Most helpful positive review
135 of 139 people found the following review helpful
A great, fun, aerial platform for photo or fun
on March 10, 2014
After owning a Parrot ARDrone 2.0 for the last year, I wanted something with more range, capacity, power, and ability to use other cameras. The Parrot is a very fun, really easy to use quadcoptor for indoor and limited outdoor use, but it leaves a lot to be desired. After doing a lot of research, I decided a DJI Phantom was a good choice for a ready to fly, easy to use, stable camera platform. I used the ARDrone for some aerial footage for work, I really wanted a better camera.
I was a bit worried about all the all the reports of problems with the Phantom, especially the fly-aways, but ordered one anyway. The Phantom arrived (from intelligentUAS) very fast, and with everything it was supposed to. The FC40 camera was in a separate box from the Phantom, but in the same shipment. Assembly was easy, I only had to install the props, and attach the landing skids. While charging the battery, I downloaded the drivers and software for the GPS and NAZA flight controller. Pay attention to the instructions for the installation of the driver and software. I installed them in the wrong order and spent an hour sorting out the connection problems. Once I followed the instructions, setup was fairly simple. The most recent firmware was already installed, so not much was required.
After calibrating the compass, I took the Phantom outside, plugged in the battery, turned on the control, disregarded the flashing LED's, and took off......right into the side of my truck, spinning the props into the tires, the ground, and everything in the immediate vicinity. I paid attention to the instructions this time, including calibrating the compass outside, and waited for the appropriate LED's. The Phantom behaved wonderfully. Setting up the FC40 camera was very easy, and worked exactly as was supposed to.
I've had the Phantom for a month now, and have flown it every day. I learn to fly it better every time I fly it. I admit I crashed it a couple of time the first week, and a lot of that was getting used to the controls after flying the ARDrone (some of the controls are reversed). The FC40 camera is a pretty good camera, and with a 100 meter range, it's great for FPV flying. I've mounted a few other cameras with mixed results, but the Phantom performs great. The 5.8 Ghz controller doesn't interfere with surrounding WiFi signals. I mounted a Sony Action Cam, and the WiFi link with the camera doesn't cause any problems, either.
This is a very powerful, versatile platform that can be used in many configurations. I've used this for work taking aerial videos and photos of construction sites and projects, and everyone loves it. I bought a second battery, and will order a couple of more soon. With the lightweight FC40 camera, I am getting 8 to 10 minutes per battery. In windy conditions, and with a heavier camera, 6 to 8 minutes is about all I'm comfortably getting. I've only had the Phantom try to land itself due to low battery once, but I try to pay attention to the LED's. I did invest in the prop guards, and I'm very glad I did. I've clipped a few branches, and bounced off the side of a house or two, with no ill effects. I also ordered taller, wider landing skids to accommodate the anti-jello mount I installed, for using cameras other than the FC40 camera.
The Phantom is fun, impressive, and quite frankly the coolest "toy" I've ever owned. DJI seems to have come a long way in solving fly-away issues, though a lot of those seem to be user error anyway. I thoroughly enjoy flying the Phantom. I haven't experienced the problems that some have had, and haven't damaged the Phantom, so I'm pretty positive about the experience so for. I may upgrade to a larger, more powerful multi-rotor in the future, but I doubt I will find one that is so well integrated and put together. There is also a very large community of Phantom users out there, so if you have a problem, chances are, someone else out there has also had it, and can offer some insight.
For a beginner getting started with aerial photography, to just plain fun flying, you won't regret getting a Phantom.