In our NAB rumors piece last week, we speculated that DJI would upgrade the Phantom all the way to the 5. Instead, we got the release of the Phantom 4 Advanced. Keeping the 4 name signals to users that this is isn't a major upgrade; it's just a mid-cycle revision, which is surprising, considering the furious pace of development in the drone industry and the previous release cycle of the Phantom line.

But just because it's a small upgrade doesn't mean the improvements aren't worth exploring.

The new Advanced model can shoot 4K at up to 60P and comes with a larger 128GB MicroSD card as standard—which makes sense since 4K 60P files are going to be media-hungry. The camera maxes out at a 100mpbs bitrate for either 60P footage, which records in H.264, or the 30P footage, which records in H.265. This means it's more likely you'll see artifacting in the slo-mo footage than when shooting 24P. 100mpbs is still pretty robust for a drone, so you aren't guaranteed to have artifacting, but if pushing the sensor to its limits—especially in low light—you'll get better performance in 24 or 30 frames than you will in slow motion. The upgrade also extends flight time to a full 30 minutes.


The most likely reason for the limited upgrade is the attention DJI has been putting intro other products like the Mavic Pro and the rumored Spark, along with the fact that the Phantom 4 was already a tremendously impressive drone for the price. Serving as the entry-level drone for many filmmakers, all the tools that made that drone such a success are still present in the Advanced: ultrasonic rangefinders, GPS and GLONASS positioning, and collision avoidance.

The Phantom 4 also available with the new Advanced + kit, which comes with a remote control containing a 5.5" 1080p HD screen, meaning you won't have to use your own tablet or smartphone for the job.

Best of all, the updated drone comes with a slight price cut compared to the launch of the Phantom 4 last year: down to $1,349 for the Advanced and $1,649 for the Advanced +.  The Phantom 4 is available April 30 from DJI (which will also be the end-of-life date for the original Phantom 4, though support for the platform will remain).

Tech Specs

  • 4K 60P H.264
  • 4k 30P H.265
  • 128GB MicroSD card
  • 1" sensor
  • GPS and GLONASS for satellite positioning
  • Ultrasonic rangefinders
  • Collision Avoidance
  • + comes with 5.5" HD screen remote

No Film School's complete coverage of NAB 2017 is brought to you by My RØDE Reel, Vimeo 360, and Blackmagic Design.