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DJI Spark, Portable Mini Drone, Alpine White
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- Intelligent Flight ModesSmart, reliable, and incredibly intuitiveQuickShotVideos with a Tap.
- High-Performance CameraAmazing images and stabilized videoMechanical Gimbal StabilizationShake-Free Shots
- Flight PerformanceAwesome potential, immersive experiencesPowerful Propulsion Speed and Precision Control
- Flight SafetyWorry-free flight in the palm of your hand ; Propeller guards are recommended when using these functions.
- 2-Axis Stabilized Gimbal Camera
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|Battery Type||Lithium Ion|
|Battery Weight||95 grams|
|Effective Still Resolution||12 MP|
|External Memory Included||No|
|Flash Memory Type||Micro SD|
|ISO Range||Video: 100 to 3200 Photo: 100 to 1600|
|Item Dimensions||8.2 x 3 x 9.8 inches|
|Item Weight||1.49 pounds|
|Lithium Battery Energy Content||16.87 Watt Hours|
|Lithium Battery Voltage||11.4 Volts|
|Lithium Battery Weight||1 gram|
|Maximum Focal Length||25|
|Minimum Focal Length||25|
|Optical Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Photo Sensor Technology||CMOS|
|Platform||Not Machine Specific|
|Shipping Weight||1.45 pounds|
|Video Capture Format||HD|
|Video Capture Resolution||1080p|
Spark is a mini drone that features all of DJI's signature technologies, allowing you to seize the moment whenever you feel inspired. With intelligent flight control options, a mechanical gimbal, and a camera with incredible image quality, Spark empowers you to push your creative boundaries. Quick Launch With Face Aware, Spark lifts off from your hand by recognizing your face. It takes off and hovers in place within seconds of powering on. Simple Control Take amazing aerial photos using just hand gestures, without a remote controller or mobile device. Create with Ease Intelligent Flight Modes and intuitive controls help you create cinematic aerial videos with just a few taps. Edit and Share The DJI GO 4 app features automatic editing templates and an array of filters. Quickly edit videos and share them straight to social media.
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I have been flying drones since the debut of DJI's very first Phantom. I have since then owned every reincarnation of the Phantom lineup (with the exception of the Phantom 3 Standard and advanced), and currently have a Phantom 4 Pro, Inspire 1, Mavic Pro, and Yuneec Typhoon H. I shoot aerial videos/stills for real estate companies, construction companies, universities, and occasionally for weddings. I also fly a lot for personal enjoyment. I use Adobe Premier Pro for my video editing and Adobe Lightroom/Photoshop for image adjustments. Therefore, one of the most important factors for me is image quality and video resolution. So let's start there.
Video footage is stuck at a maximum of FHD: 1920×1080 @ 30fps. No 24fps. No 60fps. No 120fps. No 4K resolution. 1920x108p @ 30fps is the only option DJI's Spark offers in terms of video options. This means that 99% of the beautiful, cinematic, smooth slow-motion aerial footage you see on YouTube is absolutely impossible to achieve with the Spark and therefore automatically places this drone in the "not meant for professional use" category. Don't get me wrong, though. 1920x1080 @ 30fps will produce great footage without a doubt. But I guarantee that your most loved aerial footage on YouYube was shot at either 24fps or 60fps. So by all means, please do not expect to mimic those types of videos with the Spark because it won't be achievable. I hate to be a downer, but I’m just being realistic. If this is your first Drone and you’re “looking forward to making amazing videos,” be forewarned that the Spark will not produce the same footage you see from Phantom, Inspire, Mavic, Typhoon, etc.
The camera is held in place by a 2-axis gimbal. Meanwhile the Phantom line, Mavic Pro, and nearly every other drone is equipped with a 3 axis gimbal. Is there a huge difference between 2-axis and 3-axis gimbals? It depends on how fast you fly. With a top speed of 31MPH, the lack of a 3rd-axis is somewhat apparent during yaw movements at that speed. Overall though, I am very impressed with the stabilization DJI's Spark offers. It remains very steady in adverse wind conditions which was a huge surprise for me. It's small enough to blow across the table with a shop vac, but is a force to be reckoned with when it's in the air.
(See notes at bottom for an explanation of 2-axis vs 3-axis gimbals)
As I just said, the Spark has a top speed of 31MPH as stated by DJI. I have personally reached 28MPH while flying next to my car for speed comparison purposes, but with the cruise control nailed at 31MPH it was never able to remain at the car's side (wife drove while I flew). The magic number I came up with after 10 back and fourth runs in an empty field was 28MPH. Once the cruise control was set to 28MPH the Spark was then able to consistently remain at my side. One important thing to note is that you can only fly at a top speed of 12MPH while using your phone as a standalone controller. In order to go faster than 12MPH you will have to purchase the dedicated controller.
Flight time is advertised as 16 minutes, but I have never (62 flights to be exact) been able to keep it in the air for that amount of time. Depending on ambient wind speed and how aggressively I fly the Spark I consistently get between 8 and 12 minutes of flight time. Therefore, I highly suggest purchasing extra batteries if you want to fly for long periods of time. I asked DJI how they came up with 16 minutes and was informed that testing was done in a windless environment and also at a static hover. Completely real world testing, right? Not even close. 12 minutes is the most you will get in the real world.
Of course you can’t have flight time without a battery, right? Charge time takes an average of 45-50 minutes and has been consistent for me since I received this on June 1st as a tester. As with all DJI batteries it has a LED indicator which allows the user to see its charge at any given time. You can also charge the spark with a micro USB cable which is very convenient. I have plugged it into my car’s charging port a few times to add some juice while traveling to different locations and it works just fine. You can also use a portable battery pack as well. But be forewarned that charging the Spark’s battery via a portable battery pack takes a few minutes shy of forever. The same holds true for a car’s charging port. If you want to get the 45-50 minute empty-to-full charge time you will have to plug it into a wall.
Range is advertised as 100 yards with a cell phone and 1.24 miles with the dedicated remote controller. Personally I have never been able to exceed 85 yards with my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and my wife’s iPhone 7 Plus offered no increase (I flew it away from me on a football field and my wife marked where control input no longer worked. 10 times / 85 yards was the maximum distance). The remote controller holds true to DJI’s 1.24-mile claim. In-fact I’ve reached 1.76 miles. But here is the kicker… battery life will not allow you return all the way home most of the time if you fly out that far. I flew out to 1.24 miles 10 times and automatically turned around to return home. Not once was I able to make it all the way back. 50% of the battery was always exhausted before I reached .85 miles and sometimes less depending on ambient wind conditions. In terms of range I will say that the Spark is capable, but the battery is not.
Let’s talk about the Spark’s claim to fame. Hand gestures.
Yes, they work. Yes, they are cool. Yes, it will make you feel like Darth Vader. All-in-all, the palm launch functionality and hand gestures are a very welcomed technological addition. Not having to pull out my phone or the remote in order to get a picture has been a great time saver and eliminates a small amount of hassle. My phone can be dead and I can forget the remote controller at home, but I can rest assured knowing that I’m still able to control the drone without those things. If you’re like me and literally never take pictures of yourself with your drone, this will be gimmicky and useless. But if you’re a selfie stick addict who wishes your selfie stick could extend another 50 feet, then this will be a very welcomed feature.
The DJI Spark is meant to fill the gap between serious dronies / professionals and those who just want to have fun without breaking the bank. It’s essentially an entry-level drone and nothing more. If you already own the Mavic Pro / Phantom / Inspire, the Spark will just be a dust collector on your shelf once you realize how inferior it is to what you already have.
Note 1: A 3-axis gimbal is not necessarily better than a 2-axis gimbal. Saying a 3-axis gimbal is better is like saying a car is better than a motorcycle simply because it has more wheels. Both 3-axis and 2-axis gimbals have their own pros and cons.
3-axis gimbals generally provide better video stability than 2-axis gimbals. This is because 3-axis gimbals stabilizes your video on all 3 axis (yaw, pitch and roll) while 2-axis gimbals stabilizes only on the pitch and roll axis. Jello, or jittery horizontal movement, is more obvious in videos taken using a 2-axis gimbal due to the lack of stabilization in the yaw axis. 3-axis gimbals are able to greatly reduce and sometimes completely eliminate jello due to a third motor that helps absorb unwanted movement in the yaw axis.
However, 3-axis gimbals are heavier and more expensive than their 2-axis counterparts. They also draw more battery power due to having more motors. This is part of what keeps the cost of DJI's Spark down, and also extends the battery life.
Note 2: Buy the prop guards. Especially if you plan to launch the Spark from your hand a lot. I’ve been hit once while the Spark was taking off and it hurt. It’s not pleasant to get hit by a drone’s propellers, so always be sure your hand is completely flat.
Note 3: Buy a landing pad, especially if you are uncomfortable with catching it with your hand. The Spark can easily land on pavement, but grass is a challenge because there is no landing gear and also because the props are so low to the ground. You can also use cardboard or some other homemade pad. The good thing about nylon landing pads is their resistance to water. Cardboard will become soft when placed on wet grass.
**NOTE** Review will be updated as I get more flights on the drone! Edit history will be logged below
-Firmware Updated added to Pros (#15) (6/20/17)
-OTG Cable allows for USB phone connection to controller added to pros (#14) (6/20/17)
-Battery Charging Time added to pros (#16) (6/20/17)
-Confirmed that batteries can be charged in the field by a Goal Zero Sherpa added to pros (#17) (6/27/17)
-Added sample video of the Spark and Mavic Comparison Photos (7/1/17)
Sample Video Note: Video is short and unedited.. Simple video showing the Sparks video quality
1.) Excellent Battery Life for a mini drone! I get the advertised battery life out of my quad! Which is much longer than other quads of this size.. First flight I got 13 minutes and second 12 minutes.. My breeze gets under 10 pretty much any flight
2.) Fly More includes a remote - The remote ROCKS! It works just as well as a larger DJI Remote and has AMAZING RANGE!
3.) Controller not needed to fly - You can fly this with your phone, saving even more space (Distance and range is limited with the phone)
4.) Camera has a gimbal - Again, gimbals work MUCH BETTER than software stabilization
5.) Quality is Amazing - Everything from the battery, the quad, the controller, and even my storage case is simply AMAZING!!
6.) Picture Quality is GREAT
7.) Video Quality is GREAT
8.) Has AMAZING range - using your phones WiFi, the range is limited but using the included controller the range is 1000+ feet!! In any direction!
9.) VERY EASY TO FLY!
10.) Great Value - for $499 (or $699 with fly more) you get a drone with all the features of the Phantom 4 or Mavic.. That's a WONDERFUL VALUE in my book
11.) Full of Features - This has all the features of my Phantom 4 which blows the competition AWAY when it comes to mini drones!!
12.) Hand Gestures work GREAT - While I don't see myself using them often, they do work WONDERFULLY WELL!!! I can see how they will come in handy for selfies and whatnot
13.) Fly more is a GREAT VALUE!! The controller and the battery alone are worth the $200 extra! But prop guards, a much nicer carry case,, battery charging bar, and extra props just add to the value! Plus I got a MicroSD card tossed in
14.) While at first I loved the IDEA of my phone commuicating with the controller via WiFi, Video was spotty! BUT I quickly learned the DJI OTG Cable will allow my phone to connect to the controller VIA USB!! Now video is 100% CLEAR!
15.) Firmware update was simple! I used the mobile app for the firmware update BUT normally I use the DJI PC Software.. I did confirm the update installed correctly using the DJI PC Software.. Update was very simpel via the app!! Another plus for this great drone, making it very user friendly!
16.) After several flights now, the batteries for the quad charge VERY quickly!! Normally under an hour! Wow, talk about fast!
17.) Want to charge your batteries in the field? Grab a Goal Zero Sherpa! It works GREAT with the DJI Spark batteries and the charging kit!! (Make sure you grab the inverter to go with the SHERPA!! It's extra)
Goal Zero Sherpa 100 Recharger
Mavic or Spark? The Spark offers most of the Mavic features for much less than the cost of the Mavic! But you do sacrifice a little when it comes to the camera in the Spark.. However, the spark is a FUN park flyer and is super easy to use for folks new to quadcopters!! Buying the spark only because it is easy to transport? DON'T! Folded up (As seen in my photo below) both are almost the same size, so don't buy the spark if and only if you think it will be easier to transport.. Both are VERY EASY! Remember, the Mavic does have more of a professional camera so if you need higher quality photos and video, the Mavic should be your choice!
Overall: Right now I am in love with this drone and I can't wait to fly it more tomorrow!! Everything is as expected!