First look: DJI's $499 Spark drone is a portable, affordable iPhone-connected flying camer...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 2017
Aiming to simplify aerial footage for the masses, DJI on Wednesday unveiled its latest creation, the handheld Spark drone, which combines portability with simple gesture controls and an affordable $499 starting price.




The DJI Spark was announced at a media presentation at New York City's Grand Central Terminal, where Michael Perry, DJI's director of strategic partnerships, made the case for a flying camera for the masses. AppleInsider was there live to get a closer look.

In his presentation, he noted that selfies and close up shots with smartphones are convenient, but lack the ability to capture the full picture. The DJI Spark aims to bridge that gap with dead-simple gesture controls intended for use within 10 feet.




Using a safety net to ensure no issues within the bustling transportation hub, DJI showed how simple movements with a user's arm or hand your arm can issue commands to the Spark. While footage starts up close, the flying camera will move 10 feet away and get a wider shot if the user simply waves their hand at the device.

The Spark is small enough to fit in your hand, and that's even how it lands in gesture mode.




For further distances, users can rely on their iPhone and DJI's dedicated app, which allows flying and live video footage from up to 109 yards away. Even further distances are capable with a dedicated physical controller, which also connects to an iPhone, but is sold separately from the $499 starting price.

As part of Wednesday's demonstration, DJI also revealed a new app, dubbed Go 4, that aims to make it easier to edit and share clips recorded with the Spark. The simplified smart feature appears similar to Apple's Memories function in Photos for iOS 10.




DJI is also focusing on personalization with the Spark, offering it in five different, bright colors: blue, green, yellow, red, and white. Despite its small size, DJI says the Spark will offer up to 16 minutes of active flight time, with a top speed of 31 miles per hour in sport mode.

The Spark is also compatible with a range of DJI accessories, including the company's 3D goggles, which allow first-person flight views.




Optional additional accessories, beyond the controller and goggles, include a battery charging hub and propeller goggles.

The unit itself features a 12-megapixel camera capable of 1080p stabilized video. The camera is mounted on a mechanical gimbal for stabilization, and the lens itself has a 1/2.3-inch image sensor.




For safety, the unit features a 15-foot sensing range for obstacle avoidance, and 98-foot vision positioning range. It also includes GPS/GLONASS dual satellite positioning, and auto return-to-home and precision landing.

The ultraportable drone weighs 300 grams and measures 143 by 143 millimeters, with a height of 55 millimeters. Preorders are being taken now at DJI for $499.00 with tax included, and the first orders will ship in mid-June. B&H is also accepting orders with free expedited shipping and no tax outside NY and NJ.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,102member
    Because nothing is more important than a "selfie"... amirite?  /s

    But seriously, this will probably sell like hot cakes.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 655member
    SpamSandwich said:
    Because nothing is more important than a "selfie"... amirite?  /s

    But seriously, this will probably sell like hot cakes.
    I think we are in complete agreement about selfies but I am curious about this drone vs. the one reviewed yesterday or the day before.  I am just learning more about drones as I never had a use for one.  I'll be living on a larger property with a sort of gully, a stream, and a bunch of forest.  I was thinking a drone would be good for checking out the place and for looking around the roof and exterior of the house periodically.  This $499 drone has a POV camera and with an optional remote can also go long enough distances.  What's wrong with this one compared to the $1000 model?  What do the more drone-experienced of you think of this thing for my purpose? I don't care the least bit about selfies.

    Maybe I am trying to justify a shiny new toy but .. . . 
  • Reply 3 of 7
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,102member
    williamh said:
    SpamSandwich said:
    Because nothing is more important than a "selfie"... amirite?  /s

    But seriously, this will probably sell like hot cakes.
    I think we are in complete agreement about selfies but I am curious about this drone vs. the one reviewed yesterday or the day before.  I am just learning more about drones as I never had a use for one.  I'll be living on a larger property with a sort of gully, a stream, and a bunch of forest.  I was thinking a drone would be good for checking out the place and for looking around the roof and exterior of the house periodically.  This $499 drone has a POV camera and with an optional remote can also go long enough distances.  What's wrong with this one compared to the $1000 model?  What do the more drone-experienced of you think of this thing for my purpose? I don't care the least bit about selfies.

    Maybe I am trying to justify a shiny new toy but .. . . 
    An early review:
    https://youtu.be/nujgBunvgBI

    One thing you should consider... if you do not have good cell phone service or if you cannot get a good strong GPS signal on your property, you won't be able to use many of these smaller quadrocopters.

    edited May 2017
  • Reply 4 of 7
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 655member
    williamh said:
    SpamSandwich said:
    Because nothing is more important than a "selfie"... amirite?  /s

    But seriously, this will probably sell like hot cakes.
    I think we are in complete agreement about selfies but I am curious about this drone vs. the one reviewed yesterday or the day before.  I am just learning more about drones as I never had a use for one.  I'll be living on a larger property with a sort of gully, a stream, and a bunch of forest.  I was thinking a drone would be good for checking out the place and for looking around the roof and exterior of the house periodically.  This $499 drone has a POV camera and with an optional remote can also go long enough distances.  What's wrong with this one compared to the $1000 model?  What do the more drone-experienced of you think of this thing for my purpose? I don't care the least bit about selfies.

    Maybe I am trying to justify a shiny new toy but .. . . 
    An early review:
    https://youtu.be/nujgBunvgBI

    One thing you should consider... if you do not have good cell phone service or if you cannot get a good strong GPS signal on your property, you won't be able to use many of these smaller quadrocopters.

    An excellent tip.  Cell service is rather spotty.  Poking around the DJI website just now, it looks like a Phantom 3 standard would suit me.  I thought these things used Wifi? I'll have to think more on the cell service issue. I hadn't thought much of it since I'll be using Wifi calling around the house.
  • Reply 5 of 7
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,102member
    williamh said:
    williamh said:
    SpamSandwich said:
    Because nothing is more important than a "selfie"... amirite?  /s

    But seriously, this will probably sell like hot cakes.
    I think we are in complete agreement about selfies but I am curious about this drone vs. the one reviewed yesterday or the day before.  I am just learning more about drones as I never had a use for one.  I'll be living on a larger property with a sort of gully, a stream, and a bunch of forest.  I was thinking a drone would be good for checking out the place and for looking around the roof and exterior of the house periodically.  This $499 drone has a POV camera and with an optional remote can also go long enough distances.  What's wrong with this one compared to the $1000 model?  What do the more drone-experienced of you think of this thing for my purpose? I don't care the least bit about selfies.

    Maybe I am trying to justify a shiny new toy but .. . . 
    An early review:
    https://youtu.be/nujgBunvgBI

    One thing you should consider... if you do not have good cell phone service or if you cannot get a good strong GPS signal on your property, you won't be able to use many of these smaller quadrocopters.

    An excellent tip.  Cell service is rather spotty.  Poking around the DJI website just now, it looks like a Phantom 3 standard would suit me.  I thought these things used Wifi? I'll have to think more on the cell service issue. I hadn't thought much of it since I'll be using Wifi calling around the house.
    I'm no expert, but there's no wifi coverage beyond most houses. It's not a long range method of communicating with these devices, plus they have to carry a video signal back to the control unit, be it a phone or a standalone device.
  • Reply 6 of 7
    How much flight time, I wonder?
    Never mind, its 16 minutes. I guess it is quite standard time
    edited May 2017
  • Reply 7 of 7
    arlomediaarlomedia Posts: 254member
    I would expect the drone to create its own local network rather than sending data through the cell network, which would be relatively slow and would prevent use in a lot of the "wilderness" areas shown in the marketing videos.

    Like Williamh, I'm just starting to look into these, but noticed this review and the one of the DJI Mavic Pro earlier this week. I wondered if this $500 model plus the optional $500 controller was the same as the $1000 Mavic Pro that includes the controller. But I saw from the video added by SpamSandwich that the Mavic Pro is larger and has a higher-resolution camera.

    The idea of the goggles for a first-person view seems really cool!
    edited May 2017
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