Phantom 3 first flight experience (with 4k + 1080p comparison video)

May 20, 2014
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DJI Phantom 3 Professional First Flight experience

Following the instructions I let the batteries charge for about 4 hours on both controller and main battery (even the lights stopped flashing after about 45 minutes to 1.5 hour).

I reused the case from the P2V to transport the new bird but the controller wouldn't fit and had to go in a separate back. Everything was ready except I forgot the propellors at the launch site. After hastily going back to get them I then struggled to unwrap the plastic covering around the propeller hubs but finally got them free. Then tightening each propellor on the nut as recommended.

In beginner mode I powered her up.... Two sudden bursts of throttled motors were a bit of a surprise but i assumed that it was some kind of test of the motors and ensuring the props are secured. It took about 45 seconds to get 17 .. yes 17 satellites!

Strangely my app said i could auto-take off but the only icon showing was for auto-landing (even she wasn’t airborne). So gradually pressing up on the throttle up she went. First I noticed she was moving around a lot close to the ground. Less steady than the P2V even there was quite a bit of wind.

As i went a bit higher i noticed her yawning into the wind more than I’d seen on the P2V. It was a little discomforting as there was more rapid correctional movement that what i’ve grown used to.

I soon flew to the 30m limit of the beginner mode and brought her back home. Landing was a bit bouncier than the P2V. It seems to correct itself a lot but sometimes i found myself fighting against the correctional movement to keep her steady for landing.

Next, turning off beginner mode I then get her airborne again and started to push her boundaries. Flying higher and noticing how much movement there was in the wind. I was a bit unsettled. I made the decision to just go for it and flew around 50 meters up (in case of any failure knowing roughly where the carcass would be) and then started to fly around. Video was clear and smooth on the display.

I flew over to a building construction with a crane. Keeping visual range of the drone. That looked okay. Switched to photo mode and took a photo then back to video.

(Note to DJI: It would be good if you can allow for photo taking during video recording even if momentarily stopping the video.. rather than have to go through 5 presses to stop video, change mode, take photo, change mode, start video)

After that I felt relatively comfortable and at distance i wasn’t concerned of the rapid correcting so much. Battery level was looking good. I decided to fly further out a bit, getting to around 1 KM away before the mobile device started to report poor video signal.

I noticed the (H) icon on the display in the yellow area and wondered what it meant. Erring on the side of caution I turned her around and brought her back home. I realised later the (H) icon represents the approximate amount of battery to return home.

All in all I was happy with the first flight experience. She’s a nimble craft but not quite as graceful as the P2V.

Looking at the video and photos there is slight angle on the horizon. Video quality is superb. Grainy if blowing up at 4K level but at 1080p it’s immaculate. Exception is when turning, a lot of blur enters the video. Photos were good too although a bit grainy in darker areas. I can see myself acquiring more storage at this rate. 5GB used for about 10 minutes filming. Forgot to mention the idea was also very smooth.

I've made a short video clip at 1080p (downscaled) and 4k. For best experience use the controls at bottom right of the screen to set highest resolution + full screen. Enjoy!
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Nice video!!

So did you shoot that at 4k and then render one out at 3840 and one file at 1080?
You press the buttons on the remote on the P3 to do it quickly. Pressing shutter stops recording and flips it to photo mode if it is recording and pressing record flips it back from photo to video mode and starts recording. This works on my 'pre-production' model - will remember to try it on my production model
So did you shoot that at 4k and then render one out at 3840 and one file at 1080?

Yes. Unfortunately, Google seems to re-code the playback somehow and doesn't support 4k directly from what I see so it isn't as good as downloading the file and playing locally.

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