You know those breath taking shots you’ve seen on Instagram – the ones where a solitary traveller is standing on the face of a cliff or atop a sand dune in Jordan – you can’t help but wonder how they created this incredible capture where someone seems to be hovering from above. Most likely it wasn’t another person, but a drone stealthily flying overhead.
The drone is a new addition in the blogger or self-chronicaler’s (just invented this word) arsenal that previously included the selfie stick and a Go-Pro. The government has been using them to spy on people for a least a decade or two, so now why not use the same technology to bolster your social following?
The latest and best in drone technology is the DJI Phantom 4, just released back in April. I’ve had the Phantom 3 and loved it, so I’m going to be upgrading to the 4 and will tell you why it’s worth the four-figure price tag.
First off, as a novice flyer, this thing couldn’t be easier to operate: it’s got both an auto-pilot feature that automatically tracks its subject (most likely: you) as well as a collision avoidance system meaning that you won’t crash into a tree when quickly navigating out from your neighbor’s yard when they start shouting. It’s got twice as many downward facing cameras as the 3, giving it a smoother ride and the ability to fly easier indoors.
One of the best new features is TapFly, which allows you to send the drone to any point in its field of vision from your touch screen. This makes it much easier to fly in between spaces that would otherwise be challenging and also gets the drone from A to B with minimal effort. The object tracker feature is perfect for the solo-traveller who wants to get an amazing shot while swimming across the Ganges or driving an ATV across the Sahara. The camera will create a smooth shot as the drone follows behind.
For the professional videographer, the Phantom 4 ticks all the boxes as well, shooting in 4K quality at 30 frames per second and slow motion at 120 frames per second.
Speed is another distinction of the Phantom 4, which can reach 45MPH and ascend at 20 feet per second (!). When moving at this speed, you’ll compromise on image quality, but drone racing can be a sport all of its own. The Phantom 4 can fly for up to 28 minutes, which is a slight improvement over the 3.
Ultimately, owning a drone is just a lot of fun and there are some beautiful images you can only capture from above. Just make sure to use your new flying super powers for good and not evil.