I’m Bryan, a travel and landscape geek who loves photography from Singapore. I recently got myself into the aerial photography and have been bringing around the DJI Phantom 4 with me all the time for the past 9 months. In this review, I am going to share my experience using the drone so far, traveling with the drone around and flying with the drone around the world.

Phantom 4 Specifications

The Phantom 4 comes with:

  • Auto takeoff and auto return home with GPS technology makes controlling easyApp enables monitoring/camera operation easy
  • Capture 4K ultra HD video at 30 fps, supported resolutions include: 12.0MP (4000 x 3000) photos.
  • The f/2.8 lens with a broad field of view delivers crisp, clear images
  • Gimbal stabilization technology, along with a hover function allows you to capture smooth, clean footage while the camera is in the air
  • Use DJI director software with a built-in video editor to add music, text, and more to your videos

What is inside the Phantom 4 box

  • Aircraft Body ×1
  • Remote Controller ×1
  • Propeller Pairs ×4
  • Intelligent Flight, Battery ×1
  • Battery Charger ×1
  • Power Cable ×1
  • Manuals
  • Gimbal Clamp ×1
  • USB OTG Cable ×1
  • Micro USB Cable ×1
  • Micro SD Card ×1(16GB)
  • Carrying Case ×1
DJI Phantom 4 at Blowhole, Australia
DJI Phantom 4 at Blowhole, Australia

As a travel photographer

After 9 months of continuously using it for my photography, I’m glad to say that Phantom 4 has drastically improved my photo and video production quality and creativity. The ability to take videos and photos in the air provides a different perspective and creative angles to everything I do.

The truth is that I can’t carry just one bag anymore. I brought my trusty DJI Phantom 4 out to every vacation I go, and I have 2 bags to lurk around everywhere I go – one for the Phantom 4, the other for my usual camera gears.

Fly for the first time - DJI Phantom 4
Fly for the first time – DJI Phantom 4

Flying the Phantom 4 for the first time

If you’ve never flown a drone, you will be mind blown by how easy it is to play this gadget. I have no drone before and my flying experience using DJI Phantom 4 has been freaking amazing! It takes some practice to control the quadcopter to behave and fly in the way you want. The tilt vs pan motions is something you have to train your muscle memory. Then if you embrace the controls and corrected your muscle memory, you can get amazing video scenes.

With Phantom 4 at Camera Highland, Malaysia
With Phantom 4 at Camera Highland, Malaysia

Camera

The Phantom 4 is powering a camera that can film in 4K, which can yield an 8-megapixel still on its own, but a big improvement is the ability to shoot 120fps at 1080p, which will make excellent slow-motion footage. As compared to the older Phantoms, the lens is new with less chromatic aberration.

A different look at Garden by the Bay, Singapore with the DJI Phantom 4
A different look at Garden by the Bay, Singapore with the DJI Phantom 4

Video streaming onto your iPad

With your iPad, not only see the drone physically fly, it shows what the quadcopter can see, you can see where it goes due to the map. And the ability to fly as far as 5km away from where you are is amazing. You can even extend your range by simple and creative accessories. Even if you do not use it as a still photography or videography, you are able to explore the location from a first-person perspective without leaving your seat – that is simply an amazing experience.

DJI Spark, DJI Mavic Pro, and DJI Phantom 4 Advanced

By now, you should have heard about the latest release of the DJI Spark and Mavic Pro. DJI also releases the new edition of the Phantom 4 – Phantom 4 Pro and Phantom 4 Advanced.

DJI Phantom 4 with the Mini DJI Spark
DJI Phantom 4 with the Mini DJI Spark

You can still get Phantom 4 in the market and they will be easier on your wallet. If you do not have the budget, I would say that Phantom 4 is the best deal for aerial photography now in the “prosumer” market. If you have an unlimited budget, of course, then choose any of the DJI drones that suit your needs. We are not using the Phantom 4 for any professional work and so, it fits our needs.

Battery Life

The advertised battery life of the Phantom 4 is 28 minutes per flight. However, in practice, I was averaging around 20-25 minutes of flight depending on the weather & how strong is the wind. One important point to note is that you will always need to know if you have enough time to “come back home” & make sure you have enough juice to overcome any unforeseen circumstances such as a strong headwind or getting lost in the way.

Legal & Permissions

As drone flying gets more and more popular, different countries and states have implemented different drone laws to make sure their citizens stay safe. There are some apps that we use to give us a broad idea of where we can fly and not. So, please make sure you do your homework before you travel with your drone!

Singapore, the Lion City with the DJI Phantom 4
Singapore, the Lion City with the DJI Phantom 4

Overall Flying Experience

The WOW factor is huge. It takes a few flights before you can start to enjoy the DJI Phantom 4‘s flying experience completely. I still get nervous while flying this beast. At first, I feel nervous as I might “lose” the Phantom 4. The ‘Return to Home’ feature simply took care of that fear of losing the drone due to interrupted signal and especially in the busy city. For this to work 100%, you have to make sure you lock your GPS before take off and have enough juice to get “home”.

My beloved DJI Phantom 4 and Telunas Private Beach Resort
My beloved DJI Phantom 4 and Telunas Private Beach Resort

Final Thoughts

The price of a Phantom 4 may be expensive to some; to me, it’s a great deal to have a camera up in the sky and have a totally different perspective. For this much technology, which I will list down later, to be available to the consumer at this price is totally mind-blowing. Ever since the launch of Phantom 3, I have been holding back on this purchase for a while. I was not sure if I should invest in another set of gadgets (since I owned quite a fair amount of photography gears). I even thought of making use of the 30 days refund period from an eCommerce portal and refund it after I had some experience with it and had some fun. However, after using it for a day, I cannot go back. DJI made amazing drones and I am still amazed to what these drones can achieve. Today, I am very confident in making better contents and bringing my photography and videography to the next level.

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Thank you.