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DJI releases camera-equipped Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter

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October 31, 2013

DJI Innovations' new Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter

DJI Innovations' new Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter

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DJI Innovations unveiled its GPS-enabled Phantom quadcopter less than a year ago, and since then it has become perhaps the go-to aerial platform for the GoPro HERO actioncam. In April, the company provided us with a sneak peek at the next model in the line, the Phantom 2 Vision. While there weren't many details available at the time, that's changed as of today, with the Vision's official commercial release. Among its new features are improved battery life, a video-stabilizing platform and most significant of all, an included HD video camera that allows for first-person-view via a mobile device.

The DJI-specific camera is slung underneath the aircraft, in the same place that the user-supplied GoPro would ordinarily sit. It's mounted in such a way that the only thing directly linking it to the quadcopter are four soft rubber plugs, as is the case with the third-party anti-vibration mounts currently available for the regular Phantom. This is definitely a welcome addition, as the so-called "Jell-O effect" (distorted video caused by motor/propeller vibrations) has been a problem with that model.

The 14-megapixel camera has a field of view of up to 140 degrees (depending on shooting mode), and records at a maximum resolution of 1080p/30fps, onto an included 4GB microSD card.

Using a custom app on a compatible iOS or Android device, users can not only view real-time output from that camera, but they can also tilt it up and down, start and stop recording, or capture stills. That app also lets them view flight parameters such as altitude, speed and remaining battery life, plus it makes it possible to instantly share images online.

Although an official price has yet to be stated, Phantom 2 Vision quadcopters that are cur...

As with the previous Phantom, the quadcopter itself is controlled using physical toggles on a dedicated control unit. A built-in brace holds a smartphone or iPod touch in place right above that unit, so users don't have to juggle both devices at once. An included Wi-Fi range extender, also attached to the controller, lets the Vision travel up to 300 meters (984 ft) away from its user without losing video contact.

The Vision's 5,200-mAh, 11.1-volt lithium-polymer battery reportedly allows for approximately 25 minutes of flight time per charge. This is a significant improvement over the previous Phantom, which manages 10 to 15 minutes. Additionally, the new battery in housed within a module that is said to slide easily in and out of the aircraft – the battery for the original Phantom requires cables to be plugged in and tucked out of the way.

The Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter can be purchased starting November 1st, at an official list price of US$1,199. If that price cools your enthusiasm a bit, you can always watch one of them in flight, in the video below.

Also, one of the aircraft is currently on its way to us – watch for an upcoming video review!

Source: DJI Innovations

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
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10 Comments

The way these devices are proliferating, everyone will have one by Christmas! (Hint, hint) Seriously though, soon they will be flying everywhere over the suburban homes, parks etc. A crook will never know if the one he can see "over there" is a civilian version or a police version on 'stake-out'!

The Skud
31st October, 2013 @ 05:50 pm PDT

The big thing that they don’t tell you about this product is the new frequencies that everything runs on. RC stuff has been using 2.4 ghz for ages now. It’s proven itself time and time again. Since DJI went with a wifi video transmission (I have no idea why they would want to do this besides saving money at expense of performance) which also runs in the 2.4 band, they had to move the RC over to 5.8 ghz. That band is notorious for having bad penetration around objects and drops signal very often. It will also be fun to see what happens when you fly a Phantom with 5.8 RC next to a normal FPV quad that uses the same 5.8 for video transmission. Honestly, this could be a huge disaster. For anyone that doesn’t know about this stuff, I would hold off on buying a new one and see what happens to the early adopters first. DJI has a bad history of releasing products with new bells and whistles at the expense of common core functionality (my wookong FC still uses 1+ year old firmware because the latest is plagued with problems). Bottom line, a normal 2.4 ghz RC transmitter will get a mile safely while the new 5.8 ghz DJI radio might get a couple hundred yards with direct line of sight. As someone that has been using their products for years now, I would be very skeptical of this product till it’s proven itself by common users, not the manufacturer.

HexaPilot
1st November, 2013 @ 07:32 am PDT

To expensive, When you can get UAV for half the price and just as good.

Richard Unger
1st November, 2013 @ 07:35 am PDT

I question the live view, as I already use the Wireless viewing app on my Gopro. and its not live view there are a few seconds delay, Mobile phones do not have VHF connectivity, so they could only be done using existing connectivity, so I doubt its "what you see is what you get" If they are using the same as GoPro to view on their Iphone or Android, its not that good. I already have a UAV plus a GoPro doing just this and its total cost was around £500 some £250 cheaper. Where is the extra cost going to.

Richard Unger
1st November, 2013 @ 07:43 am PDT

Heh, I'm one of the guys getting the V959 from "bang good" dot com. $66 on sale and another $40 or so for various spares for when it crashes. The V959 is small, cheap, and you can do first-person video if you get a transmitter. The whole thing is modular for that very reason. $1200 for a quad copter is kind of outdated I think, unless it has phenomenal range and power and can fly across the city for the police.

Grunchy
1st November, 2013 @ 09:32 am PDT

Does this or any other small UAV use the cell phone network for control?

It would seem then you'd have unlimited range.

Hoyt
1st November, 2013 @ 09:49 am PDT

@ Hoyt

Unlimited control range maybe but the battery is still a problem.

Slowburn
4th November, 2013 @ 02:46 am PST

@Hoyt - No. The Phantom 2 Vision does not use the cellular phone network to communicate. It uses the WiFi in your phone.

@HexaPilot I was also sceptical. I've been flying one for a month or so and the control range is excellent - despite it being only 25mW 5.8 GHz. I'm not sure how they've achieved that - but they have.

They're the best selling product we've had for quite some time, perhaps because they appeal to a new group of people who aren't necessarily traditional RC quadcopter pilots (if "traditional" can be used on such a new sport)!

We're the first and only UK outlet to have them presently and so far so good - we've ordered a second batch!

Simon (fpv co uk)

FPV-UK
4th November, 2013 @ 05:08 pm PST

It'll be past cool when these get smaller, cheaper, faster & more automated. Gas stations/stores have these locked on their roofs. A would be robber comes in the store, looking suspicious, cameras inside store relay image to quadcopter outside, robber runs out, quadcopter traces robber to vehicle, gets tag nbr, face pic/video, other occupants, may have flashing red/blue lights, may follow vehicle for a while, info transmitted to local law inforcment agencies, firestations, local neighborhood watch, radio bands, tv stations live, where ever. Tech is already here. Can't wait.

noteugene
23rd November, 2013 @ 12:53 pm PST

The DJI Phantom 2 Vision is really designed for aerial photographs. DJI is rumored to release a new Phantom that is designed for aerial videos next year.

rhcp_me
2nd December, 2013 @ 04:36 am PST
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