I’ve been sitting on the fence deciding on the best time to purchase an Inspire 1 from DJI. The drone manufacturer announced Intelligent Flight Modes for the Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 today, so the time to purchase might be right now.
I purchased the DJI Bluetooth Datalink system for my Phantom 2 drone just over a year ago. The system allows me to set waypoints (flight paths) for my drone, so I can focus on controlling the camera, while the GPS and Datalink system take care of the flying.
All well and good, but I don’t have the ability to pan the camera with this setup, and even though I can mount a 2K GoPro on the gimbal, I’m not able to get all of the images I want without the props or landing gear getting in the way.
That’s why I was super excited about the Inspire 1 when it was initially introduced. The Inspire 1’s legs rise above the view of the built-in camera, and allows the user to get the best shot possible This can be done with one or two users – the dual control support allows one person to focus on flying, while the other can concentrate on getting the perfect shot. Unfortunately, the Inspire 1 (and Phantom 3) drones did not include any way of using Datalink, which in my mind, is a critical feature of these drones for ariel photography and filmmaking.
Today, DJI announced free updates to the firmware for the Inspire 1 and the Phantom 3 that allows for Waypoints, Point of Interest, and a Follow Me Mode (Phantom 3 only).
Record a flight path, then tell your Phantom 3 or Inspire 1 to fly along the same path repeatedly while you control the camera and orientation. Save your favorite missions, customize speed, and more.
Point of Interest
Tell your Phantom 3 or Inspire 1 to automatically revolve around a designated object, person, or place in a perfect circle. Automatic and customizable, get shots that only experts could before.
(Phantom 3 series only)
Tell your Phantom 3 to follow you, and it automatically flies and keeps you in the camera’s view wherever you go.
Though the addition of the Waypoints and POI modes for the Inspire 1 really tip the scale on me dropping nearly $4,000 on the drone, I’m now wondering if Follow Me would be useful for the Inspire 1 as well. A major project I’ve been holding off on for years could really benefit from a Follow Me mode on the Inspire 1, as I could drive my Jeep cross-country while the drone captures the shot above.
With NAB just around the corner, it is time to watch the sites that sell DJI drones for price drops. If new systems are set to be announced, expect to see stores drop their prices drastically to reduce stock so they have room for new models. If this happens, I’ll definitely be waiting for the Inspire 2 to roll out in April.