“Seize The Moment” the title used to tease the reveal of the newest drone to the DJI family. In true DJI form the new DJI Spark was announced and shown off on Wednesday at Grand Central Station, New York city. The Spark, classified as a mini-drone, claims to boast all of DJI’s signature features but packed into a frame that measures the size of DJI’s Mavic Pro in it’s folded form! DJI also revealed its starting price for its base model and fly more combo at $859(US$499) and $1199(US$699) respectively. Oh, and another small feature, you can control it with the wave of a hand! But is it worth the price? Let’s check out the specs:
Weight – 300gm
Dimensions – 143x143x55mm
Max Speed – 50km/h
Max Flight Time – 16 minutes
GPS – GPS/GLONASS
Operating Temperature – 0-40 degrees C
Transmission Frequency – 2.4GHz & 5.8GHz
Camera & Sensing System
Obstecal Sensing Range – 0.2-5m
Sensor – 1/2.3″ CMOS 12 MP
Lens – f/2.6
ISO – Video 100-3200
Shutter Speed – 2-1/8000s
Photo Modes – Single Shot
Burst Shooting: 3 Frames
Image Resolution – 3968×2976
Video Resolution – FHD 1920×1080 30p
Max Video Bitrate – 24 Mbps
File System – FAT32
Photo Format – JPEG
Video Format – MP4(MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
Flight & Gimbal
Gimbal Range – Pitch: -85 to 0 degrees
Stabilisation – 2 axis pitch & roll
Transmission Distance – With Remote
2.4GHz (FCC: 2km CE: 500m)
5.8GHz (FCC: 2km CE: 300m)
The size and weight makes the Spark great for travelling, especially at the airport as you no longer have to worry about checking in your drone with a large expensive Pelican case. The tradeoff, of course, is a short flight and low max speed. With a 1480mAh battery, the Spark has a stated flight time of 16min and a top speed of 50KM/h, making it the slowest and shortest flight across the DJI range. Although this can be debated by its cheaper price it becomes a harder sell when the Mavic Pro is roughly $600 more in price, and includes a remote control.
But the Spark wasn’t built to compete in the mid-range professional market, it’s an entry level drone built for people who have never flown or used a drone before. It’s designed for fun, ease-of-use and more importantly selfies! That’s right, the Spark is a “Selfie Drone” and it accomplishes this though it’s facial recognition and motion control technology. The Spark itself can be manoeuvred without a remote control or a smart phone, it can simply be used with the wave of your hand, and it’s super fast to start up.
Simply hold the Spark in the palm of your hand, press the power button twice, the Spark’s camera will scan your face and fire up into the air! Once alive and flying, the Spark can recognise hand gestures simply by capturing the wave of your hand. Hold your hand up and move it side to side and the Spark will follow. Wave goodbye and the Spark will fly up ready to take a photo with a shutter gesture. Bring it back by waving your hand towards yourself and set it down with an open hand underneath it.
The camera sits on a 2-axis gimbal and features a 1/2.3″ sensor capable of shooting pictures at 12MP and video at 1080p 30fps FHD. The Sparks camera doesn’t hold up when comparing to the Mavic Pro or at the very least, the entry Phantom 4. The lack of RAW photo format and 60fps means the Sparks footage won’t be as clear or smooth as its elder siblings, but again, this is an entry level drone and one which is meant to replace your smart phone.