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DJI Phantom 3 Professional this drone can capture great 4K video straight out of the box

PRICE WHEN REVIEWED

£1299 inc VAT

DJI PHANTOM 3 PROFESSIONAL & ADVANCED REVIEW

It may look the same as before, but DJI says it has rebuilt the Phantom 3 from the ground up to make aerial imaging as simple as smartphone photography. It doesn’t stop there, either, with the company claiming that this is the best consumer quadcopter that has ever existed, and offers the ultimate flying experience. See also: DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ review

Bold claims indeed, considering the increasing competition in the world of drones. So, let’s get the bad news out of the way first. The Phantom 3 does have a raft of new features but it does not have auto-follow, cannot orbit an object and won’t fold up and fit into your backpack. Nor can you throw it into a lake and watch it burst out of the water and into the air like a certain other drone you may have seen on YouTube.

Update 10 September: DJI has issued an update for the Phantom 3 range which adds auto-follow and orbit modes. This is great news for early adopters who might otherwise be wishing they’d waited and bought a 3DR Solo instead. We haven’t had a chance to test out these new features, but we’ll update this review as soon as we get a chance. There’s good news for P3 Advanced owners, too. The update brings 2.7K video recording to their birds – about time since the cheaper Phantom 3 Standard had this capability from its recent launch, while the Advanced model was limited to 1080p.

DJI PHANTOM 3 PROFESSIONAL & ADVANCED REVIEW

The Phantom 3 is – unlike many Kickstarter projects – a real product you can actually buy and it’s manufactured by the most popular quadcopter maker in the world. This is important because it means several things. First, you can get spares easily. Second, there’s an SDK which means developers can build new apps for the Phantom 3 which in turn means there will be even more features in the not-too-distant future.

Yet another benefit is a thriving thriving third-party market for things like carry cases  and other accessories – and means there’s often cheaper alternatives to official spares such as propellors.We don’t recommend straying from the official DJI batteries, though. It’s frustrating to have to pay a premium, but there are no guarantees aftermarket batteries will work.

There are three models of the Phantom 3: Standard, Advanced and Professional. We tested the Professional, which you can buy from FirstPersonView but much of this review applies to the £899 Advanced version as well. The only difference between the two is the

See also: Quadcopter buyer’s guide

DJI PHANTOM 3 PROFESSIONAL REVIEW: WHAT’S NEW?

Camera

The most obvious upgrade is the camera. The Professional version gets a 4K camera with a 94 degree field of view. It has a larger sensor with more dynamic range as before and it’s mounted on a three-axis gimbal as you’d expect. For the uninitiated, this means it delivers amazingly stable video as if the camera were mounted on a tripod in the sky. And if you’re gentle with the controls, you should never see the propellers in the footage.

The Pro model can shoot 4096×2160 pixel video at 24 or 25fps and at 60Mbps – a high bitrate.

DJI Phantom 3 Professional review

If you go for a Phantom 3 Advanced, you’ll get a camera capable of shooting 2.7K at 30fps which is higher resolution than the Phantom 2 Vision’s. It’s limited to 40Mbps – 20 less than the Pro. It has a 94-degree FOV like the Professional and also shoots 1080p at 30 or 60fps. The sensor is also different to the Phantom 2 Vision and DJI says it offers less noise and better clarity.

Both cameras – Advanced and Professional – can also shoot 12Mp still photos in JPEG and DNG RAW, just as with the Phantom 2.

The Standard model (separate review to follow soon) has a Panasonic sensor instead of the Sony Exmor sensor in the Pro and Advanced, but can also record 2.7K video (a resolution of 2704×1520).

Controller

The way you control the camera has been improved over the Phantom 2 since you can now do a lot more from the transmitter. You can change aperture, take photos, rotate the gimbal and more without taking your hands off the controller.

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