DJI Spark is the selfie drone anyone can wave to and control

Drones are all the rage and are the cool toys that allow virtually anyone to become an aerial videographer. And we love them! No one wants to watch the family-reunion picnic. But throw in some dramatic music, a drone taking off, flying around, and all of a sudden you have some compelling motion you don’t mind sitting through.

Besides the heavy YouTubers and obviously the cinema-videographer types, most people want a simple “Selfie Drone”. This is a drone that you can have in your backpack, is simple to operate and captures the excitement from the air. While we have seen some brands offering a small foldable drone, there is one leader in that simply does it best – DJI.

The DJI brought us the magical Mavic Pro, still, on my wish-list this has quickly become the must-have drone mainly due to its portability and the quality. A quick search on the YouTube will gleam hours and hours of excited happy customers. So when DJI announced a new personal mini camera drone, I was very curious to see what that would be.

Introducing the DJI Spark. The “easy-to-use, fun-to-fly mini camera drone that lifts off from the palm of your hand to capture and share the special moments in your life on the go.”

What makes the Spark powerful is that it is controlled by hand gestures alone. Therefore even if you have never flown a drone before, you should be able to control it like a pro as there are no apps or remote control joysticks to master. (By the way: if you do want to fly it with an app or a controller you can still do that)

 

According to DJI: “When Spark takes off from your hand, it automatically enters Gesture Mode. This features new advanced gesture controls like PalmControl, which lets users control Spark with hand movements. In Gesture Mode, you can also send Spark up and away from you, take a selfie, and call it back with just your hands.”

“Controlling a camera drone with hand movements alone is a major step towards making aerial technology an intuitive part of everyone’s daily life, from work and adventure to moments with friends and family,” said Paul Pan, Senior Product Manager at DJI. “Spark’s revolutionary new interface lets you effortlessly extend your point of view to the air, making it easier than ever to capture and share the world from new perspectives.”

There are several QuickShots Intelligent Flight Modes that you can choose from:

  • QuickShot: Spark will fly along a preset flight path while recording a short video and tracking a subject along the way.
  • Rocket: sending Spark straight up into the air with the camera pointed down;
  • Dronie: flying up and away from your subject
  • Circle: rotating around the subject
  • Helix: spiraling away from a subject as it flies upward.

For each QuickShot, Spark will automatically create a 10-second video from your flight that is ready to share – because if you didn’t share it, then did it really happen? I think not…

Some other notable features include:

  • TapFly Coordinate which allows the Spark to fly to a location that you tap on your mobile device screen.
  • TapFly’s Direction Mode lets you keep flying in the direction you tap on the screen.
  • ActiveTrack, will automatically recognize and track an object you chose and keep it in the center of the frame.Whether you are using TapFly or tracking a subject, Spark’s 3D Sensing System will actively sense obstacles in front of the aircraft.
  • Most importantly, the Spark has 3D Sensing System that will actively sense obstacles in front of the aircraft. This will keep the Spark (and people/ objects) safe as the drone will not fly into things as its capturing your aerial shots.
  • Wanna fly at 31 mph? Switch to the controller and enter the Sport Mode. This sets the Spark’s gimbal to first-person view (FPV) which means that the camera moves with you as you fly. Spark will also be compatible with DJI Goggles for an immersive FPV flight experience.

The Camera Technical Bits:
The Spark has a camera mounted on a 2-axis gimble with a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor that captures 12-megapixel photos and shoots stabilized HD 1080p videos. It has UltraSmooth tech which is set to dramatically reduce the camera shake and rolling shutter effect to capture cinematic shots effortlessly.

  1. To help make you look like a pro, you can use these two modes:
    Pano Mode: the camera creates horizontal or vertical panoramas by automatically adjusting its gimbal and heading, taking a series of pictures and stitching them together.
  2. ShallowFocus: This allows you to put part of a picture into sharp focus while the rest of the image is softened (ie. shallow DOF)

There are also several filters and automatic editing templates available in the DJI GO 4 app which enables anyone to quickly edit videos.

Let’s Talk Safety:

To keep the Spark (and you) safe, there is a downward-facing vision system, a forward-facing 3D Sensing System, dual-band GPS and GLONASS, a high-precision inertial measurement unit, and 24 powerful computing cores. These features allow Spark to hover accurately with vision system assistance at up to 98 feet (30 meters) and sense obstacles from up to 16 ft (5 m) away.

To keep the Spark (and you) safe, there is a downward-facing vision system, a forward-facing 3D Sensing System, dual-band GPS and GLONASS, a high-precision inertial measurement unit, and 24 powerful computing cores. These features allow Spark to hover accurately with vision system assistance at up to 98 feet (30 meters) and sense obstacles from up to 16 ft (5 m) away.

There is also a Return to Home which automatically recalls the drone with a sufficient GPS signal. While using the remote controller, if the battery gets too low,

While using the remote controller, if the battery gets too low, the connection is lost, or the operator presses the Return to Home (RTH) button, Spark flies back to the preset home point while sensing obstacles in its path.

Spark also integrates DJI’s GEO System or NFZ geofencing to provide you with up-to-date guidance on areas where flight may be limited by regulations or raise safety or security concerns – helping you fly safely and responsibly.

Other Important Bits:
Spark is powered by a high-energy density LiPo battery and has a maximum flight time of up to 16 minutes. When flying with the remote controller accessory, Spark allows for 720p real-time video transmission from up to 1.2 miles (2 km) away.

Price and Availability:
The US retail price of a DJI Spark, including a battery, a USB charger and three pairs of propellers, is $499 USD.

The Spark Fly More Combo includes the Spark, an aircraft, two batteries, four pairs of propellers, a remote controller, propeller guards, a charging hub, a shoulder bag and all necessary cables, with a US retail price of $699 USD.

Pricing and availability of other accessories for Spark will be announced at a later date. Spark will be available for pre-order at store.dji.com, four DJI Flagship Stores, and authorized dealers. Spark pre-orders will start shipping in mid-June.

 

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