DJI PHANTOM 3 & 4

DJ Phantom 3 Professional has a standard quadcopter’s design like the majority of the quadcopters you have encountered before, so you could say that it looks like an average drone. Still, it is far away from the average drone. Now, the first thing I have noticed about this quadcopter is its movement – the movement is very precise, and I haven’t noticed anything like buggy behavior or erratic movement. The DJ Phantom 4 has also recently been released. You can check that out here. In my opinion the DJP3 is still a better overall quadcopter for the price, this is why we have updated this post (18th February 2017)

As you may know, most drones are using satellites to find and hold their place; however, the designers of DJI implemented GLONASS as the main tool for positioning – Glonass is a Russian counterpart to GPS – which is seen in better overall movement and performance. Finding a satellite signal can be harder when you are flying indoors, depending on the surface you are flying above. If you are flying over a surface with a good contrast (like checkerboard floor), the flying will be easy and good. However, if you are flying over the surface with a texture and uniform colour, you could face some problems regarding the drone’s flying. Check best prices as of 2017 on the right.

This quadcopter drone has very powerful motors that take this drone into the air – this results in safer and more stable flight patterns, which can help you to create cinematic-like video or photo material. There are a couple of sensors, like optical flow sensor that stabilizes the drone’s X-Y position, and there are ultrasonic sensors that are responsible for measuring the distance from the ground, using sound waves. As we said, the GPS works like a charm – finding GPS satellites is really quick, but another thing that the designers implemented is Glonass – a Russian version of GPS, which works excellent in the combination of standard GPS.

The battery is another great feature of this drone. Every second in the air is important and with DJI Phantom you will have a decent flying time. The battery is 4480 mAh, with the voltage of 15.2 volts. This renders twenty-two, to twenty-four minutes of flying time, although the flying time depends on how you fly the drone, weather conditions and a whole bunch of external factors. A charger that is 100 watts can fully charge the drone in around 35 minutes. Sometimes we have found this drone can actually fly for times nearer 1 hour.

remote control quadcopter

Radio controller is made of polycarbonate plastics but the grips, and bottom as well are made of rubber, which gives you better and more comfortable grip. In other words, the controller is designed in a very ergonomics way. The controlling is very smooth, which results in even and precise drone dynamics. The buttons on the controller are placed nicely, so you have pretty-much everything you need within the reach of hand – a button for taking photos, a button for changing exposure on the fly, a button for controlling pitch movements, etc.

One of the best features of this model is the Lightbridge technology – a hardwired technology from the controller to your device. This enables you 720P regarding video quality, with around 30 FPS. The feature can be used up to 2kms of distance which is cool for video shooting. In the terms of resolution, you have four settings – 1280x720, 1920x1080, 3840x2160 and 4096x2160, where you can set a frame rate for an each one. The dynamic range of the camera is very good – I have not experienced any problems regarding the quality of the image and the details whatsoever. Some people asked me whether I had some aerial helicopter since the details and quality of the video were great – so you could say that you have a professional drone, in case someone asks you and you want to fool him. 

I could also say that stills capability are more than decent since you are looking at the 12 megapixels stills that could be shoot during video shooting. Image profile settings gives you the option to choose between standard, soft, custom or landscape profile picture, which is a great choice for aerial photography. The video feed works amazingly – I have had no problems with the video feed while I was operating the drone at the 1500 meters away from me. The video feed is a rock solid, especially if you have a line of sight.

GOOD FOR

  • Amateur and casual aerial photography

NOT GOOD FOR

  • Professional aerial photography
  • Flying around the Capitol Hill
quadcopter with camera

Maybe the biggest con of this drone, besides the capability of unfolding landing legs, is that you cannot rotate the camera around the X axis – so you can only record in the front of the camera. This is mainly because you have “the landing legs” which prevent the camera from rotating. Other than that, the drone is very recommendable –although not best beginner’s quadcopter since it is more for a professional and experienced use.In my opinion, DJI Phantom 3 can easily challenge the title for best drone for GoPro due to its firm structure, stable and precise movement.

PROS

  • The Lightbridge technology
  • Long-distance control
  • Long battery life
  • Precise controls
  • Great video/photo quality

CONS

  • No rotating the camera around X axis
  • Unfoldable landing legs