Drones have become more and more popular in the recent years, and for good reason – they are awesome! They’ve also come a long way (technology wise) in a short amount of time. This has given photographers and videographers a whole new perspective to their creativity, especially to the adventurous travelers. Let’s take a looks at what might be the best options for travelers.
What drone should I choose for travel?
As with anything, there may not be a definitive answer, but below is a guide to help with your decision making.
We will be going over two of my favorite drones on the market today. The DJI Mavic pro and the Spark. DJI is at the top of the board when it comes to drones. Especially with their latest and greatest products.
Dji Mavic Pro
When the Mavic pro came out I thought, there it is, The ultimate drone for traveling. Powerful, full of pro features, super compact, and an aggressively fun sport mode. DJI listened to the needs of many enthusiasts and created gold! The Mavic pro is a serious tool to extend the creativity of ones passion for photo/video for both professionals and hobbyists. The best thing is, the Mavic and its accessories can easily fit into your existing camera bag, which was pretty much impossible with the Phantom series. I would consider this to be the ultimate drone for those who want portability and top of the line features.
The Spark is DJi’s smallest drone and was the next to be released after the Mavic Pro. At first I didn’t give it much thought, but after reading more into it, the Spark SPARKED my interest. (See what I did there?)
The Spark doesn’t shoot 4K video, it only has a 2 axis gimble vs. the 3 axis on the Mavic, and it’s not as fast nor does the battery last as long as the Mavic. Sounds like a lot of negatives right? Maybe. Or maybe it’s one of the most exciting and best options for most of us!
Why I choose the Spark over the Mavic Pro.
Everybody thinks they need the best of the best, but sometimes you need to get real with your needs. I’m going to list out why I came to the realization that the Spark is the best fit for me and for many traveling photo/video folks.
- Do I need 4K? I am not shooting cinematic films that will be displayed on the big screen. My target audience and platform is YouTube. The 1080p HD video that the Spark offers is more than sufficient for most of us. I have a camera that shoots 4K if I wanted to, but I prefer shooting HD anyways. The smaller file sizes really helps with editing speed, and you still have great quality video.
- The Spark only has a 2 axis gimbal, this is due to DJI wanting to keep the drone as small and compact as possible. With that being said, it does digitally correct the 3rd axis. The Spark actually has the same sensor as the Mavic! The reason it doesn’t shoot 4K is due to the image being cropped down from the rotation.
- The small size and weight of the Spark makes flying an exhilarating experience. Even though it’s “slower” than the Mavic and Phantom, it’s much more responsive and the most fun I’ve had flying. It can also fit into tighter spaces and fly indoors much easier.
- The battery life is about 12-15 min, which doesn’t sound like much. But it’s actually quite good for its class and it’s all the time I really need in the air to get what I need.
- The Mavic and the Spark actually take up a similar amount of space when the Mavic is folded. But the big differences are weight. The Spark (and its smaller/lighter batteries) weigh much less, which is a huge bonus when trying to keep weight down in your pack.
- The Spark can be controlled via hand gestures, or using only your smartphone (though you don’t get the full control and features unless you use the controller). It can also land in the palm of your hand, way to go DJI!
- Another great feature the Spark offers is charging the battery directly in the drone. I love that I can hook it up to a portable power block right inside my backpack and have it charge on the go.
- Finally, this is one of the biggest reasons I decided to go with the Spark. The size and noise of the Mavic and the Phantom series drones brought a lot of attention, and sometimes that’s not what you want. Some people can get uncomfortable with these big drones flying around and that can cause some trouble. The Spark on the other hand is small and might be more seen as a “toy” and disregarded. That is, if somebody even notices it flying around.
As you can see, the Spark is a highly capable drone and could be all that you truly need in a fun, lightweight, and compact little package. The only reason I would really suggest the Mavic pro over the Spark would be if 4K video is really important to you, or you feel that the extra pro features and customization is vital in the production of your cinematography. Other than that, you really can’t go wrong with the Spark, and I guarantee you will have a blast flying it and capturing your adventures!