DJI is absolutely covering all segments with their drones, from the industrial grade machines to the Spark, a 300 grams drone able to lift from the palm of your hand.
Spark is a family drone meaning it is a small machine, an 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. So many have promised it before but, apparently, DJI offers it now: Spark is the first drone that users can control by hand gestures alone, successfully removing the barriers between you and your camera in the sky. Even if you’ve never flown a drone before, flying Spark is easy because the only remote controller you’ll need is your hand.
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. One thing to remember, says DJI: it is recommended to use Spark’s propeller guards, available separately, when launching from or returning to your hand.
“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.”
Spark has been designed to be the perfect lifestyle accessory you can take anywhere. It fits easily in almost any bag and weighs just 10.6 ounces (300 grams) – less than a can of soda. Spark is ready to launch within seconds whenever inspiration strikes and can be operated by a remote controller, a mobile device, or hand gestures alone. Spark will be available in five different colors: Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red, and Sunrise Yellow.
The information available about Spark may suggest that this is not much more than a toy, but the drone can, in fact, be used for serious photography and videography, if you accept its limitations. DJI indicates that Spark houses “an impressive camera with a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor that captures 12 megapixel photos and shoots stabilized HD 1080p videos” and claims that “Spark’s 2-axis mechanical gimbal and UltraSmooth technology dramatically reduce shake and rolling shutter effect to capture cinematic shots effortlessly.”
Spark comes, continues the company, “with new and exciting flight options that empower you to effortlessly capture and share your memorable moments. The new QuickShot Intelligent Flight Mode makes creating professional videos fun and easy. Select a QuickShot, and Spark will fly along a preset flight path while recording a short video and tracking a subject along the way.”
The information provided by DJI indicates that Four QuickShots are available: 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; and 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 on social media, where everyone can see your special moments. It’s up to users creativity to use the automated options to build a narrative that can later be edited, to tell a story.
Spark includes many previous DJI drone shooting modes with two new additions: Pano and ShallowFocus. In 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. ShallowFocus allows you to put part of a picture into sharp focus while the rest of the image is softened, creating photographs with a shallow depth of field. An array of filters and automatic editing templates available in the DJI GO 4 app enables creators to quickly edit videos and share them directly to Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
Spark’s FlightAutonomy system consists of the main camera, 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.
Like all recent DJI drones, Spark can return to its home point automatically with a sufficient GPS signal. While using the remote controller, if the battery gets too low, 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.
For optimal performance, 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. It should be noted that the aircraft must be unobstructed and free of interference, using a remote controller when FCC compliant. Always follow applicable laws and regulations when flying.
The US retail price of a DJI Spark, including an aircraft, a battery, a USB charger and three pairs of propellers, is $499 USD. The Spark Fly More Combo includes 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. Color options and Fly More Combo availability may vary at different sales channels.
DJI Care Refresh for Spark, a new one-year coverage plan, will enable Spark customers to obtain up to two full replacements that are new or equivalent to new, for a small additional charge. DJI Care Refresh for Spark is currently available in select countries, including China, Hong Kong, the United States, Canada, 28 European Union countries, and Australia.