Review: Parrot Anafi 4K Drone Review

The Parrot Anafi is a compact drone about the size of a water bottle. The Anafi is designed with mobility and portability in mind with an incredibly small form-factor. It’s not only highly affordable by the standards of 4K-capable drones, it also can be easily transported, is extremely easy to fly and comes with a fairly decent package of flight and photo/video options.

 

Quick Specifications of the Parrot Anafi

Brand Name: Parrot Anafi
Overall Dimensions Unfoldded: 175x239x63.5mm or 6.9×9.4×2.5in
Overall Dimensions Folded: 244x66x63.5mm or 9.6×2.6×2.5in
Battery: 2700 mAh lithium polymer, 2-cell
Flight Time: 25 minutes
Camera: Sony 1/2.4″ CMOS, 21 Megapixel, 2.8X lossless zoom, 180° tilt gimbal
Photo Resolution: 4608 x 3456, 5344 x 4016 (21 MP)
FOV: 84 degrees
Image Stabilisation: 3-axis image stabilization
Video Modes: 4K DCI (17:9) 4096×2160 @ 24fps 4K UHD 3840×2160 @ 24, 25, 30fps FHD 1920×1080 @ 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, 60fps
Internal Memory: 16 GB Flash

 

What Comes In the Box

The Parrot Anafi ships in a handy compact travel case containing the Anafi and the following:

  • 1 Parrot Anafi Drone with Smart Battery
  • 1 Parrot Skycontroller 3
  • 1 storage case
  • 1 micro SD card 16 GB
  • 1 USB-A / USB-C cable
  • 8 additional propellers
  • 1 screwdriver

The Controller

The Skycontroller 3 is heavier than the drone itself, but the unit is compact and well made. Unfold the smartphone holder upward to turn the controller on and off. The unit is large enough to accept most phones, but tablets won’t fit. The controller connects to the phone with a USB cable, and a USB Type-C cable is included. iPhone users will need to use the Lightning-to-USB-A cable that came with their phone.

 

App and App Controls

The FreeFlight 6 app, available for both iOS and Android, provides a preview of the video from the drone camera, plus a selection of on-screen controls. You can use the app alone or alongside the controller. Either way, the app allows you to trigger the various shot modes and plan and trigger a flight plan on a map. It’s a simple, straightforward app that works well with the flight controller. If you registered the drone with Parrot, the app also stores details of flights that can be accessed through the company’s website.

 

Parrot Anafi Camera

The Parrot Anafi is equipped with an HD camera that captures video in 4K HDR at a bitrate of 100Mbps and captures still images at a 21 Megapixel resolution. Videos are captured in a 17:9 aspect ratio with a wide-angle aspherical lens.

Unlike the Mavic Air, the Parrot Anafi camera has a built-in HDR video option, which provides a better image by making the exposure between bright and dark areas more balanced than standard HD video. HDR footage also captures the sky in better detail, which is obviously very important for drone photography!

The Parrot Anafi camera is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal with a 180 degree vertical tilt, so it can point straight up into the air or straight down at the ground. Most drones can only capture video straight-on or from a bird’s eye view, so the fact that the Anafi can film low-angle video (and take low-angle photos) is a big deal, especially for a consumer-grade quadcopter.

Photographers will be pleased to know that RAW is an option, but you do have to choose from a standard “JPEG Rect” (with lens correction applied as part of the processing) or what Parrot call “JPEG Wide” with or without a DNG file. Once in Photoshop RAW a pretty dramatic correction to the lens distortion is needed with (as yet) no profile.

One unusual feature is the digital zoom, you can zoom in up to 2.8x when shooting 4K video and up to 3x when shooting HD video. This is a digital zoom, so there is no physical zoom lens. The quality is pretty good, though. Although we noticed a slight softness when using the zoom at its longest settings, the video still looked pretty good.

Photos and video are taken using the Freeflight 6 app, which has four built-in cinematography filters that make it easy to take high-quality drone shots regardless of your level of experience. You can also edit your photos and videos in the application, making editing a breeze.

 

The Charger and the Battery

The Parrot Anafi battery is a 2700mAh high-density Lithium Polymer battery that the company claims lasts for 25 minutes of flight time. In our experience, the number is usually closer to 21 minutes or so, but that’s still a very competitive number. That’s pretty typical for a drone this size and a little shorter than the Mavic Air’s 27-minute flight time.

The Parrot Anafi battery has a USB-C charging port and a charger is included with the drone itself.  There’s no need to buy and carry a dedicated charger. However, the recharge process is very long. Expect 2 to 3 hours to recharge the battery with a regular iPhone or Galaxy 2 charger.

 

Flight Performance

Despite its weight, the Anafi is stable and agile. The drone handles moderate winds very well, and can reach a top speed of 34 mph in sport mode, as advertised by Parrot. Each flight mode (Film and Sport) can be customized with various settings such as tilt angle and rotation speed in order to increase the control smoothness in-flight. The drone is easy to fly and the controllability is excellent

The ANAFI is also one of the quietest drones we have flown. Once in the air, the Anafi is very silent, much quieter than the Mavic Air thanks to the leaf propellors, and the lightweight design of the aircraft.

 

Pros

  • Assisted flight modes
  • Small and easily transportable
  • Good-quality video and stills
  • Settings to tune the various flight characteristics
  • Control of the camera’s up and down angle remotely

 

Cons

  • No Obstacle detection
  • Hard to access memory card
  • No physical gimbal. It uses EIS, electronic image stabilization
  • Autonomous features require an extra purchase
  • Heavy barrel distortion (fisheye) in DNG still mode.

 

 

Bottom Line

The Parrot Anafi is great value for money and offers a real first with its tilt-up camera. It’s one of the most compact full-featured drones we’ve ever tested, packing into a small, water-bottle-sized package that fits easily into a backpack. The Anafi has a good selection of flight modes to take interesting shots, and the video it captures is good, delivering clean, smooth video with plenty of detail.

Photographers will be pleased to know that RAW is an option, but you do have to choose from a standard “JPEG Rect” or what Parrot calls “JPEG Wide” with or without a DNG file. On the downside, the true lens distortion is very apparent when shooting RAW.  Once in Photoshop or Lightroom, a pretty dramatic correction to the lens distortion is needed. The 23mm EFL lens is sharp and defaults to center-weighted metering that makes a good job of exposure. The standard JPEG in Auto mode makes a good job of sharpness and lens correction, giving you images you’d be happy to share.

Overall the Anafi is a great flyer with its adjustable flight modes you can zip around in the “Sport” mode of slow things down in the “Film” mode. But there are a couple of caveats. It’s a small drone, which means it is easily buffeted by wind, and the lack of obstacle avoidance requires more careful piloting. Another concern for us was recharge time. Parrot claims that Anafi should take on average 1.5 to 2 hours to recharge. But the fastest time we registered for a full 0-to-100% recharge was 2 hours, 45 minutes.

 

For more information on the Parrot Anafi visit www.parrot.com

 

 

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