Model

Estimated Price USD

Parrot Bebop

$499    Check today's price

DJI Phantom 2  w/Gimbal

$950    Check today's price

This week Parrot announces it’s next consumer drone, the Parrot Bebop, but how does it stack up against what’s already on the market?

The Parrot Bebop is a 300 sized quadcopter with allot of features packed into a really small package. It’s essentially a smaller and more compact version of the AR Drone 2.0 but with a better camera, GPS and faster processors. right now, there is no official price or release date but they say that it’s supposed to come out some time later this year and the price will probably be two times more expensive then the AR Drone 2.0.

One of the main selling points for the Bebop (and a big step up from the AR Drone 2.0) is the 1080P stabilized panning camera system. This system works by using a 180 degree field-of-view fixed lens hooked up to a 14 megapixel image sensor. The video is then sent to an onboard video processor to be cropped, stabilized and then outputted to 1080p. Since the video already has to be processed in order to be stabilize, it’s also possible to digitally pan through is a video using your iPad in real time. Parrot also talks about how their lens has no distortion (fish-eye effect) but I personally think that the distortion is just being removed by the video processor.

The Bebop has an array of sensors on board, one of which being a GPS. With the GPS, the bebop will be able to do things like waypoint navigation, provide better hight information for high altitudes and even RTH (return-to-home) for when you get lost or lose connection. GPS is one of the things that really makes a drone autonomous, so I’m really glad to see that they finally added it in. Side note: The AR Drone 2.0 now has a GPS/flight recorder that’s sold separately.

Specs

  • 14 megapixel camera
  • 1080p video recording
  • digital image stabilization
  • F/2.2 lens
  • Wi-Fi 802.11AC MIMO
  • 8GB flash memory
  • GPS
  • 3 axis gyro
  • 3 axis accelerometer
  • 3 axis magnetometer
  • Pressure sensor
  • Ultrasound sensor
  • secondary 60 FPS vertical QVGA flight camera
  • Rubber vibration isolators

Bebop vs Phantom 2

Now with other great quadcopter options out there like the DJI Phantom 2, Parrot has definitely gained some competition.

With the phantom 2 and a GoPro, it’s possible to take video that looks like it was shot with a production camera (if you know what you’re doing) and the image stabilization quality of the Zenmuse H3-3D gimbal is second to none. it also has 20 minute flight times and can carry a lot more weight then the Bebop. The phantom 2 is a vary nice quadcopter, but it also comes with a price tag to match it, starting at $680 without a camera or gimbal.

The Bebop could be as low as $500, but cheaper isn’t always better. The main feature of the Bebop is digital image stabilization, but at the same time it may also be it’s biggest fault. Because the image stabilization is digital and not mechanical, I suspect that the image quality won’t be all that good. Even though it has a 14 megapixel Image sensor, when you zoom into the video for stabilization it tends to look vary unsharp. The reason for this is because when you zoom in, you’re also zooming into all the imperfections that the camera lens has, and because the camera lens isn’t very large you start to see artifacts like unsharpness and chromatic aberration. I’m really mot sure if someone would want the Bebop for video instead of a Phantom, but on the other hand It does seem like a really cool platform for app developers.

Parrot’s Promo Video

Where Parrot Got The Video Idea From

This video was made about 9 months ago and was produced by Rushes MGFX Studio. I would guess that this is probably where Parrot got the sand idea from.