Phantom flying drone shoots improved, more stable video

The Phantom 2 Vision Plus has an improved three-axis gimbal for video stability

Aerial videography drone maker DJI introduced its next generation quad-copter, the Phantom 2 Vision Plus, at NAB in Las Vegas Monday.

The biggest upgrade to the flying drone is a new video camera that is stabilized on three axes, up from two in the company's previous model.

"What we found [before] was that when people were flying fast you'd get a lot of jitter," said Michael Perry, DJI company spokesman.

The new gimbal stabilizes the camera, preventing it from pitching, rolling or yawing while it's recording. The resulting video is smooth and fluid without unintended and jarring movements.

To see the drone and its footage, watch this video on YouTube.

Like its predecessor, the new drone has four fans and is remote-controlled by an operator on the ground. The operator uses a conventional-style remote control to fly the drone and a smartphone to control and monitor the video camera. Pilots can monitor what the camera sees from up to 700 meters away.

The new Phantom drone also has an improved battery, which can keep it in the air for 25 minutes, an upgrade from the 10 minutes with the previous version. There's also an indicator on the battery pack which shows pilots how much battery life is remaining.

The drone uses GPS to stabilize itself in winds up to 25 miles per hour and pilots can also program an autonomous flight path.

The Phantom 2 Vision Plus package includes a controller, drone, camera and three-axis gimbal for $1,300 and is available for preorder.

Nick Barber covers general technology news in both text and video for IDG News Service. E-mail him at Nick_Barber@idg.com and follow him on Twitter at @nickjb.

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