DJI Phantom 3 Standard Review
As far back as the DJI Phantom 1, I basically owned one of each from the Phantom 1, Phantom v1.1.1, Phantom 2, Phantom 2v2 and now the Phantom 3 Standard! It wasn’t all that long ago that DJI deployed off its third generation of camera-equipped drones by launching the Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional. I would say that the Phantom Pro is probably the best consumer quadcopter you can buy if you want to do aerial photography/video, but now there’s yet another new model to consider: the Phantom 3 Standard.
I was tempted to get the Phantom 3 Pro, but as I’m flying just for fun and don’t do any professional or commercial with it, the price tag was just to steep for to justify. But now for about half the price, I could not resist anymore!
Features of the DJI Phantom 3 Standard are:
- Gimbal Stabilized 2.7K Camera with 40 Mbps max bitrate
- Camera Takes 12MP Still Photos
- Wi-Fi Downlink for HD Live View
- GPS for Enhanced Stability and Failsafes
- Auto-Takeoff / Auto Return Home
- Up to 25 Minutes Flying Time(more like 20-22) Amazing, if you compare to the Phantom 1 with a 2 axis gimbal, you were lucky to get 5-6 minutes!
- Intelligent LiPo Flight Battery(4s), 15.2v
- Mobile Device Holder Included(if you want a Ipad Mini holder click here)
The big question is, but if it’s almost half the price, what is the catch?
- A more basic controller
- You don’t get the lightbridge, but a Wi-Fi with a claim range of 1000m, to be confirm…I did 300m with absolutely no problem at all
- no 4k camera but a 2.7k instead
- You don’t get a 100 watts but a 57 watts instead
- Less GPS precision as it does not support the Russian GPS system(GLONASS)
- You don’t get the bottom-mounted Visual Positioning System
The controller that comes with the Advanced and Professional models features DJI’s Lightbridge technology for better image transmission between the sky and ground, and it has built-in camera controls. The Standard, however, comes with the updated controller from the older.
In place of Lightbridge, the Standard’s controller uses a wireless range extender for transmitting the live view from the Standard to a mobile device, so the potential for a delay in the feed is greater. Sometimes, you see delay but rarely.(It does support DJI’s external Lightbridge ground system, though). Camera controls are also limited to an adjustment wheel for the camera angle with all other camera settings and controls handled via DJI’s new Go app for iPhone and iPad, an Android version is available also. There’s also no discrete Return-to-Home button. Still, all the missing features are controllable from the App via your mobile device.
Missing, too, is the bottom-mounted Visual Positioning System. This set of sensors scans the ground to help the Advanced and Professional versions hover in place indoors. The Standard relies on GPS alone for stability.
But if you can live without those features, the Phantom 3 Standard is a good option.
Gimbal-Stabilized 2.7K Camera
- Up to 2.7K Video and 12MP Stills
- The included camera system features video recording at up to 2.7K (UHD) video in H.264 and also takes JPEG and DNG RAW photos at 12MP. In addition, it shoots Full HD 1080p video at up to 30 fps and 720p video at up to 60 fps. Video and photos are recorded to a microSD card.
- Integrated 3-Axis Gimbal
- The gimbal provides stability by counteracting unwanted motion such as wind buffeting or vibration and also keeps the horizon level even as the quadcopter banks. A control dial on the transmitter (radio controller) allows you to manually tilt the camera(There is absolutely no jello with that gimbal)!
- 94° Wide Angle Lens
- The camera features a 94° angle-of-view lens, which is a narrower angle that prevents fisheye effect for less distortion, while still being wide enough to enable capturing astonishing shots. The lens features an f/2.8 aperture and is comprised of 9 elements, including an aspherical element.
DJI Go App for Remote Operation and Live Monitoring
- Tether your iOS mobile device to the Phantom 3 Standard to view a live feed from the camera, access camera settings, enable waypoint navigation, and more. The controller features a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi range extender and includes a clamp for holding a smartphone (included mobile device holder does not support tablets i.e. Ipad Mini) I have a solution for that!
- 720p Video Downlink
- Monitor a live video feel with low latency at up to 720p resolution. The radio controller features an integrated 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi range extender that boosts the range up to 3281′ line-of-sight.
- Remote Camera Operation
- Through the app, you can frame your shot, snap still, photos, and record video. It can also be used to access manual settings, such as shutter speed. Once done recording, you can use the video editor to create movies ready for sharing.
- Ground Station-Style Navigation
- Use the app to display a live map that tracks your Phantom 3 Standard as it flies. You can also show flight telemetry (OSD), including speed, altitude, and distance. Your course and telemetry can be logged for evaluation or reminiscence back home.
Handheld Radio Controller (Transmitter)
- Full control is in your hands with a remote controller built specifically for the Phantom 3 Standard. Precise control sticks command flight, while a dial lets you tilt the camera to see more. It includes a built-in rechargeable battery, a clamp to hold your mobile device and a range extender for operation from up to 3281′ away.
If you are looking for a solution to hold your IPad mini, this is probably the simplest solution.
- Intelligent Flight Battery (same as the Advanced and Professional)
- The flight battery slots into the “tail” of the Phantom 3 and features and on/off switch plus four LED charge indicators that are visible while flying – so you can keep track of remaining flight time without needing to consult the app. For recharging, balance and power regulation is handled internally within the battery itself. You simply plug it into a wall outlet with the supplied power cord and you are good to go. The battery is able to last up to 25 minutes, depending on flying conditions…
It’s maybe not necessary, but my Phantom 2 v2 fram was cracking at the motor base frame and I have seen people reporting on forums that the Pro and Advance were still randomly experiencing those cracks. I decided to try on two of my motor arms to mount a motor mount reinforcing bracket to see. If you are interested, they are available here.
The Phantom 3 Standard is certainly a less impressive quadcopter than the Advanced and Professional, but when you consider that it costs hundreds of dollars less and if you can live with it, the Phantom 3 Standard is an amazing choice!
This probably isn’t a multirotor for anyone looking to make a career out of aerial photography – but at 699$ it seems like a fairly small price to pay for what you’re getting here: a device that flies super steadily for up to 20-25 minutes at a time, filming amazingly good quality video and snapping brilliant stills from above. A device that is well-built and incredibly easy to use for such a complex piece of equipment.
Basically, I would like to own all of them, but the Standard strikes the best balance between affordability and performance.
- Maintains many of the Advanced and Pro abilities
- Easy to fly
- Superb photo and video quality
- Come with a lens cover and a gimbal holder