Why buy the Inspire 1 when you can get the Phantom 3 for less than half the price?
As a reference, this article will only refer to the Phantom 3 Professional. Technically the Phantom 4 has the same video capabilities as the Phantom 3 so you could consider this as a Phantom 4 vs Inspire 1 article as well.
When the Inspire 1 first came out, it was a huge innovation at the time. It has the ability to stream live HD video right to your smart phone from a distance of over a mile away. This and the fact that it records in 4K are still unparalleled in a ready-to-fly option.
Now there is the newer DJI Phantom 3 and Phantom 4 with the ability to stream HD video and record 4K while being below $1400, which is certainly appealing to most.
Now why would anyone spend over $3000 on Inspire 1 when obviously Phantom 3 is way cheaper?
This article will go over the reasons why you should choose Inspire 1 over the Phantom 3.
Also read DJI Phantom 4 review
They both have the same camera sensors and lens but the Inspire 1 now has an upgradable camera.
Since Inspire 1 Pro and Inspire 1 Raw were released, there are now three different camera options for the Inspire 1. They are called X3, the new X5 and the more expensive X5R. The X3 (similar to Phantom 3) is for the typical consumer, the X5 (video quality similar to Panasonic GH4) is for the serious enthusiastic consumer and the X5R (cinema camera that shoots 4K Raw) is for the one that is looking to produce something of top quality.
This means that the Inspire 1 is very flexible and can handle any shooting requirement while being cheaper than an S1000 octocopter.
Other than getting better video quality, DJI is also in the making of a mounting system to have the X5R as a stabilized handheld camera when you’re not flying.
The biggest difference between Inspire 1 and Phantom 3 is that while you are flying the Inspire 1, someone else can control the camera. Even if you only want to go solo, it’s great to be able to lock the camera in one position and it won’t move. The Dual Pilot mode can be really great and gives you something fun to do that is for two people.
The Phantom 3 has a new motor design and optical flow stabilization that makes it the easiest drone to fly.
The Inspire 1 is also easy to fly but it’s bigger and could be dangerous. It has larger motors, propellers and a 6 cell lipo battery which makes it very fast, stable and it could handle faster wind speeds and still have great video quality.
In terms of lights, the Phantom 3 is easy to see at night but it can be a challenge to fly line-of-sight during the day because of the position of the LEDs. With the Inspire 1, it’s larger and you can tell the difference between front and back clearly. The LED lights are also much brighter and they face outwards instead of downwards as the case with Phantom 3. This makes it a joy to fly Inspire 1 during night or day.
The transforming design of Inspire 1 means you can rotate the gimbal around without seeing the arms but it also has another advantage when the camera is pointing forward.
Propellers are problematic when you are taking an aerial video. That’s why drone footages are always cropped to really wide ratios. Usually Phantom pilots will either crop their videos or fly backwards most of the time. This is because the propellers always show up at the top of the screen especially when you are flying forward.
With the transforming design, the Inspire 1 doesn’t have those problems. You can fly in any direction you want and this allows greater freedom to shoot the videos in so many ways.
Look More Professional With Inspire 1
If you are getting paid to make videos with a drone, then Inspire 1 will definitely give you the sort of image that makes you look like you are a professional and gives confidence to clients.
It also makes you stand out than the rest of drone users out there as it can definitely attract a crowd when you are flying it. People will genuinely look more impressed with the Inspire 1.
No HDMI Output
The Phantom 3 doesn’t have HDMI output so this means that you cannot record the live feed to a video capture device, you cannot use a glare-free monitor, you can’t plug it to a TV and you can’t output the HDMI signal to a video switching device for live news broadcasts. However, for $100, you are now able to upgrade the Phantom 3 remote to support HDMI. Although if you are an average consumer, then no HDMI will not be a problem for you. The Phantom 3 and the Inspire 1 will also have Youtube live streaming functionality.
The Phantom 3 is great for shooting video and it’s affordable. However, if you want a drone for professional video purposes and unparalleled performance, then you should definitely choose Inspire 1.