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The Phantom 4 has landed!

As expected, DJI presented their new drone on March 1. The Phantom 4 is a reality. With a price of $1399, the new drone is easier to fly, returns home on its own and can avoid obstacles. But there is more, from better images to a longer flying time.

TapFly, which lets you fly with a tap of the finger, is a new sign of how sophisticated drones can be. The Phantom 4 does exactly that, a trick more on series of new things the new flying platform from DJI can do.

“With the Phantom 4, we are entering an era where even beginners can fly with confidence,” said DJI CEO Frank Wang. “People have dreamed about one day having a drone collaborate creatively with them. That day has arrived.”

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The Phantom 4 makes flying easy and fun. Control it at a tap, and automatically avoid obstacles or follow your favorite subjects to create video and photos that amaze. Advanced technologies and an updated camera combine to make your memories unforgettable. For photographers and videographers those are some of the most important aspects to consider.

The information provided by DJI indicates that the Phantom 4 camera has been improved in terms of image quality. The 4K imaging device has undergone an upgrade that includes improved optics for better corner sharpness and reduced chromatic aberration. Information available from DJI indicates that chromatic aberration has been reduced by 56% and lens distortion has been reduced by 36% compared to Phantom 3 Professional. In addition to lens improvements, camera firmware has been tweaked to enable the camera to capture 120fps video in full 1080p FHD (the camera’s field of view will be reconfigured to 47° when recording in this mode) for smooth slow motion.

The Phantom 4 also has DJI’s signature Lightbridge video transmission system onboard, allowing users to see what their camera sees in HD and in real-time on their smart devices at a distance up to five kilometers (3.1 miles).

The Phantom 4’s form factor, still the classic quadcopter style pioneered by DJI, has been redesigned and redefined to emphasize elegance and smoother, more-aerodynamic lines. Its frame incorporates a lightweight composite core to provide enhanced stability and more-agile flight. The core now features a redesigned gimbal that provides more stability and vibration dampening, and has been repositioned for a better center of gravity and to reduce the risk of propellers getting in the shot.

The features of the new Phantom 4, sound great, but what if the drone gets lost? Well, DJI worked hard to minimize that possibility. The Phantom 4’s Obstacle Sensing System features two forward-facing optical sensors that scan for obstacles and automatically direct the aircraft around the impediment when possible, reducing risk of collision, while ensuring flight direction remains constant. If the system determines the craft cannot go around the obstacle, it will slow to a stop and hover until the user redirects it. Obstacle avoidance also engages if the user triggers the drone’s “Return to Home” function to reduce the risk of collision when automatically flying back to its take off point.

With ActiveTrack, the Phantom 4 breaks new ground, allowing users running the DJI Go app on iOS and Android devices to follow and keep the camera centered on the subject as it moves simply by tapping the subject on their smartphone or tablet. Perfectly-framed shots of moving joggers or cyclists, for example, simply require activating the ActiveTrack mode in the app.

The Phantom 4 understands three-dimensional images and uses machine learning to keep the object in the shot, even when the subject changes its shape or turns while moving. Users have full control over camera movement while in ActiveTrack mode – and can even move the camera around the object while it is in motion as the Phantom 4 keeps the subject framed in the center of the shot autonomously. A “pause” button on the Phantom 4’s remote controller allows the user to halt an autonomous flight at any time, leaving the drone to hover.

By using the TapFly function in the DJI Go app, users can double-tap a destination for their Phantom 4 on the screen, and the Phantom 4 calculates an optimal flight route to reach the destination, while avoiding any obstructions in its path. Tap another spot and the Phantom 4 will smoothly transition towards that destination making even the beginner pilot look like a seasoned professional.

Flying time has now been extended to 28 minutes. Refinements to motor efficiency, power management and a new intelligent battery translate in more time in the air to capture professional photos and video. And the time to put the Phantom 4 in the air has been reduced now, thanks to new push-and-lock propellers that are faster to install and more secure in flight, allowing them to handle faster acceleration and harder braking.

DJI crafted the Phantom 4 with reliability in mind, including redundant inertial measurement units (IMUs) and dual compasses onboard. The Phantom 4 can constantly compare data received from both IMUs and then navigate itself using the most accurate data. The same is true of the redundant compasses.

In addition to intelligence and ease-of-use, the Phantom 4 is built for fun. Its new “Sport Mode” for advanced flyers gives a taste of what drone racing feels like. In “Sport Mode,” the Phantom 4 can reach a top speed of 44.7mph (72Kph) and ascends and descends more rapidly than in other modes. The craft’s acceleration and top speed in “Sport Mode” also mean it can reach locations for shots faster and capture shots you couldn’t get before.


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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…

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