DJI has announced the launch of its latest drone, the DJI Spark. The latest drone by the Chinese company is the cheapest and smallest drone from the company. The drone is priced it $499 (roughly Rs 32,000) and packs a number of features that are usually features in the more expensive flagship drones launched by the company.
The company is using the tagline ‘Seize the Moment’ to market the product and it will be available for pre-order soon. With its small size and low pricing, Spark can be a game-changer for the drone industry and a big deal for DJI as a company.
Why is it a big deal?
The reason we believe that DJI Spark will be a big deal for the drone industry and the company is because of the sheer size of the new drone. The company launched the DJI Mavic Pro last year which could be folded. This dramatically reduced the size of the drone making it easier put in backpacks.
When the Mavic Pro was launched, it was a groundbreaking device and everyone thought that the size for a good quality drone could not be any smaller. However, the company has outdone itself by bringing the size to almost the size of a smartphone that can be put in the pocket of a jacket.
The second main reason that will help push drones in the mainstream is the price. Initially, drones costed a fortune and people always assumed that drones are out of their reach. DJI pushed the prices to $999 (roughly Rs 64,000) with the Mavic Pro when it launched and now the company has pushed the price to $499 (roughly Rs 32,000) with the launch of Spark. This puts a decent drone in hands of hobbyists and casual consumers who are basically interested in shooting better photos and videos.
The Spark packs a punch for the price it is offering both in terms of the hardware and software. The drone is capable of flying at a maximum speed of 50 kph in Sport Mode, provided there is no wind resistance. It can fly at a maximum of 4,000m above the sea level along and the flying time range from 16 minutes with no winds and a constant 20 kph to 15 minutes.
It sports a 12MP CMOS sensor for photos with f/2.6 aperture and a shooting range from 2m to infinity. The ISO ranges from 100 up to1600 for images and from 100 up to 3200 for videos. The shutter speed for the camera ranges from 1/8000th of a second to 2 seconds.
DJI has also added a ‘Pano’ mode to capture horizontal or vertical panoramas by adjusting its gimbal and a ‘ShallowFocus’ mod where it uses 3D vision to capture images with shallow depth of field. One thing to note here is that the camera does not come with a mechanical shutter so it has to rely on an electronic shutter. The images shot from Spark have an effective resolution of 3968 pixels by 2976 pixels with .JPEG format.
The company has added a number of photography modes ranging from single shot, burst shooting mode with 3 frames in one burst mode, Auto exposure bracket with 0.7 EV bias for HDR images and interval shooting mode with intervals ranging from 2 to 60 seconds. The drone shoots video at Full HD with an effective resolution of 1920x 1080 at 30 frames per second (no 4K here). The video shot on Spark has a maximum of 24 Mbps bitrate. The video is shot in .MP4 format and the drone only supports FAT32 file systems. It packs a microSD card slot for storage and DJI recommends UHS-1 standard cards with a max capacity of 64 GB.
DJI detailed that you can operate the drone from 0 degrees to 40 degree Celsius. Sparks weighs just 300 gm along with dimensions of 143x143x55mm. It sports a 2-axis mechanical gimbal for stabilizing the video along with a view range from 0 degrees to 85 degrees. It comes with a 3D sensing system with a range up to 16 feet and a vision system with a range up to 26 feet with an operational range up to 98 feet.
The drone also comes with dual-band Wi-Fi system that has a maximum transmission distance of about 100 m and 50 m in height. DJI has added a robust Visual Positioning System (VPS) in addition to the dual-band GPS for a high-precision system. There's a 1,480 mAh lithium polymer battery that can be swapped on the go. You can check other details about the specifications page on the DJI website.
The Spark comes with a number of features, all of which make the drone a pleasure for consumers. It packs ‘Quick launch’ where the drone uses ‘FaceAware’ feature to recognize your face and life off from your hand without the need of any controller. It only takes a few seconds for the drone to do that as soon as it is powered on. DJI went ahead and added hand gestures to the drone where you can control is using your hand which includes changing its position in the air and clicking images using the gestures.
Also added are a number of functions to shoot. The first one is ‘QuickShot’ with four flight modes, ‘Rocket mode’ where the drone will ascend up with the camera facing down, ‘Dronie’ where the drone will fly backward and upward with the camera locked on your subject, ‘Circle’ where the drone will circle around your target and ‘Helix’ where the drone will fly upward in a spiraling motion around your subject.
The drone comes with ‘TapFly’ mode where you can direct your drone to fly in a direction by tapping on the screen or to the exact spot where you tap the screen. It uses active obstacle sensing as to goes in that direction. The company has also added ‘ActiveTrack’ where the drone recognizes the objects of different shapes and sizes and then tracks them according to what they are how fast they are moving in the frame. ‘ActiveTrack’ tracks the target from behind, front or in a circular path in addition to following the subject in a fixed perspective.
The drone will be able to transmit real-time HD video from 2km away and it also packs an FPV mode using the DJI Googles
Where to buy?
DJI Spark is available for pre-order on the DJI store and authorized DJI dealers. The orders will start shipping on 15 June 2017. The company has also launched ‘Spark Fly More Combo’ where the company added additional hardware in the box for an additional $200 (roughly Rs 12,900). One thing to note is that DJI does not ship the spark to India and Indian government is working on formulating guidelines and regulations for drones.
Published Date: May 26, 2017 08:55 am | Updated Date: May 26, 2017 08:55 am