The DJI Phantom 3 series, first released in April of 2015, set a new standard for what was expected of a consumer-level Camera drone. Even at the original price of $1259, the Phantom 3 Pro was head and shoulders above anything in its class. The P3 series is still widely used today – although officially all models other than the $499 “Standard” (lowest end) model have been discontinued.
DJI has been very quiet about the launch of this new model – in fact, I had to email the company to find out if it truly was a new model or just a renaming of an older model which was called the “Phantom 3 4K”. They assured me that this is a model which is updated and upgraded and hasn’t been sold in the US until now.
For that price you get a top notch 4K capable camera, the VPS (ground sensing) system and a new upgraded wireless connection which increases the range to as much as 4KM. Note – we suggest cutting these maximums by 50% for your use in most normal situations….but, realistically, even 1 KM is fine for most of what consumer camera drones are used for.
Some other basic specs:
25 minute flight time
Dual GPS (American/Russian)
Video up to 4K 30fps – 60MB Bitrate
What it does NOT have is the “lightbridge” DJI system, which is an advanced wireless protocol…with longer and more reliable range (in many cases).
The P3 models are quite mature and reliable and many pilots may not need the advanced features in more expensive models (obstacle avoidance, etc.). Commercial pilots (Part 107) often desire a “backup bird” in case something happens to their primary camera drone. The Phantom 3 SE seems perfect for such uses.
The Phantom SE (Special Edition) is a well kept secret – but it shouldn’t be. You can buy a cheaper Phantom (DJI Standard…refurb and/or new is $399 to $499) – but you would be missing out on a number of features, most importantly the extended range and better camera.
One might say this is the “Toyota Corolla” of consumer camera drones. It does the job which is asked of it and is reliable and a good value. The Image Quality is on a par with the Phantom 4 (plain) and exceeds that of the Mavic Pro and Spark.
With the purchase of a 2nd battery and a case/backpack you’ll be ready to go “pro” for about $700 brand new.
Note – at the time of this writing the Phantom 3 SE is not listed on Amazon, so you’ll probably be best off ordering direct from DJI at this link. Note that the downloads and specs tabs on that page will offer further details on this new budget 4K model.