DJI Phantom 4: technical and comparative characteristics

DJI Phantom 4

DJI is a well-known and award-winning Chinese technology company. It is dedicated to designing and producing drones for aerial photography. Its quality is excellent and the characteristics of each model of drone have made it one of the most demanded and successful in the market. Not only are they leaders in sales, but they are also the most used for television and musical work, the film industry for shoots, etc.

It currently accounts for approximately 70% of the drone market share, and would be somewhat higher if you filtered only the professional market. In fact, in 2017 DJI won the Technology & Engineering Emmy Award for its technology for the cameras that mount the drones. And if there’s one drone model that stands out, it’s the Phantom series.

What can I use it for and what not

River recording with a Phantom 4

The DJI drones are specially designed to perform recording and/or image capture tasks. They are not aerodynamic and lightweight models for racing. So if you are looking for a racing drone, DJI is not the best option. But its stability and features make it perfect for video recording and aerial photo shooting amateurs and professionals. That’s why it’s one of the best products you can find.

Sometimes I have also been asked if I can lift weights, for example to carry rescue kits or supplies to inaccessible points for rescues, etc. The truth is that the Phantom quadricopter can lift a few hundred grams extra, but they are not designed to carry weight beyond the support and photo equipment they carry either. If you remove it, you can carry something else… What is true is that there is a DJI S900 (or the Industrial series) with 6 propellers that can carry up to 5 kg, a quite considerable amount.

Conclusion, if you simply want a good drone to direct it or to capture some good images, DJI is a good choice. For racing and other purposes, you should think about looking at other variants

Do I need to buy a professional drone?

If you are a beginner and have never tried one, the answer is no. You should start with a cheap model to get used to it. If you are an experienced amateur or a professional, don’t doubt that DJI has the best products for you.

In case the answer is yes, you should also consider the DJI or model version you need. For example, if you’re going to capture images and video with the Phantom, you might settle for a DJI Phantom 3 Pro if you’re an amateur. But if you need something else, then go straight for one of the DJI Phantom 4 versions.

Differences to other DJI models

DJI Mavic Pro

DJI has several models to meet various needs of its users. The most remarkable models are:

  • DJI Spark: for all those who are looking for a simple and easy drone. A good option for fans. They are cheap and not too big, but the quality and technology is still more than decent. But don’t expect the performance or technology that other superior models have…
  • DJI Mavic: they are twice as expensive as the Sparks, so they are not cheap drones. This series is quite popular for video and aerial photography fans. It has a sophisticated design and intelligent flight modes, with good range, speed, stability and quite silent. There are several editions of this drone, such as the Air, Pro, Platinum, etc.
  • DJI Phantom: it is the king of the quadricopter. It is good to carry a high quality camera in its support to take the best images and record high definition video. Its price is high, but it is worth spending it to get the best results. That is why it is a favorite for image professionals. Currently, they are going for the 4th version, and like the previous one, there are variants like the normal one and the Pro and Pro Plus, a little more expensive, but with extras.
  • DJI Inspire: another series of drones with 4 engines and great power and agility to make the best recordings in motion. For example, to make action film shots, follow moving people, cars, etc.
  • DJI Goggles: its price is a little bit higher than Spark, but quite cheap than Phantom and Mavic maś This model is especially good for use with FPV glasses, designed to have a totally immersive flight experience. The movement of your head will change the orientation of the camera so you can see everything during the flight. By the way, this does not mean that the above are not compatible with FPV, just that eśte is better integrated with this technology.
  • DJI Industrial: is a special series for somewhat more specific uses. They can lift more weight because they usually have up to 8 rotors instead of the typical 4. They are quite used in the agricultural industry.

You can buy and compare any of these models at the official DJI store in Spanish. You will also find a lot of accessories (stands, cameras,…) for all the series.
Now that you know the features of the DJI models, let’s go with the Phantom 4, one of the crown jewels of the brand…

Phantom 4 Technical Features

Parts of a dismantled Phantom

The latest addition to this series is the Phantom 4, with significant improvements over previous models. The technical characteristics of this drone are impressive.

Panthom 4

  • It is the most basic of the Phantom 4 series, with good performance and technical characteristics detailed here:Weight: 1380 g
  • Ascent speed: up to 6m/s (depending on flight mode)
  • Maximum flight speed: up to 72 km/h (depending on flight mode)
  • Maximum tilt angle: up to 42º (depending on flight mode)
  • Maximum angular speed: up to 250º/s (depending on flight mode)
  • Maximum height: 5000m
  • Maximum wind resistance: 10m/s
  • Battery life: approx. 28 min with 5350mAh Li-Po battery and charger included
  • Operating temperature range: 0-40ºC
  • Geolocation system: GPS+GLONASS
  • Stabilization: 3 axes
  • Camera: 12.4 MP CMOS f/2.8 aperture, with support for HDR and UHD (4K)
  • Memory card: support microSD up to 64 GB Class UHS-1
  • Remote control frequency: 2.4 Ghz (remote control with mobile device support) Lightbridge enhanced
  • Obstacle detection system: 5-way with three sets of sensors (front, rear, under and side)
  • Mobile app for image retransmission: DJI GO 4 for iOS and Android (with 220ms latency)
  • Price: approx. 1100 euros

Phantom 4 Pro

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro version is an improved version with respect to the base, with some extras. It includes all of the above and more:Control panel: with 5.5-inch screen included, avoids the need to use a mobile device
Radio control frequency: you can use 2.4 and 5.8 Ghz to reduce interference

These improvements represent a price increase of approximately 500 euros, i.e. it would have an approximate price of 1600 euros.

Phantom 4 Pro+

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus version is an improvement over the Pro version, and a small price increase over the previous one. The improvements, including everything the Phantom 4 base would have as well, are:

  • Control panel: with 5.5-inch screen included, avoids the need to use a mobile device
  • Radio control frequency: you can use 2.4 and 5.8 Ghz to reduce interference

Phantom 4 Advanced

The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced is slightly different from the Pro. It shares most of the features with the Phantom 4, as is obvious, but with the following features that differentiate it from the Pro:

  • Obstacle Detection System: only has the front and underneath obstacle sensor, but eliminates the rest of the back and side sensors. Therefore, if you don’t control it well, it could crash into side and rear obstacles… In other words, it’s shyly inferior in this respect to the Pro’s.
  • Weight: 20 g lighter

Therefore, it is a more oriented option to the more expert and who master the piloting of these devices better. On the other hand, the price is between the Phantom 4 base and the Pro, that is, not as expensive as the Pro or the Pro Plus.

Phantom 4 Advanced+

If we take the Advance as a reference, the DJI Phantom 4 Advanced Plus has only a price of about 100 ? more. The features are almost identical. The only thing that varies is:

  • Remote control: 5.5″ screen included

The same applies to the Pro+ as to the Pro.

Improvements to the DJI Phantom 3

DJI Phantom 3

If you are wondering how the DJI Phantom 4 has improved from the Phantom 3, it is quite simple to explain. If we compare the Phantom 3 Standard with the Phantom 4 base we have the following:

  • Range: 1000m vs 5000mAutonomy: 23 min vs 28 min
  • Weight: 768 g vs 1380 g
  • Camera Sensor: 12 MP FullHD CMOS vs. 12MP 4K CMOS
  • Connectivity: WiFi vs Lightbridge enhanced (more than x4 speed vs WiFi)
  • Geolocation: GPS vs GPS+GLONASS
  • Price: approx. 728 ? vs. approx. 1100 ?
  • Of course the technologies and modes of piloting have improved. In short, a drone of higher quality and performance has been achieved, although it also has a considerably higher weight. In fact, there are also several editions of the Phantom 3, like the Pro and Advance. If we compare the performance of the Phantom 3 Pro it is a little more like the Phantom 4,
  • i.e. a range of 5000m and a 12MP camera with 4K capability.

For that reason, if you are looking for a model similar to the Phantom 4 base, but at a cheaper price, you can buy a Phantom 3 which has a lower price as it is older. The only thing that is considerably lower is the connectivity between the drone and the controller, which is much improved in the 4.

The future DJI Phantom 5

What we can expect from the future DJI Phantom 5 is a drone with considerable improvements over the 4. Although the Phantom 4 now represents the top of the DJI range, it won’t be long before the next generation arrives. If we look at the improvements of the 4 over the 3, we could expect a drone with an improvement in several points:

  • Range: The DJI Phantom 5 is likely to be more powerful than the 4, but its range is likely to be even better. It may be a few minutes longer than the current half hour that they usually last.
  • Connectivity: There may be improvements in the Lightbridge technology, since if the visual section is improved, a better link would also be needed to avoid delays and the bandwidth would be higher.
  • Range: the new Phantom 5 may exceed the 7000m barrier.
  • Camera: the camera will be one of the things that would have more changes, perhaps with a higher FPS rate for 4K and even the ability to capture 8K.

I hope I helped you in the choice of the drone and to clear your doubts.

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