DJI Phantom 3 Advanced Review

DJI is obviously leading the industry with their awesome consumer drones and not only in popularity but also in performance. The Phantom 3 Advanced is just as great as its big brother, the Phantom 3 Professional, in almost every aspect. The only big difference between the two is that the Advanced captures video at up to 2.7K, while the Professional is capable of 4K quality. So, if you don’t need the 4K capability, the Advanced is a great option for you.

DESIGN

The Phantom 3 Advanced is the same as the Phantom 3 Professional physically in almost every way. There is one small cosmetic change to mention – the Advanced uses silver stickers on the propeller struts instead of the gold color you find on the Professional.

As far as the features go, the two drones are identical. They’re both piloted using the same smartphone app and remote control. The automated flight modes, including the automated return-to-home and waypoint flying are supported.

 

 

For more details about the features of the Phantom 3 Advanced, the app interface, how it handles in the air, and automated flight features, take a look at our Phantom 3 Professional review. During our reviews, the two drone performed exactly the same, with the only difference being the maximum video resolution.

VIDEO QUALITY

You have the option of choosing between MOV and MP4 file formats in the app, but there really isn’t any quality difference between the two. Video quality goes up to 2.7K (1520p), with 24fps, 25fps, and 30fps available. Going down to 1080p expands the frame rate options to 48fps, 50fps, or 60fps capture. Those capture rates are also available at 720p. One thing to mention, you may be required to update your firmware to have the ability to access 2.7K recording.

While you don’t hear much about 2.7K, it’s a very useful format. 2.7K is a great resolution advantage over 1080p because it allows you to capture video that will appear very crisp when viewed on an HDTV. If you prefer 1080p, you can use Adobe Premiere Pro CC to crop it down.

The actual quality of the video is not as great as the Phantom 3 Professional. However, it’s not due to the lower maximum resolution. The Professional encodes video at 60Mbps, while the Advanced only encodes at 40Mbps. Therefore, you’ll notice some evidence of video compression in shots with a lot of complex detail, or when moving the gimbal up and down. The difference isn’t that big of a deal, and either model is a big upgrade from the 12Mbps offered by the Phantom 2 Vision+.

When flying under ideal, wind free conditions, we didn’t notice any wobble in our shots. The gimbal does a good job of stabilizing aerial footage. The video has no evidence of jitters when changing elevation and is very smooth.

We did notice an occasional horizontal line that would run across the frame in some of our footage. However, this isn’t a problem that’s is specific to the P3 Advanced, we’ve also noticed this with other drones, including the Professional model. It typically occurs when the sun hits the lens through the propeller motion at just the right angle. Using a neutral density filter to force a longer shutter speed will reduce the effect.

The still image quality is the exact same as the Phantom 3 Professional. You still have the ability to shoot JPG or Raw images at 12-megapixel resolution with a fixed 20mm field of view.

CONCLUSIONS

The DJI Phantom 3 Advanced is a very refined drone. It includes awesome safety features, easy to fly, and captures great aerial video footage at 2.7K resolution. With a price point of under $1,000, it makes it a good option, however if you’re looking to spend even less you may want to consider the Phantom 3 Standard.

It all boils down to the video quality you’re looking for since the Advanced and Professional models are exactly the same with the exception of the camera quality. While the ability to record at 4K quality is a great option, if it’s not that important to you then the Advanced is a second choice that lives up to the task.

 

SPECIFICATIONS

AIRCRAFT CAMERA GIMBAL REMOTE CONTROLLER
Weight (Battery & Propellers Included): 1280 g Sensor: 1/2.3” CMOS Effective pixels: 12.4 M (total pixels: 12.76 M) Stabilization: 3-axis (pitch, roll, yaw) Operating Frequency: 2.400 - 2.483 GHz
Diagonal Size (Propellers Excluded): 350 mm Lens: FOV 94° 20 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.8 focus at ∞ Controllable Range: Pitch -90° to +30° Max Transmission Distance: FCC Compliant: 3.1 mi (5 km) CE Compliant: 2.2 mi (3.5 km) (Unobstructed, free of interference)
Max Ascent Speed: 5 m/s ISO Range: 100-3200 (video) 100-1600 (photo) Max Controllable Angular Speed: Pitch: 90°/s Operating Temperature Range: 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)
Max Descent Speed: 3 m/s Electronic Shutter Speed: 8 - 1/8000 s Angular Control Accuracy: ±0.02° Battery: 6000 mAh LiPo 2S
Max Speed: 16 m/s (ATTI mode) Image Size: 4000×3000 Transmitter Power (EIRP): FCC: 20 dBm CE: 16 dBm
Max Tilt Angle: 35° Still Photography Modes: Single Shot Burst Shooting: 3/5/7 frames Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7 EV Bias Timelapse Operating Current/Voltage: 1.2 A@7.4 V
Max Angular Speed: 150°/s Video Recording Modes: 2.7K: 2704 x1520p 24/25/30 (29.97) FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30/48/50/60 HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60 Video Output Port: USB
Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level: 19685 feet (6000 m) Max Video Bitrate: 40 Mbps Mobile Device Holder: Tablets and smart phones
Max Flight Time: Approx. 23 minutes Supported File Systems: FAT32 (≤32 GB); exFAT (>32 GB)
Operating Temperature Range: 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C) Photo: JPEG, DNG (RAW)
Satellite Positioning Systems: GPS/GLONASS Video: MP4, MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
Hover Accuracy Range: Vertical: ±0.1 m (with Vision Positioning) ±0.5 m (with GPS Positioning) Horizontal: ±0.3 m (with Vision Positioning) ±1.5 m (with GPS Positioning) Supported SD Cards: Micro SD Max capacity: 64 GB Class 10 or UHS-1 rating required
Operating Temperature Range: 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C)

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