DJI Phantom 3 Professional Review: Affordable Smart 4K Camera Drone

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Since: June 2, 2019
  • Highest Price: $1,229.99 - November 10, 2019
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Are you a photographer looking for a smart camera drone that can deliver quality aerial images and videos at 4K resolution setting. Meet the Phantom 3 Professional drone. This quadcopter was released in April 2015 and still is going strong. Despite the fact that Phantom 4 Pro is out, the Phantom 3 Professional is an affordable option for those photographers and beginners who want to be able to capture stunning aerial moments. 

The purpose of the DJI Phantom 3 Professional review is to help shoppers and photographers like you make an informed decision. With so many popular professional camera drones out there, it can be quite a challenge to choose the right one. Fortunately for beginners, the Phantom 3 Professional can be an easy choice. Read through our DJI Phantom 3 Professional review to learn more about this smart camera drone.

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What’s Inside The Box

Before we start talking about the DJI Phantom 3 Professional review. I want to take a brief moment to explain to you what to expect when you receive the package. This is one of my favorite about doing a review. Because you get to know what is included in the box. When you order yourself a brand new DJI Phantom 3 Professional, you should get a remote controller, a battery, a drone and important accessories like a battery charger and the like. 

DJI Phantom 3 Professional Review

The size of DJI Phantom 3 Professional box is around that big as the length of your forearm. So it is quite a large bird packed with incredible capabilities. Upon receiving the package, you should get the following package content. Keep it in your mind that the accessories vary based on what package you order, but this list is for DJI Phantom 3 Professional starter kit.

Package Content:

  • DJI Phantom 3 Professional Drone
  • Remote Controller
  • Intelligent Flight Battery
  • USB Charger for Battery
  • USB Charger for Mobile Device
  • Extra Propellers
  • 3-Axis Gimbal Camera
  • User Manual

Related Article: Phantom 4 Professional: Best Drone for Hobbyists, Professionals, or Beginners?

Design Quality

On the first impression, I really liked how professional the Phantom 3 drone looks. It comes with gold stripes around its two motor arms. Unlike more recently released drones that features better material such as alloy metal and polycarbonate fibers, the Phantom 3 Professional body frame is made of thick ABS plastic that makes it incredibly resilient to impact. It is not exactly that tough as Mavic Pro, but enough to take few beatings if beginners make mistakes.

One thing that captured my attention is how the camera is mounted. The Phantom 3 Professional features a 12MP 1/2.3″ CMOS Sensor camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal systems. This design feature helps eliminates the vibration so to ensure smooth video quality and perfect stills. Photographers love it because perfect stills bring out the best quality out of the image and make it super easy to edit via Lightroom and Photoshop.

Furthermore, the Phantom 3 Professional comes with built-in landing legs. It is actually quite nice because it creates distance between the camera and the ground. So that the sand, dust and any other tiny particles don’t get stuck inside. If you do need to clean the camera, I recommend buying this cleaning kit specifically for your drones only. Finally, the Phantom 3 drone is equipped with built-in LED lights that help with spotting during daytime and nighttime.

Related Article: Top 8 Best Drones Like DJI Mavic Pro Clones Under $100 for Beginners

Performance

There are several things that make Phantom 3 Professional unique and different than most drones such as Mirage Pro D50 or HS700 Ophelia. First and foremost, the Phantom 3 Professional comes with a built-in GPS module. This enables smart positioning feature which means it communicates with the satellites to obtain coordination for precise flight controls. Not only it makes the flying experience much easier and simple enough for beginners, but this feature also ensures stability for smooth controls. 

In addition to precise flight controls, the Phantom 3 Professional drone comes with a set of intelligent flight modes which I will explain more about it in details later on. Performance-wise, the Phantom 3 Professional drone is equipped with brushless motors that provide amazing propulsion force to maximize speed. While reducing the amount of power that it drains from the battery. This smart camera drone has a maximum flying speed of 35 miles per hour.

Which makes it an incredible option for aerial photography since it can handle wind speed level 5 to 6 with relative ease. The battery, on the other hand, has an operation time of 23 minutes. For a professional camera drone, this isn’t that bad at all. However, I do recommend that you buy at least few extra batteries if you want to extend your flight session. Furthermore, it has a remote control distance up to 3.1 miles using the Lightbridge technology to enhance the transmission systems.

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Camera Quality

Talking about the quality of camera is the most important part of DJI Phantom 3 review. This sleek professional camera drone is equipped with a powerful 12MP 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor camera. Unlike its successor Phantom 4 Pro that has 20 MP and 1″ CMOS sensor camera. It is comparably more expensive to Phantom 3 Professional which makes it an affordable choice for entry-level aerial photographers. Here’s why the Phantom 3 Professional is still a popular choice for beginners.

It can record videos at precisely 4K UHD resolution setting. When I am talking about it, I mean it can record videos at 4096 x 2160 at 25 frames per second. Alternatively, you can record videos at 3840 x 2160 at 30 frames per second if you want to create a smoother video animation. The Mavic Pro and Mavic Air drones don’t have that options which easily makes the Phantom 3 Professional an excellent choice for entry-level aerial photographers.

Plus it is capable of capturing stills at 4K UHD resolution setting and creating both RAW + JPEG format. So that aspiring aerial photographers and beginners can easily edit the pictures. Regarding the quality of the video, it has a maximum bitrate of 60 Mbps and can store up to 64GB. However, you can use a 256GB micro SD card instead. You will need to format it first if you plan to use it. Even the quality of the camera is improving over time, you still can create amazing pictures and videos with Phantom 3 Professional.

Related Article: Top 9 Unique Reasons Why You Should Buy DJI Mavic Air for Beginners!

Intelligent Flight Modes

At one part of the DJI Phantom 3 Professional review, I mentioned about intelligent flight modes. These modes are especially useful, not just because they make the flying experience easier, but they are fun to use! In fact, there are several ways you can take advantage of intelligent flight modes. To enable this feature, you will need to connect the drone using DJI Go 3 App. Then select intelligent flight modes and you will see at least several modes to choose from.

For the first time flyers, these intelligent flight modes can be confusing. If you do not know what they exactly do, I recommend looking up on YouTube or read the instruction manual as they will explain to you how these intelligent flight modes exactly work. These features work the best if you plan to fly the drone in a wide open space area without any nearby objects. Below is a list of intelligent flight modes and what they exactly do:

Active Track:

Select the subject and target them. This sends out the command to the DJI Phantom 3 Professional to start tracking the subject. Perfect for solo journey videos, especially travelers who want to create their own without the need for a second camera operator.

Tripod Mode:

Basically what it does is dumb down the drone’s speed. This feature is incredibly useful because it allows you to get the quadcopter up close to an object that you want to investigate or to take pictures off. Not only it is a nice feature, but the lowered speed also makes it useful for flying inside the building or close quarters.

Waypoint Mode:

This intelligent flight mode, fundamentally, creates waypoints for your drone to fly. The waypoint mode will take at least a few practice flights before you master it. How it exactly works? When you want to make a video of a place or landmark, you need to fly the drone over to point of interest and create waypoint every time you fly the drone. It is a great opportunity to get creative. 

Point of Interest:

The point of interest mode is very straightforward and simple. Basically, you select an object or subject that you want to create 360-degree videos around them. Imagine yourself recording a cruise ship at 360-degrees around? People love it and plus the beautiful, scenery water. You are bounded to garner at least several hundreds or thousands of likes.

While there are obviously more intelligent flight modes than these modes that I mentioned. They are just the tip of the iceberg, but you get the idea of how smart the Phantom 3 Professional drone is. 

Related Article: How to Become Part 107 Remote Pilot Certified: Guide for Beginners

Remote Controller

The Phantom 3 Professional drone introduces a sleek, stylish and professional appearance remote controller. Unlike most other drones, this quadcopter features Lightbridge technology. Basically, it is a dedicated transmission system which enhances the communication signal between the drone and transmitter. Not only it ensures a quality connection for smoother flying experience, it increases the control distance and enables streaming real-time videos in high quality.

The remote controller is equipped with powerful dual antennas which switch the channels between 2.4GHz to the 2.483GHz frequency to keep the connection stable. In addition to that, it has built-in battery status that lets you know how much battery it has left. The controls are very simple and basic that makes it super easy and friendly for beginners to learn how to pilot an advanced quadcopter. Finally, the wheel buttons located on each shoulder are for adjusting the White Balance exposure as well as controlling the camera remotely.

Related Article: 7 Quick and Important Tips for Beginner Drone Pilots

Final Verdict of DJI Phantom 3 Professional Review

Before I wrap up the DJI Phantom 3 Professional review. I think this is an excellent quadcopter for the entry-level aerial photographer. It doesn’t have the latest technology or upgrades that most recently launched drones have. But, the Phantom 3 Professional is quite a decent quadcopter packed with features. It has its own built-in obstacle avoidance detection systems which provide an additional layer of protection. 

DJI Phantom 3 Professional Final Review

Coupled with superior control distance up to a maximum of 3.1 miles or 5,000 meters. The Phantom 3 Professional offers aerial photographers and beginners a great deal of flexibility to fly around anywhere they want to. It presents the opportunity to capture special moments or in hard-to-reach areas like mountains and large infrastructure. The Phantom 3 Professional drone boasts impressive flight capabilities that will definitely meet your expectations.

Thanks to the built-in GPS module, it offers incredible stability and precise flight controls that ensure you will have an easy time flying the drone. The introduction of intelligent flight modes makes the whole flying operation simple with a push of a button. At the price tag that the DJI Phantom 3 Professional drone is going for. I would say it is actually a quality smart camera drone crafted for beginners. You can check its price here

9.3 Total Score
Editor's Review

We think the Phantom 3 Professional drone is an excellent quadcopter that has a lot of things to offer for beginners and entry-level aerial photographers. It is built with GPS module which offers stability and precise flight controls for the best flying experience. Packed with features which introduces intelligent flight modes that enhances the flight operations by making it easier with one push of button. Not only just that, the Phantom 3 Professional drone boasts incredible control range and excellent battery life.

Design
10
Performance
9
Features
9
Flight Time
9
Camera Quality
9
Value
10
PROS
  • Built-in GPS mode for stability and precise flight controls that ensures best flying experience.
  • High quality camera that delivers best stills and videos to your smartphones.
  • Can support up to 64GB (256GB if you format the micro SD card)
  • Amazing flight time up to 23 minutes for long flying session.
  • Impressive remote control distance up to 5,000 meters thanks to Lightbridge technology.
  • Crafted with durable material that provides layer of impact resistance.
  • Brushless motors which enhances its flight performance with a maximum flying speed of 35 miles per hour.
  • Built-in Obstacle Avoidance Detection systems that detects objects automatically.
CONS
  • None
Add your review

Hello, welcome to Aerofly Drones! My name is Keith Ericksen. I am a commercial licensed drone operator. Flying and talking about the drones is my passion. Whether it is toy-grade to professional-grade quadcopters. On my leisure, I enjoy socializing with friends, play video games, hiking, traveling and reading. If you have a project that needs our drone services, please contact us via Hire-A-Pilot page.

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