DJI on may 24th Wednessday unveiled the Spark , the smallest model of the popular Chinese dronemaker has released till this date.
A first for DJI, the Spark can be controlled entirely through hand gestures for quick airborne selfies. Piloting it with an accompanying app allows for a broader array of maneuvers, including flight patterns like “Helix,” which mimics Hollywood-style action movie helicopter shots. An optional remote control adds further control options and dramatically increases the range.
Image credite: pcadvisor
Like other recent DJI drones, the Spark is capable of detecting and avoiding objects in its flight path. When it comes time to land, tapping the Spark’s “Return to Home” button brings the aircraft back to its departure point.
The Spark’s camera can shoot 12 megapixel photos and record 1080p high-def videos. That’s roughly equivalent to a typical smartphone, but it’s not as good as DJI’s higher-end drones, which can shoot ultra-high-def 4K footage. The Spark drone also has a “ShallowFocus” setting that blurs out the backgrounds behind your subjects, similar to the iPhone 7 Plus’ Portrait Mode.
image credit : MyFirstDrone
The drone itself can reach speeds of up to 31MPH, and a 3D sensing camera, GPS/Glonass and an on-board vision positioning system help keep the system stable, even indoors when the signal is crappy, while the two-axis gimbal helps stabilize video while it’s shooting.
The on-board battery is swappable on the fly – a big deal for a drone this small. And, for good measure, there’s a microUSB port for recharging — not USB-C for some reason, but beggars can’t be choosers, I guess. Each battery promises about 16 minutes of flight time person charge. There’s also a remote for the drone. It’s an optional accessory, which explains why it wasn’t pictured in those original leaks.
image credit : MyFirstDrone
The tiny drone is available for pre-order and starts shipping next month in three different colors. Assuming, of course, that the company doesn’t run into the sorts of production issues that plague the Mavic. There are a number of accessories available for the drone, a number of which are jammed into the $699 Fly More deluxe version. And the thing naturally works with the first-person video goggles that the company debuted alongside the Mavic last year.
DJI also went big on the warranty this time out, after the Mavic ran into some issues with its own launch (not to mention our own birdhouse-related issues) and GoPro’s Karma started literally falling from the sky.
Every time DJI announces a drone now days, the company makes the promise of finally mainstreaming the still relatively emerging technology. And every time the argument sounds a little more convincing. Last year’s Mavic backpack drone made a pretty compelling case, at least as far as getting more of these devices into the hands of photo enthusiasts. And the camera body-sized Spark is even more tempting for those on the go.
With a palm-sized body and sub-$500 price point, the company is taking some pretty significant steps beyond just photographers and videographers. It’s still a pretty expensive toy at the end of the day. But with the number of features the company is tossing in here, the notion of a solid drone for the rest of us just became a little more real.