DRONES REVIEWS

DJI Phantom 3 Drone: Your Flying Camera

DJI Phantom 3 drone
Jack Brown
Written by Jack Brown

The Phantom 3 drone is undoubtedly one of the best creations from the brand called DJI. For those of you who are new to the world of drones, DJI is one of the most popular names whenever we talk about quadcopters. With a series of efficient drones leading up to the Phantom 3, this is an intelligent drone that works best for beginners and experts alike. Moreover, it also gives you a rather useful insight into the world of aerial photography.

The camera records high-quality videos and pictures and you can either watch them as First Person View or store them in a micro SD card and view later. The smart design comes with strong propellers, which give the drone the required strength.

The DJI Phantom 3 comes in three versions: Standard, Professional, and Advanced. In our discussion, we will be dealing mainly with the Standard version that comes with a 2.7K video camera. One of the most exciting features of this device is the flight time. For a medium-sized drone, it is unusual to get flight times that go over 20 minutes. However, the Phantom 3 Standard can assure you flight times reaching 25 minutes at least, but that is not the end! You can also get transmission ranges extending as far as 500 to 1000 meters from the operator.

Product specifications:

  • View a live image streamed from the drone up to a half mile away on the free DJI Go app using your mobile phone or tablet
  • GPS assisted flight features, let you concentrate on getting great images while the drone helps you fly safely
  • You can achieve advanced camera perspectives with the Point of Interest, Follow Me and Waypoints modes
  • Fly up to 25 minutes with the included intelligent battery

Check the current Phantom 3 standard deal on Amazon

This is a ready-to-fly package, with all the necessary components. All you have to do is place the parts together and you have a drone that is good to go. It is ideal for people who are looking to get some essential flying experience having a good run at aerial photography at the same time. This drone thus targets hobbyists, video makers, and amateur flyers. Moreover, all the necessary camera controls can be easily monitored right from your smartphone.

To delve more into the exciting features of the Phantom 3, let us go through what the drone actually has on offer for us.

Build specifications

Packaging

The device comes in a ready-to-fly state requiring no separate adjustments or installations. It has a total weight of 8.2 pounds and the product’s dimensions are 15”x14”x8.2”.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone Standard packing

The drone comes packed with a number of accessories that are required to ensure that it will work smoothly, like:

  • Battery: 1 Lithium polymer battery
  • Battery charger
  • Propellers: 2 full sets
  • Radio controller
  • Camera
  • SD card: Micro SD card of capacity 8 GB.

Since it comes in a ready-to-fly-state, all you need to do is get this drone out of the box, fix the batteries and propellers and you are good to go.

That is what you get on unpacking the new quadcopter.

Design and durability

When we claim that the DJI Phantom 3 is one of the best quadcopters you will get in the market, we have solid features to back the statement.

First, DJI has gone on to add new motors to this production that guarantees you a durable performance. This means that the service you get from this drone is significant in comparison to its weight.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone

There is one special feature that will definitely raise your interest: it comes packed with electromagnets that help the motors spin at very high speeds, being controllable at the same time. This is one of the reasons, why this machine turns out to be so durable. There is no question of physical contact at all. Everything happens through electromagnets.

The fact that this device supports GPS navigation allows the users to focus on getting the best shots from mid-air while the drone manages to fly on its own. This quadcopter is specially designed to make flying easy for first timers, beginners, and amateurs who are looking for an affordable platform to learn the art of flying.

The durability of the device can be attested to by the occasional crashes and collisions which do not tend to harm the copter. Instead, it manages to work well in the face of slightly turbulent weather conditions and collisions. The durability test here – below video explains how sturdy the drone actually is:

Camera

Now, coming to the popular feature, the camera is inbuilt and gives you some of the crispest and stable pictures from up high. You do not even need to be a professional, or have that much experience with photography.  The ultra-intelligent camera of this device can do the job for you.

The 2.7K video camera can capture pictures from mid-air at 12 megapixels. This means that pictured are 3 times clearer than the images displayed on your HD TV. The camera comes packed with a 20mm equivalent lens coupled with the f/2.8 aperture for best results. The lens comes with 9 elements that also include an aspherical element.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone camera

The makers describe the Phantom 3 as the ‘flying camera’ and for good reason (as you can see from specifications). To make the job easier for you, the camera is equipped various modes for photography and video.

The still photography modes include:

  • Single shot
  • Burst shooting including 3,5 or 7 shots
  • Auto exposure bracketing
  • Time lapse

The video photography modes include:

  • 7K: 2704 x1520p 24/25/30 (29.97)
  • FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30
  • HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60

Another reason why the Phantom 3 is able to create some of the most stable photographs is the presence of the stabilization gimbal. This particular drone comes with a three-axis gimbal that holds the camera steady in its position.

The camera has a 94-degree wide-angle lens that is not excessively wide so your pictures become distorted but wide enough for capturing good shots. So, no matter how you fly, stay assured of getting clear and crisp pictures.

Moreover, all the functions of the camera are controllable from the using the mobile app provided by DJI. You can make manual adjustments like changing the shutter speed and the likes.

Battery and flight time

The DJI Phantom 3 requires a Lithium Polymer battery that comes already packed with the drone. These are powerful enough to run the drone for quite a few minutes.

Phantom 3 battery

The battery has a capacity of 4480 mAh with a 15.2 V voltage requirement and weighs around 365 grams. According to reports, the device has recorded flight times as high as 25 minutes, which is impressive for a drone of this size. Check above to have an idea of the flight time:

Controller

The controller is one of the most important components in the set up for the drone. Once again, the remote controller is a part of the package that you would be receiving when you first purchase the product. This has a micro USB charging port and operates at a voltage of 3.7 V. The controller requires batteries that are 2600 mAh in capacity.

Phantom 3 drone with Controller

It seems to work really well at a distance of 500 meters from the operator in an unobstructed environment when the unmanned aircraft flies at 400 feet above the ground.  At some other times, greater distances are observed for the same controller. However, it is claimed that the remote controller can give you a range of about 5 km, which is impressive! It also helps you control the functions of the camera from the ground.

The controller has very precise control sticks that make navigation a lot easier for you. The wide dial gives you the perfect view of the camera with the help of which you could tilt the camera in a certain direction as per your discretion. Moreover, you will also get a clamp to attach your mobile phone while you are at work, flying the drone.

The job of the controller is not just to help you fly, but it gives you a new and evolved way to interact with your drone when it far away in its flight.  This particular controller is designed ergonomically that fits in your hands perfectly and this gives you a completely new confidence to fly fearlessly.

Flight performance

As we talked about earlier, the Phantom 3 Standard can give you a pleasing flight performance. The highest flight time achieved is close to 25 minutes, but it usually depends on the flying conditions. More importantly, this drone is a good option for you if you are looking to fly a copter for the first time. This gives you the required guidance with an easy and uncomplicated set of functions.

DJI Phantom 3 Drone flight

When it comes to the height of flight, the drone can travel a good 6000 meters. To have a look at the high altitudes reached by the drone, check:

The DJI Phantom 3 can ascend at the speed of 13 mph. however, once it reaches a suitable height, under favorable conditions, it can move horizontally at 35 mph. Take a look below YouTube video.

Value for money and guarantee

DJI is known for its after-sales services and the Phantom 3 comes with a fully secure warranty service. It will replace or repair the product if it goes wrong during the warranty period.

However, according to the conditions, there can be no unauthorized dissembling of the drone components, modification or unauthorized use of the product. The propellers and frame are not covered under warranty, but everything else including the battery, remote, motor, central board and gimbal camera come with six to twelve months of coverage.

Value for money and guarantee

As most of the users would agree, the Phantom 3 is indeed one of the best products from the house of DJI. At a price of $499, it gives amazing features, which many other drones fail to achieve. Its flight time of 17 to 25 minutes is one of the most attractive features. It is the second longest flight time, trailing behind another product from the same brand.

Being a medium-sized drone, this offers good performance with amazing camera stills and videos. It gives you the chance to control the device according to your discretion. Add to that, the additional accessories of the controller, the battery, and the camera gimbal all make it worth the money.

Unique features

The unique feature of the DJI Phantom 3 is the most talked about aspect of the drone. We refer to the camera quality here. The live HD streaming is a feature that even some of the most expensive drones fail to achieve.

The picture quality is so sound and crisp that it will not feel like a moving object has captured the stills. Besides, you can adjust the camera settings to your convenience. You can have a look at the settings here:

Also, check here to know how efficient this camera is:

Another unique feature of the Phantom 3 is the long battery life. It is amazing how a medium-sized drone, at this price, can offer flight times in excess of 20 minutes. In addition, the built-in sensors will keep you informed of the battery situation at all times. Add to that, its durability, and there is hardly anything you could complain about!

Similar models or main competitors

The DJI Phantom 3 Professional

While we have been discussing Phantom 3 Standard all this while, the Professional version of the same product has garnered a lot of publicity and attention as well. This is very similar to the one we have been discussing, with a slightly lower flight time (maximum of 23 minutes).

The DJI Phantom 3 Professional

However, the main point of difference between the Standard and the Professional is the 4K camera that captures at 30 frames per second and has pictures around 12 MP. This, thus, is not very apt for people who are just looking to experiment with drones and learn the art of flying. This is devised especially for people for whom high-quality pictures and videos are a requirement.

It has a maximum transmission distance of 5 km which makes this copter very useful. In addition, this is especially effective for outdoor use because of the GPS and GLONASS dual positioning modes.

 

3DR Solo Drone Quadcopter

Another similar product in this genre comes from the house of 3D Robotics. For starters, let us talk about how easy and convenient it is to use this device. It has a video game-style controller, which gives you a feeling of familiarity. Therefore, just like the Phantom 3, the 3DR Solo drone is ideal for beginners who are taking baby steps into the world of flying. This is, known as the world’s first drone run by two 1GHz computers.

3DR Solo Drone Quadcopter

The most exciting feature of this drone is the camera function. It will surely get you one of the best experiences of aerial photography. You will get some of the best photographic feed from your GoPro attached to the drone. Besides, you can see whatever the drone camera sees in HD quality video on your mobile phones.

Besides, there are a number of other interesting features you can make use of, including the ‘Follow me’, ‘Cable Cam’, ‘Selfie’ and ‘Orbit’ modes.

If you interested in this model, you can get much more information about it by reading our 3DR Solo in-depth review. On the other hand, if you want to compare the P3 with this drone model, we suggest that you also check out our Phantom 3 vs Solo article.

Parrot Bepop 2

When we talk about the combination of style and effective functions, we cannot leave out Parrot Bepop 2 here. This is very similar to the Phantom 3 Standard in terms of its camera functions and flight times.

With a 2700 mAh battery, it can last as long as 25 minutes. More importantly, it comes with a camera that can quench your thirst for high-quality aerial photography with a 14 MP fish eye lens. The camera lens allows you to film at angles of 90-degree angles for best results.

Parrot Bepop 2

Moreover, the device is packed with very powerful motors that can work well in very high altitudes. For ease of piloting, you can take help of the FreeFlight 3 piloting application on your phone.  One unique feature of this device is its ability to work efficiently at night. This can be attributed to the powerful LED flash that aims towards better and more precise visibility in the dark skies. Thus, you can locate your device at any time.

 

Overview

One of the biggest advantages and attractions of the Phantom 3 is the camera aspect. Without even being a professional photographer, you will be able to capture some of the best aerial shots.

Pros

  • This ready-to-fly drone kit comes at a reasonable price for the masses.
  • The camera quality is the best feature of the drone. It comes with especially clear, high quality and clear video footages.
  • The battery for the Phantom 3 is worth talking about. It runs on one Lithium polymer battery that has a capacity of 4480 mAh, enough to keep your flights for as long as 25 minutes!
  • This is also useful for amateur flyers because of its simple functions and ease of use. Learning to fly the drone is a rather easy task. The remote control also provides you with very intuitive functioning
  • DJI Phantom 3 comes packed with its own Lightbridge technology instead of the WiFi connection. This allows live video streaming without actually having to rely on the wireless network connection.
  • The landing gear is wider which is thus kept out of the camera view.

Cons:

  • The drone lacks the array of flying modes, one of the features people usually look for in drones. This makes you work that much harder to get the most appropriate flight. Therefore, having more advanced flight modes could help the device here.
  • The design and the hardware of the drone might need some updating.
  • The batteries are very specific to the drone and are thus an expensive replacement if you are looking for another set.

The DJI Phantom 3 is a revelation when it comes to excellent camera quality and flight time. It excels in both these departments. It is a rather significant improvement over the previous models from DJI.

However, it has plenty of scope for improvement when it comes to having a better-designed body and adding a few flight modes to facilitate flying. However, the fact that you get a ready-to-fly kit at this price makes it rather exciting.

Buy on Amazon

Overall, if you are looking for an affordable drone that is ideal for beginners with simple functions and excellent features of aerial photography, this is the copter for you! You could fly it and get some hands on experience at flying an unmanned aerial vehicle.

About the author
Jack Brown
Jack Brown

Jack is the Chief Pilot at MyDroneLab.com bringing experience, expertise and knowledge in this quite new industry. He is a graduate of the Drone/UAV Pilot Training Certificate program and member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. Besides having all the necessary technical knowledge when it comes to drones, Jack and his team love to spend the time outside by the ocean, working on new features and teaching others how to pilot these amazing and exciting new robots.

  • Alison Bailey

    I love Phantom 3 because you can capture some beautiful and clear aerial shots and videos. It’s very easy to fly. The price is very good for what this quad can do.

  • Andrew Taylor

    There is no need for discussion. By my opinion, Phantom 3 is the best drone on the market for its class. It can even compete with better class drones as its features are simply 5 stars. Camera, durability, maneuverability, battery life, everything. It is just perfect!

  • Elliot Giles

    This is my first quad copter and I am loving it. This is a fun “drone” to fly. Pretty easy to learn the flight controls and basic camera controls. I’m by no means a photographer and bought this out of impulse, but I’ve taken some really awesome photos with this.

    • Jack Brown

      You will take even better footage and photos once you really get the hang of it! This is really one of the best drones available 🙂

  • Daryl Lu

    Phantom 3 is very impressive. For me, it has almost everything a drone enthusiast could ask for: a sleek design matched with long range and stability and a user-friendly setup. Just quite pricey. But it’s all definitely worth it.

  • Jack Brown

    Actually, when you compare what the P3 offers, with the P4 or the Inspire 1, it has a quite low price. It is not for everybody’s budget, but I really believe that it is worth saving up the money and spending it on a drone like the Phantom 3. Thanks for the comment, Daryl.

  • Erna Brook

    DJI Phantom 3 is an amazing model to have as an enthusiast in piloting. I like the DJI professional one not the standard because the standard one has some limitations on GPS signals and other features. But its flight time of 25 minutes and a camera with 12 megapixels are things to be proud of having in this quadcopter. Also the controller is intuitively amazing.

    • Jack Brown

      Yup, the Phantom 3 series is a work of art! No wonder this series is so popular! Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, much appreciated! 🙂

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