Before i get started with this I just have to state that this is just my opinion and experience with the Phantom 4. The issues I have with it may be able to be resolved but I was not able to with the time I had with it.
Also majority of the footage I shot with the Phantom 4 is confidential until around October this year due to the clients product shoot. So unfortunately I do not have much footage to show you as the products are confidential at this stage. So I cannot create a full review unless I can get my hands on another Phantom 4.
I was just recently in Maui, HI, for a shoot with a client of mine. They also picked up a Phantom 4 for me to play with and trial. First impressions and after a few flights.... this was a game changer. The new features, speed, power, it seemed perfect for what we were doing in Maui, which was filming windsurfing.
The first week we had very little wind, so I didn't have much chance to test it in high winds, but man it was stable. It just felt like I had gone from driving a Ford (nice and reliable) to a Bentley (Luxury and comfort). Everything seemed smooth, easy to frame and keep framed. The new tracking features were fantastic, it meant I was able to just focus on the framing on a slow moving windsurfer rather than about flying.
Also the new tap to go feature works incredibly well, allowing you to control speed while moving.
These two features, as cool as they are... would I use them that often? Chances are no, i prefer to fly and be in control.
We also tried to run it into tree's and other objects, and every time it worked fantastically.
Also the new attachable props made things much quicker. Although double check that you have put them on properly while you are getting used to the new system because sometimes it can seem they are on, but they are not.
Everything seemed incredible, I was ready to put my Phantom 3 up for sale, and buy one when I went home.
Until.... the winds arrived.
Once the wind arrived and we started to go with the faster boards, it just couldn't keep up. Which was strange. Because my Phantom 3 could easily keep up in GPS mode with the same winds while providing a nice smoother shot.
So I thought... ahhh time to put it into sports mode. (I assume thats what the S stands for).
And man was it fast. Much faster than my P3. But.... it was too responsive. Tracking a windsurfer, i could keep up easily, but the second i would yaw or adjust course, it would over react and it would not be nice on the footage. I just didn't feel safe flying close and low to the rider with it being that responsive.
Even i tried tracking cars around mountains, and it just wouldn't keep up.
This is why I am sticking with my P3. My P3, although not as fast in top speed, or as stable in low speed, it has a nice middle ground.
To me this feels like a software restriction.
So disclaimer, there may be a way to adjust the speeds in the modes to fix this, and if so, i will go out and buy a P4 right now. And if so please post or email to let me know how.
But if not, i cannot suggest this upgrade to anyone who does tracking shots that need speed. If you are doing your normal speed/landscapes/general non tracking then i cannot recommend this upgrade enough.
The Phantom 4 is a super solid UAV with a great top speed and incredible battery life with fantastic new features. But for now i am sticking with my Phantom 3.
Summed up in points
Camera - Compared to the Phantom 3, i found the camera very similar in terms of picture quality. Really nice and sharp, no real curve/distortion, still pretty average in low light.
Gimbal - This feels and handles much better than the P3. I found that the props almost never got in shot as well, but if switched into sports mode, props were constantly in shot.
New Prop System - Great, much better than screw on, but when getting used to it, double check that its on properly.
Tracking Mode - This is a great new feature, it works much better than expected. Only upset is that it doesn't track backwards. Which for obvious reasons it doesn't have back sensors
Sensor - These work fantastically, we tried to run the phantom into trees and other objects. It just wouldn't let you. The only bad thing about these, is that it doesn't have them on the rear....
Point to Go - Works really well, super easy to control, and due to the sensors, it works in a really safe way. Same for return to home.
Speed - Once in sports mode, this thing is fast, like really fast, just for general flying fun, its great. But with the camera in this mode, the props are constantly in shot. Making it almost useless at high speed for filming unless tracking backwards, but with no sensors on the back, this makes it quite dangerous and scary.
Battery - They say 29 minute battery life, but as normal it doesn't quite get to that. On average I was getting about 25-26 minutes. Which is still really good. A much needed improvement over the P3.
To see some still photos from out trip with the P4 go to my Instagram account @camfrostDOP