Christmas comes early for drone pilots as DJI unveils the shiny new 4K Phantom 3

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DJI has just revealed its latest additions to its drone family – the Phantom 3 Professional and Phantom 3 Advanced. We know this, because we just saw one of them fly towards us at its launch event, with its green and red lights happily flashing away.

Both new drones will land with a host of new features and software tricks that are guaranteed to get videographers salivating.

Phantom 3For starters, they’re both rocking DJI’s new Visual Positioning System, which allows them to hold their position indoors, even without a GPS signal, which makes for simple take off and landing, at the touch of a button.

The controllers for both models also support the company’s Lightbridge technology, which is a fancy way of saying that users can stream what the on-board cameras are shooting live, in 720p resolution with minimal latency.

Both the Professional and Advanced variants feature a 12MP camera with an improved 94⁰ FOV, distortion-free lens, which results in more realistic shots without the odd warping offered by standard wide-angle lenses. The 1/2.3″ sensor itself is also more accurate, and is more sensitive to light than the one found in previous Phantom models.

The Professional model can manage 4K video at up to 30fps, while the Advanced model is capable of recording 1080p footage at 60fps. Both feature stabilised 3-axis gimbals too, which means no shaky footage even in windy conditions.

APPY FLYING

Phantom ControllerThe DJI pilot app has also learned a few new tricks. As before, users can tweak everything from ISO and shutter speed, to exposure and white balance, and there’s also a new Director feature which lets you quickly edit your best shots on-the-go, creating short videos which you can upload to the likes of Facebook and Instagram instantly.

A new, powerful feature, is the ability to live-stream straight to YouTube, which is a trick we’re sure will spawn lots of creative streams from “shopping for ties in 4K” and “walking our new german shepherd through squirrel country”. Well, they’re just our ideas. We’re sure other people will come up with something better.

Phantom CloseThere’s even a built-in flight simulator in the app itself, to make sure greenhorn drone pilots can get to grips using the remote itself, before taking to the skies for real.

Overall, both drone models appear to offer a very solid package for amateur videographers who can’t quite stretch their wallets to snap up the very pricy DJI Phantom 1.

Pre-orders are open, although no specific release date has been revealed and you’ll be ordering from overseas. Pricing for overseas have been detailed but there’s no indication what local pricing will be for the Phantom 3 Professional (£1160/R20,500) or the Phantom 3 Advanced (£900/R15,900) will cost when they land here in South Africa.

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