The DJI Spark has been released in May 2017 and it immediately became a top-selling drone, mainly due to its small form factor and great portability, all that coming at a relatively low price. I’ve been using this drone ever since it got released and although I’ve now upgraded to the new DJI Mavic Air, I still think it’s important to address the relevancy of the Spark in 2018 and whether it’s still worth buying today.
The first feature I want to talk about is the camera and the quality of the footage. Although the Spark doesn’t shoot in 4k or in different color profiles and it only has a 2-axis gimbal, I am simply in love with how the footage looks like. To me, it doesn’t look that much worse than the Mavic Air or even the Mavic Pro, especially if you’re filming in a bright sunny day with plenty of natural light and your movement is slow and smooth. Yes, 30 fps is your only option but even then, you can still achieve some cinematic results and even some nice slow-mo footage (although i must admit the 120fps footage from the Mavic Air is much better).
Where the Spark Really Shines
To me, the biggest advantage of the Spark which still makes it relevant in 2018 is its simplicity – there are almost no camera settings to tweak, no different frames per second options and tons of different variables to play with, and although some people can count this as a disadvantage, there really is a group of people that actually enjoys the simplicity of that – you only need to power on the drone and start shooting and you’ll capture some good footage.
Yes, it won’t be looking as it came out from a professional movie-like camera, but for YouTube or for your family travel videos it’s definitely enough.
I have to admit it’s a bit nerve-racking to always think about the right manual settings and the right exposure, frames per second and color profiles – you don’t have that issue with the Spark. Most shots literally take you 30 seconds to setup and then you’re ready to capture some stunning scenery all in AUTO. Even without any color correction or any other editing on it, the footage from the camera looks more than great! This is what I mean by not having to worry about settings and other variables before you start shooting. With the Spark, it simply works!
Again, this is something some people will not be happy with, but that’s why there are plenty of other more professional drones out there that you can buy that give you lots more settings to play with.
The next thing I want to touch on is the battery life. After owning the Mavic Air for a while and flying with it a lot, my first flight with the Spark was unexpectedly short. Each battery only lasts for about 12-13 minutes, depending on the flight conditions , but if you have more than one battery, this really isn’t a problem.
However, if you want to invest in additional batteries, keep in mind that each battery currently retails for about $50, so that will add up to the total price of the drone.
As for the portability of the drone, to this day, the Spark is still one of the tiniest and most portable drones out there, and although its legs don’t fold like the Mavic series, getting the drone in your backpack requires almost no space and it’s very simple to do.
I’m a huge fan of the styrofoam case that comes with the drone, which keeps it protected and holds 2 additional batteries and your extra propellers.
Controlling the Spark without a Remote controller turns it into a toy which to me is almost useless, as you are super limited in terms of flight distance and capturing smooth cinematic footage.
So investing in the remote is a must if you are looking to capture great footage – you simply can’t do that without it. The remote itself is quite basic and it has 2 configurable buttons for your most used actions, a photo and video button and the sport mode switch in the middle.
Finally, i need to mention the price of the Spark. This is the biggest factor for most people, and I want to discuss with you guys whether the Spark is still relevant in 2018 at its current price. The regular package of the Spark which doesn’t have a controller currently retails for $399, but if you opt for the FlyMore combo which comes with the remote controller, an additional battery and some accessories, you’re looking at $549.
For comparison, the newest drone by DJI, the Mavic Air retails for $799 and $999 for its FlyMore combo. There is still quite a big price difference between the two drones, so i definitely think each of them targets a separate group of users.
It’s up to you to decide in which group you fit best:
- The Spark is great for anybody who’s looking to have a small and portable drone to use from time to time without any hassle and many settings to tweak. It’s best for family trips, quick flights and occasional vlogs here and there.
- On the other hand, the Mavic Air would be ideal if you have bigger ambitions for your videos – if you need 4K, different frame rates and color profiles, as well as more flight time and range – this is the right drone for you. I’ll have both of these drones linked in the description so feel free to check them out if you’re interested in buying them.
So to sum everything up, YES, i definitely think the Spark is still relevant in 2018.
If you’re a casual flyer and you’re not always chasing the latest and greatest tech out there regardless of its price, then maybe it’s a good idea to think what exactly are you looking to get from a drone. You might be surprised that the Spark actually offers much more than what you see on paper.
After using it for quite some time, i can describe it as a drone that’s simple and effortless to fly, but it also captures some great footage and it’s much cheaper than its competition.