DJI Phantom 4 Pro
The Phantom 4 Pro from DJI boasts a 3-axis-stabilized gimbal camera with a 20MP, 1" CMOS sensor capable of shooting up to 4K/60fps video and well as photo bursts at up to 14 fps. The hull has been updated from the previous Phantom 4, now featuring magnesium alloy construction for increased rigidity and reduced weight. The FlightAutonomy system adds dual rear-vision sensors plus infrared sensing for a total of five directions of obstacle sensing and four directions of obstacle avoidance.
Camera With 1-Inch 20MP Sensor
The onboard camera has been redesigned to use a 1-inch 20-megapixel CMOS sensor. A custom engineered lens made up of eight elements is arranged in seven groups, it is the first DJI camera to use a mechanical shutter that eliminates the rolling shutter distortion which can occur when taking images of fast moving subjects or when flying at high speed. In effect, it is as powerful as many traditional ground cameras. More powerful video processing supports H.264 4K videos at 60fps or H.265 4K at 30fps, both with a 100Mbps bitrate. Advanced sensors and processors ensure everything is captured with more image detail and the image data needed for advanced post-production.
Five-Directions of Obstacle Sensing
FlightAutonomy is expanded with an additional set of high-resolution stereo vision sensors placed at the rear in addition to the pair placed at the front as well as infrared sensing systems placed on the left and right sides. This network creates a total of five-directions of obstacle sensing and four-directions of obstacle avoidance, protecting the Phantom 4 Pro from more obstacles and giving filmmakers the confidence to capture more complex images.
The Phantom 4 Pro controller integrates an upgraded Lightbridge HD video transmission system that adds 5.8 GHz transmission support. The ability to choose between 2.4Ghz and 5.8Ghz allows pilots to cut through interference and eliminates image lag caused when flying in an area with extensive 2.4Ghz frequency use. Normally, Wi-Fi video transmission systems use a 2.4GHz frequency to work with a controller using a 5.8GHz frequency as this prevents interference that can occur when both use the same frequency. To perform normally, the video transmission system and the controller will interfere with each other causing image lag, especially if both use the same frequency. The use of two different frequencies has drawbacks in terms of flight performance. For example, flight performance will be affected when either of the two frequencies suffer interference.
The Lightbridge HD video transmission system used in the Phantom 4 Pro uses TDM (Time Division Multiplexing) to transmit signals, allowing it to send controller signals and receive video transmission signals at the same frequency. As the 2.4GHz frequency band is often affected by Wi-Fi, 4G cell towers, and other types of interference in urban areas, a 5.8GHz band will increase transmission reliability. When switched on, the Phantom 4 Pro evaluates local signal levels, automatically choosing the transmission frequency with the lowest level of interference. This ensures the optimum range of a maximum video transmission of 4.3mi (7km)
Draw is a brand new technology for waypoint control. Simply draw a route on screen and the Phantom 4 Pro will move in that direction while keeping its altitude locked. This allows the pilot to focus on camera control and enables more complex shots. There are two Draw modes that can be used in different scenarios.
1. Standard: The aircraft follows the route at a constant speed with the camera facing in the direction of flight.
2. Free: The aircraft only moves along the route when instructed. In this mode, the camera can face in any direction during a flight.
The Phantom 4 Pro automatically recognizes subjects, follows and captures them as they move, making it easier to get complex shots.
Following fast-moving objects can be very challenging, but advanced image recognition algorithms used by the Phantom 4 Pro allow it to recognize and track the object while keeping it in frame. This new algorithm also recognizes more subjects, from people to vehicles to animals, and will adjust its flight dynamics to match, ensuring smoother shots.
Pilots can now choose between:
1. Trace – Follow behind or in front of a subject, avoiding obstacles automatically.
2. Profile – Fly alongside a subject at a variety of angles to get profile shots of the subject.
3. Spotlight – Keep the camera trained on a subject while the aircraft flies almost anywhere.
Fly in any direction visible on-screen with a simple tap. Tap anywhere on-screen to smoothly adjust the direction of flight while automatically avoiding obstacles and tap the screen again or use control sticks to change direction. A new AR route function shows the aircraft’s real-time flight direction for reference as its route is adjusted. As it can be difficult to control altitude, course, speed and camera pitch simultaneously using joysticks, TapFly Free allows a pilot to set the direction of flight, allowing them to turn the Phantom 4 Pro or tilt the gimbal as required without changing the direction of flight. In total, there are now three TapFly modes:
- TapFly Forward – Tap to fly in the selected direction.
- TapFly Backward – Tap to fly in the opposite direction of the tap, i.e. tap in the bottom right corner of the screen to fly backward towards the top left.
- TapFly Free – Lock the forward direction of the Phantom without locking the camera direction allowing it to turn as it flies.
Return to Home
In its upgraded Return to Home mode, the Phantom 4 Pro can automatically choose the best route to return home depending on environmental conditions. It records its route as it flies, allowing it to return along the same route avoiding obstacles if the control signal is disconnected.
Based on its altitude at the time of disconnection, the Phantom 4 Pro is also able to adjust its flight path to avoid obstacles it has seen during its flight. At takeoff, the Phantom 4 Pro will record the scene below and compare its recording with what it sees as it returns, for more precise landing. It can also detect the ground to see whether there is suitable spot for landing. If any obstacles are found, or there is water on the ground, it will alert the pilot and hover at an appropriate height, helping the aircraft to land more safely.
Using Gesture Mode, selfies can be captured easily using a few gestures without the remote controller. Advanced computer vision technology allows the Phantom 4 Pro to take instructions through gestures. The subject simply lifts their arms when facing the camera and the aircraft will recognize this movement by locking on and placing the subject in the center of the frame. When ready for a photo, the subject holds their arms out to signal the aircraft. A three second countdown will begin, making time to strike a pose, allowing moments to be captured without the remote control.
Different productions require different flight characteristics, and the Phantom 4 Pro offers three modes for flight: P, A and S. Switching between them allows pilots to get the control they need, whether they seek smoothness, simplicity, intelligent navigation or speed. In Position Mode, TapFly, ActiveTrack, obstacle sensing and positioning features are available. Sport Mode adds extra agility and higher speed, reaching 45mph (72kph). Atti Mode switches off satellite stabilization and holds the Phantom 4 Pro’s altitude. It is ideal for experienced pilots looking to capture smoother footage. Tripod Mode, which limits speed to 4mph (7kph) provides precision control for fine framing and indoor flying. Both the infrared sensing system and vision sensors are enabled in these modes for a safer flight experience.
4.3mi (7km) Long-Range Control
Using brand new DJI Lightbridge HD video transmission technology, the Phantom 4 Pro has a maximum transmission range of 4.3mi (7km). Before each flight, it scans a range of available frequencies to find and use the one with the least interference. By supporting 2.4GHz and 5.8 GHz frequency bands, it gives you more reliable control. Tightly integrated with DJI GO 4, Lightbridge video transmission also sends vital flight statistics in real time, and can be used to quickly download photos and videos to connected mobile devices.
The Lightbridge video transmission system uses advanced transmission technologies and can automatically adjust to environmental conditions. It ensures high quality, low latency image transmission across its range and offers pilots a better shooting experience. Traditional analog video transmission occupies a larger bandwidth and is more susceptible to interference. It also suffers from poor image quality and short range. Wi-Fi transmission also compares poorly, suffering from low latency, lengthy re-connection times, and short transmission distances due to the high cost of more powerful Wi-Fi transmission.
The Phantom 4 Pro features dual compass modules and dual IMU units, making it more reliable when compared to many hexacopters and octocopers. Compasses and IMUs are important sensors to ensure a stable flight and the Phantom 4 Pro constantly compares the data it receives through both pairs. This data is run through advanced algorithms to check accuracy and any inaccurate data is simply discarded without affecting flight, keeping flight steady and reliable.
Professional aerial imaging benefits from longer flight times. The Phantom 4 Pro has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes, providing more time in the air to capture the perfect shot. The DJI GO app shows battery lifetime and calculates remaining flight times according to distance traveled and more. It will give alerts when it reaches a minimum safe amount required for a safe journey back to the takeoff point. An advanced battery management system is also in place to prevent overcharging and over draining. When placed in longer term storage, batteries will discharge power to maintain good health.
DJI GO App
Using the DJI GO app, a large number of Intelligent Flight Modes are available. It also provides access to full manual camera controls, including ISO, aperture, shutter speed, image formats, and more. Any changes in DJI GO will appear almost instantly on-screen. Vital flight data and video transmission status are easy to check in-app, further enhancing control efficiency and convenience.