Phantom (unmanned aerial vehicle series)

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A Phantom 4 Professional drone
Also known asDJI Phantom
TypeUnmanned aerial vehicle
Release dateJanuary 2013; 10 years ago (2013-01)
March 2016; 7 years ago (2016-03)
InputDJI GO and DJI Go 4 App
Camera1080p or 4K; onboard or gimbal-attached

The DJI Phantom (Chinese: 精灵; pinyin: Jīng Líng) is a series of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), typically quadcopters, developed by Chinese technology company DJI. DJI Phantom devices were released between 2013 and 2019.

Common technical specs[edit]

The DJI Phantom drones have mostly similar technical properties in common. The following are the specifications shared by the aircraft in the series:[1]

  • Diagonal size: 350mm
  • Maximum takeoff weight: 1200-1500g
  • Maximum flight time: 15-30 min
  • Maximum flight range: 500-10,000m
  • Motor-motor distance (diagonal): 350mm

Phantom 1 Series[edit]

The Phantom 1 series is composed of two models:[2]

  • Phantom 1
  • Phantom FC40

Phantom 1[edit]

The Phantom 1, originally known as Phantom, was released on January 7, 2013. It used 2.4 GHz for control. It was commonly equipped with a GoPro camera for amateur filmmaking or photography and uses a lithium-ion polymer battery. With a GoPro camera attached, the aircraft can operate for approximately 10 minutes in flight time.

The Phantom 1

Phantom FC40[edit]

The Phantom FC40

The Phantom (Flying Camera) FC40 was an upgrade from the Phantom 1 as it included a gimbal-less camera. The aircraft used 5.8 GHz for control allowing the 2.4 GHz band to be allocated for FPV downlink. It uses an iOS/Android app for control and comes with Wi-Fi and GPS modules. Using a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi connection, it provides almost real-time aerial video on a mobile device, allowing the pilot to capture images and videos as is. However, the FPV range was limited by the signal quality of the mobile device as the connection between the two devices was made directly. The camera angle is manually set before the flight. The mount under the gimbal can also be used to attach a GoPro camera to the aircraft as well.

Phantom 2 Series[edit]

The Phantom 2
The Phantom 2 Vision

Phantom 2[edit]

The (straight) Phantom 2 was released in December 2013 after the Phantom 2 Vision. It uses 2.4 GHz for control and doesn't include a camera. A Zenmuse gimbal could be purchased with the Phantom 2, or it could be added later. The Zenmuse gimbal was made to hold cameras such as the GoPro. Its configuration allows users two axes for a better level shot. Its controller also allowed manual remote up/down tilt of the camera.[3]

Phantom 2 Vision[edit]

Released in October 2013,[4][5] it was the first of the Phantom 2 series to be released, and featured significant upgrades over the original Phantom. It included a one-dimensional gimbal and an HD camera with a 4 GB micro SD card, a built-in anti-vibration mount, advanced Wi-Fi module, a GPS-enabled position holding, return-to-home capability, an improved Naza flight control system, and self-tightening propellers. Upgrades over the original Phantom include auto-return, increased flight speed, increased flight time and controllable range, increased battery capacity, and smart phone or tablet connection capability. It later became compatible with a ground station and iOS or Android devices. It was the first DJI aircraft to be released with the "Intelligent Li-Po battery" which enabled flight times of almost 20 minutes. It also featured a "Range Extender" device on the controller which worked as a relay/amplifier for the wifi FPV signal between the aircraft and the controller, thereby increasing signal strength and range.

Phantom 2 Vision+[edit]

The Phantom 2 Vision+

In the fall of 2014, the Phantom 2 Vision+ V3.0 was released which included significant improvements such as more powerful 2312/960kv motors vs 2212/920kv, better designed motor internals - such as the double-layer single-wire stator for improved efficiency, impact resistant motor bearings, dial on controller to adjust gimbal pitch, rechargeable lipo battery upgrade on controller, a trainer port on controller, enclosed water-resistant compass with thicker insulated cable, extra shielding for the GPS module, new 9450 prop upgrade (from 9443), prop threads changed from metal to composite (less risk of spin-off), harder less-flexible props. Later releases of the 3.0 included an aerated wifi module case to aid in cooling for reduced failure rate and upgraded ESC v2.1 (featuring 4.06 firmware vice the older 4.02 firmware).

The Phantom 2 Vision+, released in July 2014, added a three-axis stabilizer. It had a slightly increased range. It included the same FC200 camera as the earlier released Phantom 2 Vision, but in a completely different enclosure. The wifi module was moved from the camera case to the aircraft's centerboard which unfortunately weakened the aircraft's ability to receive GPS relative to the P2V due to EMF emanating from the module. The wifi patch antennas were moved from the camera case to the sides of the aircraft on either side of the battery.[6] It received a no-fly zone software-implanted, warning the user of places where not to fly (ex. airports).

Phantom 3 Series[edit]

The Phantom 3, released in April 2015,[7] introduces the Lightbridge communications protocol, which gives the controller a maximum range of 4,800 meters (4.8km or 3 miles) and reduced latency when compared to Wi-Fi systems used previously. The newly-designed visual positioning system known as Vision Positioning System allows the Phantom 3 to better maintain its position at lower altitudes and indoors where GPS is weak or unavailable by using ultrasonic and monochrome optical cameras under the fuselage. The remote controller for Professional and Advanced models also has 2 antennas, a staple feature of the Lightbridge system. The left antenna transmits control signals, while the right receives telemetry data and FPV feed.

There are five models of the Phantom 3:

Phantom 3 Standard[edit]

This model was released in August 2015. It features 2.7K video recording. Unlike the other models, Phantom 3 Standard does not come with the new Lightbridge protocol, instead, it uses Wi-Fi to transmit video and receive telemetry data with a limited range compared to the Advanced and Professional models and comes without Vision Positioning System. It includes features, as the other models do, such as Point of Interest, Follow Me, GPS Waypoints, Course Lock, and Home Lock.[8]

Phantom 3 Professional[edit]

The Phantom 3 Professional, known colloquially as P3P, comes with a 4K camera and includes a 100W fast charger. The included remote controller comes with [optional HDMI out] and USB ports for tablets and smartphones to connect to the controller. A bigger clamp also allows this remote to hold mobile devices up to the size of a 9.7-inch iPad.

Phantom 3 Advanced[edit]

This variant of the Phantom 3 is specifically the same as the Phantom 3 Professional, only that its camera only records 2.7K. It comes with a 57W charger instead of 100W. The remote controller is unchanged.

Phantom 3 4K[edit]

The 4K was released in early 2016. Although both the controller and the aircraft appear to look similar to the Phantom 3 Advanced/Professional externally, the communications system is very much like the Phantom 3 Standard in that it uses 5.8GHz for control and uses 2.4GHz for FPV and telemetry. The range is slightly improved. The controller lacks HDMI/USB ports. The aircraft includes the Visual Positioning System module seen on the Professional/Advanced models.

Phantom 3 SE[edit]

The SE was originally released and available for purchase only in China for several months and was unavailable temporarily elsewhere in the world. It became available in North America in August 2017. Phantom 3 SE uses a unique communications system that is a hybrid of Lightbridge and Wi-Fi. The controller converts the telemetry and FPV data from the aircraft, which uses the Lightbridge protocol, to Wi-Fi signals in 2.4GHz, to allow communications with the mobile device without an attached cable. Inside the remote controller, built-in antennas communicate with the Phantom - one is strictly for transmission and the other is strictly for receiving - which is how the Lightbridge system works. The visible antenna on the outside of the controller is used only to communicate with the mobile device. It has a maximum transmission range of up to 2.5 mi (4km) in FCC mode, and it has a 4K video camera.[9][10]

Phantom 4 Series[edit]

The Phantom 4, released in March 2016,[11] introduces a safer and better quick release propeller system. It also improves usability by adding obstacle avoidance and an ability to track subjects (ActiveTrack), thanks to its five sensors. Some of its features include GPS, GLONASS, sonar, five separate safety sensors, a camera gimbal, gyroscope, and more. It is slightly bigger and heavier than the Phantom 3 due to a larger battery, but it still maintains a longer flight time and greater top speed. It has a top speed of 20 metres per second (45 mph) in 'sport mode'.

DJI Phantom 4K drone in action

The controller and camera are very similar to Phantom 3 Pro

The maximum video transmission technology on the Phantom 4 is same as the ones on Phantom 3 Pro and Adv, which is Lightbridge 2, it has a maximum FCC flying range of 5 km.

On April 13, 2017, DJI announced the launch of the Phantom 4 Advanced and the end of the Phantom 4's lifespan for April 30, 2017.

Phantom 4 Pro[edit]

DJI Phantom 4 Pro, released in November 2016, has a three-axis stabilized camera with a 1-inch (25 mm) 20 MP CMOS sensor FC6310. It upgrades its obstacle avoidance with five directional sensors. The Phantom 4 Pro offers two remote controllers, one with a dedicated screen (Phantom 4 Pro+) and one without. It integrates an upgraded Lightbridge HD video transmission system that adds 5.8 GHz transmission support and a maximum downlink video transmission range of 7 km.[12] In addition - DJI released a set of Goggles, which can be used with various DJI equipment, including the Phantom 4 Pro, to allow for First Person View (FPV) flying.[13]

Phantom 4 Advanced[edit]

Announced on April 13, 2017, the Phantom 4 Advanced uses the same camera sensor as the Phantom 4 Pro.[14] Designed to replace the original Phantom 4, the Phantom 4 Advanced uses the 2.4 GHz frequency band, the rear vision sensors and two infrared sensors in the FlightAutonomy system in comparison to the Phantom 4 Pro model. It was shipped on April 30, 2017.[15]

It June 2017 it was priced in line with the original Phantom 4.[16]

Phantom 4 Pro Obsidian[edit]

Announced at the 2017 IFA trade show, it gives the option to have the Phantom 4 Pro painted in obsidian black. Some build quality upgrades are included with the camera gimbal being made of magnesium.[17][18]

Phantom 4 Pro V2.0[edit]

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, announced in May 2018, improves on the existing Phantom 4 Pro with an OcuSync transmission system, improved ESCs and low-noise propellers.[19] It was relaunched in January 2020.[20]

It uses the same camera as the first iteration of the Phantom 4 Pro.[21]

This edition also features expanded Flight Autonomy with 5-direction obstacle sensing and 4-direction obstacle avoidance. The 6-camera navigation system means the aircraft can avoid obstacles in its flight path, whilst flying at speeds of up to 31 mph (50 km/h). It's also the very first DJI drone to feature an infrared sensing system.

Phantom 4 RTK[edit]

The DJI Phantom 4 RTK, released in October 2018, was designed for extremely accurate aerial mapping using real-time kinematic positioning. In addition to RTK, it uses a redundant GNSS module, installed to maintain flight stability in signal-poor regions such as dense cities.[22]

According to DJI P4RTK (2019) camera FC6310R is identical to Phantom 4 pro's but has a glass lens instead a plastic one. Phantom 4 RTK records images only in jpg format.[23]

Phantom 4 Multispectral[edit]

The DJI Phantom 4 Multispectral, released in September 2019, integrates a 6 RGB camera sensor and multispectral imaging system for precise data for smart agriculture. It allows users to gain access to environmental impacts and changes for agricultural aspects. Also, with the RTK module attached, the Phantom 4 Multispectral is able to use centimeter level accurate positioning system.[24]


DJI Models Year released Take-off weight (g) Endurance (min) Max speed (m/s) Maximum range (m) Climb/

descend rate (m/s)

Video Transmission Sistem (Version) Maximum take-off altitude (m) Operating temperature (°C)
Phantom 4 Multispectral [25] 2019 1487 g 27 min 16 m/s 7.000 m 6/3 m/s OcuSync 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 4 RTK [26] 2018 1391 g 30 min 16 m/s 7.000 m 6/3 m/s OcuSync 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 [27] 2018 1375 g 30 min 20 m/s 10.000 m 6/4 m/s OcuSync 2.0 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 4 Pro (V1.0) [28] 2016 1388 g 30 min 20 m/s 7.000 m 6/4 m/s Lightbridge 2 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 4 Advanced [29] 2017 1368 g 30 min 20 m/s 7.000 m 6/4 m/s Lightbridge 2 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 4 (Standard)[30] 2016 1380 g 28 min 20 m/s 5.000 m 6/4 m/s Lightbridge 2 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 3 SE[31] 2017 1236 g 25 min 16 m/s 4.000 m 5/3 m/s Enhanced Wi-fi 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 3 4K [32] 2016 1280 g 25 min 16 m/s 1.200 m 5/3 m/s Wi-fi 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 3 Professional [33] 2015 1280 g 23 min 16 m/s 5.000 m 5/3 m/s Lightbridge 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 3 Advanced [34] 2015 1280 g 23 min 16 m/s 5.000 m 5/3 m/s Lightbridge 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 3 Standard[35] 2015 1216 g 25 min 16 m/s 1.000 m 5/3 m/s Wi-fi 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 2 Vision+[36] 2014 1242 g 25 min 15 m/s 700 m 6/2 m/s Wi-fi 6.000 m 0º to 40 °C
Phantom 2 Vision [37] 2013 1160 g 25 min 15 m/s 500 m 6/2 m/s Wi-fi 6.000 m -10º to 50 °C
Phantom 2 (Standard) [38] 2013 1300 g 25 min 15 m/s 1.000 m 6/2 m/s Wi-fi 6.000 m -10º to 50 °C
Phantom (1) FC40 [39] 2014 1200 g 15 min 10 m/s 800 m 6/6 m/s Wi-fi 6.000 m -10º to 50 °C
Phantom 1 (Standard) [40] 2013 1200 g 15 min 10 m/s 1.000 m 6/6 m/s Wi-fi 6.000 m -10º to 50 °C


Example aerial video of Snowdonia filmed with a DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopter

Several segments of industry are open to commercial use including drone journalism,[41] hurricane hunting, 3-D landscape mapping, nature protection,[42] farming, search and rescue,[43] aircraft inspection, tornado chasing, and lava lake exploration.[44][45][46][47][48][49] Drones are also in entertainment[50] and business. The Fox Broadcasting Company used Phantom 2 Vision+'s to promote 24 during San Diego Comic-Con International 2014.[51]

The DJI Phantom has been allegedly weaponized by ISIS in Syria and Iraq and used to scout for battle planning, spot for artillery, navigate car bombs, and conduct aerial bombing by dropping rigged grenade/mortar shell on enemy troops.[52][53] The small size and agile flight performance make these improvised drones very difficult to spot and destroy.


The DJI Phantom drone series have been popular with hobbyists and enterprise users due to functionality and price point.[54][55] Phantom drones have been marketed at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) for several years.[56][57]

Despite US sanctions on DJI, the FBI has continued to order Phantom 4 Pros (P4P), citing in a procurement justification that 'the DJI P4P is the only commercially available consumer sUAV to combine ease of use, high camera resolution and obstacle avoidance at an acceptable cost.'[58][59]

Market Trends[edit]

In 2017, the U.S. FAA estimated 'hobbyist' drones reaching between 2.75 million and 4.5 million units by 2021.[60][61] As of 2018, DJI controlled an estimated 74% of the global consumer drone market, with no other company controlling more than 5%.[62][63]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Phantom - Semi Professional Camera Drones - DJI".
  2. ^ "Phantom - Semi Professional Camera Drones - DJI".
  3. ^ Ben Coxworth (11 April 2013). "DJI announces stabilized HERO mount, and camera-equipped Phantom quadcopter". gizmag. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  4. ^ "Review: DJI Phantom 2 Vision what's new? Features and flight demo". YouTube.
  5. ^ Alex Fitzpatrick (30 January 2014). "Finally, a Drone You Can Own". Time. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  6. ^ Eric Hansen (5 November 2014). "This Is the Best Drone You Can Buy Right Now". Time. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  7. ^ "DJI Unveils the Phantom 3". DJI. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  8. ^ "DJI Phantom Series – Drones & Accessories – DJI Store".
  9. ^ "DJI Phantom 3 SE Now Available in Select Markets Worldwide".
  10. ^ "Phantom 3 SE - Product Information - DJI".
  11. ^ "DJI Phantom 4 release date, price, specs". PC Advisor. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  12. ^ "Exploring Camera Drones". News Ledge. March 7, 2017.
  13. ^ "DJI Goggles". Heliguy. 12 September 2017.
  14. ^ "DJI Phantom 4 Advanced – Specs, FAQ, Tutorials and Downloads". DJI Official. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  15. ^ "What's Changed in the DJI Phantom 4 Advanced?". News Ledge. 2017-04-13. Retrieved 2017-04-13.
  16. ^ "DJI Spark Ships and Phantom 4 Advanced Price Cut Makes it a Deal". News Ledge. 2017-06-30. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  17. ^ "DJI Adopts Tick-Tock Cycle in Upgrading Mavic and Phantom 4 Pro". News Ledge. 2017-08-31. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  18. ^ "Phantom 4 Pro - Professional aerial filmmaking made easy". DJI Official. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  19. ^ "DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0". Heliguy. May 8, 2018.
  20. ^ Hollister, Sean (Jan 14, 2020). "DJI brings back the Phantom drone, a year after it vanished from stores. Specifically, the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0". The Verge.
  21. ^ "DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 vs Phantom 4 Pro". Heliguy. May 11, 2018.
  22. ^ "Phantom 4 RTK - Next Gen Mapping Solution - DJI". DJI Official. Retrieved 2018-10-17.
  23. ^ Peppa, Maria Valasia & Hall, J. & Goodyear, J. & Mills, J.. (2019). PHOTOGRAMMETRIC ASSESSMENT AND COMPARISON OF DJI PHANTOM 4 PRO AND PHANTOM 4 RTK SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS. ISPRS - International Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences. XLII-2/W13. 503-509. 10.5194/isprs-archives-XLII-2-W13-503-2019. [1]
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  32. ^ "Phantom 3 4K - Product Information - DJI".
  33. ^ "Phantom 3 Professional - Product Information - DJI".
  34. ^ "Phantom 3 Advanced - Product Information - DJI".
  35. ^ "Phantom 3 Standard - Product Information - DJI".
  36. ^ "Phantom 2 Vision+ - DJI".
  37. ^ "Phantom 2 Vision - DJI".
  38. ^ "Phantom 2 - DJI".
  39. ^ "Phantom FC40 - Specs | DJI".
  40. ^ "Phantom 1 - DJI".
  41. ^ Miles Klee (March 12, 2014). "Watch a Phantom drone in action at the Harlem explosion site". The Daily Dot. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  42. ^ Matt McFarlan (January 6, 2015). "Why Americans should give drones a chance". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  43. ^ "Search And Rescue Drone Solutions". DSLRPros. April 13, 2017. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  44. ^ Ryan Szymanski (December 12, 2016). "Six of the Most Unique Uses for Drones". TheHighTechHobbyist. Retrieved January 5, 2017.
  45. ^ "30+ Ways Drones are Being Used". My Dear Drone. May 18, 2017.
  46. ^ Christina Zdanowicz (22 May 2014). "How to shoot amazing video from drones". CNN. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
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  48. ^ James Vincent (25 July 2014). "US pensioner missing for three days located by amateur drone pilot in 20 minutes". The Independent. Archived from the original on 2022-05-26. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
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  53. ^ Shiloach, Gilad (2015-01-26). "This Is ISIS' Favorite Drone". Vocativ. Retrieved 2020-01-11.
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  56. ^ Jim Fisher (January 9, 2015). "CES 2015: Drones, Drones, Drones". PC Magazine. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  57. ^ "New drone among most popular unveiled at CES 2015 - New drone among most popular unveiled at CES 2015". USA Today. June 6, 2015. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  58. ^ "Why US Secret Service and FBI are still buying DJI drones". DroneDJ. 2021-09-23. Retrieved 2021-09-30.
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  60. ^ "Consumer Drones By the Numbers in 2017 and Beyond". News Ledge. 2017-04-04. Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  61. ^ "Fact Sheet – FAA Forecast–Fiscals Years 2016-37". Retrieved 2017-07-08.
  62. ^ "World's top drone seller made $2.7 billion". January 3, 2018.

External links[edit]