News leaked this week says that DJI has a small drone that could be a baby Mavic, its called the DJI Spark.
The drone images first appeared a few days ago on a Chinese DJI forum (the site that hosted the original images been taken down).
The press and forums have speculated for months what DJI will launch next. Will it be a Phantom 5, a Mavic 2 or a downgraded Mavic Pro branded as the Mavic Standard.
DJI has tried to deny the existence of the Spark, but they have registered the trade name “DJI Spark” which makes their denial hard to believe.
We looked at the images and reports of the DJI Spark and discuss the battery life, features, selling price and a possible release date.
Here are two of the most popular DJI Spark leak videos on Youtube:
DJI Spark Features
The size of the DJI Spark is 130 x 150mm (5 x 6 inches) diagonal measurement of 200mm. So as a comparison it is smaller than a standard IPad. So very compact and perfect for carrying and travelling anywhere.
Charging the batteries is via USB and possibly some form of magnetic wireless charging, with 4 square contact points on the bottom of the main fuselage.
These contact squares could be used with a carry case which is also a battery charger, so you put your Spark in the case and it can then charge. Probably a $100 + accessory, but in our opinion worth the money.
Also on the bottom of the Spark are two sonar sensors similar to the Mavic so it has features like optical avoidance.
There are possible forward facing Infrared sensors on the front, which are a cheaper option that the two sensors from the Mavic.
The camera is smaller than the Mavic with a 2 axis gimbal and will allow you to shoot video in 4K and take 12 megapixcel still images.
This is a move away from the standard DJI 3 axis gimbal (yaw, pitch, roll). The new two axis gimbal has the yaw removed, so a downgrade, but this is not a drone designed with the sophistication of the Phantom 4 Pro.
Also this two way Gimbal might allow the lens to be rolled into the body of the drone on power down thus protecting the lens for storage, when the Spark is not in use. So no need for a lens cap or protector.
The camera looks similar to the IPhone 7 with a possible dual camera lens (one handle wide angles and the other regular). Or this could be another IR sensor which will be at the same angle as the camera for additional forward obstacle avoidance.
DJI Spark is supposed to be compatible with the DJI goggles to give you the first person view FPV, a possible insight of drone flying in the future. This is why some of the buzz online is saying that DJI have developed their first racing drone.
Although small, the DJI Spark it a little big to be called a Nano drone, so it fits in the new size category called the Pocket / Selfie drone.
However it could be under the weight limit of when the FAA require registration in the US. This could be a good strategic sales ploy, as people will be legal without registering their drone. This drone could be another step forward for drone photography and drone services.
There are still a lot of unknowns here. For storage the DJI Spark could feature the foldable legs first seen on the Mavic.
Nearly every bit of the DJI Spark has been leaked through various sources and yet the controller remains a secret. DJI is keeping this part of the drone quiet or the Spark is controlled through a smartphone app.
Here are a list of our predictions to fill in the DJI Sparks spec blanks:
- The rumours on flight time vary from 10-15 mins. We Say 12 Mins
- Availability is possibly the Summer 2017.
- Pricing is expected to be in the range of $400-$600.
- We think the launch price will be under $500.
Here are a selection of the DJI Spark images that have appeared online.
Roy Horton writes about the Drone industry and aerial photography in Cornwall