Ever since the first prototype was going around the DJI booth at NAB this year, teases of a handheld version of the Inspire 1 gimbal/camera have been making many owners anxious to finally have the option of taking their X3 camera off their drone and continuing to shoot on the ground with the same quality stabilized camera footage for more seamless productions. Well, now they finally can (kind of). [Read more…]
Note for Holiday Shoppers – DJI is having a Sale from Dec 11 to the end of the Month where a free hardshell backpack comes with any model of the Phantom Series. Here is the link to the DJI Sale Page.
Droneflyers.com received a new Phantom 3 Quadcopter (Professional 4K model) at the beginning of May and have been flying it regularly since then. With about 50 flights under our belts, it time to do a First Look, Review and Rating on this new quadcopter.
We purchased the Phantom 3 Pro (4K) direct from DJI’s online store for $1259.00 including shipping and a single battery. We have since purchased two extra batteries as well as a used Nexus 7 II (2013) for running the DJI Go App (formerly called the Pilot App).It is our opinion that this hobby and pursuit is still in its pioneer stages – so we never expect the first release of a new model to be perfect or bug-free. A more important question would be whether most or all of the shortcomings are either acceptable or fixable with firmware and software updates…and, so far, it looks like that is the case. As of the end of summer (2015) software updates have resulted in better reliability – and, DJI has added a number of new features including Intelligent Flight Modes (Point of Interest, Waypoints, etc.).
NOTE: The Phantom 3 is a highly technical aircraft and requires study and skills to fly safely and to keep it in one piece. Despite the marketing materials, a quadcopter is not “for everyone”. Beginning pilots should invest time learning the hobby before putting an expensive model such as the P3 into the air.
The Phantom 3 Basics – more Revolution than Evolution
Note: For some background, please see our article – Phantom 3 Improvements over Phantom 2 Vision +
When the Phantom 3 was announced we thought it was a nice evolution of the popular Phantom line. However, after exploring this aircraft for a couple of weeks we can see that it is more than that. It is simply an unheard amount of technology and capability built into a compact frame for an unheard of price!
DJI has been setting the standard in the exploding consumer drone market since consumer drones first burst on to the scene about 3 years ago. There is no doubt that DJI is the 800 lb gorilla on this playing field, they have done it better, faster, and cheaper than anyone else out there.The amount of technology packed into their current flagship, the Phantom 3 series, is nothing short of astounding when you consider the price point. That being said however, it’s still not cheap. Getting into the AP/AV game with a Phantom 3 will still cost you upwards of $1000, which while a great value considering all the technology packed into this little drone is still a good chunk of change for the average consumer. And that is exactly who DJI is trying to address with the latest addition to it’s lineup, the Phantom 3 standard.
The standard version comes in at a very reasonable $699, which while still not quite at the level of “impulse buy” should be much more palatable for potential customers who balk at the $1000+ price of the Advanced and Pro versions. There is no free lunch however, and you are giving up some of the cooler advanced technology found in the Advanced and Pro.
So is it worth it? Did DJI Hit the mark, or is it too much for too little? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
A new low! Or, we could say, a new low price…
DJI has announced a new entry model of the Phantom 3 – at the price of $799 complete with camera, gimbal and battery. This is an unheard-of price for a complete RTF camera unit and should allow many more consumers to buy into this fascinating hobby.
What does it have – and what doesn’t it have?
Things are moving so quickly in this hobby that it’s tough to keep up! With the introduction of the P3 Standard, DJI now have 3 models in the Phantom 3 line. The differences are basically as listed below:
P3 Pro – $1259 – 4K Video, Dual GPS, Lightbridge digital video feed to your device, VPS.
P3 Advanced – $999 – HD video, Dual GPS, Lightbridge digital video feed to your device, VPS.
P3 Standard – $799 – HD video, Single band GPS, wifi video feed to your device.
See full story —- [Read more…]
Horizon Hobby recently added the Blade Chroma – a modern quadcopter designed for Aerial Photography and Video. The Chroma is perhaps the closest thing to a friendly “plug-and-play” camera machine you’re likely to find in the current market. Here’s our initial Blade Chroma Review:
In terms of size comparison, it’s bigger than both the Phantom 3 and its “smaller brother” the older Blade 350 QX series. It’s almost “400 (mm) size” and lies between the Blade 350 and the Yuneec Q500. The model pictured (there are four in all) is with the CG02 camera, which supports 1080p at 50 fps. There is also a version with a 4K camera (currently available only for pre-order), a model with a “fixed” GoPro and a gimbal-mounted GoPro version. The model we tested with the 3-axis gimbal mounted 1080p camera is currently retailing for $1,100 USD.
Chroma is sold in various configurations including some which allow use of the Horizon Spektrum line of Remotes. This one was purchased Ready to Fly (RTF) from a retailer and comes with the following remote controller:
With the release of DJI’s Phantom 3 the big discussion in our store with customers is wether they need the Professional, which shoots 4k, or just the Advanced, which shoots 1080p. The answer is pretty simple, even if it is a little technical, but I will do my best to explain it as best I can. [Read more…]
Finding Places to Fly and Photograph with your Drone.
For some this is very easy – for others a bit more difficult. Here are some hints and tips which may help you find some safe – and photogenic – places to fly!
Note: most of these suggestions assume you know how to take decent pics and videos which you can share with the owners or overseers of the properties.
Learn to use Google, Apple or Bing Satellite Maps to locate large open areas. During a recent trip to Florida, I noticed that a large fairgrounds was just a few blocks away. This area provided a great view of the city and surrounding area and was very safe for flying.
Walking or Biking around an area can often locate some additional places to fly. I founds some large abandoned areas near some railroad tracks which provided an amazing view of a local park as well as the center of town.
Consider your Contacts [Read more…]
At the heart of many modern camera drones is a magical device called a 3-axis Brushless Camera Gimbal. It contains many of the same technologies which are in the drone itself. Here is what they are and how they work – explained in the simplest terms possible.
The word gimbal can be used to describe any adjustable camera or compass holder designed to keep the device level. A more accurate description of the quadcopter gimbal would be a 3 – axis camera stabilization and anti-vibration device. It uses brushless motors (powerful and quiet as well as long lasting) to adjust the position of the camera. 3-axis describes that the camera is adjusted in all directions – up/down, left/right and forward/backward (3 dimensions or, as we call it, the real world).
Now the the excitement of the initial introduction has passed, it’s time to take a look at the new DJI Phantom 3 (P3) “camera drones” from DJI and see what the actual improvements are over the former Phantom 2 Vision+. Without further ado, here are the major improvements of the P3:
Note – differences are given in the order of importance – in our humble opinion! This article should be accurate as of May, 2015.
Improvement #1 – Price/Performance/Value
NOTE: Yuneec has since come out with an upgraded 4K model of this quadcopter with better specs. A complete package with case, two batteries, handheld gimbal attachment and more is currently available at Amazon. The camera in this model is far superior to the original.
The electric aviation company Yuneec has released the RTF (Ready to Fly) Q500 Typhoon quadcopter – their first entry into the video/photo category. Despite all of the interest in drones, there are very few models currently on the market which are purpose made for best performance in APV (Aerial Photography and Video. A short list would include these:
1. DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ – This model is – by far – the most popular in the Yuneec Q500 – Yuneec makes them for Horizon (owner of the Blade brand). It holds a small part of the market compared to the DJI model and, while it sells for about $200 less, does seem to provide less in terms of a reliable and stable video platform (short flight times, some reliability questions, etc.).
3. This model – the new Yuneec q500 Typhoon.
About Yuneec – The Company [Read more…]