DJI released its new Phantom 3 drone Wednesday.
DJI released its new Phantom 3 drone Wednesday.

DJI Just Released an Insane, Surprisingly Affordable Drone

The new loaded quadcopter aims squarely at GoPro with a camera that can shoot 4K video

Michael Frank

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Drone maker DJI announced its new Phantom 3 on Wednesday. Here are six reasons the new UAV will be huge for everyone from pro videographers to amateur tech geeks:

#1 It Shoots Undistorted 4K Video

In addition to that 4K video at up to 30 frames per second, the Phantom 3’s built-in camera debuts with some other stellar specs: 1080p at 60fps and a super smooth three-axis gimbal. For reference, its predecessor, the top-line DJI Phantom 2 Vision+, had a max video resolution of 1080p at 30fps.

Equally impressive is its ability to capture 12MP stills (same as the GoPro Hero4) but with no wide-field distortion. The sum of that argument: super-wide view is awesome for action, but less awesome for stills. And the Phantom 3 camera’s stills are saved as unformatted RAW, which we like better for editing.

#2 It Streams Footage Live to YouTube

DJI claims live YouTube streaming is feasible at up to 720 pixels, depending on your cell signal. The company also encourages customers to post content to its own channel, DJI promises to give away prizes to the most talented videographers on the site.  

#3 It Comes with Sophisticated Ground Sensing

This means you can fly the drone in places without a clear GPS signal, including indoors. It’s practailly crash proof.

#4 Its App Is Also a Flight Simulator

This lets wannabe pilots practice flying with the tools they’ll use in real life (an iPad or smartphone), without actually having to take the drone for a spin.

#5 It Has an Astonishing Range

Of course you will want to fly in the real world. When that time comes, the Phantom 3 gets an astonishing one-mile range from pilot to copter. The Phantom 2 Vison+ only has a range of 800 meters, or about 2,600 feet. 

#6 It Edits Your Footage for You

DJI debuted what it calls a “Director” feature that automatically analyzes footage, compiles it into a montage of any length you like, auto-superimposes music, and then lets you quickly share the clip on YouTube, Instagram, and other social platforms. Meaning if you spend 20 minutes shooting video and only want the best 90 seconds to post, you don’t have to spend four days editing. 

How much will all this tech cost you? Not as much as you might think. There are two Phantom 3 models: Phantom 3 Professional, with a max video of 4K, costs $1,259, while the Phantom 3 Advanced, which shoots 1080p at 60fps, costs $999