11 August 2017

I gave in and bought a drone a couple months ago. I’ve been fairly interested in them for a few years now, but couldn’t justify a few hundred dollars to get a semi-decent one.

So when the DJI Spark was announced, I immediately spent $700 pre-ordering the Fly More package. The Spark is tiny. Really, really tiny. For a full 1080p camera, high airspeeds, good maximum altitudes, and decent battery life, it’s stupidly small. Excluding rotors, it’s smaller than my phone.

The camera is on a nice 2-axis stabilized gimble, and records full 1080p60, but the image quality leaves a bit to be desired. It looks more like upscaled 720p than proper 1080p. Compared with the competition in the base $500 price range though, it’s still fantastic considering the full feature set you’re getting.

For some reason, the recorded video files render weirdly in some software. They play fine in QuickTime before editing, but if I use them in iMovie or Final Cut projects, they have a weird stuttering issue that seems to be a problem with how their frame rate is detected. The issue is less prevalent in DaVinci Resolve, but only Adobe Premiere Pro seems to render the footage properly, which is disappointing because Final Cut’s render times are fantastic.

Despite loving the form factor, the image quality leaves me wanting to buy a Mavic Pro. I may end up owning both at some point, since there are still plenty of use cases for an ultra-portable quality drone. If you want to see what I’ve recorded and edited so far, I have a playlist on my YouTube channel dedicated to Spark videos.