If you ask the resident drone experts in the forums on what to get for your first step into professional drone photography, you’ll be met with dozens of recommendations from major brands, discreet companies, or even custom-built ones.
But in the midst of this flurry of suggestions, a consistent contender stands.
Yes, we’re talking about drone giant DJI’s Phantom family, which has earned quite the reputation for providing some of the best captures in the industry, all the while maintaining that level of quality and performance with their quad’s design.
An offspring of this family has joined the fray: the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.
This step up from the regular Phantom sports features and specifications that made headlines upon its release.
But is this premium UAV a step better than its predecessors in the real world? Find out in this comprehensive DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 review.
|Weight||Unloaded: 1375 grams|
|Size||Length: 289.5 mm|
Width: 289.5 mm
Height: 196 mm
|Speed||Max: 72 kph|
|Signal||Range: up to 8 km|
Operational Frequency: 2.4 GHz, 5.8 GHz
|Battery||Flight time: ~30 mins|
Capacity: 5870 mAh
|Recording||Camera: 4K UHD, 20-MP|
DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 Features
GPS + GLONASS
For drones of this price point, it is imperative to have a dual positioning and location system like the GPS and GLONASS combination.
This allows the craft to connect and communicate to multiple overhead satellites to provide real-time data of the drone’s location.
This makes the craft stable while hovering or in motion, as the intelligent flight system automatically corrects the path when it senses deviation. Also, the redundancy offered by this configuration is vital, providing a backup system in the event that either one of them fails.
FlightAutonomy is the drone’s comprehensive intelligent flight system that takes care of automation and safety.
The system’s deep learning technology allows it to take in real-time sensor data and convert it to information that the drone can understand, making it an effective flier even in the presence of obstacles.
The sensor system is greatly improved as well, providing an exhaustive 5-direction sweep (sides, front, and under) for an almost crash-free experience.
This is the drone’s essential ‘Follow Me’ function, embedded in a learning algorithm that allows for a dynamic tracking experience. Simply select the subject on the screen by dragging a virtual rectangular box to contain them, and watch the drone follow the subject with minimal supervision.
It comes with three options: Portrait, Spotlight, and Circle.
Portrait is the basic tracking mode of the drone, matching the pace of the subject while flying horizontally to keep a consistent shot frame.
Spotlight locks onto the subject while giving you the freedom to fly the drone in any direction around it.
Circle provides an orbital shooting preset that has the drone do a 360 on the subject while it is moving.
This has the drone actively use its downward-facing sensors to keep a constant safe distance between itself and the ground. If you’re shooting on elevating or uneven terrain, this function keeps the drone safe while allowing you to capture consistent shots.
Tripod Mode is basically an altitude hold feature, though this is specifically designed for shooting footage and stills. The drone makes use of the GPS and its sensors to hold its place, while the controls for panning are dampened to keep things stable.
Return To Home
Like any other drone with intuitive flight features, this bird has a Return to Home feature to provide a fail-safe should unfortunate circumstances befall the drone, such as running (or flying) low on flight juice, and loss of transmission signal. It automatically kicks in, retracing its steps back to the initial takeoff position, all the while dodging obstacles thanks to the avoidance system.
You can even manually prompt it to do so, doing away with manually flying it back to you. We know you will. Who doesn’t want convenience at their fingertips?
This is the waypoint mode of the drone, allowing you to plot points along the map for the drone to follow automatically. This is handy when you want to focus on the camera controls or relocating piloting positions, essentially making it a hands-free experience.
This mode allows you to draw a path on the provided 3D grid on the screen, which is laid out and imposed on the camera’s real-time feed. Simply draw your desired path and the drone will translate it into reality seamlessly.
The drone squeezes a Gesture mode into the smart features as well, recognizing simple gestures and executing the corresponding commands.
Raising one arm will have the drone train its camera at you while positioning so you are effectively in the center of the shot, while raising two arms will trigger a selfie countdown timer so you have time to do your poses.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 has a monstrous 5870 mAh LiPo intelligent battery that is capable of supplying 30 minutes of flight time to the craft, give and take performance hits brought by actual usage.
This is more than enough time to capture your needed shots and pack up in a seamless fashion.
While some of you might wonder if the drone could do more minutes considering the beefy battery capacity, be reminded that the intelligent systems also use a considerable amount for its processing power. Need we mention the drone’s considerable heft as well?
The battery pack has a smart indicator comprised of LEDs to show how much juice is left in them.
Charging back to full requires around an hour and 30 minutes, which is mighty impressive considering the amount needed to be topped up.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 sports a 4K-capable, 1-inch CMOS sensor, which towers over the usual 1/2.3-inch sensors found in most 4K drones. This makes the drone capable of recording videos at Cinematic 4K at 25, 25, and 30 fps, or 4K UHD up to 60 fps, giving you slow-mo options at this beast of a resolution.
You can also scale down to 2.7k to 720p, giving you the option to record at 120 fps for a truly buttery-smooth slow-mo experience.
Stills are also stellar, the 1-inch sensors doing serious work with its impressive dynamic range, which can be further appreciated in the RAW format for extra editing versatility. 20-MP quality of these photos is unparalleled, with even the tiniest detail popping out in clarity.
One of the best features the camera has is its mechanical shutter. This effectively gets rid of the annoying “rolling shutter effect” that distorts certain objects in the shot when taken at high speeds. You also gain aperture control, making the standard f/2.8 setting adjustable up to f/11.
Stability is taken care of by the three-axis fully motorized gimbal that dampens vibrations caused by wind and the drone’s movements, giving you a steady shot while on the fly, and can be controlled at a range of -90° to +30° to alter your perspective when needed.
The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 can be controlled via its transmitter, which is offered in two configurations: the basic one, and the one with a built-in 5.5-inch screen.
It has the same configuration all throughout, with joysticks, dedicated function buttons, and scroll-type dials for camera functions.
For the screen-included option, it’s basically a mini-tablet without the unnecessary applications, with the sole DJI GO 4 app installed.
The display isn’t all too special but gets the job done nonetheless. This is handy if you don’t want your flight to be disturbed by calls and messages that can happen with a smartphone+controller combo. This comes at a price premium, though, requiring you to shell out $300 on top of the original price.
Take heed of the love-hate relationship of DJI Apps and Android users as well, as numerous accounts from users indicate that the Apple experience is inherently smoother than those that use Android.
Design and Build Quality
There is no question with the durability of the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2, as it is constructed from a rugged mix of high-quality, impact-resistant plastic and a lightweight alloy shell.
It still reuses the same aesthetics that the Phantom lineup was known for, staying true to the original design. The daddy long landing legs (where the additional sensors are embedded) are still fixed, as well as the motor arms. Nothing really drastic was changed except for the propeller blades, which were streamlined for more thrust and performance gains.
Portability is still one of the major drawbacks of this design, though, which the Mavic line does seamlessly, but this is just a classic example of compromising to successfully pull off the entire concept.
DJI is still king when it comes to drone performance, with the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 no exception to this rule.
Still the same responsiveness from its predecessors, as well as speed, the drone sticks with the formula and comes through with flying (pun intended) colors. But what makes this drone special is it can go as fast as 50 kph with the multi-directional avoidance system still active, keeping the UAV safe at these impressive speeds.
The 8 km max range of the drone is more than enough for most of your needs, along with the new video transmission technology OcuSync reduces latency issues and improves connection at long distances, while also giving you the ability to don DJI’s FPV goggles wirelessly.
Everything is maxed out in this UAV, from flight performance and features, up to the ingenious optics system that eats its competitors for lunch.
And just as expected, getting a DJI drone comes at a price and a hefty one at that. The bird retails somewhere in the $1,800-$2,000 territories, which is a stretch in terms of pricing.
We think you’d be better off buying the Mavic 2 Pro for this level of price.
If you really need the drone’s features and specifications, or just want an impulse-buying itch to be scratched, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2 is certainly a worthy purchase.
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