DJI Intros Spark, Its Smallest, Cheapest Flying Camera Yet

May 24, 2017

By Greg Scoblete

When we reviewed the DJI Mavic, our co-tester David Patino said its incredibly compact size was a game-changer. Well, the new DJI Spark drone is even smaller and lighter than the Mavic. It’s 1.5 pounds and roughly the size of a soda can.

Despite its incredibly compact size, the Spark has all of the autonomous flight modes and safety features of the Mavic Pro, including GPS/GLONASS and a Visual Positioning System. It can detect and avoid obstacles up to 16 feet in front of it. The Spark also supports TapFly and ActiveTrack subject tracking. It even has a few tricks that the Mavic doesn’t, including the ability to wave and gesture at the Spark to control its flight.

If you want this ultra-miniaturized drone, there will be some tradeoffs. The Spark doesn’t record 4K video. Instead, you’ll be able to capture full HD/30p video. Its integrated camera sits on a 2-axis gimbal and features a 1/2.3-inch, 12-megapixel CMOS sensor. The 25mm lens (35 mm equivalent) offers an 81.9-degree field of view.

The Spark can fly for roughly 16 minutes on a fully-charged battery. It can hit a top speed of 31 MPH.

The DJI Go 4 app has a series of new preset “QuickShot” flight modes that send the Spark into the air to capture a series of different shots. The modes include Rocket, which launches the drone up with the camera pointing down. Dronie mode sends the Spark flying backward and skyward with the camera pointing at the subject. There’s a Circle mode, where the Spark flies in a circle around a subject and Helix, which sends the drone flying upward in a spiral motion. For each QuickShot, Spark will automatically create a 10-second video from your flight.

There are also two new still photo modes. A Pano mode creates horizontal or vertical panoramas by automatically adjusting the drone’s gimbal and heading, taking a series of pictures and stitching them together. A new ShallowFocus mode creates images with a shallow depth of field.

The Spark will be sold in several color options including Alpine White, Sky Blue, Meadow Green, Lava Red, and Sunrise Yellow for $499. It will ship and June and is available for pre-order now. A Spark Fly kit will bundle an extra battery, charging hub and shoulder bag for $699.