Phantom 4 Pro Drone as its name suggests is the worthy successor of the DJI drones of the Phantom range, after the Phantom 2, 3 and 4 DJI today offers a high-end camera drone "Pro 4" .We just test and write this DJI Phantom 4 Pro Review to see what make this drone one of the best camera drone for 2019.
2017 was clearly the year of DJI Drones, crowned in the fall by the success of the awesome DJI Mavic Pro. It must be admitted that the latter left a little on the key Phantom 4, then best-seller of the brand, but which proposed, for a much larger footprint, a substantially identical image quality. DJI thus restores the hierarchy by giving its new Phantom 4 Pro a 1 inch sensor, increased battery life and lateral obstacle detection.
The arrival on the drone market last October of the DJI Mavic Pro had thrown a pavement in the pond and created a tough internal competition within the DJI range for the Phantom 4. Indeed, although we considered it as the best drone on the market RTF at its release, he had enough to suffer from the comparison. The Mavic Pro, for a lower price, provided a similar image quality in a much smaller footprint as well as equivalent performance and more sophisticated flight modes.
The imbalance now seems fixed: the Phantom 4 gives way to the Phantom 4 Pro. And with him, DJI makes us start the year in beauty: 4K 60p, detection of lateral obstacle and, especially, camera equipped with a sensor 1 inch! It is even equipped with a small "plus", with a version of the remote control incorporating a 5.5 "screen.It is this" Phantom 4 Pro + ", with integrated radio control panel, that we have tested. developments will satisfy the professionals? We take you to Britain to find out what this flying camera has in the belly!
DJI Phantom 4 Pro CHARACTERISTICS +
- Weight:1388 g
- Autonomy : 30 min
- Number of engines : 4
- Battery capacity : 5870 mAh
- Maximum flight altitude : 6000 m
- Maximum speed : 72 km / h
- Link with the remote control : Radio
- Definition of the sensor : 20 MP
- Video definition :4K
- Stabilization By pod
- Interchangeable camera : No
- Field angle of the camera : 84 °
- Maximum horitonzale speed : 20 m / s
- Max rate of climb :6 m / s
- Signal range : 3.5 km
- Photo formats : RAW
- Memory storage : microSD
Faced with a Mavic Pro drone, certainly perfectible, but more versatile and very interesting, the DJI Phantom 4, more expensive and released a few months earlier, had only few arguments to oppose it. The brand has decided to rethink the hierarchy of its range by offering a drone that is aimed not only at the general public but also professionals: The Phantom 4 Pro. We tested the Plus version, equipped with a radio control incorporating a touch screen. A great opportunity to fly over the coast of Brittany.
The selling price of the Phantom 4 Pro (with a standard radio remote control) is $ 1,499 , the Phantom 4 Pro Plus (the Phantom 4 Pro with integrated screen radio control) is offered for $ 1,899. But olso their is the great DJI Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian Drone Professional executive Kit with 3 Batteries at $ 2499.
In all cases, Phantom 4 Pro performance announced as rising and distinguishes it from the competition: maximum speed of 72 km / h horizontally, 6 m / s vertically and 4 m / s downhill. The remote control, which is based on OccuSync technology, has a maximum range of 7 km FCC and 3.5 km according to CE standards. The video return is in HD 720 30p. Finally, the battery autonomy Lipo 4S of 5 870 mAh and 15.2 V is increased to 30 minutes ... on paper (we will return).
The Phantom 4 Pro incorporates a stabilized 3-axis platform, on which is mounted its new camera equipped with a CMOS sensor 1 inch 20 Mpx. Offering a dynamic range of 12 EV and, above all, the possibility of filming, it allows the taking of DNG + JPEG Raw photos and, especially the video capture in 4K Cinema (4096 x 2160 px) at 60 fps with a maximum speed of 100 Mb / s! The rate is also high in 4K 60p UHD and goes up to 120 fps in HDTV 1080 for smooth slow motion. Registration in H264 and H265 is available. The lens is a 24mm f / 2.8 equivalent with an adjustable diaphragm ranging from f / 2.8 to f / 11. The focus is automatic from 1 m to infinity and recording is done on microSD card.
And the list of improvements does not stop there. The obstacle avoidance system, Flight Autonomy, improves with the ability to create a 3D map of its environment thanks to the sensors located in front of, behind and under the aircraft. Lateral infrared sensors have also been added to the side. Like the Mavic Pro, the Phantom 4 Pro is able to detect terrain terrain and avoid landing on rough surfaces or water. The Active Track is now able to recognize and track animals, vehicles or people. The new Circle, Profile and Spotlight sub-modes will, for example, help to maintain the trajectory by forming circles around the subject, or to move aside while filming. Narrow Sensing mode improves the sensitivity of obstacle avoidance when flying in narrow environments. TapFly now also works in reverse and offers a Free mode that lets the pilot set a flight path, then turn the drone or tilt the gondola without changing the direction of the flight. Finally, Draw mode will draw a trajectory on the screen, which will be visible thanks to the AR Route function.
Dji Phantom 4 Pro Review & Test Configuration
To get plus for this review, we test the Phantom 4 Pro in "+" version, with its GL300F remote control to an integrated screen of 5.5 inches (≈14 cm) in 1920 × 1080 px, under Android System. The brightness is promised at 1,000 cd / m². Unfortunately, we had only one battery, which required us to make many round trips between our flight locations and charging points. If you want to fly serenely with a drone, never spare an extra battery.
Drone In Hand
Unpacking, we find the seriousness of the last builds of the brand that we appreciate since the Phantom 4. Version 4 Pro corroborates this impression; moreover, apart from the addition of rear cameras and infrared side sensors, neither the look nor the finish changes. In a perfect world, we would have liked that DJI integrates a system of retractable trains on this last model, for the practical aspect as well as for the look. If the silhouette of the Phantom is known, the Mavic has established a new aesthetic standard in our opinion, and the chubby side of the Phantom seems already a little outdated ... This very subjective thinking does not detract from the quality of construction, even if we assume that the hull will suffer greatly in case of shock.
With its 35 cm wingspan and 1,388 g, the Phantom 4 Pro is neither particularly discreet nor compact. But he is still more than his main competitor drone, Yuneec Typhoon H which, he, ranks in a rectangle of 35 cm by 27 and measures 52 cm all arms deployed. We still can not wait for the modularity of drones to become more widespread, because for the time being, except for the Mavic or Parrot Bebop 2, it is difficult to take a drone like the Phantom 4 Pro in addition to your photo equipment if you decide to go hiking.
Flight Autonomy has expanded with the new rear stereo optical sensors, which complement the front pair and the side-mounted infrared detection systems. This 5-way obstacle detection and 4-way obstacle avoidance network, coupled with GPS / Glonass satellite connectivity, 2 ultrasonic rangefinders, IMU and Compass redundancy as well as a set of 24 dedicated processors, is supposed to protect the Phantom 4 Pro from a greater number of hazards and give the pilots / cameramen the confidence to capture more complex shots.
Before testing the 4 Pro drone in flight phase the stability and safety of the whole, let's add a word on the remote control, directly derived from the Phantom 4 and on which, for our trial version, is added as standard an integrated screen of 5 , 5 inches Full HD promising 1,000 cd / m². Already, we are satisfied with the finish and appearance of the whole. The remote control is very well in hand, there are many shortcut keys like the launch of registration or customizable keys and, of course, it is no longer necessary to connect his smartphone on the "+" version.
*** Propeller installation and power up ***
Once all the batteries are charged, simply attach the propellers via a quick and easy "Quick and Release" system. Here again, we regret the ingenuity of the Mavic which is equipped with a folding propeller system.
Then we turn on the radio control via a double press, then the drone in the same way.
The DJI Go app starts automatically on the integrated tablet and just click on Fly to bring up the flight interface.
*** Remote Control ***
The remote control is identical to that provided with the Phantom 4 is the same with 4 Pro and Phantom Advanced. You can start the recording directly via this one, choose more or less unrestricted flight modes, put the UAV on hold, control the angles of the pod and, above all, ask the Phantom to return to the base with a tap of the finger. Its range is 3.5 km in the territories of the European Community and up to 7 km in the United States. The finish is very good; the remote control is well in hand and the grip is nice. If we regretted the lack of information on the previous version, with the "+" version, the integrated screen provides.
The display of this remote control perfectly fulfills its role and remains legible in all situations. This screen uses an IPS panel and, therefore, does not offer a very high contrast ratio (010: 1). However, it is very catching up with its ability to offer an outdoor readable display. We measured a maximum brightness of 1,150 cd / m², more than twice the average of what we usually find on smartphones. Such a level of luminosity can fight without any problem against the reflections created by the rays of a radiant sun. Especially since the light reflection rate is correct, at 16%, a score comparable to that of a satisfactory smartphone.
*** Application ***
Apart from the home screen of the version developed for the tablet, there is no significant change in the DJI Go application. It remains marked by a pitfall that for the moment hardly evolves : very complete, it is quite clutter and the flight screen is very crowded. However, it is possible to remove the information and clarify the view in flight. New flight modes like Selfie, Terrain Follow, Tripod or Gesture are appearing, but the interface changes little. To note, on our trial version, some explanations were still in Chinese ...
*** Shooting Settings ***
As usual, the application interface provides access to very comprehensive shooting settings. It is possible to work between 100 and 12,800 ISO in photo and up to 6,400 ISO in video. The mechanical shutter allows exposure times ranging from 8 s to 1 000 s, and up to 1/8 000 s in electronic shutter. It is possible to manage the white balance or image profiles like Art, Cinelike or S-Log. Shooting can be done in RAW + JPEG in photo, or in MP4 or MOV in video encoded in MPEG-4, H264 and even H265. It is via the application that you can also access the different image formats: HD 720 120p, HDTV 1080 120p, 2.7K 60p, UHD 4K 60p and 4K Ciné 60p. Note, with H265 compression, the 4K Cine rate drops to 30 fps.
PILOTAGE AND SHOOTING
*** Driving modes ***
To launch the engines, simply pull the joysticks diagonally towards you, or press directly on the take-off icon on the left of the application screen. Immediately after, the Phantom 4 Pro rises to a height of 1.2 m and awaits the pilot's instructions.
On takeoff, the Visual Positioning System takes a picture of the flight field that it associates with its GPS coordinates for a more precise return to its base during the "Return To Home".
The Phantom 4 Pro inherits the flight modes of the Mavic Pro; it offers a plethora, including an intelligent Tripod mode that guarantees increased stability in the interior and greater softness and progressiveness in the controls. The Active Tracks meanwhile can recognize in 3D a subject to follow automatically, provided that the lighting is sufficient. Again, this mode is not satisfied to follow only one person, but can also be stalled on a dog, a car or any other object in movement.
In Positionning flight mode, the Phantom 4 Pro was just as stable and responsive as the Phantom 4. The stability proved to be truly exemplary: even on the Breton seashore, winds of up to 35 km / h, the Phantom 4 Pro shows no sign of weakness. Note, however, that the copy with which we did our test was not the first copy received: with the first, we had been confronted with untimely reboots of the application and some erratic movements of the drone, but everything returned in order after an exchange.
The Phantom 4 Pro is extremely flexible and versatile. In Sport mode, he gets a lot more nervous and goes over 70 km / h, which gives him arguments to follow a mountain biker, for example, or a driver. Narrow Sensing mode relies on obstacle detection in tight environments. Be aware however that when this detection is activated, your remote control beeps as soon as an obstacle is detected within 30 m and we have not found how to turn off the alarm. It's weary, sometimes! But the Phantom 4 Pro is still extremely fun to use and if the comparison with the Mavic in terms of space is not to his advantage, it gains stability that it loses in compactness. A downside however: filming in 4K 60p, saccade image return, which taints a little the realization of complex travellings or precise.
On a professional shoot, to precisely manage an unplanned flight and a good capture smoothly, it will deport control and connect a second controller, so that an operator manages only the control of the camera. However, there is already plenty to do, and the palette of automation can already achieve a very large number of plans alone.
A word about the real autonomy: although it is announced at 30 minutes, we managed to fly at best 20 minutes by activating the camera 4K permanently and keeping 10% of battery. By turning in 1080 60p, the flight time has reached almost 23 min.
In the end, the flying experience is particularly pleasant and you quickly feel confident. For professional shooting, it will be really recommended to connect a second controller so that an operator manages only the camera, but recognize that there is already plenty to have fun and make interesting images.
When it came to the camera drone, The Phantom 4 Pro's new 1 inch CMOS 20MP camera sensor is undeniably one of the highlights of this new quadcopter and most of all an exclusivity. Except for embedded imaging systems on which a SLR or hybrid is mounted, or the brand's Zenmuse X5 mounted on the Inspire 2, the camera features of the Phantom 4 Pro are the best on the market. market. In the field, the gain in image quality is clearly visible. We gain in dynamics and sensitivity. In addition the 20 Mpx can capture more details than with the old camera equipped with sensor 1 / 2.3 "12 Mpx.
Overall, the contribution of the 1 inch sensor is clearly visible, but we remain disappointed by the optical quality sharply lower when we leave the center to the periphery. If the image is stitched in the center, it is too soft in the corners.
In video, the image quality is excellent in 4K 60p. The image is very detailed and the dive impressive. The frame rate of 60 fps and the recording rate of 100 Mb / s bring a real plus to moving images and avoid jerks. However, remember that you will need a lot of storage space and especially a muscular configuration to mount your movies. In HDTV 1080, the image is good but some compression artifacts appear on the finest details. In our opinion, it is useless to deprive ourselves of 4K. The new sensor of the Phantom 4 Pro works wonders and provides a quality that can easily meet most requirements of aerial image enthusiasts and some professional needs.
DJI Phantom 4 Pro & Pro Plus - 4K Video Editing:
1080p video capture:
4K UHD video capture:
The Lipo 4S battery of 15.2 V for 5870 mAh promises a range of 30 minutes. It takes about 1h20 to fully charge it and about the same time for the remote control. The battery of the Phantom 4 Pro incorporates diodes that indicate the state of charge at the touch of a button. By activating filming in 4K Ciné permanently, we managed to fly 20 minutes and keep 10% of autonomy. Going down the definition to 1080p, the flight lasted 23 minutes. We are therefore below the promise of DJI, but the autonomy is still good. However, we can only recommend the purchase of one or two additional batteries for a flight experience without anxiolytics.
- Quality of manufacture.
- Remote control with screen on Pro Plus version.
- Full application.
- Versatility of use.
- Follow up on the subject.
- Vision positioning and obstacle detection.
- Image quality up to 1600 ISO.
- Video mode 4K 60p.
- Trains still not retractable.
- Clutter application.
- Saccades of the video return in 4K.
- Autonomy does not exceed 20 min by flying in 4K video.
- Price up.
With the Phantom 4 Pro Drone, DJI is able to offer not only a drone geared to demanding aerial image enthusiasts, but also professionals who want to enter a growing market. The new 1-inch sensor brings a real gain in image quality, while 5-axis obstacle detection and avoidance make it even more versatile. The Phantom 4 Pro, and even more its "Plus" version, is a reference on the segment.
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