Yes, I finally received my DJI Phantom 3 drone. This is almost 3 months after losing the first generation drone to a flyaway. A big thank you to curious.com for sponsoring our production of an on-line course I’m currently producing. A big emphasis on this course will be on safety. The DJI Phantom 3 sports some big improvements on safety. After some near crashes,crashes, and the victim of a flyaway I felt like I was on a pilot program for aerial filming using the Phantom 1. For a while I thought I wouldn’t touch a drone again, but my excitement for this field won me over.
In my time with phantom 3 so far I’m impressed with the improvements in safety and functionality. It’s come a long way in two years. I’ll share my thoughts briefly and then move onto some of the video productions notes.
Thoughts on the drone
- Safety – I feel a lot safer flying the phantom 3. The DJI Pilot app provides information such as safe to fly GPS status, satellite reception, stats (height, altitude), battery reception, and easy auto-landing
- The auto landing is a nice luxury. I found out that you can’t rely on it on a small landing area, but it takes away some of the precision required to land the drone
- The App is awesome – The ability to see a live HD feed is so useful. When the drone is up 100 feet in the air it’s easy to lose sight of which way the drone is facing. Now I can use the app to figure this out. I mentioned the statistics (telemetry) that you can now view from the app. It’s a lot more calculated approach, but this is definitely leaps and bounds over Phantom 1
- I don’t miss the Gopro on the drone. I’m getting to enjoy the integrated 4k camera. It’s already assembled meaning It’s one less thing I have to bolt on and setup. It’s great to be able to control the camera in the air from the app. I can record video and control the gimbal and get a live feed. In Phantom 1 I couldn’t see what the camera was seeing so this will provide a huge improvement in what you’re able to capture
- The app is not compatible with some devices. I was surprised to discover I couldn’t use my Iphone 4s with the app. Is it really outdated after 3 years? This was an extra $300 US hidden cost to shell out for the ipad mini 2. Well worth it though. You will need the app to take full advantage of what the Phantom 3 can offer especially the safety information.
- It comes full equipped out of the box. In phantom 1 the legs weren’t assembled. The included mount for the Gopro gave shaky footage. I had to upgrade my drone with a 3rd party gimbal and new landing legs. This reduced my flying time to 5 minutes. I know it was the early days in 2013, but now the phantom 3 comes ready to fly.
- Good video tutorials by DJI – I actually had to rely on some of the videos to get the information I needed to get set up. They are good, but there are still some gaps as I found out.
Okay that is it for now. I still have to test out the new Vision positioning system that allows phantom3 owners to fly indoors. As I said I’m currently producing an on-line video course called “Take-Off”. It will be available exclusively on curious.com. If you are interested in following my findings or when the course will be available please leave us your email address.
Sep 22 2015 update: Since this post I’ve completed 74 flights using the Phantom 3 Pro. Please check out my various posts on the Phantom 3 Pro especially my videos. If you decide to purchase the Phantom 3 pro I would appreciate if you purchase from the affiliate links below.
Gear I recommend
This is the gear I recommend. These are affiliate links that I get a commission from. Thanks if you decide to click and buy from this link
Phantom 3 Professional
It allows me to film 4k aerial videos and photos. It’s easy to travel with and as a 1st generation flyer I appreciate all the safety and technology improvements it allows. The integrated camera allows me to get great stable videos and photos that I can control from the app on my ipad mini 2.
Phantom 3 Professional battery
The battery gives you 23 advertised minutes of flight time, but in reality with the critical battery warnings you want to bring it down sooner than this. I recommend that once you hit 10% battery you should be coming back to land. If you buy the Phantom 3 pro drone the battery is definitely a smart purchase if you want more flight time. It will save you the hassle of leaving your flight location to find a coffee shop to charge for an hour. Purchase the battery here.
While I don’t personally use this setup yet this would be a great setup for someone who is doing a lot of traveling and filming or someone who is mobile. I converted from travel luggage to a Costco kirkland hardshell suitcase and they are great for water protection and protecting delicate things like beer bottles. This hardshell backpack will offer water and piercing protection for your Phantom 3. If you are traveling in countries like South East Asia you may need to ride an e-bike or scooter this is right product. The extra battery will also come in handy as I’ve had too many times where I easily used up the battery power and struggled to find a power point or had to go back to the hotel to charge.