It looks like Canon could be entering into the world of drones. The company has just applied for a patent for a small camera equipped with a panning unit that could be mounted on a drone.
In the last few years, camera drones (opens in new tab) have become much more accessible. Since DJI released the original DJI Mavic Mini (opens in new tab) followed by the DJI Mini 2 (opens in new tab) and most recently the DJI Mini SE (opens in new tab) way more consumers have started to pursue aerial photography.
Now it looks like Canon could be getting in on the drone action, following in the footsteps of Sony – which brought the $11,000 Sony Airpeak S1 (opens in new tab) to market at the start of 2022. So it will be interesting to see if Canon's effort is aimed at professionals or the consumer market.
According to Digital Camera Info (opens in new tab), on 15 March Canon submitted an application for a patent for a product that is a drive device, an electronic device and an image pickup device with a mobile body.
From the illustrative diagrams included in the application, it looks like the design of the camera unit could be very similar to that of the Canon Powershot Pick (opens in new tab) – an AI-powered camera capable of recording both video and stills. It automatically detects movement, can track a subject and can be controlled using voice commands.
The Powershot Pick features an 11.7MP camera, has advanced face recognition, connects to a purpose-made app and is compact, lightweight and portable – all of which are features that would be desirable on a drone camera.
Canon hasn’t made any official statement as to whether it will be entering the drone market, so for now we’ll just have to wait and see. No matter what it decides to do, it will have some tough competition in the form of DJI – so whatever it releases has to be either very good or completely different to what’s already available.