It’s been a few years since DJI – the popular Shenzhen-based drone company – released their third-generation of the Phantom series. Since the release, it’s fair to say the company has brought out many drones that outright beat what the Phantom 3 range has to offer.
That said, the Phantom 3 series is a long way off from being considered a ‘don’t buy’. In fact, if you’re in the market and are looking for your first drone – I recommend you read ahead!
I recently went on a camping trip in outback Western Australia – with stunning scenery might I add – and put the Standard-edition of the Phantom 3 to the test. Here’s what I found…
The app is still super-clean and a good performer
The setup process was extremely easy, like many app-controlled products. You connect to the drone’s in-built Wi-Fi network and the rest is done for you. You’ll even get taken through a quick tutorial, telling you what each button does – perfect for people who are looking for their first drone to fly.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a drone company that doesn’t include a tutorial in their app, but DJI’s ‘GO’ app is really clean and has a nice user-friendly feel. To top it off, if anything goes wrong while your drone is in-flight, the app automatically corrects any issues or warnings where it can.
DJI states that the Phantom 3 Standard will allow you to fly for a maximum of around 25-minutes on the 4,480mAh battery. When I put it to the test, my flight times varied from 19-23 depending on how hard I pushed the motors. Weather conditions and other factors affect battery life, and bear in mind that I was testing mine in broad 34-degree heat.
There’s not much to complain about in terms of performance. The drone does what it says on the box, which is more than enough for light to medium professional use – and more than enough for home-users who are looking for their first drone.
The Phantom 3 Standard rocks a 12-megapixel 1/2.3” CMOS sensor, with an aperture of f/2.8. The camera is attached to a gimbal which does a top-notch job of stabilizing footage. Video is able to be shot at up to 2.7K, and for an older sensor, both photos and video look stunning.
The P3 Standard has a very simple setup, it’s nothing special – but it works. You’ll need to take a look at the newer-lineups such as the DJI Mavic-series or the newer Phantoms, if you’re wanting to shoot in 4K.
What took off?
It may not have the features that newer drones are coming out with, but the DJI Phantom 3-series nails just about everything it has to work with.
The camera still impresses even though it isn’t a new-generation 4k camera. For the price point, it’ll easily suffice and even go beyond expectations you may have. Although the Standard-edition won’t shoot 4K, shooting video in 2.7K still looks super-sharp, even in 2019.
The battery life
The Phantom 4 can only fly for around 5-minutes more than the Phantom 3, making the 25-minute flight-time still quite impressive, even in today’s terms. Keep in mind, if you’re flying any drone for a lengthy amount of time, you’d need more than one battery anyway.
The Phantom 3 Standard is currently $799 from Kogan. Although there are cheaper drones than the Standard, this was once considered a flagship product – and it still performs exceptionally well.
What didn’t take off?
Not many tech-products can be considered perfect, and while the DJI Phantom 3 nails it on many fronts, there are one or two things that let it down.
The DJI Phantom 3 continually, even in the bush, found it hard to lock on to a strong GPS signal. There was no interference around either. This could be a bug with DJI’s ‘GO’ app, and if so, could easily be fixed. However, without a moderate-to-strong GPS signal, the drone will be extremely reluctant to (or may not even) fly.
It’s ‘too simple’.
The DJI Phantom 3 doesn’t have intelligent flight features that its successors rock. There’s isn’t any object-sensing capability to stop the drone from flying into trees, and there’s no active tracking to lock the drone on to follow an object or person.
These are considered fairly essential features, especially for professionals. However, the Phantom 3 lacks these entirely.
|Weight (Battery & Propellers Included)||1216 g|
|Diagonal Size (Propellers Excluded)||350 mm|
|Max Ascent Speed||5 m/s|
|Max Descent Speed||3 m/s|
|Max Speed||16 m/s (ATTI mode)|
|Max Tilt Angle||35°|
|Max Angular Speed||150°/s|
|Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level||19685 feet (6000 m)|
|Max Flight Time||Approx. 25 minutes|
|Operating Temperature Range||32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)|
|Satellite Positioning Systems||GPS|
|Hover Accuracy Range||Vertical:
Effective pixels:12 M
|Lens||FOV 94° 20 mm (35 mm format equivalent)
|ISO Range||100-3200 (video)
|8 - 1/8000 s|
|Still Photography Modes||Single ShotBurst Shooting: 3/5/7 frames
Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7 EV Bias Timelapse
|Video Recording Modes||2.7K: 2704 x1520p 24/25/30 (29.97)
FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30
HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
|Max Video Bitrate||40 Mbps|
|Supported File Systems||FAT32 (≤32 GB); exFAT (>32 GB)|
|Photo||JPEG, DNG (RAW)|
|Video||MP4, MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)|
|Supported SD Cards||Micro SD Card 8 GB included|
|Operating Temperature Range||32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)|
It’s safe to say that the DJI Phantom 3 series still impresses, even against some of the more feature-packed drones on the market today. It has a quality camera that won’t raise any complaints, its flight-time still impresses, and the app is almost flawless.
I’d definitely recommend the Phantom 3 for anybody wanting their first drone, especially considering the price.
Would you like to know more about DJI’s Phantom 3 series? Drop a comment below and we’ll try to get back to you as soon as we can.
The DJI Phantom 3 Standard Edition is no longer available in Australia from the DJI website, but you can buy a refurbished model from Kogan.