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'Semi-autonomous' DJI Phantom 4 Has Liftoff

Next-generation DJI Phantom 4 boasts new collision avoidance system, TapFly app, reduced fisheye distortion, enhanced corner sharpness, extended flight times

DJI has announced the Phantom 4, the latest version of its popular Phantom drone, featuring reduced fishey distortion, enhanced 4K/12MP optics, expanded battery capacity for extended flight time and distance, and a semi-autonomous flight mode designed to reduce the likelihood of collision and make drone operation more accessible to new and inexperienced users.

The Phantom 4 offers multiple flight modes created for different types of users and various levels of expertise. According to DJI, "In Position mode you can use satellite and Vision Positioning, TapFly, ActiveTrack, and Intelligent Flight Modes. Sport mode adds extra agility and speed, reaching 45mph (72kph) while maintaining satellite and Vision Positioning systems. Atti holds the Phantom’s altitude and level but switches off satellite positioning making it ideal for smooth film making movements." ActiveTrack makes it possible for filmmakers piloting the Phantom 4 using the app trace an outline around a subject to ensure that the Phantom 4 keeps it in frame as it moves--purportedly dodging any obstacles encountered en route. With TapFly, novice users simply tap on a point on the screen to direct the drone to fly there, eschewing manual controls altogether.

The Phanton 4 includes several enhancements to its built-in camera, which features 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 120fps for smooth slo-mo; an aspherical lens designed to reduce fisheye distortion and chromatic aberration via its 94-degree FOV; and 1m hyperfocal length. Vivid mode, according to DJI, "amplifies color and contrast to create videos that look incredible without extra processing." For photography, the Phantom 4 adds Adobe DNG RAW support plus Lightroom and Photoshop lens profiles.

DJI reports 25% increased battery life over the Phantom 3, with 5350mah of battery power delivering 28-minute flight times. Using integrated Lightbridge technology, DJI promises the ability to monitor what the Phantom is capturing at up to 3.1 miles.

The Phantom 4 carries an MSRP of $1,399.

For more information about the DJI Phantom 4, visit