The new DJI Phantom 4 drone will go on show in the UK at The Photography Show

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DJI has just announced the long awaited update to its Phantom series of drones, the DJI Phantom 4. the new drone comes with a host of new features including ActiveTrack, Sports Mode, TapFly and an Obstacle Sensing System.

“With the Phantom 4, we are entering an era where even beginners can fly with confidence. People have dreamed about one day having a drone collaborate creatively with them. That day has arrived.”

DJI CEO Frank Wang

Phantom 4 Still 16 web

Perhaps the most important new feature is Obstacle Sensing that uses two sensors at the front of the new Phantom 4 drone to detect any obstacles that may be in the drone flight path. If the drone detects that it cannot fly safely around the object, the drone will remain in flight, but hover until it receives further instructions from the pilot. This should reduce the number of drones that we see crashing in to trees and it is an important safety feature, not just for the pilot, but for the public.

Not only this, but the Obstacle Sensing feature will also work in the DJI Phantom 4 drone is in its ‘Return Home’ autopilot mode. In this mode the drone automatically returns to its take-off point and lands, but should it detect an object in its way, it will fly around or over it, preventing a collision. Previously the Phantom 3 drones simply flew home at a predetermined height before landing, and thus avoiding any trees, provided that you estimated the height of the tree correctly.

Phantom 4 Action 2 web

For those outdoorsy types who like to record their adventures, the new ActiveTrack mode is for you. Simply set the Phantom 4 drone to this mode and it will follow you, keeping you framed in the centre of the frame. Great for mountain bikers, snowboarders, runners, skateboarders… and errr…. well, anybody that like to move outdoors.

TapFly works by the pilot double-tapping a location on the DJI GO app and the drone will then fly to that location, whilst avoiding any obstacles. Obviously the aim is to do this as smoothlessly and possible to produce fantastic looking video footage.

A new battery and motor improvments and power management mean that the flight time has been increased to a respectable 28mins, though this isn’t quite as long as some people were hoping for. The body of the drone retains the core shape of the Phantom series, but it is said to be more aerodynamic, whilst the camera gimbal has been improved to reduced vibration further.

Phantom 4 Still 2 web

And for those who like to race their drones (yes, drone racing is a sport!) the Phantom 4 has a Sport Mode that allow it to fly at 20m a second, or 45mph, so you can also film your subjects if they are travelling at very fast speeds. Presumably this will have some impact on the battery life and possibly stability of the camera, but we will wait for a full test to find out.

Phantom 4 Still 11 web

The 4K camera has an 8 element lens that further reduces the curvature fisheye distortion, provides better sharpness in the corners and reduces chromatic aberration. Video can be recorded at 4k at 30fps, or 1080p at an awesome 120fps, which will be great for slow motion extreme sports coverage. As before, still images are captures at a 12-million-pixel resolution and can be saved as Adobe DNG raw files, which is impressive for what is, effectively, a compact camera. Again, we look forward to testing this in teh next few months.

Phantom 4 web

The Phantom 4’s UK retail price is £1,229 and it will be available to pre-order from today, with orders shipping from 15th March.

Other retailers will begin selling on March 16th with orders delivering around 1st April

The DJI Phantom 4 drone will be on show at The Photography Show, which takes place at the NEC, Birmingham between 19-22nd March.

To celebrate its tenth anniversary of drone manufacture, and with the obvious announcement of the Phantom 4 drone, DJI has recently cut its prices on the Phantom 3 drone line up, with up to 30% off of some of its drones.

  • sage

    Has the still camera improved any since the DJI 3?