DJi Phantom 4 (Still worth it in 2020?)
On he first of March 2016, DJI announced the very rumored an highly anticipated Phantom 4. And now we have other newer versions like the Phantom 4 Pro and so on!
The DJI Phantom 4 is the first of its series(and maybe one of the first in the world) to feature advanced obstacle avoidance and complex subject tracking, making safety and automatic positioning the selling point of this drone.
This drone still has top of the line specs in 2019, and that's a great thing as you can get it for quite cheap on amazon for example, with additional accessories.
Although the starting price was well over $1000, nowadays you can find it quite a lot cheaper
It's still a great drone you can take professional photos and videos with and use it to actually make money with.
It's not as compact as some of the new DJI Mavics… but at least it's cheap and has a very crisp image in my opinion.
Here's the recent history of the Phantom 4 price on Amazon, I know this will help you to choose the perfect time for when to buy it!
Here's a video of the Phantom 4 hands on from the guys at Tested
This very techy drone has quite a few systems to detect where it is in 3D space. One of them is a set of optical sensors up front that will detect any object in front and stop you from hitting that cliff.
This feature is not only for dumb people or beginner users, it pays an important role when it comes to things like the auto-follow feature too.
The augmented vision system also provides object detection, besides object avoidance.
Which is to say that this drone can know you from your mom (probably based on the fact that she doesn't wear pajamas) and is able to follow one person or speciffic object, even if it's moving.
This follow me technology has been seen before, but it usually requires the subject to wear a device or hold the controller for this to work.
Here are some technicalities of this beautiful front facing camera system
The interesting implication of having an avoidance system can be seen when it comes to the Get back Home button. It does not only fly in a straight, preset line making you nervous if it will hit any trees or cables on the way.
- The field of view: 30º horizontal and 60º vertical
- It can detect objects at up to 15m ( aprox 50 feet) away
- On the remote, in the Dji GO interface you can see a visual object detection mark and set it for whatever you like
The sport option
It is probably the most expected and fun feature of this new quad. It enables the Phantom 4 to reach speeds of up to 44.7 MPH, which is noticeably higher than the previous 35.8 MPH.
This also means the max pitch is increased to 45º and the ascent and descent both are improved when it comes to max speed.
The only drawback to this is that it disables the vision system, but it's not like you're not going to pay attention when racing at speeds like that.
This makes the controller possible optional in some cases. In this mode, you can now press the screen wherever you want and the drone will go to that specific direction.
The new Phantom 4 became a beast when it comes to cinematography. It makes even the most complicated and pro tasks very easy and automatic.
The point of interest feature in smart mode, not only circles around a specific subject, but also keeps a steady course of flight even if that object is moving.
This is also the mode that features the previously mentioned Follow me mode and others like Waypoints, Course Lock and Home Lock.
I talked before about how you can select a specific object or area in the DJI Go app and let the copter follow it by itself.
This is the mode to do it in.I haven't tested these modes myself, but from the many videos I've seen it seems to work really well.
What can I say, I trust DJI doing a great job with at least the main new feature, it's a big company after all.
The flight duration for this new bad boy is about 5 minutes more than its predecessor, the Phantom 3.
It caps at approximately 28 minutes (from what DJI says, it even went up to 30 min in certain prototypes) and holds a charge of 5350 Mah and 15.2 Volts.
So the battery is a little bit bigger and more efficient. Even so, the overall quadcopter weight is only with about 100 grams bigger.
1.The addition of quick release propellers will make it easier than ever to remove or put them on, shortening the time you spend preparing the quad-copter for a flight.
2.The new Phantom 4 will also be cooler so much safer to fly in the summer thanks to the grills for cooling vents on bottom of arms and addition of the composite material on the camera and bottom of the drone.
3.The motors will also heat up slower thanks to their changed position, situated a little more on top of the arms(having less contact with the body and more air flux from outside). Details matter!
4.A small but useful change from the Phantom 3 has been moving the Micro-SD card and micro-USB port from the camera slot(gimbal) to the body.
5.The landing gear is shorter and wider for more stable landings (yet no retractable legs, sigh)
6.The quad-copter arms are a little higher than before relative to the body and camera position, so it will help avoid the front propellers get in the footage.
7.The stereo Visual system that sits in the front of the quad is able to detect objects depth, making the additional feature of the
8.Tap- fly mode even more precise. It means you can target a spot further away or closer to the camera and the Phantom is supposedly able to move there by itself.
This system can also tell when you detect persons.
This is very useful in the Active Track mode and it means it can follow people even if they turn around.
From the videos I saw it's even hard to hide from the Phantom, and even if it looses you from sight, when you get back in the shot it will start following you again.
Just to make sure, this is pretty advanced technology but don't worry that the Terminator era is going to start soon. Or maybe it will all start with dji and not skynet, who knows?
Are there any improvement in terms of camera quality?
Dji says it is, but it's only slightly improved with an added a slow-motion option that captures 1080p at 120fps and it has also improved the lens so there's less chromatic aberration and better corner sharpness.
So, overall this is probably the feature that changed the least from the already incredible camera of the Phantom 3. If you want to check the specific camera differences here's a comparison photo between the Phantom 4 on the left and Phantom 3 Pro on the right.
The fact is, the camera technology hit a plateau already and it will take some more time to improve and the already existing technology.And who needs 6k anyway in this day and time?
There are also differences in the gimbal structure and looks. It has been replaced with a cleaner and sturdier 3-axis gimbal that anchors the camera on both sides while the pitch is controlled by two motors.
Here's an official video showcasing the camera capability and object tracking of the P4
Phantom 4 is still a very valid choice even in 2019 and there's many DJI competitors that still can't create something better to this day.
Just check out the drones in the same price category bellow to see if you can find something interesting.
Bellow you can check my top drones in the same price category.
Please use the “Add to compare” button and then press on the icon on the right to compare them.
The phantom 4 is getting quite old at this point, but it's newer version, the Phantom 4 PRO, is on a whole new level, with its 1 inch sensor and manual aperture controls.
- Huge range
- Super stable video
- Better sensor than Phantom 3
- Multiple obstacle avoidance sensors
- Long lasting battery
- Very fast
- Pretty bulky compared to the newer Mavics
- Quite noisy