The post is an update of the Chapter 1-3DR Solo vs Phantom 3 in Flight Features, we’ll focus on their Camera & Gimbal in the article.
Solo: The Great GoPro in the Sky
Now we come to the main difference between these two amazing drones: the camera. First off, the 3DR Solo doesn’t come with a camera, but it was developed closely with GoPro in an effort to become the world’s best flying platform for the world’s most popular action camera. Depending on the user, that can be good or bad. If you already own a GoPro, then you don’t have to shuck out the extra cash, but to get the full 4K UHD video at 30 frames per second that we listed above, you’ll need a GoPro HERO 4 Black.
NOTE: You can only get complete functionality with your Solo with the GoPro HERO 3+ Black, HERO 4 Silver or HERO 4 Black. However, you can use a GoPro HERO 3+ Silver for video only.
The main perk of using a GoPro with the Solo is utilizing the GoPro’s wide range of photographic possibilities. However, aerial footage captured with your GoPro/Solo combo will likely require a good amount of editing. The GoPro HERO 4 Black also captures a wider field of view (depending on setting), so you get more of the sunset or mountain scene in your footage. That footage might show “jello” artifacts or a slightly distorted fisheye effect, but that can be remedied by cropping out the edges of your footage, using ND filters or by adjusting the camera’s frame rate. Basically, with a GoPro on your Solo, you’re going to get more raw video to work with, but you’re going to have to spend a little more time editing than you might with a Phantom 3.
Other awesome perks of using a GoPro are the many photo burst modes available. Instead of recording video, you can set your camera to take up to 30 12 megapixel photos a second or as little as three photos per second. That enables a more passive way to capture quality aerial photography while you focus on flying and framing shots.
One of the main selling points of the 3DR Solo has to be the Solo Gimbal. With help from GoPro, 3DR successfully designed the first-ever gimbal with full control over a GoPro (including access to all settings), which gives you the ability to pan, tilt, snap stills and initiate Smart Shots. Plus, it provides cinema-worthy stability while flying. If you’re looking at buying the Solo, we strongly recommend springing for the version with the gimbal: the 3DR Solo Quadcopter with 3-Axis Gimbal.
Phantom 3: Simply Stunning
Thanks to its powerful camera, the DJI Phantom 3 is the easiest way to capture eye-popping aerial photo and video with full 4K UHD and 12 megapixel resolution. That’s because the mounted camera was designed specifically for aerial photography and filmmaking, which limits distortion and greatly reduces the editing required to achieve professional-level content. An abundance of advanced camera settings are available through the DJI Go App, including 3/5/7 photo burst modes and time-lapse. The Phantom 3’s 20mm lens also accepts ND and circular polarizer filters to further fine tune your image capture.
Since the camera and gimbal are completely integrated into the Phantom 3, there is no installation necessary, which means quicker pre-flight checks and less overall stress on the gimbal. The gimbal itself provides reliable stability and buttery smooth tilting, whether you’re controlling it manually or using one of the many Intelligent Flight Modes. The Phantom 3 gimbal is a bit more delicate than the Solo, but it comes with a gimbal guard that you can use to protect it during transport.