Last November, DJI Innovations released the Inspire 1 drone, which was unlike anything the company had manufactured before. Today, though, the company announced the latest step in the evolution of its more familiar and affordable Phantom line – namely, the Phantom 3. There are actually two models, the Phantom 3 Professional and slightly-less-fancy Phantom 3 Advanced.
The big difference between the Professional and Advanced is the camera – the Professional has a maximum resolution of 4K/30fps, while the Advanced manages 1080p/60fps. Both cameras are mounted on a 3-axis stabilizing gimbal, shoot 12-megapixel stills, have an F2.8 lens with a 94-degree field of view, and a 1/2.3-inch sensor that's more light-sensitive than those used in the Phantom 2 models.
Additionally, using DJI's Lightbridge tech, users can view a near-real-time 720p video feed from those cameras, up to a distance of 1 mile (1.6 km). Camera settings such as ISO, shutter speed and exposure can be manually controlled using the accompanying app, or via physical controls on the included radio remote control unit.
The app also offers features such as a flight log and even a simulator, so users can practice maneuvers without crashing the drone in the process.
Both drones have an improved GPS system, along with GLONASS technology for more accurate positioning. Additionally, should they not be able to access the necessary satellites – such as when they're being flown indoors – the copters can hold their position using a new Visual Positioning System. This system incorporates both visual and ultrasonic sensors (much like that already in the AR.Drone), and also allows the quadcopters to automatically take off and land, via a push of a button on the remote.
DJI tells us that both models should begin shipping in a few weeks. The Phantom 3 Professional is priced at US$1,259, while the Phantom 3 Advanced goes for $999.
You can see footage shot with them, in the video below.