Phantom 3 Drone Specs and Features

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Phantom 3 is the third generation product line of the Phantom series of drones by DJI. It was first launched in April 2015. The Phantom 3 drones are designed in such a way that they can fly straight out of the box with very little setting-up required.

The Phantom 3 models have an improved navigational capability. The product line was the first one in the Phantom range to have a downward facing sensor. Bottom sensors allow the drone to remain in place when flying indoors or when there is no GPS signal. The Phantom 3 series drones were also upgraded to work with the GLONASS satellite system in addition to the GPS system.

The Phantom 3 series also has DJI’s flagship “Lightbridge” communication system on most of the models. Video quality is pretty good too with some models offering 4K recording. The Phantom series drones are classified as consumer drones on DJI’s website. The Phantom 3 series is great for recreational users, hobbyists, and semi-professional users.

The Phantom 3 series consists of the Phantom 3 Standard, the Phantom 3 SE, the Phantom 3 4K, the Phantom 3 Advanced, and the Phantom 3 Professional. They have different specs overall, with some particular specs being the same while some others being more advanced on the Phantom 3 Advanced and the Phantom 3 Professional models. Let us look at the specs in more detail:

Flight Speed

All the DJI Phantom series drones have a maximum flight speed of 35 miles per hour or a little over 56 kilometers per hour. This speed is normally obtained when using the ATTI mode. 35 mph is enough to shoot basic action shots. Following objects and cars is feasible only up to a point with this speed. One cannot possibly do serious action shots or follow a fast moving car on a highway with 35 mph.

Flight Time

The DJI Phantom 3 Standard, SE, and 4K models all have a maximum flight time of 25 minutes before the battery runs out. Interestingly, the more advanced Phantom 3 Advanced and the Phantom 3 Professional have a lower flight time of 23 minutes. Given the fact that Phantom 3 is an older generation, the flight times are pretty low. It is also important to note that most of DJI’s consumer and professional drones (except Matrice 200) have maximum flight time in the mid-to-high 20s or at the most 31 minutes. So, 23 to 25 minutes is pretty reasonable, though still on the shorter side.

Weight

All Phantom 4 drones weigh over 1200 grams.
Phantom 3 Standard: 2.68 lbs or 1216 grams
Phantom 3 SE: 2.72 lbs or 1236 grams
Phantom 3 4K: 2.82 lbs or 1280 grams
Phantom 3 Advanced: 2.82 lbs or 1280 grams
Phantom 3 Professional: 2.82 lbs or 1280 grams

Sensor Size

The Phantom 3 Standard and the Phantom 3 SE both use a Panasonic 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor which offers 12 megapixels. The Phantom 3 4K uses a Sony EXMOR 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. The Phantom 3 Advanced and the Phantom 3 Professional both use a slightly improved Sony 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor offering 12.4 megapixels.

Camera Video Resolution

Any drone can be great at flying and can have advanced controls. But it has got to be able to take amazing pictures and video too. The Phantom 3 has pretty good video resolutions between 2.7K and 4K. The Phantom 3 Standard can shoot 2.7K at 30 frames per second while the Phantom 3 SE, 4K, and Professional drones can all do 4K at 30 frames per second. The surprising case is that of the Phantom 3 Advanced which does 2.7K at 30 frames per second in spite of being a higher-end model in the series.

All the Phantom 3 drones support H.264 codec. The following are the video resolutions for the various Phantom 3 drones:

Phantom 3
Standard
Phantom 3 SEPhantom 3 4KPhantom 3
Advanced
Phantom 3
Professional
2.7K: 2704 x1520p 24/25/30 (29.97)
FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30
HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
C4K:4096 x 2160 24/25p
4K:3840 x 2160 24/25/30p
2.7K:2704 x 1520 24/25/30p
FHD:1920 x 1080 24/25/30/48/50/60p
HD: 1280 x 720 24/25/30/48/50/60p
UHD: 4096x2160p 24/25, 3840x2160p 24/25/30
FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30/48/50/60
HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
2.7K: 2704 x1520p 24/25/30 (29.97)
FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30/48/50/60
HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
UHD: 4096x2160p 24/25, 3840x2160p 24/25/30
FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30/48/50/60
HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60

Maximum Video Bitrate

The maximum bit rate of the Phantom 3 Standard and the Phantom 3 Advanced is 40 Mbps. The maximum video bitrate of the Phantom 3 SE, 4K, and Professional drones is higher at 60 Mbps. A higher bitrate means better quality video. To put things into perspective, Blu-Ray has a bitrate of 25 Mbps. So, we are talking 2-3 times the quality of Blu-Ray.

Photo Format

When you shoot your pictures using the Phantom 3 drones, you can store them as JPG or RAW format in all the models. The option of storing images as RAW files is important because raw files allow for image editing.

Gimbal

All the Phantom 3 drones use a 3-axis gimbal (pitch, roll, yaw) with a controllable range of -90o to +30o.

Shutter Speed

All the Phantom 3 models have a camera with an electronic shutter. Shutter speed is 1/8000 s.

Obstacle Sensors

The Phantom 3 drones have two cameras, one for shooting video and one for stabilization. The bottom sensor or camera helps the drone avoid obstacles that are visible looking down. While this is a good safety feature to have, it still falls short of what more recent DJI drones offer.

The bottom sensor also helps the drone stay steady in an indoor environment. The bottom sensor recognizes patterns below the drone and contributes towards the overall stabilization of the aircraft. Flights that are closer to the ground at lower altitudes also become steadier due to the bottom sensor.

Communication link between the drone and the controller

The Phantom 3 Standard and the Phantom 3 SE both use Wi-Fi to communicate with the remote controller or mobile device. Wi-Fi has a lower range and is an older technology. The Phantom 3 4K, Advanced, and Professional models all use the upgraded Lightbrigde communication protocol to link the remote controller to the drone aircraft body. Lightbridge is a lot more advanced than Wi-Fi. It uses 2 separate links, one to communicate with the camera plus gimbal and the other to send and receive drone controls. That enhances the quality of the link and the overall controlling of the drone.

GPS

All Phantom 3 drones use a combination of GPS and GLONASS systems for redundancy and more accurate navigation.

Live Video Quality

The live feed that the mobile device gets from the drone varies in terms of video quality. This video quality is particularly important if you are live-streaming your drone feed over YouTube. All the Phantom 3 drones except the 4K have a live video feed of 720p at 30 frames per second. The 4K video feed is only 480p at 30 frames per second.

Intelligent Flight Battery and Charger

All the Phantom 3 drones have a similar battery in the drone body. The specs for the battery are the same for all models and are as follows:

Energy68 Wh
Capacity4480 mAh
Voltage15.2 V
Battery TypeLiPo 4S
Net Weight365 grams
Charging Temperature5oC – 40oC
Max Charging Power100 Watt

The Charger Specs are also the same for all models and are as below:

Voltage17.4 V
Rated Power100 Watt

Remote Controller

The Phantom 3 remote controllers mainly use a 2.4 GHz frequency, which is on par with most of the models of the more advanced Phantom 4 series. However, the Phantom 3 Standard and the Phantom 3 4K remote controllers use a 5.7 GHz frequency band. Interestingly, the 5.7 GHz band gives the controller a shorter operating range. The Phantom 3 SE is the only model to have both the 2.4 GHz and the 5.7 GHz frequency bands in use.

For the 2.4 GHz band on the Phantom 3 Advanced and Professional drones, the FCC transmission distance is 5 km and the CE transmission distance is 3.5 km However, the Phantom 3 SE, which uses two frequency bands (2.4 and 5.7 GHz) only has an FCC transmission distance of 4 km and a CE distance of a mere 0.5 km.

For the 5.7 GHz band on the Phantom 3 Standard, the FCC distance is 1 km and the CE distance is 0.5 km. The Phantom 3 4K uses a 5.7 GHz and has a transmission distance of 1.2 km and a CE distance of 0.5 km.

The remote controller battery for the Phantom 3 Standard, SE, and 4K is 2600 mAh and the battery type is LiPo 2S. The controller for the Professional and Advanced models is 6000 mAh.

Operating Temperature

Both the remote controller and the aircraft of all the Phantom 3 drones have an operating temperature range of 0oC to 40oC.