For over a year now, the rumour has been spreading that DJI is going to launch a successor for the Phantom 4. The Phantom 4 Pro has long been the top model among consumer models, especially with regard to the camera with a 1 inch image sensor.
With the launch of the Mavic 2 series, which was on a par with the Phantom 4 Pro at camera quality, the question of what to do with the phantom became all the more important. The Mavic 2 Pro convinces not only with its very good Hasselblad camera, but also with its much more compact form with the folding arms. As if that wasn’t already enough competition, DJI also launched an Enterprise version of the Mavic 2, which can be equipped with a thermal camera. So it seemed as if DJI was fully committed to the Mavic series and the good old Phantom line was phased out.
The rumors about a Phantom 5 are still going strong. On Chinese Twitter accounts photos of alleged Phantom 5 prototypes are spread, which show a camera with interchangeable lens.
Already in summer 2018 photos of Phantom model were shared with a silver-grey housing. Whether this is really a Phantom 5 prototype or just a Phantom 4 with Photoshop editing remains unclear. The alleged Phantom 5 leaks appear again and again over months in the silver-gray color and it can be assumed that DJI would strive for an optical differentiation for a release.
DJI has indeed commented on the rumors and denied that the drones shown are the Phantom 5 model but a custom model for a special customer, however, hardly anyone believes them. Why invest this enormous development effort only for a special customer?
The rumors about the successor received a further boost when the Phantom 4 Pro was removed from the DJI online shop with the hint that production had been discontinued. The Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 has also been sold out at DJI for some time. By the way, if you want to save a Phantom 4 Pro V2.0, there are still few available at Amazon.
A drone series with interchangeable lenses is an almost obvious step and will certainly meet with great interest. The possibility to between different focal lengths and light intensities
However, it can also be expected that you need to pay extra for this new feature and that such a drone model will probably be priced between the most expensive Mavic 2 model (which currently costs between €1200 and €1600 depending on the version) and professional drone models like the Inspire.
I’m sure we’ll see interchangeable lenses on drones and probably still this year. But I’m not yet convinced that DJI will use the somewhat outdated and impractical platform of the Phantom with fixed landing gear. We may have seen the first prototypes of the interchangeable lenses, but the final product might be attached to another aircraft.
But I wouldn’t wait for a “Phantom 5” – if you are looking for a very good camera drone, you should have a look at the Mavic 2 Pro, a current drone model with a super camera and a modern sensor system – and available immediately.