Monday, December 11, 2017

Review : DJI Phantom 4 & Solving some issues with the latest firmware

Recently, for work, I got myself a Phantom 4. Like all new gears, there's definitely a time to sit down, play around with it and familiarize myself with the tech before I take it out for real world use and on assignment. Don't expect technical review like most reviewers out there, what you read is basically my own hands-on experience using the Phantom for work and for play.

Like the Phantom series before it, it takes some time for beginners to get use to but if you have previously flown drones before, it's basically as good as plug and play. Except that it is best for you to get the phantom to detect all the necessary signals before you get going.

I flew it quite frequently since I got it, to take videos of the places I'm at, for work and also just as a toy to fly around the field and obstacles when time permits. The system itself is quite intelligent so don't let it fool you into thinking that you're a great pilot once you got the hang of it.



Durability wise, it's quite a robust machine, as I got mine 2nd hand, I can't give you the best battery life as compared to reviewers that got new units from DJI itself. On average, the batteries in the drone does last me a good 15 minutes flight time and shorter if the drone had to battle with cross winds while in the air.

The controller can last a good long while before we need a good charge, I have flown 8 times before the battery on my controller drop to 15% which is when I usually will charge most of my batteries.



As for the software/app. The latest firmware is  v.02.00.0106 for the aircraft. v.1.9.2.0 for the remote controller and for the phone, it is the DJI Go 4 App for both iOS and Android. (v.4.1.3 and v4.1.2 respectively).


Here's some issues I encountered after I got both the drone and the controller updated. I'll constantly update the issues I encounter with my Phantom here and put the solutions in to help you readers with the trouble shooting.

Beeping sound on the controller - Solved

The Controller started beeping like crazy each time I turn on the controller, and the toggles would not be functioning properly too. I almost got my Phantom stuck in mid-flight when the controller started beeping and I lost all control on the right joystick. 
  1. Roll back the firmware
  2. Update the firmware again
  3. Calibrate the controller
The beeping has since stopped on mine and I'm flying as usual now.


 Erratic Video Transmission on DJI Go 4 app. - Solved 

  1. Switch Radio Channel Signal to Custom instead of Auto and select the best frequency you are receiving from your Phantom.
  2. Set Video Resolution to the highest 4K mode
  3. Restart Phantom
So far, I did that and the video glitch has gone away. It might be bad if you want to save space and not shoot at such a big file size but at the moment, that's the fix that worked for me, unless you dare to fly blind and just control the Phantom from the line of sight.

So far, several months in after I purchased my Phantom 4, I've been quite happy with it. Useful for me as a Photographer/videographer as it does add to my portfolio that my client can utilize. Yes, unlike the Mavic and Spark, it is quite big but the size does come in handy at times. Just like the dSLRs, clients gets more confident when they see a robust looking device being used for paid assignments even though there are some smaller equipment out there that can do the same thing.

Tips for Better Quality Video and Photo from the DJI Phantom 4

  1. Use Manual Settings for video and photo
  2. Configure the C1 & C2 buttons to launch often used settings you can quickly switch to.
  3. Spend some time on location to check the ISO, Shutter and Aperture. Using the histogram is useful in making sure the quality is at the optimum.
  4. For photos, try to shoot on Raw (dng) as you will edit the photo once you transfer the data into your computer anyway.
  5. For videos, shoot at 4K, it might be a bigger file size but you can always resize the video to your output size in edit.

Tips for those shopping for 2nd hand DJI Phantom 4/Mavic Pro/Sparks

  1. Ask the buyer to set the drone up and switch it on
  2. Hover the drone and see the stability of the drone
  3. Listen to the rotors and see how it's spinning, if it gives out a whiny sound or have an erratic spinning sound, it might be signs the drone's rotor might be at it's limit.
  4. Check for sticky controllers, the joysticks should rebound back to the center each time you push it up down and to the sides. 
  5. Check the camera and the stabilizers to make sure it rotates the way you want it to and does not jerk around especially when you are hovering the drone.
Do you have any more tips you would like to share? Comment below and let us know.

Hope what I wrote helps you with your purchasing decision when you want to get a drone, whether it's a new unit or a 2nd hand one.

*This is not a paid review, I bought the device and used it for work and was asked by some friends about my thoughts on the Phantom. Rather than repeating myself, I write a post about it.

Ratings :

Ease of Use :

Intuitive :

Durability :

Battery Life :

Value For Money :

Blogs about Dance, Travel and Food, Photography and gadgets that he purchases for work. Am available to do reviews.

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