Phantom 3 professional drone review
from an online instructor with experience flying the Phantom 1
My 6 months with my Phantom 3 Pro have been awesome
It was a long story to finally get my hands on the Phantom 3 pro. I finally had a chance to start testing it out in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I had a chance to develop a beginners course for an US on-line learning company. In the process I went step by step to ramp up my knowledge and practice flying in Chiang Mai. I've been a Phantom 1 pilot since 2013, but I had skipped the 2nd generation. After the course was finished I started to take the Phantom 3 to different destinations like Myanmar, Siem Riep, and Singapore.
I had a chance to fly the Phantom 3 in different situations to push my comfort levels. Flying at night to take aerial photos in Yangon and Bagan Myanmar. Flying high above the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. I also had experience traveling with the drone through many airports, airplanes, motorbikes, car, and MRT.
The photos I've been able to get are amazing
At the beginning you should focus on flying the drone as opposed to being the camera operator. You have the ability to tilt the camera up and down and monitor what the camera is seeing. With a simple press of the remote control button you can snap photos or switch to video mode
You can quickly download the photos from the aircraft to your app wirelessly if you are impatient. I've recently been experimenting with applying some HDR toning to my photos to make it look cool. These photos are on the automatic settings with no manual settings meaning that there is room to improve and that you could also get similar results once up in the air. Of course you need to pay attention to natural lighting and framing the picture.
The DJI Go app is super powerful
The DJI Go app is not included , but it's free from the app store. I was a bit disappointed that my iphone 4s wasn't compatible with the app. I purchase a new Ipad mini 2, which wasn't expensive and a nice size to monitor the live feed. The app is vital for not only live monitoring, but to see vital information. The app functions like a virtual cockpit if you want to imagine yourself as the pilot of this small quadcopter. Here are just a few of things I like about the app
- GPS Satellite Strength
- The drones height and distance
- The drones vertical and horizontal speed in m/s
- The ability to easily calibrate your drone before each flight
- The ability to change the settings easily
- The ability to return the drone to the home point using an easy icon
- Flight Records
Here is video lesson I produced on the Dji Go App
You might have seen the Dji wedding promo with the drone flying indoors. It's amazing, but how realistic is that? The Phantom 3 features VPS, which uses ultrasound tech to determine it's distance to the ground when there is no GPS satellite coverage. I recommend reading up on DJI's manual on the VPS section as there a lot of caveats. One is that you need to fly between .3 and 3 meters. I used it several times and found that the drone doesn't always hover in place. I used it indoors most recently in the production facility for a corporate shoot. Due to the height of the ceiling I found the optimal height was to fly at 1m, which was close to head level height. You need to keep your hands on the controls to make adjustments so you don't hit anything. Be careful. I found the flight to be not as stable as in GPS mode, but I was able to get the job done. The results are amazing though. Indoor flights can get amazing sweep shots and pans that are difficult to get with SLR camera's.
There is a strong community on Facebook, DJI, and Youtube. This means you can ask questions, make contacts, or share videos and knowledge with others.
DJI has a sky pixel network. If you sign up to the account you can upload your photos here. They allow you to earn credit, which can be used to apply to future purchases
Facebook has the Phantom 3 owners group. I recommend you join and interact with the other members here
More goodies in the App
- Flight Records Flight records automatically log your flights and extra information like distance flown, highest altitude, and you even replay your past flights. With these flight records you can share these with other pilots to learn and improve on your past flights. You can view most of your telemetry stats and flight paths on the replay making this a powerful learning tool.
- Flight Simulator
The Flight simulator is hidden in the app, but it's a great tool to actually practice flying in a virtual environment with the remote controller without the risk. It's an awesome learning tool for first-time flyers
- Intelligent Mode Major Update - In September 2015 Dji released a major update to the drone. This update enabled new flight modes to the aircraft. I use these modes extensively and these new features added a ton of new value to this aircraft. It allowed me to fly in a perfect orbit around an object, which is called point of interest mode. I've used it in my Thailand video. To read more about the intelligent modes check out my article here
Why I think you should get it
Phantom 3 Professional
- Stable 4k video and photos: This drone is the right tool to produce the goods. There is a good chance you are producing one of a kind footage when you go out there to fly
- Great value: 1250 US for pro which gives you 4k with the camera and pretty much everything you need. It's excellent value for what you get. The advanced goes for $1000 US, but for $250US more I would just get the pro for the 4k. I'll show you how to monetize your 4k video using stock footage
- Leading platform: If you decide to do a training course or do free-lance videos if you fly a recognized platform with a good reputation this can only help. There are lot of drone start-ups competing for your dollars, but this is a reliable professional tool in the market. DJI is the apple of drones right now
- Portable and light: The Phantom 3 weighs 1280 g. This means it is free of some countries regulations requiring a film permit for drones over 2kg. It also is fairly small and light to travel with
Advantages vs Disadvantages
The Phantom 3 professional offers more pros than cons. I could add more additional benefits if I wanted. To be fair the battery life is decent at this point in time. My gripe is after going on a length road trip to fly and then spending more time to find a place to charge and then wait. This problem is solved with money. In terms of the carrying case the box is a temporary solution. The carrying solution depends on your situation. If you have a car then the DJI hardcase backpack should suffice for most people. If you are traveling then perhaps you want a carry on suitcase you can pull along.
The Pros List
- Established drone platform in it's 3rd generation means plenty of support, forum groups, training material
- STABLE 4k video and great photos
- Evening - decent video and good photos
- Excellent app with live video and monitoring capabilties
- Reliable and dependable with excellent safety features
- Ability to control camera from the ground up to 2km
- Regular software updates from Dji improve the capabilities of the drone
- Intelligent flight modes
The Cons List
- Battery life at 20 minutes is short meaning it's a necessity to purchase a 2nd
- Doesn't come with a durable permanent carrying case
- Charging the battery takes obo an hour
- Insufficient training content
Purchase the Phantom 3 Pro with me
If you purchase from me I will earn a small affiliate fee at no extra cost to you. I love my Phantom 3 pro and it's what I use. I appreciate it. Also please leave your contact information below and I will send you information on my Phantom 3 training course as well as other useful related posts
Aerial videographer, On-line Teacher
About the Author
Greg Hung is South African Canadian from Vancouver, Canada. He has a 13 year background in technology. He began his passion for video in 2011 after selling everything to begin traveling the world. He started flying with the first generation drone Phantom 1 in Australia in 2013. In 2015 he was sponsored by California company Curious.com to produce one of the first Phantom 3 on-line video courses. He has flown in Siem Riep, Myanmar, Singapore, and Thailand.
Here is what is included with your package
- Phantom 3 drone
- Integrated camera with gimbal clamp
- Propellers plus extras and carrying bag
- Accessory toolkit
- Remote Controller
On-line Video Academy
Click to enroll for free to my on-line Video Academy. Here you view my Phantom 3 on-line video course and other related video courses. You will also be able to sample a free lesson.