DJI Phantom 3 FAQ

DJI Phantom 3 FAQ

Each DJI release seems to come with lots of questions, and the release of the Phantom 3 this week hasn't been any different. Where's the iOS Pilot app? Where's the lens hood? Can I use my Phantom 2 prop guards? Being the nice folks they are, Filmkit went out in search of all the answers ;) Full review of the Phantom 3 will follow soon!

No lens cap?

You might already have been going through the accessories that come with your Phantom once or twice, wondering where the lens cap is. Did you lose it already? According to DJI, the lens cap is already on the camera: the camera comes with a glass filter in front of the actual lens, in order to protect it. The filter is removable, so you can always take it off to clean your lens.

The camera on the Phantom 3 professional

Can I use ND-filters?

Neutral density filters, or ND-filters allow you to block a certain amount of light coming in to the camera, helping you keep your shutter speed low. If you're flying in broad daylight, you can compensate the amount of light coming in by ramping up the shutter speed, but this can easily lead to choppy movement. A better solution would be to screw a (variable) ND-filter in front o the lens, and limit the amount of light that way.

Since you can screw-off the filter in front of the lens, you can also replace it with an ND-filter. At the time of writing (May 2015) no purpose-built third-party screw-on filters are available yet, but the Kodak 3x3 ND #96 0.90 has been reported to work with the Phantom 3.

Can I use Phantom 2 batteries with the Phantom 3?

No, the Phantom 3 uses 15.2 volt batteries while the Phantom 2 uses 11.1 volt batteries, so they're not interchangeable. That's a real bummer if you're heavily invested in Phantom 2 batteries, but the new batteries promise a longer flight time of up to 23 minutes (while also powering more features).

The Phantom 3 has a new type of battery

Are the Phantom 2 prop guards compatible with the Phantom 3?

Yes, you can use the Phantom 2 prop-guards on the Phantom 3 without any problems. Tip: for easier travel, get these snap-on prop guards.

How does the GoPro 4 compare to the Phantom 3's built-in camera?

Both cameras have their plusses and minuses. The biggest advantage of the Phantom 3 is that you can control the camera while it's in the air: you can start/stop recording, set shutter speed and ISO, white balance, picture style and even change the movie format/resolution/fps. Oh, and you can make pictures during the flight ;) The Phantom 3 thus offers a much more tightly integrated system.

Image-quality-wise the differences are minor: the Phantom 3 camera seems to add a little more artificial sharpening (which can be dialed down), but has a big advantage in low light compared to the GoPro. The GoPro gets noisy even at the slightest hint of sunset, whereas the Phantom 3's built-in camera can handle low light quite well. It even holds on to more dynamic range it seems. Check out this video:

Color rendition is probably the biggest difference between the two, with the GoPro being the most vibrant of the two. Both cameras offer a flat/log mode, so you can tweak colors to your heart's content.

One convenient feature the GoPro offers over the Phantom 3, is a 2.7K 60fps mode (whereas the Phantom 3 only offers 60fps in 1080p and 4K 30fps). This mode can be very useful because it allows you to crop/stabilise the footage in post ánd gives you the option of slowing down the footage. On the other hand: when filming static subjects you're more likely to want to speed-up the footage rather than slow it down.

Where can I find the Phantom Pilot app for iOS?

Update: the Pilot app for iOS is now available in the app store

At the time of writing (beginning of May, 2015) Apple seems to be holding back the release of the Pilot app for the Phantom 3. The DJI website currently states: "Compatible DJI Pilot App for iOS is coming soon" but no official date has been given.

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