DJI Phantom 3 Review: An Entry Level Drone

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DJI’s ready-to-fly Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional camera drones are remarkably easy to operate, making them great for folks entering the hobby. What’s not great: their prices.

To greatly help out your woeful credit card, DJI introduced the Phantom 3 Standard, a quadcopter that looks nearly the same as its linemates, but at $799 in america, £649 in the united kingdom and AU$1,299 in Australia, it costs hundreds less. Also, to celebrate the business’s 10th anniversary, DJI has slice the price to $499, AU$859 and £449 without end date set for the promotion

At its price, the typical is tough to beat. You could be able to locate a quadcopter with similar features from another person, but it will not be as polished something — from unboxing to flight — as the Phantom 3 Standard.

That said, the typical may be the entry-level model and therefore it has fewer features. To begin with, it lacks the Visual Positioning System that the other Phantom 3s have that could have let you easier fly it indoors without GPS. Similarly, the typical uses only GPS for positioning outdoors, as the Professional and Advanced use GPS and GLONASS, a second satellite system for faster and more accurate positioning supplied by GPS alone.

The largest difference is its controller, though. The the one which includes the Advanced and Professional models features DJI’s Lightbridge technology for better video image transmission between your sky and ground along with having a range as high as 5 kilometers (3.1 miles).

Instead of Lightbridge, the Standard’s controller runs on the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi range extender for transmitting the live view from the typical to a mobile device, therefore the prospect of a delay or lack of signal in the video downlink is greater. Plus, transmission range is decrease to a maximum 1,000 meters (0.62 mile). The remote controller operates on 5.8GHz frequency.

Also, the higher-end controller has camera controls like buttons for starting and stopping recordings or taking snapshots furthermore to two that are programmable. The Standard’s controller is bound to an adjustment wheel for tilting the camera along with all the camera settings and controls handled via DJI’s Go iphone app for iOS and Android. There is also no discrete Return-to-Home button; among the controller’s switches can be utilised instead. (Here’s where you could start to see the full feature breakdown by model.)

For the Standard’s camera, it runs on the similar distortion-free, 94-degree, wide-angle f2.8 lens to the Pro and Advanced, nonetheless it includes a maximum recording resolution of 2.7K HD video at 30 fps. That is the same maximum resolution as the Advanced, however that model may also do 1080p at 60fps; the typical taps out at 1080p at 30fps.

The Standard may also snap 12-megapixel photographs in both Adobe DNG raw and JPEG formats. The Go software also enables you to manually change shutter speed, exposure compensation and ISO and you will set it to accomplish burst shooting, exposure bracketing and time-lapse photography.

THE TYPICAL uses Phantom 3 Intelligent Flight batteries, which let you check the fitness of its individual cells via the Go app. This does mean older batteries won’t work. DJI claims flight times top out at 25 minutes. In my own tests the quadcopter lasted 22 minutes with a variety of hovering and flying in light wind and factoring with time for takeoff and landing (that may be done automatically through the Go app). That’s about average because of this class of quadcopter and more aggressive flying or high winds will cut into that flight time.

That will help you make the almost all of that time, the typical has DJI’s Intelligent Flight features including waypoint navigation, point of interest (POI) flight planning and a Follow Me function.

Waypoint navigation enables you to create a multipoint path for the drone to check out when you control the camera, while POI flight planning permits you to autonomously fly a circle around a topic, keeping it centered. Follow Me sets the drone to track your movement predicated on your orientation when holding the remote controller.

The modes are accessed by flipping down the S1 activate controller’s right side. You need to do it once you’re in the air, so you need to be somewhat quick about establishing your shot as you will be cutting into your current flight time.

Video quality is okay. The gimbal keeps the camera extraordinarily stable even in high winds. Like the majority of small-sensor cameras, the Standard’s struggles with extreme highlights which means you conclude with blown-out details. It can a comparatively good job of adjusting for lighting changes — another area where these cameras can struggle. You may even notice some horizontal banding, that is a rolling shutter artifact that’s common to these cameras aswell.

Despite all this, the video is normally very good, specifically for the purchase price. My biggest issue is you are stuck with this camera. There is absolutely no substitute for upgrade it later on and it can not be removed for handheld use.

Lastly, once you record a video, a compressed 720p version is placed to your mobile device. To make the almost all of these clips, DJI built a simple video editor into the Go app. You can put it to use to break up your clips, gather them up and incorporate them into one movie. DJI also included some style templates with music you can apply before you save. Then you can certainly just share away.

Conclusion


There’s a major gap in the camera drone market right above $250 to right around $700. Your options for the reason that zone either aren’t as polished as DJI’s Phantom 3 Standard, require yet another purchase of a camera such as a GoPro or they’re smartphone- or tablet-controlled and you must buy a controller separately if you wish that experience. That’s why is the Standard an excellent option even at $799, but it’s a genuine bargain at its sale price of $499/£449/AU$859

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