The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced vs. The Phantom 4 – Should YOU Upgrade?

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OVERVIEW

The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced, released about a month ago, showed improvements in flight, image quality, and battery life. With features such as faster high speeds, a mechanical shutter, and a longer lasting lithium battery, the Phantom 4 Advanced appears to be a great mild upgrade to the well-rounded Phantom 4 for only $200 more (retail: $1,349). But didn’t the Phantom 4 Pro just come out, with specs that are better than this new Phantom 4 advanced? What is the advantage of this over the Phantom 4? Is it better to just purchase the Phantom 4 Pro, seeing as one’s budget is already sturdy? In this review, www.everythingdji.com will break down the specs of the new Phantom 4 Advanced, and compare it to the other Phantom 4s that DJI has to offer.

SPECIFICATION COMPARISON – EXCLUDES THE CAMERA 

In terms of construction, the Phantom 4 looks sleek, glossy, and fluid. Luckily, DJI did not look to redesign the already successful Phantom 4, and the improvements that they did make are minor. The Phantom 4 Advanced weighs in at 1,368 grams (battery and propellers included) a mere 12 grams lighter than the Phantom 4. In terms of size, the P4A (Phantom 4 Advanced) measures 350mm across diagonally, which is exactly the same as the P4 (Phantom 4). Both models share a top speed of 45 mph, in the “S” mode, which is the most extreme and least user-friendly mode to fly in. The P4A has a brand spankin’ new battery, which, surprisingly enough, packs a whole two more minutes into the flight time. This intelligent flight battery, which weighs an extra 5 grams, simply has 470 more mAh, and hence provides a small boost in duration. The included remote controller, however, does have a relatively severe change. It now supports an HDMI output, which means that a variety of monitors can be connected. It also means that, in theory, transfer times can keep up as the output signal increases. What this means is: the current output is 720p and 30fps. In the future, as DJI increases this output, USB may not be able to keep up. However, signal over HDMI is fast and reliable, and also much more functional with external monitors.

 
 

THE CAMERA – STILLS

The most significant improvement that the Phantom 4 Advanced brings to the table is the camera. Packing a 1″ CMOS sensor, with 20 effective megapixels, the P4A appears to fill in any concerns that the original P4 might have created, only loading a 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor with 12.4 effective megapixels. The lens rests at a fixed focal length of 24mm, (35mm equivalent) but now has an adjustable aperture that ranges from f/2.8-f/11. The P4, as some may remember, had a fixed aperture of f/2.8, which caused problems for more professional content makers looking to have more control over the shot. Focus is not fixed at infinity, either, and ranges from 1m-∞. The maximum ISO is better as well, topping out at 6,400 for videos (compared to the P4’s 3,200) and at 12,800 for images (compared to the P4’s 1,600). Away from the internals, the P4A’s camera has a mechanical shutter. Yes, you read that correctly. This improvement allows for images as large as 5472 x 3648, compared to the P4’s 4000 x 3000. The camera can also burst stills at 3,5,7,10, and 14 frames per second, which blows away the Phantom 4’s top rate of 7. You also now have the option to take both JPEGs and RAW DNGs at the same time, on a card as large as 128 GB (compared to the P4’s maximum allowance of 64 GB.

THE CAMERA – VIDEO

Video is essential in drone cinematography; the premise of video is what cinematography evolves around. The improvements to the camera carry over to video, in areas such as resolution, bit rate, and more. The P4A allows you to film in the H.265 codec, which off of the bat is a major advantage over the P4. There are a lot of improvements in bit rate and frame rate; to see these specifications, check out the image below:

OPINION

The DJI Phantom 4 Advanced should be seen as a replacement for the DJI Phantom 4, that provides more realistic camera functions for consumer aerial cinematographers who are on the verge of producing professional content. Any restricting settings or functions from the Phantom 4 have been changed with the Phantom 4 Advanced, and the price point is the same as the Phantom 4 when it first came out. The reality is this: if you own a Phantom 4, and want to upgrade, spend the extra $150 and get the Phantom 4 Pro. The Phantom 4 Advanced is better, but the upgrades are too minor for another $1000+, when a similar amount could be spent on the Phantom 4 Pro, which has rocking specs.

 
 
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Last modified: May 15, 2017

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