DJI Phantom 4

“The drone for everyone” also happens to be the industry’s leader

The new Phantom 4 has dropped. It’s not an Apple level incremental update. The DJI Phantom 4 really changes things. DJI’s Phantom has been the favorite model drone for the last several years. By adding sensor vision and fully autonomous capabilities, the Phantom 4 has dramatically raised the bar on what is possible with a consumer caliber camera drone, both for complete amateurs who want to start flying and for professionals who are crafting complex shots.

What’s new

Obstacle-Avoidance & Smart-Tracking
The Phantom 4 brings with it multiple new frontal sensors to help accurately “sense” objects around it. “ActiveTrack” is a new mode that allows a user to follow a subject while managing to avoid obstacles from as far away as 50 ft. A pilot can also send out the Phantom 4 to a point on a map without worrying about the drone hitting a stray branch or power line: killers of many a Phantom 3 or before. This will also help avoiding other drones in the lineup. Enjoy being able to track and orbit any chosen subject via the app. The app is the real difference between DJI and other drone companies.

Better Camera Quality
The Phantom 4 camera and gimbal is similar to that on the Phantom 3 Professional, but with a few tweaks. The Phantom 4 gimbal has a support link mounted into the drone, thus providing sturdier camera-work. Tweaked software gives quicker feedback between pilot and camera, as well as in auto-focus. Like the Phantom 3 Pro, the Phantom 4 camera puts out 12 MP and 4K video; unlike the Phantom 3 Pro, the Phantom 4 can at a rate of 120fps in 1080p res. Lastly, an eight-element lens and some nifty proprietary sensor software produces a more dynamic range of colors and saturation than either the Phantom 3 or the pricier Inspire 1.

28min. Flight / 3 Mile Range
A new and more powerful Intelligent Flight battery allows the Phantom 4 to travel farther and stay aloft longer. Where the Phantom 3 Pro had as little as 16 min. of flight, the 4 can stay in the air for 28 min. The radio and antenna now operates on a more focused signal. The range is now a little over 3 miles. Who needs to fly that far one might ask? A spokesman at the company says that this ‘over-engineering’ lets the system to operate much better than stock in close range environments, allowing for better signal penetration in and around trees, wifi signals that cause interference, or when flying long distances at low altitudes.

Should you get one?
Yes, if you have the means. At 1399.99 it’s a considerable investment. For a professional piece of equipment it’s a bargain though. While it is “the drone for everyone”, it would be good to have some flying experience before launch. The sensors deal with the front of the drone and not the back and some of the side. It is possible to crash or worse yet, drown. The camera defeats even the DJI Inspire 3. You could fly a Red camera on a larger multi-rotor but the footage wouldn’t probably as stable.

Whether you get one or not. We’ll all be able to enjoy moments and angles we’ve never seen in the near future by those that do.


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