consumer but I think sports franchises could manage to pay the $1,299. I am definitely looking forward to seeing how this product does in the market and how consumers react to it.

  22. I do not believe that the price is a major obstacle to this product. The main reason being that if someone is serious about marketing themselves, they want to get the most high quality shots (which can be found through 1080p output), the coolest shots (which as seen in the advertisement for the Phantom is due to the aerial scope), and at the cheapest price. While I am not someone who frequents into the idea of getting aerial shots, one must think that those shots would require an extreme amount of money and time to get ready for them. The Phantom advertises simplicity through using one’s iOS or Android Device as the controller rather than some bulky complex controller. While many people may not buy the product, it sounds like the most affordable and simple product in this niche industry.

  23. Flying camera is a really innovative product and has a huge potential market as we discussed at class. But, there is one thing that always stood out to me about this new product. If I could manufacture a flying camera by installing a mini propeller, why don’t I move to camera accessory industry and specialized in producing a propeller for every type of camera? There should be much easier to position, price, and gain from it.

  24. My reaction is similar to many others here, i love that technology is growing and hope that all our lives are better for it but I worry that people will do terrrible things with it like spying on people. This is especially concerning because I imagine scenarios where it could end up being used the wrong way, I want to have a daughter someday and I also want a home with windows so I can see this beautiful world we live in, what i dont want is pictures of my daughter undressing in private to end up online. I know that the march of technology is forward and inexorable but I wonder how we will deal with these things, perhaps this technology will create a demand for one way glass windows in homes.

  25. Although it’s a great idea to create and develop such high tech products but price and practical are my concern about that. Furthermore, the size of the camera is also not small, so it’s not easy to carry. It might be good for some professions to use this camera but currently it’s not very suitable for daily life use. My another concern will be is it stable because it’s flying, so once it has some technology problem, will it be broken easily?

  26. This idea is from our group. We think that it can be a great chance for the camera industry. Since the booming of the smart phone, people change their behavior. Many people use iPhone or other smart phones to take photos instead of using camera. It is more convenient and easy to use. The flying camera can draw consumers’ attention back.

  27. Such product will have a good future market. The security department, photography enthusiasts, journalists will be its potential customers. I even intend to buy one to help me find out which hwy is more unobstructed when I drive to work. And this fly camera is a good platform for amateurs to add new functions as they wish.

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