Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have been a part of the battlefield for over a century but commercially available drones for the public as we see today are less than a decade old. Over the past few years, the drone technology has evolved at a very fast pace, and the little gadgets that have become much less expensive can be seen flying around quite commonly. Drone photography has become the new craze and DJI is doing its best to facilitate the idea with the new DJI Spark drone that captures 1080p images at the mere movement of your hands.
The little DJI Spark has a width of only 14.3 cm (5.6 inches) on each side with a height of 5.5 cm (2.1 inches) while weighing only 300 gm (0.67 lb). The little drone is meant to accompany you on your travel adventures without requiring too much effort. It launches from the palm of your hand, and you can maneuver it either with a remote control, DJI mobile app or entirely by hand gestures. The little Spark will go flying up, snap pictures for you up to heights of 30 meters (98 feet) and come back, needing just a movement of your hands. The camera can sense obstacles from 5 meters (16 feet) away, so you won’t have to worry about it bumping into things.
The Spark comes with new flight modes that include the QuickShot where the drone can go on four pre-programmed flight paths and capture a 10-second video. Another of the modes is the Circle where the drone automatically circles its subject, a Helix Mode where it spirals away flying upwards. In the Rocket mode, it goes straight up with its camera facing downwards, and the Dronie mode where it flies up as its camera faces the subject. There is also a Coordinate mode where the drone flies to the location you tap on your screen. The PanoMode adjust the gimbal and camera to take shots and combine them into a panorama. The gadget comes with ActiveTrack tech where the drone can track the objects on the screen.
In the Sports Mode, the Spark can reach top speeds of 31 mph (50 km/h) switching to first person view (FPV) that you can use with the DJI FPV Goggles. The drone returns to its take-off location in case the connection is lost, or if the battery is drained and even if you press the return-to-home button on your controller.
The drone can transmit 720p video from a distance of 2 km (1.2 miles), and capture footage at 1080p with the camera mounted on a two-axis mechanical gimbal. The stills are captured only at 12 megapixels.
Small drone cameras with gesture controls are not exactly a new idea, but you might find it easier to trust the Spark with DJI’s history with camera drones. It is available in white, blue, green, red, and yellow colors at a price of US$500 but this does not include the remote controller. An additional kit with the controller, extra battery, bag, spare propellers and guards with come at $700. The DJI spark is available for preorders, and the shipping begins mid of June.