Thinking Of Buying A DJI Mavic Pro? Why a Spark Might Be A Better Option

Remember when you got your first bike?  Chances are it came with an extra set of wheels affectionately called “trainers”.

If you’re brand new to drones, there are more than a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t start out with one as powerful, fast and feature laden as the DJI Mavic Pro.

It’s All About The Benjamins

First off, the DJI Spark Fly More Combo is US$600 less than that DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo.  That’s getting close to a 50% difference in price.  And the contents of each combo are almost identical.  The Spark Fly More Combo includes prop guards, two sets of props, two batteries, remote control, charging hub and carry bag.  The Mavic Pro Fly More Combo with two sets of props, two batteries, remote control, charging hub, car charger and battery bank/discharger and a carrying bag.

Because you’re just starting out, you may not yet know whether operating a drone recreationally is actually going to be a hobby you will be committed.  Flying is the fun part, but it’s the large amount of time spent in post-production editing videos and photos that sorts people out of the hobby.

Keep It Simple, Stupid

The camera on the DJI Mavic Pro is more advanced, which is why it can shoot RAW photos and 4K video.  The DJI GO 4 app functions for the Mavic Pro are significantly more complex for the rookie user.  Starting with the Mavic Pro puts a lot of newbie pilots behind the knowledge curve quickly because there is so much to learn.

The DJI Spark on the other hand still has a very respectable 1080p video capture and 12MP photo capture. The Spark’s manual camera settings in the DJI GO 4 app are about 50% simpler than the Mavic Pro’s.  If you’re just starting out, It’s better to start off slow and learn the basics–because you aren’t just learning how to fly a drone, you’re also learning an app and understanding photo and video camera settings.


A lot of new users are latching on to 4K as if it was a prolific, must-have standard.  The truth is very few Youtube videos are uploaded in 4K, and of those that are, even fewer are actually watched in 4K.  Add to that the additional processing, upload and download times for these videos and you understand why.  And 4K TVs are only beginning to get a toe-hold in the market.

Battery Schmattery

The battery life on a DJI Mavic Pro is rated at 27 minutes, 11 minutes longer than the Spark mini-drone.  If you’re an inexperienced pilot a shorter battery life is actually a good training device for you for a few reasons.  First it’s going to keep you flying reasonable distances from your home-point (cause we all fly within VLOS, right?) which helps lower the risk of crashing or losing your drone.

Second, the reduced battery life is going to train you to build a couple of habits that will serve you well regardless of what drone you end up going with:

  1. Planning your flights in advance, and mapping out the how and where you want to take video and stills ahead of time makes much more efficient use of your time and battery life
  2. And learning how to effectively monitor your battery life duing flight will help you to always get the most from your piloting sessions

Also Looking To Buy A New PC?

A quick check of Facebook groups or some of the forums and you’ll quickly see that one of the most popular questions posed by new drone owners is “what is the best laptop for editing 4K video”. Shockingly, most new users didn’t know before hand just how much processing power is required to be able to edit 4K and higher video.

Unless your budget also includes a serious upgrade to a desktop or laptop that will process 4K, there’s no point recording in it. As we said above, barely anyone is watching 4K (yet) anyway, especially on Youtube.

Muscle Memory

The final advantage of starting with the DJI Spark first, before moving up to the Mavic Pro, is the remote control.

Aside from the small LCD screen and the C1, C2 buttons and camera settings wheel the Mavic Pro and Spark remote controllers are almost identical.  If, after learning the Spark you upgrade to the Mavic Pro, you’ll find that 90% of the muscle memory you have for the RC is transferable.  You’ll be ready to learn the advanced camera settings of the Mavic Pro because you’re already an ace at flight control, efficient battery management and photo & video editing practices.

We can’t decide for you whether the DJI Spark or Mavic Pro is the right drone for you to start out with.  But we’ve seen enough ebay and online ads of people selling their Mavic Pro because they just aren’t using them enough to make us wonder if they started out with the wrong drone.

DJI has put together their own 2017 Best Camera Drones Buying Guide that really helps to break it down across the entire family of DJI drones to help you decide which drone is right for you.



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