Update: Mark your calendars for April 23. DJI is distributing invitations to a Las Vegas event with the slogan “Create Your Legacy.” The DJI Spark may not be the main event here. We could be looking at the introduction of the Phantom 5 in addition to the Spark.
The race to put a camera drone in the palm of your hand is on, and DJI is aiming to release one sooner rather than later. It has already registered the DJI Spark trademark, so the leaked images and now video confirms it’s happening.
Forums are lighting up with questions about the intended market – racing or selfie. How about both? It’s doubtful DJI is releasing a drone/quadcopter with anything less than a 4K camera and the Spark’s and the footprint screams racing drone.
A quick note on the size – it is smaller than the Mavic Pro when it has the arms extended. Leaked images suggest the DJI Spark will not have foldable arms lending credence to the racing angle. Initially, the images looked like a two-axis gimbal, but the videos seem to show a slight three-axis gimbal. It’s hard to tell but here’s hoping DJI sticks with the three-axis gimbal.
The videos are a bit odd because of the off-center camera. Rumors are the camera is offset to include an obstacle avoidance camera. Looks a bit odd, but it’s the nature of the beast when dealing with non-professional product photography and leaked images.
DJI Spark Prototype Videos
Don’t get hung up on the poor quality. It’s a prototype, and the finished product will have have the characteristic DJI style – both white and black. DJI is shifting towards a darker color palette with recent releases excluding the Phantom 4 Pro.
You can see in the videos; the DJI Spark looks more rugged than the Mavic Pro. Each feature shown lends itself to being both a camera drone for beginners and a potential racing drone. It shares the same brushless motor design as it’s bigger cousin, the Mavic Pro.
Another video purports to show it flying, but it’s just being walked around a parking lot. Honestly, it looks like a recording off the controller.
DJI Spark Features
A whole lot of speculation. Rumors have the release date set for April 22-27 which makes sense considering it coincides with NAB. It will record in 4K along with 1080. Flight time rumors have the battery lasting 15 minutes.
Safety features are expected include obstacle avoidance, visual positioning on the bottom and a big infrared sensor above the camera.
Racing enthusiasts will be happy with the rumor it will be compatible with the DJI FPV Goggles, while beginners will appreciate the potential of it having ActiveTrack, Gesture and Sports Mode.
The Spark’s footprint is sized at 130x150mm ( 5.1 inches by 5.9 inches ) with a diagonal size of 200mm ( 7.9 inches ). Weight tips the scales between 250 and 400 grams.
DJI Spark Target Market?
There’s no way it’s targeting professional photographers or videographers. Pricing rumors have it around $500 which is a shot across the bow at the Yuneec Breeze. The price also sits comfortably in the beginner market or for travelers not looking to produce cinema quality shots. 4K on a 12MP sensor and call it a day.
DJI is rumored to have two versions ready – one with a controller and one without.
Speaking of the controller, that’s one image noticeably absent. Everything else is leaking, but not the RC. Could the Spark be controlled solely with your smartphone? It’s doubtful especially if the sport mode / DJI FPV Goggles rumors turn out to be true.
The Spark solidifies DJI’s position at all price tiers of the consumer drone market. Everything from the beginner (Spark) to cinema quality (Inspire 2 and the Matrice 600).
I’d love to see a Phantom 5 with a Hasselblad camera. Let me dream, damn it. Who knows, maybe us drone enthusiasts will get a nice surprise at NAB. And my nephew can go wild with a Spark versus the more expensive DJI drones.
Sound off on the rumors below. I’m ready to see a teaser trailer or something a bit more professional over FCC and other leaked images.