Saturday, 2 November 2013

DJI Phantom Quadcopter Review!

In this post I will be looking at the DJI Innovations 'Phantom Quadcopter'.

The Phantom was officially launched back in January, but already has a massive following due to it's simple but effective flight control and the ability to take a Go-pro action camera on-board.

When i first received the Phantom, I noticed that you do have to do some basic prep to get it up and running, like mounting the props, fixing the landing legs, and attaching the Go-pro mount to the undercarriage, and then once physically ready to fly, you do have to read through the 'pre-flight' instructions to configure the phantoms flight characteristics and setup the compass and GPS system.

Dji has a website in which you can download a programme which allows you to enter the flight controls and set parameters, and adjust various trickery involved in the set up of the phantom.

Once the battery was charged, I plugged it in to the Phantom, set the transmitter to GPS mode and waited for the warm up sequence to finish. This involves intermittent flashes of red and green, with the red flash indicating a satellite lock. The red flashes drop from 6 to 0 signifying that one by one the 6 satellites have been found and position has been recorded and locked into the Phantom. Once you get a fast flashing green light only, it's ready to launch!

On starting up the motors, I noticed it wasn't as noisy as I expected it to be, but then I realized it was just starting up, and as soon as I hit the throttle, it got pretty loud and shot up into the air.
One of the great things about the Phantom is that, as long as you have GPS lock you can take your hands off the transmitter, and the drone will stay where it is, only guided by the satellites it has locked to, to keep its position. This is just one trick of the Phantom!

The next trick ( The best trick! ), is the 'Go Home' feature, where by, if you go out of range and loose signal, or your transmitter batteries run out, the Phantom sets itself the task of coming back home to the exact position it set off from! And Believe me, it works a treat! I turned off the transmitter to test this feature, and it came home from being out of sight, and landed itself in the same spot I launched it from! Piece of mind doesn't come better than that!

If you decide to play about with the Phantom in the air rather than use it to Aeriel filming, then you will be pleased! This thing can manoeuvre through the sky at a rapid pace (10m/s). On Youtube, there is videos of users flipping them and rolling them 360 degrees!
If your like me and want to use it for filming, it's the perfect package which combines low cost, and a techno packed machine, capable of capturing the perfect shots from the air!
I use my Phantom with a Go-pro Hero 3 which gives me 1080p recording, but I will touch on the Go-pro in the next review. 

With a camera mounted to the Phantom, it gives you a great perspective of places you usually see from ground/eye level, and it makes for some amazing footage if used in the right places. I have only managed to fly mine around my home, as obviously the weather dictates the time and place you fly, but it has still captured some good footage!

There is a host of extras you can buy for the Phantom, like motorized camera gimbals, and FPV systems Like the 'Fatshark Predator' goggles and radio gear, which enables you to fly the Phantom as if you were sitting in it. I currently have this set up and will review the goggles in a later review, but let me just say...The FPV experience takes drone flying to a whole new level, and I thoroughly recommend you buy and FPV set up!!

The Phantom already has a few versions on the market, and the lastest version of the Phantom- the 'Phantom Vision' is soon to be released, which has it's own HD camera set up on it, and a tilt and pan movement on it's own gimbal.

Prices vary from suppliers and countries, but I had mine from the good guys at at the great price of £348 with FREE delivery too! They have an excellent after-sales team and will help you with any queries you have.

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