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Drones are in high demand because both amateur and professional photographers are clamoring to get the top aerial quads to take those one-of-a-kind shots. There are many drones on the market today, and finding the right one will make all the difference in your picture quality. This review of the DJI Phantom FC40 reveals that it is one of the best drones on the market for any use.
This drone stands out from the others in the line due to its onboard camera that delivers extraordinarily high quality video. Also, the FC40 is essentially ready to fly out of the box – just attach the rotors, charge it up and you are ready to go.
- 5.8 GHz remote control
- Weight: 6.7 lbs
- 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi enabled camera
- Flight Speed: 10 m/s
- 720p HD video
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 18.9 x 13.4 x 4.7
- 10x digital zoom
- Experience Level: Intermediate
- LiPo 700 mAh battery
- Flight Controller: Mobile Device
- Self tightening propellers
- Advanced GPS, including return-to-home mode
- About 12 minutes of flight time per charge
- Range of about 500 meters
Phantom FC40 Key Features
The DJI Phantom FC40 is one of the best drones on the market. It offers a dynamic combination of performance, quality and value. The FC40 takes the original DJI Phantom to a completely new level with the addition of live, streaming, first-person-view, aerial videos that are really amazing. The DJI Phantom FC40 includes and FPV (First person View) camera, but also mounts any Wi-Fi capable GoPro camera or any camera that includes a GoPro mount. First person View video can be streamed directly to any iOS or Android mobile device via a free application.
It is very easy to learn to fly this drone. This means that you can focus on using the camera to capture amazing video with great quality. Beginners will adore features like return-to-home and auto-hover, easing fears of losing your copter to a sudden plummet from the sky or a „fly away”. These features are some of the most important of the drone, because it will ensure that your drone returns to you, even if the transmitter is broken or the signal is lost. Only few drones can perform this task, and with 720p HD video recording capability, you can take a crisp and sharp photo every time. With 10x digital zoom, you can fly high above the subject and zoom in to take even the smallest detail.
The FC40 comes equipped with a built-in FPV video camera, making it excellent value for the price. This drone is the ideal starter camera for anyone looking to expand their collection with new drones or break into drone photography. With a 2.4G wireless connection and a range of 100 meters, this drone is perfect for long shots and special events, such as weddings. The Gimbal feature prevents unnecessary shaking during flight, allowing you to take the perfect shots the first time.
DJI Phantom FC 40 Design and Build
As always, DJI has made a thoughtfully designed and built drone. The trademark red and white color scheme stands out instantly and gives it a pretty smart and sporty look. But beneath the amazing design what you have really got is an extremely durable and rugged body. In fact, the FC40 is made from the same materials as much more costly DJI drones.
Where this copter differs from others is that onboard camera is purpose built for the drone. This gives you a more foolproof and seamless experience when making a video or taking photographs with the quadcopter.
Drone photography is one of the hottest new trends in special events and the FC40 is definitely a favorite of wedding photographers. As you know, weddings are visual events. There are intense and rich colors, decorative accents and flowing fabrics. Photographing an outdoor wedding from above can give an incredible perspective, and one that no other media can provide. Aerial photography with the FC40 will also dazzle at events like pool parties, charity balls and formal dances. Not only is the FC40 a dynamic camera system, it also packs a value with added accessories. The drone comes with propellers, extra batteries, charging kit and remote control. With stable flight controls, you can ensure that your drone always flies exactly where it is intended, and capture the shots that you want it to capture. This drone is ready to fly right when you take it from the box and it only requires very basic assembly. Self-tightening propellers mean that this drone is one of the most secure in flight. This allows you to fly with ease of knowing that your drone is secure, even if it hits an object during its flight.
You can pair the FC40 with the DJI smartphone app and get even better results from your photography. It allows you to save your shots, edit them and share them right from your hand. Whether you want to shoot a wedding from above or take aerial photographs for real estate agents, DJI produces the top drones that get the job done. You can even pair your own GoPro camera with your drone to make FPV photography a breeze.
Unlike many other RC quadcopters and airplanes, the FC40 only requires very simple assembly. You should just attach the rotors, skids and a couple of others small external parts and you are ready to go.
You will also have to charge the drone’s battery and put AA batteries into the controller, but generally speaking the Phantom FC40 is probably one of the fastest and easiest setups you can find. The controller and GPS are already tuned to work with the drone. Additional tunning is done automatically once you start up the drone.
The controller is very easy to learn. The right stick controls the tilt of the drone. Tilt control is crucial for turning and banking while in flight, but also for capturing amazing videos and photographs with your drone. The left stick controls the throttle and the rotation.
As with other DJI Phantom drones, the Phantom FC40 handles responsively and intuitively. The tilt control is forgiving but not too loose. This makes it simple to learn to navigate and very soon you can fly the Phantom FC40 like a professional. On a similar note, the throttle is not too sensitive. This allows for smoother landings and take-offs, thus prolonging the life of the drone.
You can also attach your smartphone to the controller. This feature is extremely helpful when you activate the camera’s Wi-Fi. This allows you to see what the drone camera sees so you can use this feature to ensure you get the video you want. Also, once you gain experience, you can learn to operate the FC40 out of your line of sight by using the streaming video.
Like other Phantom drones, the Phantom FC40’s brain is the Naza-M flight system. This offers you three main flying modes: Intelligent Orientation Control, Attitude mode and GPS mode.
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Intelligent Orientation Control makes flying more intuitive. This drone has very unusual design so it can be difficult to discern which end is the tail and which is the nose. This is particularly true at turning, banking and maneuvering at high altitudes because it is easy to get the controls mixed up. Therefore, this flying mode works to prevent this by keeping the tail pointed at the controller. You can activate this helpful feature using the Naza software.
Attitude mode is more of a manual mode. In this flight mode the drone will not maintain a fixed position when the controls are released. Instead, it will drift in the last direction it was or that its momentum will carry it. In the attitude mode, the Phantom FC40 can be easily blown about by wind. However, this flight mode is not a fully manual mode. The GPS navigation system is still on and can be used to regain control of the drone or to guide the drone home.
GPS mode is the most automatic mode. In this flight mode the drone will hover in a position that is level with the horizon when the controls are released. The GPS mode is recommended when learning to operate the drone and get a feel for the controls. This flight mode can also be helpful for capturing video in fixed position.
Pros and Cons
- Simple to get started with
- Excellent stability and power.
- Controller included
- There is a smartphone holder on the remote controller. Although it comes with a DJI camera, it can accept any GoPro Wi-Fi camera.
- Flight modes accommodate experience levels
- Basic set up
- The FC40 has the advanced features of the original Phantom plus live HD FPV video, which can be viewed on an Android or iOS smartphones.
- Failsafe Autopilot
- Spare set of propellers included
- Amazing range
- Top quality design and build
- Camera application is simple to use
- Battery life is shorter than other Phantom drones
- The camera angle is not adjustable during flight.
- Mobile app does not indicate battery level.
- Firmware upgrades for Mac require Windows emulator
- There is no operating manual.
- Micro-SD card not included
- At this price, you might be disappointed that it does not include more efficient V2 props, bigger battery nor a extended Wi-Fi as in later Phantom drones
- Purchasing a second stock battery is more cost-effective than purchasing the upgrade battery
- Third-parties offer waterproofing for the Phantom FC40
- If you have calibration problems, check that the compass chip is plugged in
- Be sure to install extra GPS and NAZA control software in the correct order
Check out Video Guides for DJI Phantom FC40
The DJI Phantom FC40 is a great value for first-time FPV drone pilots. There is a lot to like about the FC40. DJI has made an easy to fly and very stable machine that delivers still photos and great video. It is powerful, well built and simple to fly. This drone has amazing flying characteristics and a number of advanced features like IOC, return-to-home and longer than average flight times. Also, the range is very good. If you are looking for the best drone with a camera for a good price you can’t go wrong here.