The Phantom 4 Pro is a huge improvement over its predecessor, the Phantom 4. It features a better camera, more obstacle avoidance features and slightly better battery.
The Phantom 4 Pro is a great step forward for the Phantom line of drones. It has some big upgrades from the previous Phantom 4, that came out the same year as the P4P was released. That kind of rubbed some people the wrong way. The drone market is a fast-paced space where innovation has a quick release cycle. It's almost enough to make your head spin. In this review, we're going to dive into the main features and will list all of the specs of the P4P. I'll try to not list too many specs in the descriptions below so they don't get too wordy, they'll all be listed in the spec table below. See something that you'd like to know that we haven't listed? Let us know in the comments below and we'll add it. Let's get started.
A video I shot with the Phantom 4 Pro in January 2018 in Lakewood Ohio.
There are two different versions of the Phantom 4 Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro Plus. The plus version has a built in screen to the remote controller and the non-plus version has a phone/tablet holder like previous versions. Also, there is a white or obsidian color option. The only difference between these two are the external color. That's it. They have the same specs and can use the obsidian battery/props/filters/prop guards on the regular Phantom 4 Pro. It's all a matter of color preference here.
You can also use Phantom 4 batteries and props in the Phantom 4 Pro. The P4 batteries will get a few less minutes of flight time, due to having less capacity than the P4P batteries - but they will still work.The battery life on the Phantom 4 Pro is about 30 minutes under ideal flying conditions. That meaning, little wind - while flying at a slow speed. On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve found that ripping on my Phantom 4 Pro in S-mode (Sport mode) I get low 20’s for battery life. Which I think is still pretty good for flying around up to 45 mph - and sometimes faster if you are flying with a tail wind. Just remember to leave enough battery to get home!
In the box, you'll find the Phantom 4 Pro drone, remote controller, 4 pairs of propellers, 1 battery, charger, Gimbal clamp, USB OTG cable, micro USB, 16GB Micro SD card and the hard-foam-like case it is shipped in.
One of the reasons to buy a Phantom 4 Pro over another drone is the camera. The Phantom 4 Pro has a 1 inch sensor, which is a first in the Phantom series. It also features a mechanical shutter, manual focus and manual adjustable aperture from F2.8 - F11. This adds the ability to get some depth of field to your images and video giving it a more cinematic look and look less like a GoPro strapped to a gimbal on a drone. (Not that theres anything wrong with that.)
The bitrate for video has been bumped up to 100 Mbps (from the 60 Mbps of the Phantom 4). Paired with the mechanical shutter (instead of the electronic shutter of the P4), the video cuts down on the 'jello-effect' rolling shutter and gives you more data for better looking footage that is easier to edit. Especially when taking advantage of the Cinelike or D-Log color profiles.
Photo formats for the Phantom 4 Pro are JPG, RAW (DNG) - with the option to shoot JPG + RAW. I tend to always use the JPG + RAW option to have the convince of quickly browsing through jpgs on my machine to find the best shots, then edit the RAW versions for the best quality. This comes at the expense of storage space, and may not be for everyone. But if you have the space, I highly recommend it as it speeds up post-production time significantly.
There is a new codec available as well, H.265. This is a smaller codec than H.264, and records a little better - but requires more computer power to edit right now. Newer iPhones and GoPros have this codec and it is a great format, but my fully spec-ed 2015 Macbook Pro has a hard time editing it, or even converting it for that matter. But it is a great option to have.
Manual focus and depth of field is a card that you should definitely have in your deck, but be sure to always keep focusing the subject in mind. I recommend turning on focus peaking to always know what you're focusing on while flying. The auto focus is good if you're not flying with a wide open aperture.
The Phantom 4 Pro obstacle avoidance has been upgraded to include rear vision sensors in addition to it's front, side and downward sensors. The side sensors are infrared and have a shallower range of detection (23ft, 7 meters) than the front and rear sensors (98ft, 30m). The side sensors are only available in tripod mode and beginner mode at the time of writing.
Narrow sensing is one of my favorite functions on the Phantom 4 Pro. With narrow sensing, you can temporarily turn off the obstacle avoidance and get closer to objects to really get some awesome foreground/middle ground/background-type shots. I’ve set up my C1 button to activate Narrow Sensing and have used it to get some great shots but be aware that activating this should be done only when you're absolutely sure you can handle the drone on your own. This greatly increases your chances of a crash if you're not careful. Also, your controller will be beeping like crazy. Pardon the quality, this is from an Instagram story.
The Phantom 4 Pro remote controller is the differentiator between the Phantom 4 Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro Plus models.The Phantom 4 Pro Plus controller has a built in 1000 nit, BRIGHT screen with HDMI output built in. For reference, the iPad Air 2 has about 420 nits and the iPad Pro has around 475. The Phantom 4 Pro non-plus has a phone/tablet holder like the previous Phantom models that require your to connect your device to the remote controller with a USB cable.
The Phantom 4 Pro can use 2.4 or 5.8 GHz to transmit video back to each of the remote controllers to over 4 miles away (without obstructions) with Lightbridge video transmission. The P4P receives 720p for video transmission while the P4P+ receives 1080p video.
|Phantom 4 Pro General Info|
|Release Date||Nov 14, 2016|
Prop guards, Prop replacements, ND Filters are some of the most popular Phantom 4 Pro accessories.
Styrofoam case that the camera is shipped in.
|Phantom 4 Pro Drone Specs|
|Firmware Update Method||
You can use your internet connected computer, phone or tablet with the provided USB to micro USB adapter.
|In The Box||
|Phantom 4 Pro Flying Specs|
|Battery Life||30 Minutes, 5870 mAh|
|Flight Range||4.3 mi (7 km)|
|Satellite Positioning Systems||GPS/GLONASS|
|Obstacle Avoidance||Forward, Backward & Downward|
|Return To Home||Yes|
|Operating Frequency||2.4 GHz & 5.8 GHz|
|Landing Gear||Yes, fixed|
|Compatible Video Devices||
DJI GO 4 App
|Phantom 4 Pro Camera Specs|
|Sensor Size||1" CMOS|
|Media Storage Method||Micro SD Card|
Phantom 4 Pro filters are available from DJI or from a range of aftermarket dealers.
|ISO||100 - 6400 (Video), 100- 12800 (Photo)|
|Aperature||f/2.8 - f/11|
|Shutter Speed||8 - 1/2000 s (Mechanical) | 8 - 1/8000 s (Electric)|
JPEG, DNG (RAW), JPEG + DNG
|Video Recording Resolution||
The Phantom 4 Pro can not zoom. The closest you can get to zooming is shooting in 4K and scaling up in post to a 1080p/2k timeline.
|Other Notable Camera Features||
11.6 stops of dynamic range. Mechanical Shutter
|App||DJI GO 4|
The flying experience is pretty awesome with the Phantom 4 Pro. With take off and landing assist from the app, obstacle avoidance, beginner and positioning mode make it easy to build your confidence. For the pros, Sport mode is a blast and you can rip on this drone pretty easily.
The upgrades to this drone make this a capable camera with the 20mp stills and RAW format. Shooting 3 shot bursts is a plus for JPG + Raw modes is a really handy feature if you can afford the extra storage space. You can use this drone for commercial photography.
The increase in bitrate over previous models, mechanical shutter, adjustable aperture and ability to shoot in 4K60 make the Phantom 4 Pro a cinematography monster of the Phantom series of drones. It is capable of giving you commercial cinematography-grade results, but if you're looking for superior image quality and have the extra coin - the Inspire 2 many be a drone to consider. Otherwise, I'd feel confident recommending the Phantom 4 Pro for cinematography work.
I'm a designer from Cleveland, Ohio and love to shoot photos & videos. I made my first website in 2004 to show friends photos & videos (before YouTube/Flickr were things) and have been shooting and designing ever since! I have a deep passion for making and helping others create.
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