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Should You Buy the DJI Phantom 4?

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The DJI Phantom 4 is here! With it’s latest features such as Fly with Tap, Visual Tracking, Sports mode and extended flight time this could well be the best quadcopter with camera that DJI has released. Now the question to ask is should you buy the DJI Phantom 4? Before you make that decision, watch this DJI Phantom 4 review by the Verge.

Video Transcript:

When the Verge began covering drones three years ago, we got a lot of grief about using that word – Drone.  These are just remote control toys people would say. They couldn’t fly themselves.

At CES, the last 2 years we finally saw drones that could sense and avoid obstacles but these were R&D projects and tech demos. So far not gadgets you could actually buy. Well that all changed today with the introduction of DJI’s newest drone the DJI Phantom 4.

You know this is the kind of the drone that we’ve been waiting for. There are drones that could help you fly, that could take off and land or return home then there were drones that could follow you or orbit around you but they are always blind to their surroundings.

Follow Me.

If it was following you down a ski slope and there was a tree in the way, the drone doesn’t know about that and its just going to go right into it

So this is a little different before when the phantom was following me. It was using GPS, so it was following my phone which is attached to the remote. Now it’s using computer vision identifying me as a subject and then following based on that.

That’s the real difference is Follow Me, is not following me, it’s following a signal. Whereas Active Track is actually creating that image of the person and recognizing the 3D image that changes
because you don’t look the same when you turn your head to the side as when you do looking forward or when you’re walking as it will look different too. But the DJI Phantom 4 is smart enough to recognize that it’s still you and still locked on to you.

Active Obstacle Avoidance.

This is really the implementation that we dreamt of.  Which is a combination of computer vision that’s going to keep the subject completely in frame and also active obstacle avoidance. So it senses the environment around it and will make intelligent decisions to avoid collision.

Avoiding crashes is a great new feature obviously but the DJI is using the computer vision technology to do more than just that. A new feature called Active Track for
example, but you trace a circle around the subject you want to keep in frame. The Phantom’s on-board computer build a 3D model of that subject and then automatically follows it for you.

The DJI Phantom 4 accomplishes this feat with the help of three extra cameras.  Two in the front and one below and two ultrasonic sensors. It is also added a second on-board computer for processing and understand the data its ingesting about the environment.

It’s the first consumer unit to come to market that can actually see the world around it and adjust accordingly. A big step towards a truly autonomous aircraft.

Price and the beginner.

The new DJI Phantom 4 isn’t cheaper than previous versions. In fact at $1399 it’s more expensive then the top tier DJI Phantom 3 was at released. But the pitch from DJI to consumers especially beginners is different this time.

Normally when people ask me. This is my first drone, what should I buy? I would say buy the cheap one. Learn how to fly. I am getting to a point with this crap despite what you know you were talking about slightly above the DJI Phantom 3 Professional in price when it comes out.

With those autonomous flight modes,  a beginner can fly this.

Ease of Flight and Learning Curve.

So the learning curve used to be pretty high even before the DJI Phantom series and with the Phantom 3, it became a lot easier to get up in the air. But there’s still a lot of confidence issues for people getting up in the air for the first time and learning how to get excellent shots.  We are trying to decrease that time, from getting up in the air for the very first time and getting exactly the
shot that you want and this is the system that will allow you to do that.

Tap to Fly, Complex Maneuvers and Smooth Shots.

By and large if you want to do any complex maneuvers you had to learn how to use a toothpick controller and fly manually. So the idea is with Tap to Fly,  you don’t have to do that any more, you can just sort of use the viewfinder like what you can see as the way to set the shot.

We’re trying to find easier interface for first-time pilots to be able to use and there’s really nothing more simpler than pointing in a direction that you wanted it to fly. It also makes it easier to get smooth shots. You know when you’re filming in one direction you’re often making little micro corrections that causes the footage to look a little wobbly. This just creates one smooth shot and if you try to change directions likewise, it will smooth out the direction of the shots, so that you get a really beautiful image.

The fully autonomous mode on the DJI Phantom 4 are amazing and they’re starting to push up against the edge of what the FAA considers safe flying practices.

Are you convinced?

DJI Phantom 4 Front Camera
DJI Phantom 4

You can now find out more or order the Phantom 4 from DJI by clicking here.

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