DJI have just announced the release of the Phantom 3 Standard quadcopter, which they are describing as the most accessible flying camera ever built. With an RRP of £649, that statement looks to be an accurate one, especially when you consider the original price of the Phantom 2 Vision+. So what exactly do you get for your money and why should you get one over the Advanced and Professional models?
What are the features of the Phantom 3 Standard
This quadcopter features the upgraded motors, battery and flight characteristics from the Phantom 3 platform. However being the ‘Standard‘ model there will obvious be some sacrifices which appear to have been made by the change in transmitter, camera and removal of the optical flow sensors. All handy features but not deal-breakers if you want an aircraft with a lower price tag, also the weight is now reduced a little so you are rewarded with an extra 2 minutes flight time.
Live HD Video and a 5.8Ghz Transmitter
The live video streaming has reverted back to the Vision+ method of using a range extender (now built into the controller from what we can see) to connect to the Phantom’s own WiFi network. The camera view is then shown in the DJI Go app on your mobile device. Thankfully, the view is now 720p resolution and not the grainy VGA from older models. This will all run on a 2.4GHz frequency, while the craft controls themselves will run on 5.8Ghz. This means the Phantom 3 Standard has a range of around 1km.
2.7k @ 30fps HD Camera
Perhaps one of the more important points, is the camera and gimbal unit. This is capable of taking 12 megapixel stills and boasts video resolution up to 2.7K HD at 30 frames per second. This is actually a higher overall resolution than the Advanced model that is capable of 1080p HD, however the Advanced can record at the higher frame rate of 60 frames per second.
If you want truly stunning 4K video, the Phantom 3 Professional trumps them both with 4k at 30fps.
GPS differences and indoor flight
The Phantom 3 Standard does away with the optical-flow sensor which helps mainly with indoor flight. Indoor flight is not something that is essential for most phantom users, so the weight saving may be an advantage. That brings us to the subject of ourdoor flight, the GPS receiver in theStandard does not detect the GLONASS network of satellites, this will reduce the hold-accuracy of the Standard model, but not to a siginificant amount unles you are flying in an area with poor satellite coverage.
So which Phantom 3 Model do I choose?
With all the information we have laid out in the comparison chart above, hopefully we can help you decide which Phantom 3 is best (or at least which one is best one for you). The range, now comprising of the 3 models should now be affordable to more photographers. The Phantom 3 Standard offers a great entry level solution that has a great camera, HD-live view and much of the functionality of the Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional.
The Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional have the added benefit of Lightbridge technology for both the video and transmission allowing extended range and transmission reliabliity. Also the optical-flow sensors help for indoor flight and greater GPS accuracy.