DJI releases camera-equipped Phantom 2 Vision quadcopter
By Ben Coxworth
October 31, 2013
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.
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