First announcing it simultaneously in three different countries, DJI has introduced a new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV): the DJI Phantom 3.
On April 8, the Shenzhen, China-based drone company invited industry stakeholders to Munich, London and New York City to ‘experience wonder,’ where it revealed its brand-new aircraft, offered in two models: the Phantom 3 Professional and the Phantom 3 Advanced.
At the New York event – complete with keynote speakers, DJI cupcakes, various DJI aircraft models showcased for a museum-like feel, and a live demo – Eric Cheng, director of aerial imaging, called the new Phantom “the most revolutionary consumer quadcopter in history.”
“The Phantom 3 isn’t just a simple product refresh; we redesigned and rebuilt it from the ground up to be the first quadcopter in the world that all of us can use as easily as we use our camera phones,” he said. Part of this redesign includes an aesthetic change: The new Phantom is now accented with metallic gold, rather than the red many have come to associate with the Phantom line.
According to a company release, the Phantom 3 Professional model can record “4K video at up to 30 frames per second,” and the Phantom 3 Advanced offers video resolutions “up to 1080p at 60 frames per second.”
To witness this, DJI took us live to Santorini, Greece; Hollywood, Calif.; and Singapore, where HD aerial footage of each respective location was transmitted back to Manhattan through the Phantom 3 and a TVUPack. The Phantom 3 also offers integration with YouTube if an operator wants to share his footage online in real time.
The Phantom 3 models “can hold their positioning indoors without GPS and can easily take off and land with a push of a button,” says DJI, which then showed off these features by hovering the Phantom 3 over the stage and landing it without a hitch back onto a small podium.The aircraft’s “easy-to-use platform,” the company says, also includes a controller equipped with DJI’s Lightbridge, enabling the operator “to see what the Phantom 3 camera is seeing in HD (720p) at a distance up to 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) with almost no latency.”
Both the Professional and Advanced are capable of shooting 12-megapixel aerial photos with a 94-degree field of view and feature a sensor “more sensitive to light” than that of the Phantom 2 Vision, according to the release.
Through the remote controller and the DJI Pilot app, the operator can control “all camera settings,” while the app also offers a flight simulator and what the company calls a “director” feature, “which automatically edits the best shots from flights into short videos that can be shared immediately after landing.”
Peter Sachs, a drone advocate and pilot, as well as an attorney and volunteer fire captain in Branford, Conn., noted at the event the benefits of the improved quadcopter for purposes beyond photography and cinematography.
Sachs, who operated a Phantom for what he called “the very first flight ever where a drone became an integral and critical part of a fire fighting emergency” in January of last year, believes the aircraft “is perfect in any situation where the only alternative is to risk human life.”
This newly redesigned Phantom is a boon for these types of missions, he explained, citing the “improved camera, ability to live stream video to the incident commander, improved performance and efficiency, and improved satellite navigation capabilities, along with its ability to fly indoors with stability” as features that will aid his and other public-safety agencies with critical missions.
Additionally, Cheng added, although DJI has “increased the power” of the new drone, it remains efficient in terms of battery life: An operator can fly the Phantom 3 for up to 23 minutes, he said.
The Phantom 3 Professional and Phantom 3 Advanced are now available for purchase for $1,259 and $999, respectively. DJI expects to start shipping later this month.