Sony aims a camera at drones and robots for industrial users

Sony has created a 61Mpixel interchangeable lens camera for professionals with industrial applications, such as those using drones for inspection, investigation, surveying or mapping.

ILX-LR1, as it will be called, is box-shaped and measures 100 x 74 x 42.4mm and 240g. M3 screw holes allow mounting on any of its six sides, and there is a 1/4-20 UNC threaded (‘tripod’) hole on the bottom.

Particularly designed to be remotely-controlled, a remote operation software development kit (SDK) is available.

It “captures high-resolution, low-noise and wide dynamic range images that reveal fine details like small scratches and cracks during inspection and investigation”, said Sony. “It also has a selection of a continuous shooting capability such as 3frame/s, which is suitable for mapping in a short period of time – with a 35mm full-frame image sensor, and compatibility with E-mount lenses, a single picture taken from high altitude can replace several pictures from a lower resolution camera.”

Connections are via USB Type-C, HDMI Micro (Type D) and a 10-18Vdc power port on the rear.

Alongside these are a full set of manual controls, with a lock-out switch that prevents unintended operation by the manual buttons.

The SDK gives access to the camera’s menus and other functions, allowing remote control of settings and shutter release, and a live view.

“Customer applications can link unique image IDs with drone position data in post-processing. The images can be taken with a trigger signal so that the latency of each image and drone position data is minimised,” according to the company. “With version 1.11, when using manual focus, it is possible to retrieve the current focus position and perform focus adjustments to desired position, enabling reproducible and stable shooting.”

As well as drone use, it is expected to be attached to industrial machines, robots and within submersibles.