Throw and Go: A Deeper Look Into the New Lily Camera

Introducing The New Flying Camera Drone

It was only a matter of time until someone took the drone with camera to the next level, and this time around, it does away with the controller.

Meet Lily

Meet the Lily Camera, the latest aerial photography quadcopter to hit the market and soar to new heights. To be clear, Lily is technically not a drone, but rather, a robotic “throw and shoot” camera that flies and captures videos and images on its own, un-piloted. 

It captures cinematic footage often associated only with professional videographers and filmmakers. Lily is waterproof, ultra-portable, and has optics finely tuned to capture stunning photos and videos in high definition.

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Throw and Go

The Lily Camera functions exactly as how it’s marketed, you throw and it goes. There is no radio controller for it, or at least, not the typical one with joysticks and switches. Rather than worrying about things like roll, pitch, and yaw, you only need to strap on a puck-shaped tracking device in Lily will follow you anywhere.

It uses a combination of GPS and visual subject tracking to track the user. Lily gets continuous data about the tracking device’s speed and distance, making sure it keeps you in the shot.

Camera: Follow the Leader

In essence, Lily is a camera drone that lets you take selfies from the air. It trains its eyes on the wearer of the tracking device, capturing 12 megapixel images. Once it’s locked onto you, the device can be set to hold its position, take the lead and shoot from your front, capture you from the back, loop to take a 360-degree panorama, or simply hover in place.

Lily can also be set to fly out for the ultimate dronie, with a mobile app allowing you to program other flight paths as well as change camera settings mid-air.

The built-in camera is roughly equivalent to the one inside the GoPro Hero 3 and Ion Air Pro 3. Apart from the 12-megapixel stills it can capture, the camera can also shoot 1080p videos at up to 60 frames per second or 720p at 120fps. It has a feature that detects when you hit a jump while snowboarding, for example, and will automatically kick the camera into slow-mo.

The wrist tracker has a built-in microphone that syncs with the camera, allowing you to capture images from the sky and audio from the ground. Captures can be stored to 4GB of internal storage or to a microSD card via an external slot. The video capture is also streamed to your smartphone, so you can see how it shoots you. Based on videos and firsthand drone reviews from some people, the device does a great job in stabilizing videos. 

With its ‘follow the leader’ feature, however, Lily has a more limited range compared to other drones. It has a minimum altitude of 5 feet above you to a max of 50 feet, and a distance range of 5 feet to a max of 100 feet. It reaches a top speed of 25 miles per hour and is good for 20 minutes of flight with 2 hours for full charging.

Easy as 1, 2, 3!

Lily’s body is sealed, with its motors fully insulated. It can also float, so takeoff from and landing in water won’t be a problem. The device is designed to easily fit into any backpack so you can take it with you anywhere. It can also handle high winds, ensuring there are no tumbles when hit with strong gusts.
The sensor, which you can wear on your wrist or put in your pocket, also comes with a waterproof case and is made of midnight black polycarbonate. To use Lily, simply turn it on and wait till it connects to the tracker. You can have it take off by pressing the tracker’s Take Off button or just throw it into the air and it will automatically start hovering.

If you’re snowboarding, biking, or skating, for example, the Lily Camera won’t have much trouble keeping up. If, for some reason, it gets out of range, Lily will automatically kick into hover mode and will stay put until it reconnects with the tracker. 

Also, unlike most modern aerial photography quadcopters, Lily will land itself if the battery runs out—which brings us to one of its most impressive features.

Smooth Landing

The Lily Camera is like a trained falcon when it lands, in that you can simply reach out your hand and it will land and power down. You only need to press the Land button in the tracker and it will fly back to you. 

Why It’s a Big Thing

Lily is currently not yet sold in stores, but pre-orders are offered at $499 at Shipping will start February 2016 with a retail price of $999.

The good thing about Lily, aside from its impressive specs and features, is that if it delivers as promised, it could shake up the drone and camera industry.  Technically, Lily is not a threat to DJI, and it’s not trying to shoot down the world’s first Smart Drone – 3D Robotics’ Solo. It’s in a class of its own.

It’s not really taking drones to new heights, but more of improving the point-and-shoot. It gets amazing shots your selfie stick couldn’t even dream of. And with its ease of use, it can easily be welcomed by a wider audience, including amateur and professional photographers who want to add a new dimension to their photos and videos. 

Hopefully, the Lily Camera can deliver on all its impressive features. 


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