DJI Technology, a Chinese-based firm, is poised to release its latest consumer drone model, the DJI phantom 4. As the latest model in their consumer line it is exceptionally user-friendly and designed for those who want a drone to enable them to capture stunning photos and videos rather than for the experience of being a pilot. This does not mean that drone hobbyists will be unhappy with this model, but that the ease of flying it may leave experienced users feeling unchallenged. However, the included “sports mode” feature does allow users to have the opportunity to control the Phantom manually if they choose. There is a large list of upgrades and improved features on the new model that vastly improve the ease of use of this camera drone. Many of these features were designed to compensate for common human errors that often led to crashes with previous models.
- The materials used in the construction of the DJI Phantom 4 make it lightweight (just 3.04 pounds) and increase rigidity.
- The re-positioned camera gimbal increases stability to reduce the amount of movement the camera experiences. This produces less camera shake and results in better quality video and still photos.
- The camera is capable of taking images in all directions and is simple for the operator to control.
- Onboard optical downward sensors and motion sensors monitor the surroundings during flight to prevent crashing. These sensors relay information to the software to enable it to avoid common obstacles like houses, trees, and birds. The sensors identify items as much as 30 feet below its path and as far ahead as 50 feet. This provides plenty of time for the drone to change its path away from the object.
- Simple programming allows users to use tablets or computers to program the destination while the phantom drone follows the path and avoids obstacles along the way. The drone is designed to transition smoothly from start to finish to guarantee a smooth landing at the destination point.
- A return-to-home feature conveniently sends the drone back to its operator without additional programming.
- The aerodynamically-redesigned body helps to reduce drag and make the quadcopter move much faster. This allows it to reach the surprising top speed of nearly 45 mph when it is in sports mode.
- The propellers are easy to attach and remove due to an innovative push-and-lock system. They are also more stable during flight.
- Propeller motors are exposed for better heat efficiency.
The DJI phantom 4 is the premium model for aerial photography. It has been designed to recognize three-dimensional images and can lock onto an image to keep it in the frame and centered even when the object is moving. The operator is able to control the camera separately from the drone, using real-time monitoring on their tablet to ensure they are getting the image they prefer. The drone is also capable of “pausing,” a feature that allows the user to have the drone hover over a specific area during the flight. There are a number of additional statistics that prove this to be a fast, effective, and high-quality design.
- The maximum ascent speed is 13.4 MPH
- Maximum descent speed is 8.9 MPH
- The camera has a distance range of up to 3.1 miles
- Obstacles can be sensed and avoided from as close as 2.3 feet and up to nearly 50 feet away
- Video resolution for slow-motion is 120 frames per second at 1920 x 1080
- Battery life/flight time is up to 28 minutes when operating on a full charge
One feature that may shock consumers is the price. Most consumer drones for sale typically are listed around $400-$500 or less. The Phantom is being offered for pre-orders at $1,399. While this does put it in the top price range, those who have seen it in action feel that the drone is worth every penny.
DJI Technology has been considered the leader in the consumer drone market because of the high quality of their equipment. Sales of their products accounted for nearly 70 percent of last year’s $2 billion in sales in the consumer drone industry. Because of this, their newest release has been greatly anticipated, and the unveiled machine has apparently lived up to the hype. Witnesses to the demonstration of the drone in New York City were impressed with everything their new quadcopter has to offer.