DJI has been in the quadcopter game since the beginning and has built a name for quality and value. While we’ve always had the option of attaching a camera, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision recently came onto the market with an on-board camera system designed to satisfy drone flyers that are also shutterbugs.
So, everyone is asking: is this the best quadcopter with a camera? Our DJI Phantom 2 Vision review seeks to find answer.
• Fully integrated on-board 14 megapixel camera with 1080p HD video
• Live streaming video via wifi and mobile app with a range of 980 feet
• Top speed of 35 miles per hour
• Range of 980 feet
• <ahref=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilt_(camera)” target=”_blank”>Camera tilt to ensure smooth video
• 25 minutes of flying time per charge
Why you want it
This quadcopter really offers you everything you want – speed, long range, maneuverability and high quality video and still images. In other words, this is quadcopter will satisfy you with the initial fun factor of simply flying a machine. But the honeymoon won’t end as you dig the camera features and find some really cool and amazing uses, especially with the HD video. Just check out this example:
As you can see, not only does the Phantom 2 fly like crazy, it also captures great video.
Design & Build
DJI’s quadcopters tend to have a toy-like appearance; the consistent use of shiny white plastic exteriors doesn’t necessarily scream quality. However, don’t be fooled. This is no toy.
The familiar “X” design DJI employs is the first thing you notice. However, what really catches your eye is the camera rig that hangs below the body.
The camera rig is comprised of two pieces: a platform that houses the optical cabling, SD card slot and camera chips and sensor and a micro USB plug; an additional rig suspends the camera below the platform.
The result of this is that DJI was able to keep the overall weight of the Phantom down. This means the Phantom is responsive, nimble and efficient.
A 5200mAh LI-Po battery powers the Phantom. The battery is easy to access and can be changed quickly, so if you’ve got a spare you can get back up and flying in no time.
The Phantom is controlled with a remote featuring two joysticks, two position switches and of course a power switch. The remote also has a clamp to attach a mobile phone and a Wi-Fi booster. This acts to create the local Wi-Fi network to connect with the Phantom.
Once activated, the local Wi-Fi network allows you see what the drone camera sees right on the screen of your mobile. Of course, you’ll need the app for that, called Vision, but don’t worry it is free for both iOS and Android.
The great thing about the app is that it is more than just a viewfinder — you can control the camera, from starting and stopping video recording to snapping stills. You can also get data from the Phantom such as speed, altitude and battery life.
The Phantom is a very durable quadcopter, as are all of DJI’s offerings. Most first time flyers end up crashing their quadcopter at least once while learning to fly and land. The good news is that the Phantom can take a pretty solid beating and still keep going. However, don’t go out of your way to crash!
The Phantom is really fun to fly. It’s fast and it has a great range. As I’ve said before, the toy-like appearance is deceptive – this is a serious flying machine. But don’t let that intimidate you. You’ll find that because the Phantom is capable of so much that unlike so many other entry-level quadcopters, you won’t need to upgrade to another to feel satisfied.
There is a slight learning curve to start flying. Before you try to fire up the Phantom, take some time to read through the instructions. You can find some excellent tutorials on YouTube like the one below.
Once you’re up and flying, take it slowly and resist the urge to open up the throttle and streak across the sky. We recommend that instead of trying to break the sound barrier you work out some basic maneuvers like turning, ascending and descending. Of course, when you’re starting out you should do this is an open area – avoid power lines and trees.
In the event that you fly the Phantom out of range of the controller, and it’s going to happen, don’t worry. The onboard GPS will guide the quadcopter back to the point where it lost contact. Once it’s back in range you can regain control.
The Phantom also has a fantastic return home feature. In the event that the controller should malfunction or lose power, for example if the controller batteries die, the Phantom will ascend to 50 feet and then slowly return to it’s original take off point. Once it’s landed at the take off point it will power down.
Controlling the camera via the app is quick and easy to learn as it is designed very intuitively. Besides switching the camera mode from video to still and capturing images, the app also allows you control the tilt of the camera, which is really useful when hovering and capturing images.
The app also allows you to stream video in real-time. The ability to do this and quality of the video is impacted by conditions and the distance between your phone and the Phantom; the further away it gets the poorer the quality and the more likely for freezes and pauses in the video. While, this isn’t a deal breaker by any means, it is something to bear in mind.
All video and photos are saved to a micro SD card. You pop the card into a laptop and edit your photos and videos. As a nice bonus, Adobe Lightroom now has filters and a processing workflow available to download here.
Once you comfortable flying, you’ll really be blown away by the photos and video you can capture.
• Very fun to fly
• Very high quality video
• Excellent GPS
• Excellent Wi-Fi
• Mobile app intuitively controls the camera
• Excellent distance
• Very good battery life
• Setup is cumbersome
• Battery and Wi-Fi extender need to be charged separately
• Remote control requires 4 AA batteries
• Instructions are not intuitive
If you want a quadcopter that is an impressive flyer with an awesome camera without breaking the bank we think our DJI Phantom 2 Vision review makes it clear that this the right choice.
There certainly are higher quality quadcopters out there for not much more, however considering that this essentially an all-in-one package that also doesn’t really cut corner it’s hard to beat.
Dollar for dollar and feature for feature this quadcopter is a great buy.