DJI Unveils Its New Lines of Quadcopter Phantom 3 Drones

10:25 AM EDT 4/9/2015 by Kara Michelle, Celebeat Reporter

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DJI, a China-based tech company which specializes in the manufacture of commercial and recreational unmanned aerial vehicles for aerial photography and videography, has just unveiled the newest models of its ready-to-fly camera-equipped quadcopter drones, the Phantom 3, at today's press event held in simultaneously in New York, London, and Munich, via live-streaming.

There are two versions of the Phantom 3: the $1259 Phantom 3 Professional, which takes 12MP stills and 4 video, and the $999 Phantom 3 Advanced, which also takes 12MP pictures but only 1080p video, both of which can record pictures in Adobe DNG RAW. 4K video comes in 24, 25, and 30FPS, while 1080p goes up to 60FPS. The company says these models are now equipped with more powerful, more efficient motors that accelerate and decelerate faster than the previous Phantom 2. The spec sheet says that the Phantom 3 is about as quick as the Phantom 2, capable of doing about 36 MPH (16 m/s) with a max ascent speed of about 13 MPH (6 m/s) and a max decent speed of 4 MPH (2 m/s). The Phantom 3 weighs about as much as a Phantom 2 (1280g) with a smaller battery (4480mAh versus 5200mAh) but manages to offer about the same flight time of 23 minutes. The Phantom 3 also hooks up to more GPS satellites than the Phantom 2, which should give it a faster, more accurate position lock when outside.

Compared with the earlier models, there are several critical updates to the hardware and software of the new DJI Phantom 3 quadcopter drone. For one, it now has a downward-facing camera to give the craft a visual positioning system that lets it hold its position without a GPS signal. For another, its positioning system has been updated to also work with GLONASS, a Russian, satellite-based navigation system that works in parallel to GPS. Combining both those systems allows the Phantom 3 to more quickly and reliably find a satellite signal, and to more precisely understand its location. The Phantom 3 now also comes bundled with a Lightbridge system, allowing it to stream a live HD video feed from up to 2 kilometers away.

Finally, DJI has built live-streaming capabilities into the new Phantom. "Pilots, whether they are journalists, extreme athletes, or global travelers - will not just be able to share aerial videos of where they were, but will also be able to send a YouTube link to their friends and colleagues to show them the aerial perspectives of where they are right now," said DJI's San Francisco General Manager Eric Cheng. "This has tremendous potential for changing the way we share experiences with one another." The Phantom 3 drones, both Professional and Advanced models, will start shipping in a few weeks according to the company.

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