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Lily and Phantom 3 video camera drones

Lily and Phantom 3 video camera drones

It’s advertised as a camera you just throw and go. Lily is a simple quadcopter with a built-in camera that’s made to follow you. The four-prop drone follows a remote sensor that you put in your pocket — it’s that simple.

lillycontrolLily is advertised as a craft that flies itself, no controller required, while you focus on your activity.

This idea sounds great — a worry-free way to capture selfie action videos — but the copter has no way of tracking trees, poles, wires or buildings, so you’re pretty much confined to the wide-open spaces.

The Lily drone is waterproof, which makes it ideal for shooting river rafting or snowboarding. It has a waterproof rating of IP67, which means it is protected against dust and a water depth of 1 meter.

The quadcopter features a built-in rechargeable battery that provides 20 minutes of flight time. You can’t use extra backup batteries to extend your shooting time.

The midnight-black polycarbonate-brushed aluminum vessel will capture your adventures on 1080p HD video at 60 fps and 720p at 120 fps. It has a cruising altitude ranging from 5 feet to 50 feet above your head, at a distance of  5 to 100 feet. With a maximum speed of 25 mph, it can track you from in front or from behind, giving you a variety of views. It also shoots 12 megapixel still images.

wetdrone300pxYou can change default settings with a small tracking device but you’re not going to get complete flight control. This drone is made to fly in a more automated mode.

The Lily is in a preorder mode at a discount price of $499 until June 15; its regular price is $999, and it is due to ship after February 2016.

There are some nice ideas with the concept, but the Lily has a way to go. Most of the new technology with today’s flying action-camera systems involve very sophisticated navigation with GPS and an advanced remote with viewing screens to make piloting much easier, along with 4K cameras.

A little more conventional drone for action video and still photographs is the new DJI Phantom 3 Professional. I am really impressed with the video quality that I have seen from this product. The included camera shoots 4K at 30 fps and 1080p, up to 60 fps,  I have included a few of those videos in the post.

Phantom3-600px

The Phantom 3 Professional would be my pick if I were to buy one. It’s a great combination of features, quality and price ($1,259).

The camera’s features include:

-live HD 720p view video on your mobile device, which attaches to the controller

-three-axis stabilization gimbal

-94-degree-view f2.8 lens (equivalent to a 20-millimeter lens on a 35-millimeter camera)

-rechargeable battery (approximately 23 minutes of flight time)

-ultrasonic sensors that scan the ground beneath for level fight

-12.0 megapixel still images

-controller range up to 1.2 miles

-customizable flight controls

-DJI’s Director software

-Sony EXMOR 1/2.3” sensor

-time lapse

The DJI Phantom 3 Professional has moved up to the No. 1 spot on my Father’s Day gift list.

Photos: (top to bottom) a Lily drone, a DJI Phantom 3 Professional quadcopter with 4K camera, a Lily compact tracker and controller, a wet Lily drone and a DJI 3 Professional.

robert.lachman@latimes.com

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Read more reviews and photography tips by Robert Lachman

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