The Inspire wasn’t the only DJI line to get a refresh at today’s intimate event in Los Angeles. The company’s Phantom line is also getting a bump, with the addition of the Phantom 4 Pro.
Like the Inspire 2, the refreshed prosumer model features improved obstacle avoidance, courtesy of infrared light pulses that bring detection to the sides of the system, in addition to current 3D mapping of the drone’s front, rear and bottom detection.
The Chinese drone maker DJI already has a commanding position in the market for both consumer and commercial drones, but the company isn’t slowing down. In fact, it seems to be pushing out new product faster than ever, putting its foot on the throat of competitors already struggling to keep up.
Today DJI released the Phantom 4 Pro, an update to the Phantom 4 unit which came out just eight months ago, in March of this year. The Pro boasts a better camera, more advanced obstacle avoidance, greater battery life, and additional intelligent flight modes. It puts some space between the top of the Phantom line and the new Mavic Pro — a cheaper, smaller drone DJI released in October which, at least on paper, was just as powerful as its larger cousin.
Let’s start with the camera. It has a 1-inch CMOS sensor that shoots 20 megapixel stills and can capture up to 11.6 stops of dynamic range. Greater dynamic range means the camera’s sensors will be better able to balance and resolve differences between light and dark. This is a common problem in aerial footage, when you often have a brightly lit sky against dark terrain below.
Many drone cameras also struggle with the “rolling shutter” effect, which can give a Jell-O-like shake to footage, especially when filming quick pans or chasing fast-moving subjects. DJI says a new mechanical shutter on the Phantom 4 Pro will help to alleviate that. And it has added the ability to adjust the lens aperture, giving filmmakers greater control over depth of field in their images. The camera can now shoot 14 photos per second in burst mode and capture slow motion video at 60 frames per second.