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Is a Phantom 4 Pro Professional Enough?

aerialimagery

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I've been using a Phantom 4 Pro and I tell my customers I use a "professional" drone. I'm very happy with the image quality and in comparing it to images produced by my DSLR, I think it comes remarkably close. Close enough. Besides the fact that overall the composition is much better than when I take photos from an airplane or helicopter. One of the things that amazed me most and still does is that having a drone is like putting a camera on a giant tripod.

One thing I wish I had is a more normal lens, but I could only do that with an Inspire and their camera system, so I have to make due with what I have until I can justify the greater expense.

At any rate, at least as far as still photography goes, are you comfortable calling a Phantom 4 Pro a "professional" drone? If you're using an Inspire with their best camera system, do you make that a selling point, and do you feel that images obtained by the P4P are not in your league?
 

QuadKid

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The P4P is as professional as most people need unless you need to get into IFR or something with a Zoom. P4P's still & video with a good post edit software can correct most any imperfections or color grading.
 
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aerialimagery

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Is there any software solution for video "jello" built into any of the video editing programs?

Yeah, the P4P is fantastic but I still would like to be able to use a tighter lens. Maybe the "P5P"?
 

John Locke

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I don't expect heavier cameras with optional lenses to be introduced in a P5P. It takes more battery and motor power to get into that realm, which is what an Inspire is for. For what they offer Inspires are great for commercial work, and they aren't that expensive if you're a good photographer. Many photographers pay more for a single zoom lens than an Inspire with X5S, or X7.

As for the Phantom4Pro being professional, your right, the photography results are very close. All you really need to do is "look professional", simply by buying a Microraptor or GoProfessional hard case, filled with flight batteries, and your P4P. When you show up with a hard case this gives your client the impression of a professional, assuming your flight skills are sufficient.
 
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QuadKid

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Is there any software solution for video "jello" built into any of the video editing programs?

Yeah, the P4P is fantastic but I still would like to be able to use a tighter lens. Maybe the "P5P"?
No it seems inherent to many drones especially the Mavic as the camera gimbal is so delicate. Never had any issue with it on my P4P. On the other hand my Mavic is full of it, I have to fly with ND filter all the time to get rid of the jello effect. Which is not a bad thing as they should be used most of the time to help lower F/Stop on the Mavic.
 
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I've been using a Phantom 4 Pro and I tell my customers I use a "professional" drone. I'm very happy with the image quality and in comparing it to images produced by my DSLR, I think it comes remarkably close. Close enough. Besides the fact that overall the composition is much better than when I take photos from an airplane or helicopter. One of the things that amazed me most and still does is that having a drone is like putting a camera on a giant tripod.

One thing I wish I had is a more normal lens, but I could only do that with an Inspire and their camera system, so I have to make due with what I have until I can justify the greater expense.

At any rate, at least as far as still photography goes, are you comfortable calling a Phantom 4 Pro a "professional" drone? If you're using an Inspire with their best camera system, do you make that a selling point, and do you feel that images obtained by the P4P are not in your league?
In terms of image quality It's a matter of expectations. I terms of flexibility, Phantom Pro class flying camera is not professional at all. It's simply an universal pocket camera on extended tripod. Most modern smartphones can deliver similar quality image, yet one will hardly call them professional. High picture resolution doesn't automatically classify an camera in pro category, specifics of lens do. No, I'll hesitate to offer professional service with only P4P in my toolbox ...
 

RNCotton

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The P4P is certainly professional enough. We have a fleet of them for my day job with the FD, and they get the job done. They are little workhorses. For my photography business, they are every bit of what we need. For video, they are great. Plenty of resolution, and with an assortment of ND filters, you can dial in the look you need, and the take it further in color grading. For still photos, it's certainly not going to be up the the level of a DSLR if you start pixel-peeping. But for general use, absolutely, it works fine.

I've had the discussion with potential clients and I hold up my DSLR with a 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens, battery pack on the body ... and explain to them that the drone (P4P here) obviously can't carry the weight of this camera. And then I show them the little camera on the drone. The conversation usually then goes like this:

You've taken some awesome photos with your cell phone camera right? And that's a tiny ... TINY ... little sensor and lens. So ... the drone camera, as you can see, is bigger than your cell phone, but not as big as my pro rig.

They don't know the technical specs, nor do they care. They don't understand that a mirrorless camera is just as good as a DSLR. They only know "bigger cameras take better pictures." So make them feel comfortable with the camera on the drone. It's the same size as a GoPro ... and they know a GoPro is the industry standard for awesome. :D
 
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embayweather

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The P4P is certainly professional enough. We have a fleet of them for my day job with the FD, and they get the job done. They are little workhorses. For my photography business, they are every bit of what we need. For video, they are great. Plenty of resolution, and with an assortment of ND filters, you can dial in the look you need, and the take it further in color grading. For still photos, it's certainly not going to be up the the level of a DSLR if you start pixel-peeping. But for general use, absolutely, it works fine.

I've had the discussion with potential clients and I hold up my DSLR with a 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens, battery pack on the body ... and explain to them that the drone (P4P here) obviously can't carry the weight of this camera. And then I show them the little camera on the drone. The conversation usually then goes like this:

You've taken some awesome photos with your cell phone camera right? And that's a tiny ... TINY ... little sensor and lens. So ... the drone camera, as you can see, is bigger than your cell phone, but not as big as my pro rig.

They don't know the technical specs, nor do they care. They don't understand that a mirrorless camera is just as good as a DSLR. They only know "bigger cameras take better pictures." So make them feel comfortable with the camera on the drone. It's the same size as a GoPro ... and they know a GoPro is the industry standard for awesome. :D
I completely agree with this last paragraph, and it was so obvious at the weddings I did professionally . Equally I would say it’s the whole package that speaks to professionalism. From the moment you answer the first call to the time you finalise the images with the client. If you act professionally throughout not only will they notice, and not worry about what your drone looks like, but so will their friends and business associates . I use a4pro as a professional as well as a 3pro and even a Spark if necessary. If the images you produce satisfy your clients the name on the drone is irrelevant.
 
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aerialimagery

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it is all about your results. I have seen some pretty crappy work out of high end full frame cameras
your equipment is not what makes you a pro, your results are
A professional still needs adequate equipment. Before I went digital I used a Pentax 6 x 7 film camera to take aerial photos, and I would not have used a 35mm camera because I would not have gotten the detail needed to make the big prints my customers wanted.
 

Bill Pender

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I use a P4P and the images are excellent. At times there is a bit of noise but I can easily tweak them in photoshop and my customers love them. I recently have started doing HDR images using the AEB setting in the DJI Go app and it really helps to create some great images. If you have not yet tried doing HDR with a P4P, give it a try. Takes a bit of extra work in post processing but the results are great and really help to tone your pictures and bring out information in the shadows and highligths. Tell your clients that you take HDR images, it is a selling point. I also recently attended a presentation by Colin Smith on doing HDR panoramas and will be trying that over the next couple of months. I hope to add an Inspire to my fleet of drones in the future but for now the P4P is all I need to provide professional images.
 

IdahoAir

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Bill thanks for the information on the HDR. I use a PH4 pro as part of my commercial work combined with still photography for my customers. I will definitely check it out. HDR is now coming to TV screens. Go to Costco and look at the QLED. Maybe the spelling is wrong on the Q, but the imaging is incredible.
 

7821 Film

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Really comes down to who your clients are. I started with a P3P and it served me very well for over a year. Upgraded to a P4P and flew for 6 moths. I strated to get more and more requests to fly the Inspire 2. My clients are more geared towards commercials and film so they needed to match cameras like RED and Alexa. I do not have the budget to fly those big birds yet, but I did recently upgraded to the Inspire 2.

Focused on the industry I wanted to be in and it let me know it was time to upgrade. Like most folks said here, the P4P is a beast of a drone and can be used in almost any setting with very good footage. I have one on hand for small jobs in more confined spaces etc...

A Pro drone for most real estate, weddings, local commercial, golf course yes. The limitations I found were performance in wind and elements and lenses, again focusing on the market I am going after.

Hope this helps :)
 
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I've been using a Phantom 4 Pro and I tell my customers I use a "professional" drone. I'm very happy with the image quality and in comparing it to images produced by my DSLR, I think it comes remarkably close. Are you comfortable calling a Phantom 4 Pro a "professional" drone?
With affordable technology supplied to us during last 2-3 years it's hard not to make professional quality aerial image. P4P camera certainly can deliver, although professionalism is not about resolution, sharpness, HDR dynamics and all this trickery we can perform in post. It's all about framing, it's all about light, shadows and depth of field. Finally it's all about story to tell. All these aspects are much easier to capture with interchangeable lenses Inspire class camera can employ, and that's the bottom level of truly professional imagery. IMHO, naturally :) ...
 
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Jesse G

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I think it boils down to what you intend to do...I agree that P4Ps are great platforms and the imagery you can get out of them is amazing for such a small package...using AEB you can even squeeze some great looking results out of a standard P4/P3P or a mavic with some work in post. However I do most of my work for construction companies and state agencies and when I pull out a phantom without fail someone says "oh I have one of those" or "nice toy, I bought one of those for my kid for Christmas" which leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I can tell leaves them wondering what the results will be like. Now when I pull my inspire 1 pro out with the x5 camera I don't get that reaction, I don't get second guessed about it being a toy drone. Its usually just a "wow" as they stand there watching wide eyed like a kid at an airshow. I liken it to a construction foreman showing up to a jobsite in a Ford ranger vs a lifted f350...both trucks will get you where you need to go and even carry a load, but one just looks more professional and will be taken more seriously, just how our society is. Now I don't think that is enough reason to upgrade but for me the interchangeable lenses and zoom capability was and if you'll ever be doing things like infrastructure/utility inspection than you'll need that and a P4P won't cut it. But for general photography and some video work it will get the job done. I just find the super wide fov very limiting when trying to compose anything from a distance...but post can fix most of that if you have the skill set.
 

Wilson Lake Drone

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The definition of professional means you’re getting paid to do what you do. If people are paying you then whatever you’re using is professional enough even if it’s a phantom three standard.
 

Florida Drone Supply

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We would like to chime in with another perspective here for consideration. Our thoughts are that it really depends on what you are doing with the drone. We have a large pilot network that can be contracted for work around the country and for some of the work, the P4 Pro is the minimum accepted drone. Our pilots who want to do cell phone tower inspection can bring a P4 Pro to training and also use it in the field on the towers. Many of our pilots will use Inspire and Matrice series drones, but the P4 Pro is an acceptable platform for tower inspections. From that standpoint one might interpret it as a professional drone. It has also done a very good job as a mapping drone for a number of clients.

On the other hand, if you were only doing cinematic work it probably would not be the right choice. Just ask a professional photographer how they would feel about having to take every single photo of every subject matter they ever shoot with a single wide angle lens. No zoom and no other lens choices - ever. From that regard you would probably have to step up to a different platform to get your work done properly or professionally. The same thing is true about the video format. Is a compressed h.264 file the right output for everything? No, but it will work for many of your clients - just not all of them.

So we feel it is the right drone for some professionals (or specific professions inside the industry) and for others it would not be the right tool.

We did however appreciate the comment related to the perception of being professional by putting it in a good case with a lot of batteries...:)
 
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R.Perry

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I've been using a Phantom 4 Pro and I tell my customers I use a "professional" drone. I'm very happy with the image quality and in comparing it to images produced by my DSLR, I think it comes remarkably close. Close enough. Besides the fact that overall the composition is much better than when I take photos from an airplane or helicopter. One of the things that amazed me most and still does is that having a drone is like putting a camera on a giant tripod.

One thing I wish I had is a more normal lens, but I could only do that with an Inspire and their camera system, so I have to make due with what I have until I can justify the greater expense.

At any rate, at least as far as still photography goes, are you comfortable calling a Phantom 4 Pro a "professional" drone? If you're using an Inspire with their best camera system, do you make that a selling point, and do you feel that images obtained by the P4P are not in your league?
I use both the P4 and Inspire. The company I work for supplies the inspire and the resolution is incredible. I'm also a home inspector, and an old one so I don't like climbing on roofs. I use the p4 for roof inspections and for property inspections on ranches. We also do real estate photography and the P4 does a very good job with a little editing, however we do all our lower level exterior with a professional quality camera. I would love to be able to mount a Nikon on the my P4 but that obviously won't work. So yes the P4 is a professional drone in my opinion.
 

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