Honestly, I’ve been a bit surprised about that newest DJI Phantom gem coming out so short after the Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro have been released. But the speed at which DJI is shelling out new products at the moment is increasing. And this, of course, is awesome.
Let’s take a look at the Phantom 4 Pro as compared to the “standard” Phantom 4. Both share the same beautiful new body design, which gives the Phantom a different aerodynamics and a better view without props interrupting camera vision.
One thing that I have always asked myself when looking at the standard Phantom 4 was, why the hell do they only put forward obstacle avoidance cameras? With the cost of such a camera being so low, it could have been easy to have a 360° vision obstacle sensing system. Well, the Phantom 4 does just that. Sort of. Let me explain.
Phantom 4 Pro Vision Sensing
The vision sensing system of the Phantom 4 Pro works both forward and backwards, which is awesome for reverse tracking shots or just about any shot that involves backward flying – which is usually one of the more interesting camera movements. The Phantom 4 Pro also has an infrared sensing system to the sides, which immediately raised the question: Why no cameras? The infrared sensing system obviously is simpler and less accurate. And, it has its limitations: It only works in tripod and beginners’ mode. Which is definitely not enough. It does give an amazing stability and precision to the Phantom 4 Pro when used indoors or as an aerial “tripod”.
Then, there’s the new intelligent flight modes. They will be an amazing extension to filmmakers which look for cinematic, continuous yet precise movements. Draw to fly is one of them, but also the backward tap to fly looks amazing. Flying becomes second nature with these easy and intuitive controls.
An amazing flying camera
The biggest thing for me in the new Phantom 4 Pro is definitely the camera. It is the best camera DJI has ever put into the segment of affordable, prosumer products. I was amazed to see professional-grade details such as a mechanical shutter and full aperture control. These details on an affordable yet professional mobile platform are unparalleled in the industry.
Another thing I love is the new remote control monitor. It is many times brighter than the iPad, is already attached and makes the whole setup process so much easier. Plus, it avoids one thing that happens to me all the time (literally): The tablet or phone doesn’t run out of battery. The previous version of the Phantom 4 controls connected to smartphones and tablets, but didn’t charge them. Quite the opposite, it always appeared to me that the whole thing just drags on your phone battery even more. Any way, I’d absolutely recommend to take advantage of the new controls with the attached monitor.
Other technical details have improved, such as flight speed and battery life. They might sound minor, but a battery life extension of a few minutes even can make a huge difference in being able to complete a shot or changing to new batteries (and losing precious time, e.g. in a sunset situation).
Mavic Pro or Phantom 4 Pro?
In summary, what do I think about the Phantom 4 Pro? Just before that thing came out, I would have probably recommended everyone to just get the new Mavic Pro due to its extremely portable form factor and performance. But now that the P4 Pro came out, it is really difficult to make a decision because the two products are totally aimed at different segments of aerial photography. My best recommendation (and that’s what I did) is to get them both, just as in photography – where you would buy both a DSLR camera for your more elaborate and professional shots as well as a handy smaller camera for everyday use and portability.