DJI Phantom 4 quadcopter for Indie Filmmakers

Taking a first look at the latest design of the world’s most popular personal drone

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Thanks to Kerry Garrison who posted some of the specifications and images on  CameraDojo, his examples and previews have been useful in showing just how remarkable and usable this small form factor camera drone is!

Specifications

Let’s get the boring stuff out of the way with a list of bullet points for the specs:

  • Weight (battery included): 3.04 pounds
  • Max flight speed: 44.7 mph (sport mode)
  • Max flight/ascent speed: 13.4 mph (ascent), 8.9 mph (descent)
  • Flight time: over 28 minutes
  • Camera range: up to 3.1 miles
  • Obstacle sensing system range: 2.3 feet to 49 feet
  • Video positioning system range: 0 to 32.8 feet
  • Slow motion video recording resolution: 1920 x 1080 at 120 frames per second
  • Battery capacity: 5350 mAh

 

The Phantom 4 Camera

None of the hype makes any difference if the camera can’t deliver professional results. But first, here are the important specs you will want to see – in addition to the video below showing some examples:

Sensor1/2.3” Effective pixels:12 M
LensFOV ( Field Of View ) 94° 20 mm ( 35 mm format equivalent ) f/2.8 focus at ∞
ISO Range100 – 3200 ( video ) 100 – 1600 ( photo )
Electronic Shutter Speed8 s to 1/8000 s
Max Image Size4000×3000
Still Photography ModesSingle shot
Burst shooting: 3 / 5 / 7 frames
Auto Exposure Bracketing ( AEB ): 3 / 5 bracketed frames at 0.7 EV Bias
Time-lapse
HDR
Video Recording ModesUHD: 4096×2160 (4K) 24 / 25p
3840×2160 (4K) 24 / 25 / 30p
2704×1520 (2.7K) 24 / 25 / 30p
FHD: 1920×1080 24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60 / 120p
HD: 1280×720 24 / 25 / 30 / 48 / 50 / 60p
Max Video Bitrate60 Mbps
Supported File SystemsFAT32 ( ≤ 32 GB ); exFAT ( > 32 GB )
PhotoJPEG, DNG ( RAW )
VideoMP4 / MOV ( MPEG – 4 AVC / H.264 )

Kerry’s unboxing video from Multicopter Warehouse:

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Features of the new Phantom 4

Obstacle Avoidance
The Phantom 4 features a forward-facing vision detection system to sense and avoid obstacles that are about 3″ or larger. In some modes the copter will just stop and hold position, and in other modes it will attempt to climb higher to avoid the obstacle.

Tap to Fly
Tapping on the screen will tell the copter to fly to that point in the distance. Think of this as a form of “cruise control” so you can focus on getting the shot instead of controlling the copter.

ActiveTrack
ActiveTrack is one of the most interesting features, Where many copters are promoting “follow me” features, ActiveTrack is essentially “follow that“. If I am shooting a bike race, I can select a specific person and the Phantom 4 will follow that person and keep the camera aimed at the subject.

POI
Point of Interest allows you to select a point, set altitude and distance, and then have the Phantom 4 automatically circle the location keeping the camera pointed at the target area.

Waypoints
While not the “drop the pins on a map” type of system, the Phantom 4’s waypoints system allows you to fly a course while recording points along the way, thus recording the flight for future use.

Here’s some examples form the new Active Track feature in action:

Screen Shot 2016-03-23 at 10.26.34 AMThe camera lens is also sharper and less distortion than the previous Phantom 3 models.

Kerry has provided us with some images taken around their town of Castle Rock, CO with the Phantom 4 – this camera looks quite promising indeed! (click images for larger view)

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Here’s some more overview footage from the Phantom 4 from the Multicopter Warehouse team:

Price and availability:
The Phantom 4 will be available at dealers on April 1st for $1,399 with extra batteries costing $169. The demand is expected to be quite high so if you want to be one of the first, be sure and get a pre-order in from a reputable dealer such as Multicopter Warehouse.


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Jeff Foster

Jeff Foster has written and contributed to several books and magazines, and has been producing motion graphics, photography and creative design for major corporations, television and film for more than 20 years. See his full bio and content at http://PixelPainter.com

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