April brings the popular NAB (National Association of Broadcasters) show to Las Vegas. This confab has become a popular showcase for the newest in Camera Drone hardware. The show is April 13-16 (exhibits open), but DJI has jumped the gun by introducing their upgraded Phantom 3 series a week early. Here is what you need to know about the DJI, 3DR and other new models being shown.
Phantom 3 from DJI
A Phantom 3 has been expected for some time. The P3 is a continuing evolution of the most popular drone in history – the Phantom Series. It is an evolution – not a revolution – building upon the platform and successes of the earlier models. The price/performance (value) has increased – DJI is building in more goodies for less money! The basics:
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced -$999
DJI Phantom 3 Professional – $1259
The difference between the two models is mostly in the camera – the Pro model is capable of 4K video, while the Advanced is HD (2K).
Short and sweet…for 90% of users, 4K is not important. Many computers don’t have the capability of easily editing 4K and most screens where it is viewed don’t take advantage of the large number of pixels. The exceptions would be:
1. You are a professional doing Indie or other films – and/or commercial and industrial video where 4K is called for.
2. You own a 60″ or larger 4K TV and desire to watch your own videos in the fullest resolution possible on this large screen.
Both models features improvements to the earlier Phantom 2 models. In addition to the camera, the FPV (beamed back to you) video is much improved, so your monitoring of the flight on larger tablets will look better.
Here is a promo Video for the Phantom 3
Both models have added a “sonar” sensor for better manners when flying indoors.
Range has been increased in both models – up to a mile or more is now possible. A new TX (the Remote Control) has been introduced…which contains the hardware and software for these new features.
Those are the important changes although many tweaks have been made in the DJI app and other flight systems. One feature which has been removed is the ability to fly waypoints (Ground Station). Instead, DJI has created a developers kit and is counting on them to develop enhancements and additions to the DJI basic app.
The Phantom 3 is available now – Links to specs and ordering below:
DJI Store – Phantom 3 Page
Amazon Listing (USA) for the Phantom 3 Models
DJI Phantom 3 Advanced
DJI Phantom 3 Professional
Note – Amazon doesn’t charge your cc until ship – DJI may do this – if this is of concern, check with DJI chat or buy from Amazon or your favorite dealer.
Should you Buy a Phantom 2 now that the P3 is released?
This depends on many factors. If you need to use the Phantom before the release or projected ship date, you may need to pick up a P3. Also, if you want to fly your GoPro or other camera, you should pick up a P2 with gimbal or bare P2 as the P3 is ONLY available as a full package with the DJI Camera.
In a general sense, though, the new P3 provides more refined features for the same price or less…so waiting could be a good thing. At the same time, the new P3 should not make you either regret or sell your P2. In the end, it’s the actual video or pictures you take which matter – and it will be hard for most viewers to tell any difference between the older and newer models.
3DR and other Makers
3DR (3D Robotics) is also introducing a new model – they have a teaser video but will not be announcing the full specs until April 13 (NAB). We can assume this model to be a RTF Camera Drone complete with the camera and a gimbal…to compete with the likes of DJI and other vendors who offer a total Ready to Fly solution. Here is the teaser:
Here is a pic of one new 3DR “Solo” which is being introduced at NAB:
Update: 3DR has released info on their Solo. Basically it’s a mid-sized drone designed around the GoPro camera. It will cost $1400 with gimbal (but no camera – you supply the GoPro). Here is the information:
Yuneec introduced an upgraded model of their Q500 Typhoon at the NAB show – in fact, there are at least two newer models – the Q500+ (slightly upgraded Q500) and a new model with a 4K camera. The Q500+ is available on Amazon and elsewhere (dealers, etc.).
More updates on NAB can be found on the forum continuation thread for this article at:
Update – Amazon is taking pre-orders on the Phantom 3 models – see below: