“Flying a drone just became a whole lot less intimidating for a whole lot of people”
DJI officially unveiled the new Spark mini-drone in New York today, but don’t let its small size fool you. This little guy is packed full of leading edge technology that is going to open up drone storytelling to millions of people.
DJI’s Michael Perry did a great job of introducing the concept and vision behind the DJI Spark: bringing the immediacy of smartphone storytelling to a compact, easy to use personal drone.
And considering that 46% of Americans intend to purchase a drone this year, they had two questions in common that would decide their purchase: Is it easy to fly? and When will I use it?
And DJI has made this mini-drone personal to you, because it’s available in 5 cool colors. In addition to ‘Alpine White’ the Spark is available in the following colors:
The basic DJI Spark costs $499 for the basic drone without a remote control, and it’s available by pre-order right now at DJI’s website. Shipping will commence on June 15th. Spark is also available in a Fly More combo that includes an extra set of propellers, propeller guards, an extra battery, charging hub, remote control and a case to transport it all. This fly more combo is $699, also shipping June 15th.
Control with Gestures, Smart Phone or Optional Remote Control
Controlling the Spark is simple. It launches from your hand (or the ground) and it’s 24 smart computing cores are able to recognize your hand gestures telling it what to do. Wave it left or right with your palm. Make a rectangle with your hands and it takes a selfie. Wave both hands straight up and it comes back to you to land.
Range for the Spark varies depending on how it’s controlled. With smartphone control the range is up to 109 yards. Add the optional wi-fi remote control and you have up to 1.2 miles of flight distance between you and the drone.
Serious Camera = Serious Video + Images
The sensor on the DJI Spark is a 1/2.3″ able to capture 12MP stills and full HD at 1080p at 30 frames per second. The lens is set a f/2.6 with a 25 mm focal length, that produces a pixel area almost 50% greater than an iPhone 7.
The camera is mounted on a two-axis gimbal that incorporates DJI’s UltraSmooth mechanical image stabilization to reduce shake and rolling shutter effect.
Intelligent Shooting Modes
You may have heard about the simplicity that GoPro’s Karma drone has with it’s “Auto Flight Paths”. Now DJI has advanced it’s own flight modes, called Quick Shots, to bring similar simplicity in planning and executing a flight path that adds creativity and drama to your scene.
With ‘Pano’ the Spark shoots horizontal or vertical panoramas by automatically adjusting its gimbal and heading, capture sweeping vistas.
The ‘ShallowFocus’ mode uses the Spark’s 3D vision technology to create images with a shallow depth of field. By recognizing the subject, the software is able to blur the background, giving your images a totally professional feel.
‘Rocket’ is similar to what professional film-makers would call a ‘crane’ motion, where the Spark rises vertically filming the scene or subject.
‘Circle’ and ‘Helix’ do similar video duty. With ‘Circle’ you tap your subject and the Spark will fly around your subject for one minute and then produce a 10 second clip. ‘Helix’ circles your subject in an ever widening orbit while simultaneously gaining altitude.
And lastly, what mini-drone would be complete without an automatic ‘Dronie’ feature? DJI has left nothing out of this incredible drone.
In App Editing
One of the biggest barriers to more widespread drone use is the time, effort and complexity of taking raw footing from the drone and editing, enhancing, adding music, and finally outputting and uploading to share.
In the DJI Go 4 App you simply select the sequences you want to use to tell your story and the App automatically stitches them together, adds music and titles and hands you a video you can immediately share.
Serious Performance in a Small Size
In ‘Sport’ mode the DJI Spark can reach speeds up to 31 mph.
Flying normally, battery time is expected to be up to 16 minutes, and if you use up a battery both the drone and the battery are chargeable on the go with just a micro USB.
The 24 computing cores we mentioned above are put to good use as well, bringing in some of the technology of the Sparks bigger brothers and sisters the Mavic and Phantom series. With two forward facing sensors the Spark has 16 feet of obstacle avoidance from the front and uses dual GPS/GLONASS sensors for position sensing accuracy.
Features we grew accustomed to in the larger drones, such as Return to Home, Obstacle Sensing and TapFly are all built in to the Spark.
DJI wrapped up it’s presentation with a video by Youtube Vlogger @juliensolomita who spent a few days using the Spark to tell his story. Part of that was spent with his mother, and he was able to teach her to launch, fly and control the spark in just about one minute. It’s that simple.
And with full compatibility with DJI Goggles, the entire drone piloting and FPV experience is at your finger tips.
DJI has condensed everything we love about drone piloting and storytelling in a compact, powerful and intelligent drone that has one magic ingredient added: simplicity.
Which is exactly what the world has been waiting for.
Spark, you light a fire in us!