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Feiyu one-ups DJI by letting you stick its tiny self-balancing camera to anything you like

Feiyu one-ups DJI by letting you stick its tiny self-balancing camera to anything you like

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The DJI Pocket has some competition

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Half a decade ago, dronemaker DJI realized its miniature aerial steadicams might be handy to carry around on foot — but it’s not the only company monopolizing on the shrinking tech. Rival FeiyuTech now has a DJI Pocket competitor that ups the ante by letting you detach the entire motorized gimbal, so you can stick a lightweight self-balancing camera to your car, helmet, wrist, or any magnetic surface up to three feet away.

It’s called the FeiyuTech Pocket 2S, and it’s on crowdfunding site Indiegogo right now for $399, or a little less if you take advantage of its early bird discounts.

According to the company, the camera shoots up to 4K footage at 60 fps with a Sony IMX 317 sensor, and can do up to 3 hours of continuous recording at 1080p. While you only get a square video preview on the handle, you can sling a full view to a phone, and there’s a Micro HDMI port to plug into a monitor or TV. Charging and data transfer happens over USB-C, and there’s a built-in 1/4-inch tripod socket. Footage is stored on a UHS-1 microSD card, up to 512GB. More specs here.

A note on crowdfunding:

Crowdfunding is a chaotic field by nature: companies looking for funding tend to make big promises. According to a study run by Kickstarter in 2015, roughly 1 in 10 “successful” products that reach their funding goals fail to actually deliver rewards. Of the ones that do deliver, delays, missed deadlines, or overpromised ideas mean that there’s often disappointment in store for those products that do get done.

The best defense is to use your best judgment. Ask yourself: does the product look legitimate? Is the company making outlandish claims? Is there a working prototype? Does the company mention existing plans to manufacture and ship finished products? Has it completed a Kickstarter before? And remember: you’re not necessarily buying a product when you back it on a crowdfunding site.

Judging by some of the early reviews on YouTube, image quality may leave something to be desired, particularly when it comes to crispness and dynamic range. I wouldn’t expect Feiyu or DJI to stop selling their larger motorized gimbals for phones, mirrorless cameras and DSLRs anytime soon.

But it’s pretty slick to be able to just throw one of these detachable cameras atop a mount like a GoPro, or slap one atop a ferrous metal surface and instantly get stabilized footage.

It’s a great way for these camera companies to compete with GoPro, for that matter, whose in-camera stabilization has been dramatically improving the last few years. And without any obvious tradeoffs beyond a visible coiled cable, I wouldn’t be surprised if DJI and others follow Feiyu’s lead.