dji phantom 4 review

DJI’s Phantom 4 Advanced has never been so cheap

The formerly $1,349 DJI Phantom 4 Advanced is now on sale for $1,199.

The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced was launched in April 2017 as an upgrade to the Phantom 4 drone, improving on its predecessor’s camera with a 1-inch, 20-megapixel sensor and a mechanical shutter lens. It shoots 4K video at 60 frames per second with a video processor supporting H.264 4K videos at 60fps or H.265 4K at 30fps, both with a 100Mbps bitrate.

The Phantom 4 was one of DJI’s most revolutionary drones when it was announced; it was the first consumer drone to offer sense and avoid technology. If the drone sensed and object in front of it — be it a building or a human — it would simply hover in place and not move forward. If it could detect a way to autonomously navigate around the object, it could also do that.

But since it only had a sensor on the front side, DJI also started manufacturing the Phantom 4 Pro, announced in November 2016, which improved on that by providing obstacle sensors on five sides. DJI discontinued its original Phantom 4 in April of 2017.

phantom 4 advanced
Drone Girl Sally French shows off the Phantom 4 to a curious young pilot in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

The sale price puts the Phantom 4 Advanced now at $200 more than the darling of DJI’s lineup, the Mavic Pro. So why get a Phantom 4 Advanced vs. the Mavic Pro?

The short answer: the camera.

With the Phantom 4 Advanced, you’re looking at a sensor with 20M effective pixels, vs. 12.35M for the Mavic Pro.

The maximum ISO on the P4 Advanced in manual mode for video is 6400 vs. 3200 for the Mavic, and 12,800 for photos on the P4 Advanced and 1600 for the Mavic. That means you’ll be able to get shots later in the evening and even at night with the P4 Advanced. Shooting a sunset shot with the Mavic may come out looking grainy.

Behind that, the P4 offers better flight time (30 minutes vs. the Mavic’s 27), a more stable drone in the window, etc.

Photographers looking for a deal may want to jump on this one now.

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