DJI Launches Spark, the Selfie Drone You Can Fly with Gestures
BY Zacc Dukowitz24 May 2017
DJI has been hyping the release of the Spark like crazy over the last few weeks.
Even the leaked images of the Spark that came out a little while back (and which DJI denied existed at the time) now seem like they could have been part of a clever PR ploy to build as much buzz as possible around this new selfie drone.
Well, the buzz seems to have been worth it. The Spark was launched today at an event called DJI Live, where a DJI rep spoke about what is new and revolutionary about the Spark, did a flight demonstration, and played a vlog featuring the new drone.
Probably the biggest news from DJI’s release today is that the Spark can be flown using gestures.
That’s right. By moving your hand in different directions, you can control the flight path of the Spark. (We hate to say it, but this reminds us a lot of the vision Lily Robotics had for their selfie drone—which, alas, was never meant to be.)
With it’s gesture recognition and obstacle avoidance technology, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the Spark is probably the most user-friendly drone on the market.
The Spark takes off from the operator’s hand and automatically enters “Gesture Mode”, which lets users send it into the air and shoot a video with pre-defined flight paths, like circling, following, or filming from straight up.
If you want to fly farther, you have the option of using a smartphone app for flights over 100 yards away, or you can use a remote control (the Spark can fly a distance of 1.2 miles). The Intelligent Flight Modes we’re familiar with from more professional DJI drones—such as TapFly and ActiveTrack—can also be found on the Spark.
At $499, the Spark costs half of what the Mavic will run you (the Mavic sells for $999).
The Spark is currently on sale for preorders, and will start shipping mid-June. Buy it now at the DJI store.
You can also get a full “fly more” combo for $699, which includes an extra set of propellers, an extra battery, propeller guards, a charging hub, a remote controller, and a carrying case.
Here’s what comes in the box, and also what you get with the combo:
- Flight time/battery life: 16 minutes
- Transmission distance: 1.2 miles
- Speed: Up to 31 mph
- VPS Range: 98 feet
- Gimbal: 2 axis
- Effective pixels: 12MP
- Weight: .66 pounds (SUPER light)
- Camera details: 1/2.3 Sensor Powerful Lens, 1080p resolution
Accompanying the launch of the Spark, DJI announced a new mode called QuickShot, which automatically creates a 10-second video from the footage captured in your flight.
The idea here, as described by DJI, is to avoid all the work currently needed to take raw footage and create a final video. Instead of taking your footage, uploading it, editing it, and then downloading it, QuickShot simply creates a video for you using your best shots.
Of course, this won’t be of use for high end cinematographers. But that’s the point. This is a feature for regular people who want to share videos of themselves and their friends.
Just as the smartphone gave everyone the ability to easily take high quality pictures, edit, and share them, DJI is now making it possible to share out drone videos just as easily, with no special software, equipment (other than the Spark), or background in cinematography.