While the FAA has yet to finalize its commercial drone rules, drone maker DJI is wasting no time in refreshing its popular consumer and advanced amateur Phantom series of aerial camera drones.
The Phantom 3 will actually come in two versions, sharing all features except the video resolution of the integrated camera. The Professional model, for $1,295, boasts an integrated 4K camera with 24, 25 and 30 fps frame rates. An Advanced version will record full HD video at up to 60 fps and retails for $999.
Both new Phantoms feature a 1/2.3-inch image sensor that snaps 12-megapixel still images in Adobe’s DNG RAW format. DJI said the new camera produces “distortion free” images with a 94 degree field of view and are housed in 3-axis gimbals to keep them steady during flight. Photos are saved to a microSD card.
The Phantom 3 will use the Visual Positioning System first incorporated in the Inspire 1. The system relies on three sensors to position the drone without GPS and allows for indoor flying or flying very close to the ground. DJI said the number of GPS satellites communicating with the Phantom 3 has been increased to allow for greater accuracy.
With the incorporation of DJI’s Lightbridge technology, the Phantom 3 will be able to transmit a live 720p HD video feed to a mobile device from up to a mile away for a drone’s eye view of the scene. New motors are also on hand to make the Phantom 3 easier to handle than its predecessors.
Joining the new hardware is a refreshed app that will offer YouTube live streaming from the Phantom 3’s camera. The new app will also let you adjust camera settings such as shutter speed, ISO and exposure compensation and features a “Director” function that automatically creates a highlight movie from your recent flight. Drone pilots will also be able to brush up on their flight skills using the new flight simulator feature.
DJI is also offering a software development kit for its app so that third party developers can create apps for the Phantom drone.
Both the Advanced and Professional versions of the Phantom 3 are available for pre-order now and will be shipping at the beginning of May. The kits will include a flight battery, charger and pre-bound radio controller.