Tag Archives: DJI Phantom

DJI Phantom 4 review: a drone light-years in the future

The first drone I ever flew (and crashed about 5 seconds later) was a DJI Flame Wheel. The first drone I ever owned myself was an original DJI Phantom.

So it’s incredibly exciting to be a flying a drone that is so far ahead in its technology that it literally can sense and avoid objects in front of it. What’s even more exciting is those Flame Wheel days were only about three years ago. I would have never guessed a Phantom 4 would exist as it does today even a year ago.

For $1,199, you can get a Phantom 4, launched in March 2016, — and it’s truly an incredible piece of equipment.

dji phantom 4 propellers
The propellers auto-lock as an extra safety feature.

DJI Phantom 4 review:

The Phantom is pretty much ready to fly out of the box. There are auto-locking propellers you’ll have to put on. You also will fly with the RC transmitter, but to get that first person (FPV) view, you’ll need to use a smartphone or tablet to see what the drone’s camera sees. You can do that by connecting it to the DJI Go app.

dji phantom 4 sense and avoid sensor
The camera has eyes! Check out those two sensors on the front.

DJI Phantom 4 review: sense and avoid

The real standout point here is two front obstacle sensors combining with advanced computer vision and processing to give the Phantom its “Obstacle Avoidance” feature. Continue reading DJI Phantom 4 review: a drone light-years in the future

My story: why I believe drones can assist with journalism

Photo of Sally French, aka "Drone Girl" by Stuart Palley
Photo of Sally French, aka “Drone Girl” by Stuart Palley

The post below is an excerpt of a piece I freelanced for Investigative Reporters and Editors on Drone Journalism. You can read the piece in its entirety for free online here.

When I told my parents I was using my graduation money to buy a drone, they thought I was crazy.

“Why don’t you buy some camera gear instead?” they told me.

After all, graduating in May with a photojournalism degree means I’d no longer have access to the fancy Missouri j-school equipment locker I’d been spoiled by for the past few years.

But what my parents didn’t understand is that a drone is the ultimate in camera gear.

Imagine airing video about weather patterns impacting geese migration. The live-shot could actually take the viewer flying among the birds. Or how about reporting on a prairie fire? An overhead shot could reveal the path of the fire.

I’ve already done both of those myself through theMissouri School of Journalism’s drone journalism program. I was a member of the program in its first year. The laws and regulations are unclear, and none of us were very technical when it came to maintenance, so most of a time we didn’t know what we were doing. But that’s a good thing. The cool thing about pioneering something like a drone research program in a university setting is we could learn about this stunning new technology, yet we didn’t have the pressure of deadlines or financial limitations that a traditional media outlet would have.

And we thought what we were doing was legal, since we weren’t making a profit from it. Turns out, the FAA thought otherwise, as it recently sent a letter requiring the program to cease outdoor flight. I’m sure the FAA has the best intentions – after all, a drone recently fell into a crowd at a bull run, and another drone hit a groom during a wedding photography session. There certainly is a need for regulation.

But drones are here to stay, and people will continue flying — regulated or not.

Read the rest of this post over at the Investigative Reporters and Editors blog.