Short Review

The DJI Phantom 3 Pro is one of the best drones for aerial photography,it comes with many advanced features like a 4K camera stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal. This will provide stunning video footage and still images. It has a few intelligent flight modes like follow me and waypoint. The range has also been improved to a long 2km and flight time has also got an upgrade,you can manage around 20-23 minutes with the Phantom 3 Pro.

Key Features

  • 4K Camera
  • 12 MP 
  • Intelligent Flight Modes
  • Vision Positioning System
  • 23 min flight time
  • Fast video transmission technology
  • 2km Range
  • 35 mph top speed

DJI is without a doubt the leading company in the consumer drone market, and their Phantom series has already established a loyal following. The Phantom 3 Professional is one of its marquee drones in this series that is sure to further strengthen their position as one of the top manufacturers of high-end consumer drones.

Before I go on I have to mention the drones capability to shoot in stunning 4K.  The footage from these 4k camera drones will take your breath away and it is one of the reasons for the huge popularity of drones in recent years.There is also an advanced version which captures and records images at 1080p.

The Phantom 3 series has four other drones in its range, three of them including the one being reviewed all have 4K cameras. These three have little difference between them as shown in the table below.

The drone industry is booming, not only drones being flown by consumers for fun and pleasure but it has increasingly found its way into many commercial applications. From real estate photography to disaster management, drones are increasing their presence in our daily lives’.

The Phantom 3 Pro is one such drone that is suitable for casual flyers, hobbyist, and even for commercial reasons.

So, is the Phantom 3 Pro worthy of being rated among the best drones in its class? Is it one of the best drones for aerial photography? is it easy to fly and is the hype around the Phantom 3 series worth it? read on and find out

The drone comes ready to fly, you just need to attach the colour coded propellers, make sure the battery is charged and calibrate the compass and GPS. This is all mentioned in the manual, which I know is boring to read but for safety reasons, do go through the manual before your first flight.

 Phantom 3 Pro Review

In terms of its outward appearance, the Phantom 3 Professional maintains a strong link with its previous model. The quadcopter even retains the same white colour, along with 4 pylons with a rotor mounted atop each one.

Weighing almost 3 lbs, the quadcopter has a belly mounted camera stabilised by a 3-axis gimbal. Although made of plastic the drone feels structurally strong and one that can take the occasional bumps and hits.

The remote control has a thoughtfully designed clip where you can attach your smartphone or tablet to seamlessly stream and enjoy a first person view (FVP) of what the camera captures. Users would require a cable to connect the phone to the remote, while there is also the option of USB ports.

Other design features are by and large the same as previous versions such as dual joysticks, dedicated buttons for an emergency landing.

There are dials for the camera and gimbal, buttons for one-touch recording and taking images. Separately, the company has provided for two additional custom controls on the other side of the remote. With this remote, you can control the drone from a range of over 2 miles, the official descriptions say the range is 3.1 miles, but this is under optimum conditions. And we all know, achieving optimum conditions is near impossible.

An important improvement from previous versions has been the inclusion of a dedicated internal battery which can be charged along with the main copter battery. Also, there are several led lights on the front of the control to indicate the battery charge level, one charge should last several flights

Flying experience

DJI state on the instructions manual that the battery of this drone is capable of 23 minutes of flying in ideal conditions. While those ideal conditions are hard to replicate, in my experience the copter consistently remained airborne over 20 minutes.

This, once again, is an improvement from previous models where the flying time hardly ever went beyond 15 minutes.

Once you are ready to fly the drone, the DJI app on your phone or tablet would immediately proceed to the camera view. As part of the calibration exercise, the app would guide you set up the GPS lock as well as the tilt of the gimbal. Once you are through, a simple tap on the screen of your phone would launch the drone.

The dual joystick controls are fairly intuitive when it comes to flying the drone, and although I’m fairly new to drones, piloting this expensive equipment was much easier than the cheaper one’s I am more accustomed to.

Even so, it would take some decent practice to truly exploit the maneuvering capabilities of the drone, and capture dramatic aerial footage.

Flight time has been improved from previous models, however, don’t expect to get the 23 minutes as advertised by DJI, tests have shown the drone fly for around 18 minutes before the low battery warning is given on the App, in which case the drone will return home.

Vision positioning system

One of the new features when it comes to flying capability of this drone is the addition of a couple of sensors enabling it to fly safely indoors, although I never did fly it indoors. However, the word is, this feature is still buggy and works only when you are flying in a truly clutter-free space.

The sensors also help to stabilise the drone when GPS signal is lost when flying outside. The drone also utilises DJI’s lightbridge technology which allows for live streaming of images and video onto Youtube,this is another feature not available in previous models.

Although, it should be noted that live streaming is only available at 720p, instead of 4K. Check out the stunning aerial footage this impressive drone can take.

Camera performance

Dji phantom 3 camera

.

The Phantom 3 professional truly pulls away from the competition when it comes to the capabilities of its camera. As mentioned above, this camera is capable of recording at 4K but there also a host of other features that add up to the stunning image capturing and footage recording performance.

The camera is placed on the belly of the drone and is stabilised by a 3-axis motorised gimbal. The gimbal helps the camera remain steady and level, which results in distortion free footage and images.

The company says that they have specifically chosen a dedicated camera for long distance and aerial recording. On the evidence of their image and video quality, I can say that this is, without a doubt, one of the best quadcopters for aerial photography.

Flight Modes

When it was first released, the Pro 3 did not have autonomous flight functions, however, DJI have added several intelligent flight modes since then.

  • Waypoint – This lets you set route for your drone to fly autonomously. You first make sure you are in the correct flight mode on the DJI GO App. Then choose Waypoint and either record a new route or use an old route.
  • Point of interest – In this mode, you choose a point of interest on the DJI GO App and the drone will orbit that point. You can alter the diameter and altitude relative to the point of interest.
  • Follow me – This is self-explanatory, set your drone to follow whoever has the controller (you), it’s an awesome feature as you can record yourself without worrying about the controls. It’s even more awesome for those who play extreme sports, capture every thrilling moment wherever you are.
  • Return home – When the battery starts getting low, the drone will automatically return to its flight of origin. You can also press the return home button if you want to shorten your journey.

Conclusion

DJI have raised the bar again in the race for best high-end drones for photography/videography. Its 4k camera beats any other drone in its price range and it can record stunning footage in a variety of recording modes and you can edit images and videos within the App. The battery life could be longer and the gimbal could be improved. Other than that, this would make a great drone for aerial photographers/videographers and anyone looking for a drone that is easy to fly with smart flying modes.

One thing you should keep in mind is that many have complained of DJI’s customer service,thier drones are brilliant but customer service is a bit lacking. However,that is slowly starting to improve and support is being provided much quicker than it used to be.

Cons
  • Easy to operate
  • HD Streaming
  • Lightweight
  • Improved battery performance
Cons
  • App a bit slow
  • Expensive batteries
  • 9
    Shares