The bread and butter of any proper drone is its camera. While it is fun to fly a drone around town and nature, the images and footage it captures can be breathtaking. That means the camera quality is absolutely crucial. This brings us to a question: how good is the camera in the Phantom 3 Professional?
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Who Makes The Camera?
The camera in the Phantom 3 Professional is the Sony EXMOR 1/2.3. The team at NeuroGadget compares this camera with the current GoPro. There are many similarities between the two. Both are commonly used as high-definition action cameras.
Here is a comparison photo of the Sony camera and the GoPro:
Both shoot in high definition with outstanding clarity. In the comparison above, there are many similarities. The colors for the Sony, though, appear more vibrant, though.
● The Phantom 3 Professional’s camera sensor is the Sony EXMOR 1/2.3
● It shoots 4K images and videos
● Resulting images are 12 megapixels in size.
● It has a wide FOV of 94°
● The image file extensions it produces are JPEG and DNG
● The video file extensions it produces are MP4 and MOV
What Can The Camera Do?
The camera in the Phantom 3 Professional can high definition images and videos in 4K. It can catch video footage at 30 frames per second. It takes still images at 12 megapixels. It is attached to a three-axis gimbal, so the resulting footage and imagery are stable and clean.
The included Sony EXMOR has a f/2.8 lens with a 94° field of sight. This is suited for getting wide, aerial shots. It helps compensate for the distortion that may appear with other cameras.
The Camera’s Specs
There is a lot of raw data involved in describing a camera. So many different aspects have to be considered. Below is a breakdown of every spec for the Phantom 3 Professional’s camera.
Sony EXMOR 1/2.3” Effective pixels: 12.4 M (total pixels: 12.76 M)
FOV 94° 20 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.8, focus at ∞
● 100-3200 (video)
● 100-1600 (photo)
8s – 1/8000s
Image Max Size
Still Photography Modes
● Single Shot
● Burst Shooting: 3/5/7 shots
● Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 3/5
● Bracketed Frames at 0.7EV Bias
Video Recording Modes
● UHD: 4096x2160p 24/25, 3840x2160p 24/25/30
● FHD: 1920x1080p 24/25/30/48/50/60
● HD: 1280x720p 24/25/30/48/50/60
Supported SD Card Types
Max capacity: 64 GB Class 10 or UHS-1 rating required
Max Video Bitrate
Supported File Formats
FAT32(≤32 GB); exFAT (>32 GB)
32° to 104° F ( 0° to 40° C)
MP4, MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
We have already mentioned the sensor, lens, and image size. The other specifics are worth noting as well. Especially the photography modes, video modes, and file extensions. Together, these qualities help to make a high-quality camera.
Video and Photography Modes
The camera has a versatile set of photography modes. Single shot and burst shot are self-explanatory. The Auto Exposure Bracketing is where the camera takes several shots at different exposures. This helps ensure you get the right shot. The time-lapse option allows users to set a time interval where the drone will take the same picture until it is finished. This helps show change over time.
Below is a video by Simon Newton that helps explain the different image types:
The video modes are much simpler. They only differ in quality. Users can swap between HD quality (1080i), FHD quality (1080p), and UHD quality (4K). Of course, smaller resolutions take up less storage space. That’s important to keep in mind since the maximum size SD card it can take is only 64 GB.
Photography File Extensions
Some cameras produce images with difficult file extensions. The camera in the Phantom 3 Professional, though, keeps things simple and easy. For photo extensions, users can pick between JPEG and DNG. JPEG is universally easy to use and manipulate. Virtually any image software can handle a JPEG image. Unfortunately, a JPEG’s simplicity means there is some minute aspects of the image are lost.
DNG stands for Digital Negative. This is a raw image that loses absolutely nothing from the original shot. It is more complicated, so it does take an Adobe product to read and manipulate it. The good news is that both are available. Users can choose between raw quality and ease-of-use.
Video File Extensions
The video extensions rely less on quality and more on software. In general, MP4s work like video JPEGs. In fact, its name is actually MPEG-4. Most software out there can handle a simple MP4 file. They have become standard across the world.
A MOV file is essentially the exact same as an MP4 file. The only difference is that MOV files work specifically for Apple products. Having both options available allows users to pick which one is suitable for their software at home.
Is The Phantom 3 Professional Right For You?
If you’re looking for a user-friendly drone that takes 4K images, then absolutely. The specs and features of the camera have practically everything you need out there. The images and videos are easy to take and use. The resulting images and videos are crisp and very clean. This makes for the perfect drone camera.
Have you had a chance to try out the Phantom 3 Professional and its camera yet? Have your experiences differed from our findings? Let us know what you think in the comments below.