HomeNew drone hopes to make aerial photography a Snap

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The gimbal-stabilized camera means smoother video.

Vanatage Robotics’ new Snap camera drone combines stabilized 4K video with a variety of shooting modes and a focus on safety and portability — attributes it hopes will make the product to stand out in a crowded market.

The San Francisco-based start-up unveiled the drone on Tuesday and began accepting preorders.

For photographers, the biggest attractions are probably the 4K camera, which shoots at 4x HD resolution, and the gimbal that it’s mounted on. This electronically-controlled device pivots and rotates the camera to counter the movement of the drone, so the resulting video should look smoother and more professional.

But that wasn’t the only thing Vanatage had in mind when it developed the product.

“The biggest issue with any drone that shoots quality video is that it’s essentially a big, flying lawnmower. If you’re hit, you’re cut; if it’s in the eye, you’re blinded,” said Tobin Fisher, one of the company’s co-founders.To illustrate this, Fisher sometimes shows photographs of drone injuries that are definitely not for the squeamish.

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He wanted to make a drone that was safer to use, so Snap’s four rotors are covered by protectors. The company went through multiple designs to come up with one that doesn’t interrupt the airflow to the rotors while ensuring no one ends up in the emergency room after an accident.

The body and electronics of the drone are housed in an enclosure that snaps onto the frame with magnets, giving the product its name.

In the event of a crash, that magnetic connection means the body can easily detach from the main body of the drone — something that Fisher hopes will lead to less damage for the camera and whatever it hits.