So I got my Phantom 4 Pro on 27 Nov but I was only able to make my maiden flight with it on 30 Nov, after the new DJI Go 4 App became available on AppStore. Before I move on, I just want to say this brief review is based on its ability to perform under low-light conditions only and I am also aware that the drone is not made to shoot under low-light! But since the larger sensor is the main reason why I bought this drone and so, I am going to share my experience shooting low-light with it.
The Phantom 4 Pro comes with several new features and improvements over its predecessor and one of it is the ability to allow me to choose between auto or manual focus. The ability to set the focus is great as it gives me greater depth of field but manual focus is what attracts me most since I’m shooting under low-light most of the time. All the images here were taken in manual focus mode.
I flew the Phantom 4 Pro on a windy night near Marina Bay Sands area with wind gust at 37 km/h. The drone managed to hold itself well and executed the 4 seconds exposure like a piece of cake, for 15 minutes in the air. Check out the time-lapse of MBS laser show below.
Far objects looked quite soft on Phantom 4 but the P4 Pro managed to capture much more details and it also captured faint lights much better than its predecessor.
I’m actually pretty surprised to see the presence of digital noise even at ISO100 for both drones and at this juncture, I won’t say the P4 Pro performs better in this aspect. Also, its limited usable ISO range doesn’t make it useful for extreme low-light photography yet. So, I would recommend using ISO not exceeding 400 and 800 is really the maximum limit. Check out the raw images below, cropped at 100%.
For those of you who wish to create low-light HDR images using its AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing) mode, you are going to be very disappointed. DJI performs the bracketing not by adjusting its aperture or shutter speed but by changing its ISO I believe, because all its images were so noisy that I didn’t even want to post-process it. I don’t understand how an image captured at -0.7 or -1.3 exposure compensation can appear much more noisy than an image captured at zero exposure compensation, using the same ISO100. Until this mystery is solved, I say you will get better result by exposing your images manually or perhaps, DJI can implement a Bulb mode in their future updates. The RAW files of all the bracketed shots were showing the same ISO, aperture and shutter speed and this confused my HDR programs. You can use this mode during daytime but definitely not during the night!
DJI mentioned on its website that the P4 Pro is able to shoot at 2/3/5/7/10/15/30/60s interval but I am unable to shoot at 2 or 3 seconds interval and I have informed the DJI support team about this, and I will update this post when they reply. This was my maiden flight and I will post more reviews in time to come. Stay tuned!