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DJI Phantom 4 or Phantom 4 Pro?

To upgrade or not to upgrade? That's the question


November 15th 2016; DJI announces the Phantom 4 Pro and Phantom 4 Pro+. Both with the new 20MP camera (i.s.o 12MP) and obstacle avoidance sensors in 5 directions (i.s.o. 2), and the P4-PRO+ with a dedicated outdoor screen build on the RC.


I have flow the Phantom 1, 1.1.1, 2 Vision+, 3 Professional and now fly the DJI Phantom 4. From this sequence you could conclude that of course I would trade in my P4 for the new P4-Pro.

But wait a minute. 'Why should I', I asked myself. Asking yourselves 'why' is always a good thing before investing 100's of Euro's, even so when investing in the newer Phantom model has always been more than worthwhile.


Let's check out the detailed specifications. Thank you Droneland.nl for posting them! http://www.droneland.nl/nl/blogs/drone-vergelijkingen/dji-phantom-4-vergelijking/


The differences can be summarized in the following categories:

- Max flight time 30 vs 28 minutes. Not worth my while. This whole flight time issue never bothers me because my general experience is that if you cannot fly the material you need in 20 minutes or less, you are just playing around. Which is fine and enjoyable, but not worth a whole lot of money for me.

- 20 MP camera: oh yes this is perfect! more pixels in the aerial photographs! one thing I have always wanted. But so far my experience is that (my..) aerial photographs are never as spectacular as my video footage. So I rarely use my photographs for anything.

- More video recording modes. Oh well. The P4 offers me all I would want as far as video recording modes go. The video's the P4 produces in FullHD and 4K are absolutely awesome. Do use the correct filter to reduce the shutter speed to twice the framerate!! So I am good with my current P4.

- Longer operating distance! Cool!!!! Nope.. I live in Europe so my Phantom will automatically switch to CE mode, in which case the P4-Pro has the same range as the P4 (3.5 km). OH-NO WAIT!!! If my P4-Pro would choose to switch from the 2.4 GHz bandwidth to the 5.8 GHz band (which the P4-Pro can and P4 cannot..) my range would be REDUCED to 2.0 km!!! Holy crap, thats what you get for living in Europe!!! My P4 performs perfectly on range and video transmission as is, as long as I use the antenna reflector on my RC.

- 5 directional obstacle avoidance sensors on the P4-Pro. Oh wow. But for the flying I do, the forward facing sensors on the P4 provide all the obstacle avoidance I need, I prefer to fly well above objects any with my camera facing forward. So I am fine with the P4. 


Conclusion: if photography is your thing in the sky, and you do NOT live in Europe, the upgrade would be worthwhile. But since I live in Europe and fly2film, I'll stick to my P4 for now and wait a year or so to see what great new flying platforms and camera's DJI might concoct, develop and introduce next!


DJI Phantom 4 PRO+. Image courtesy of Droneland.nl