The Phantom 3 is a great platform, will the Phantom 4 live up to its predecessor?
While the Phantom 3 is very popular, affordable and there are so many accessories for it, will the Phantom 4 features be enough to make you switch or buy?
The Phantom 4 is supposed to have 25% longer battery life over the Phantom 3, boasted at 28 minutes, but this number is like the EPA MPG numbers for cars. Keep in mind this is at a hover, with no wind, at sea level, at the correct temperature, not recording or using any power intensive tasks. So will you see 28 minutes, probably not, but you should see an improvement over Phantom 3.
Speed of Flight
The P4 now has "Sport Mode" which lets the quadcopter achieve a 45 degree angle of attack letting it fly up to 45mph, thats fast. Remember it takes a long time to stop a drone from going that fast so maybe dont speed towards the wall to see if collision avoidance works.
Probably the biggest upgrade over the P3 is this. But remember it does not work on small objects, non solid objects (trees), fast objects (birds), does not work in sport mode, or if you are flying too fast. But it does work! *In specific cases* *Note it may not work if it is hovering and something moves into it...
Redundancy, sort of...
Yes the Phantom 4 has basically 2 flight controllers with 2 sets of sensors. But this isn't true redundancy, although better then none. If there is a disagreement between the sensors it should pick the one that seems right and continue to fly, if it pick the right sensors. There should be 3 so they can all have a vote of majority, but this was made in China after all.
The new camera has algorithms to learn what an object looks like and follow it without the use of the controller. This will be great for beginners, but don't expect cinema grade dynamic shots from the computer. To be a professional you will have to lean to fly smoothly and dynamically. ***Spoiler Alert: The awesome cinematography shot used to sell the P4 and this feature were shot using a professional pilot, not the computer...***
New Gimbal and Camera
120fps in 1080, enough said! This is going to be a great feature of the new camera. Being able to shoot high speed video and make great slow motion videos from it. On top of that they say the lens in clearer. You will still have to know a bit about photography as I am sure we will start seeing complaints of "jello" on videos. But for those of you who know, and you reading now, use an ND filter to fix that problem. Check out our other posts on using an ND filter and what it does. The new gimbal has 2 arms to hold the camera so time will tell if that helps the gimbal survive hard landings / crashes. The Phantom 3 suffered from weak arms and many people had to replace the whole unit because of bent aluminum.
Phantom 3 vs Phantom 4 Which Would You Buy?
Personally I like all the accessories available for the Phantom 3, cases, chargers, carbon props etc. But the Phantom 4 has some great features like faster flying, and 120fps on the camera. Either is a great choice especially if you plan to take the time to learn how to fly well. The price point of the Phantom 3 does make it quite a bit more attractive and the firmware could be more stable as it has been out longer.