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Phantom 3 Pro -- thoughts after first flight
1717 16 2015-5-17
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Abe
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Well, first of all, the Phantom 3 is still a Phantom. It's not an Inspire. Although a lot of Inspire stuff went into the P3, it's still a far lighter aircraft and flies more like the Phantom 2V+ than the Inspire. I'd keep it in wind under 15 miles per hour, 20 tops. It responds to controls somewhat more smoothly than the P2V+, but the Inspire is still the king of the hill when it comes to responsiveness and smoothness in handling.

Now, when it comes to the quality of the video, the P3 Pro is on equal footing with the Inspire. The 4K video is as good on the P3 as on the Inspire. I didn't do extensive testing, but the little I did convinced me. The camera is excellent. The P3 camera also does not seem to require an ND filter as much as the Inspire does. In auto mode, shooting directly into the sunset, the P3 handled the shot quite well with little to no highlight blowout. I probably need to fly in more and different lighting conditions to truly conclude that the ND filter is not needed. But there's no question the P3's camera and 4K video quality is impressive. And the camera controls are exactly the same as the Inspire.

I did some aggressive maneuvering to see if the the propellers would appear in the P3 video, and of course they did. So, again, the P3 is still a Phantom, not an Inspire with its retractable propellers/landing gear.

Overall, I'd say that the Phantom 3 Pro is a modest improvement over the P2V+ v3.0 in terms of flight characteristics. In terms of imaging, however, it is on par with the Inspire.

For Phantom pilots, there will be a significant learning curve because the remote control, Pilot app and firmware updates are totally different than what they are used to.

For Inspire pilots, the Phantom P3 is the perfect complement to your Inspire, with virtually no learning curve. The entire user experience is identical to what you already know, but there's less assembly required to get into the air. I think that the major decision on which to use may come down to flying conditions. Calm day: Phantom 3. Windy day: Inspire. Risky flight: Phantom 3 (lower cost of failure). Wide open spaces: Inspire.

I've always liked the ease with which a Phantom 2V+ can go from carrying case to airborne. You turn it on, calibrate compass and fly. The P3, interestingly, adds a new step where you have to wait a couple of minutes for the IMU to "warm up." Not sure what's up with that. But it still beats the complex dance steps the Inspire has to go through to go from case to flight.

Bottom line -- The P3 is a very good step forward for DJI, and it is the perfect complement/backup for Inspire owners. If you haven't ordered one yet, what are you waiting for? ;-)




2015-5-17
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MJDMike
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Nice review, thanks Abe!
2015-5-18
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Dave E
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Hi Abe, great review many thanks. I am considering a P3 Pro for more risky locations (for the bird not for people I hasten to add!) such as really tight areas where I wouldn't risk the inspire. I have a P2  with prop guards which is ideal for this. I am wondering if the P2 guards will fit the P3, or if we will have to wait for P3 specific guards.  
2015-5-18
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TheFlyGuy
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Interesting thoughts. Thanks for that.

The main question is still here - does the Inspire gives you that much for extra money then the P3?

I would say that when comparing the two machines it's all about the end result of the video. So yes it seems like it will be more then possible to get the same result you'll get from the inspire with the P3.
So why i will still choose the inspire? Because as a film director i see it that way- while the current camera is the best option we will probably have with the P3, it's the "basic" option in case of the inspire.
In other word-the best that the P3 can offer is the starting point of the Inspire.

I'm sure that in a short time Dji will bring the Inspire to the point that we as users will be able to use it to the maximum potential, and it will be harder to compare the two.  
Until then - I'm waiting for a comparison of the P3 vs Solo by 3dr. That's a real fight
2015-5-18
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smcbrearty
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Do the prop guards from the P2 fit a P3?
2015-5-18
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GrahamJ
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2015-5-18
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Abe
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smcbrearty@roge Posted at 2015-5-18 20:40
Do the prop guards from the P2 fit a P3?

Yes, they do. However, everything else is different, including battery, RC, charger and different (but same size) props. If you have a case for your P2, you will also need a different foam insert.
2015-5-18
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Abe
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Dave E Posted at 2015-5-18 18:51
Hi Abe, great review many thanks. I am considering a P3 Pro for more risky locations (for the bird n ...

Prop guards are the same between P2 and P3. But that's it. Everything else is different. Even the props are different -- same size but due to the braking motors they have modified the threads to help them stay on.

You can use P2 props in a pinch but DJI does not recommend them. Having said that, there are already reports on the P3 forum of props falling off in flight. A familiar theme for earlier Inspire pilots.
2015-5-18
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Abe
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TheFlyGuy Posted at 2015-5-18 20:31
Interesting thoughts. Thanks for that.

The main question is still here - does the Inspire gives yo ...

FlyGuy, my honest opinion is that no, the Inspire is not worth the difference in cost from the P3. And while the retractable landing gear is great, it's yet another moving part that can fail as mine did and now I've lost my Inspire to the repair depot for 6 weeks.

The major advantages of the Inspire are the retractable gear and better flight handling in wind. But it's hard to justify more than 2X the cost for that.

I, like most of us on this forum, already own an Inspire, so the P3 is worth getting as a complement to it. But if I were buying for the first time today, I'd buy a P3 instead of an Inspire. The thing that would likely change my assesment is if DJI delivers on the promise of interchangeable cameras for the Inspire, as you suggested. Particularly if a better camera also has interchangeable lenses!

I'll hazard to guess (predict?) that a significant price reduction is coming for the Inspire 1. The price gap between the P3 and Inspire is too big and the 3DR Solo fills that gap so well. I'm expecting a price reduction to about $2,200 for the Inspire 1, followed by a higher-end Inspire 2 for about $3K.


2015-5-18
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KnightOwl
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I just saw on youtube where an Inspire 1 user was able to link the Inspire 1 remote to a P3.  Originally this was asked during the 2015 NAB show and DJI said they were incompatible (which didn't make sense to me).  I wonder why DJI wouldn't have announced this as a selling point, since as you and others have pointed out that the P3 should be looked at as a complement to the i1?
2015-5-18
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Abe
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KnightOwl Posted at 2015-5-19 00:42
I just saw on youtube where an Inspire 1 user was able to link the Inspire 1 remote to a P3.  Origin ...

This guy claims to have done it and gotten HDMI output to work. Check out post #48 at the bottom of the page:

http://www.phantompilots.com/thr ... output.38690/page-3
2015-5-18
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TheFlyGuy
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Abe Posted at 2015-5-18 21:59
FlyGuy, my honest opinion is that no, the Inspire is not worth the difference in cost from the P3.  ...

Hi Abe,

I agree with you on that.
Everything i said about the Inspire is based on my believe that we will have new camera options soon.
2015-5-18
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kinsonlai
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TheFlyGuy Posted at 2015-5-18 20:31
Interesting thoughts. Thanks for that.

The main question is still here - does the Inspire gives yo ...

It's true, a lot of the i1 has been incorporated into the P3 but flight wise they will never be the same.  We can discuss all day long to see if the i1 is worth so much over the P3 or other DJI competition, but it all comes down to the personal value you believe that this product offers you.

As for 3DR's solo vs P3, while most would believe they are in the similar range, I would like to point out that the Solo comes at a $1k price tag without the gimbal.  On top of it, you will need a H4 if you don't already have one - so that's $1.8k solo vs <$1.3 P3p.  Well, the upside is the Solo promises a 'follow-me' mode, so let's see how that turns out lol...
Interesting comparison between the P3 and i1 btw, I am half tempted to get one just to play around with something smaller XD
2015-5-19
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ntfa
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Abe Posted at 2015-5-19 06:53
This guy claims to have done it and gotten HDMI output to work. Check out post #48 at the bottom o ...

Yeah, it works.  You don't have yo have an inspire the get the remote to work.  The pilot app sees the inspire remote as an inspire and loads up those features if you turn off the phantom.   My HDMI test will be Wednesday when my cinemizers arrive.    Works so far on my HDMI LCD monitor though.   

The quirk to it is getting the OSD menus to come back.  Just turn off the phantom and reboot the app after closing it.  Sometimes, the app reboots itself and will restart on its own with the inspire menus.  As soon as you turn on the phantom, it reboots to the P3 menu system.  FPV direction of the camera disappears that the inspire uses.  Set home point disappears along with OSD, HDMI and Metric selections.  Those will retain if you set them prior to turning on the phantom.    Bet when the P3 HDMI adapter becomes available, there will be a firmware to turn those menus on.  The pilot app is pretty intuitive.   It can sense which remote you are using.   
2015-5-19
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Abe
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ntfa@sbcglobal. Posted at 2015-5-19 19:53
Yeah, it works.  You don't have yo have an inspire the get the remote to work.  The pilot app sees  ...

ntfa,

Have you tried using the Phantom 3 remote on the Inspire?
2015-5-19
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ntfa
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Abe Posted at 2015-5-20 03:06
ntfa,

Have you tried using the Phantom 3 remote on the Inspire?

No, I don't own an inspire, just the remote.  
2015-5-19
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sultangris01
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having a phantom 2 and an inspire 1 i say meh, if the phantom has the range and high quality preview like the inspire id much prefer it.  I get the blades in my inspire vid, especially when using atti mode.  I never calibrate either one from case to fly, and have flown hundreds of flights without calibration.  you guys really calibrate every flight? why? lol!

My inspire will go 1.5 miles+ away and maintain vid preview easily in remote areas on flat ground with no interference, whats your experience with the P3 for distance and maintaining vid preview?

My p2 handles way better than my inspire IMO, the inspire tends to spin unpredictably  in a complete circle sometimes when attempting to turn slightly while going forward but in all fairness i havent updated to newest firmware(and never will due to the downsides of it) Ive flown both in 30mph wind and will say the inspire being bigger does handle it a little better, but the phantom is no slouch either and is very impressive and i like its smaller size, easy transition from case to flight and longer battery life.  Hate the assembly/dis-assembly of the inspire so i skip the case and leave it assembled and just sit it on my back seat for easy flying but its a big heavy monster and a PITA to move around and fit through doorways fully assembled.
2015-5-20
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