The new Standard model of the Phantom 3 is in some ways a simplified version of the Advanced and Professional but it does boast a 2.7K camera, which is better than the 1080p HD unit on the Advanced.
It offers great value, is lighter and therefore has a longer flight time than its stablemates – 25 minutes as compared to 23 minutes for the Advanced and Professional.
In conjunction with its DJI GO mobile phone app (tablets are not compatible with the Standard’s controller) it’s capable of exciting new modes – Follow Me, Point of Interest, and Waypoints – which open up the possibility a whole range of semi-automated shots. (Due soon via software update
Follow Me does as the name suggests and enables the Phantom 3 to follow the pilot’s controller and mobile phone wherever it goes.
Point of Interest will allow the Phantom 3 to mark a particular spot and then let you fly around it in a circular or even spiral route with the camera pointing at the subject.
With Waypoints you can plot a pre-planned route for the aircraft to fly at pre-set speeds and heights along the way.
The camera is stabilised by a 3 axis gimbal to give you steady video and stills and you can control the tilt angle with a wheel on the side of the controller or from within the GO app. The camera’s view is displayed on your mobile phone’s screen and you can switch to a map view with the tap of the screen. This will show the current position of your drone as well as information about its speed and position. The app also records your flights which you can review memorable ones afterwards.
Once you’ve captured pictures you can edit videos and share content with other devices and even upload them to the cloud.
The Phantom 3 Standard differs from the Advanced and Professional models in a few areas. It’s lighter because it doesn’t have the DJI Lightbridge combined control and video system. Instead it used 5.8 GHz for its control frequency and 2.4 GHz to supply the video feed to your phone via a Wi-Fi booster - a similar system to DJI’s Phantom 2 Vision+. This makes the transmission range of your controller shorter theoretically than the Advanced and Professional but in the UK you shouldn’t be flying further than 500 metres away anyway.
Although the Standard is extremely stable in flight, it does not have the additional Visual Positioning capability of the Advanced and Professional Phantoms. Visual Positioning enables the quadcopter to lock on to the ground when it’s flying indoors or in areas of weak satellite reception.
The Phantom 3 Standard has a full GPS system but does not have a receiver for the additional satellites on the GLONASS network which the Advanced and Professional have. This is not a major problem as most satellite systems use GPS only.
The Phantom 3 Standard is a great model to introduce you to the world of modern multirotors and it’s a great price.