DJI Spark vs DJI Mavic vs GoPro Kamra vs Mi Drone vs YI Erida
I’m not an experienced drone pilot. I tried a bit with a Cheerson CX-20 to get deeper into that matter. But maybe you are in my situation, which of these drones to choose from. I’m more likely a camera guy who want’s to get aerial footage and maybe you are in the same situation and I can help you with this specs comparison and some thoughts. At the end of this post there is a collection of videos from people who flew them.
So my focus is not which drone can fly further or higher, but how to get great video footage and which drone complements your camera equipment. Here’s the list I took a closer look: DJI Spark, DJI Mavic, GoPro Karma & Mi Drone (available as 1080p and 4K version). I also took in consideration YI Erida, but not all info is available until now:
|DJI Spark||DJI Mavic||GoPro Karma||Mi Drone 4K||YI Erida|
|Weight||0.66lbs / 300 g||1.62lbs / 734g||2.22lbs / 1006g||3.06lbs / 1390g||3.53lbs / 1600g|
L / W / H
|143 × 143 × 55 mm||198 x 83 x 83mm||356.2 × 224.3 x 89.9mm||380 x 455 x 170mm||960 × 960 × 120mm
|Maximum Speed||31 mph (50 kph)|
|40 mph (65 kph)|
|35 mph (56.3 kph)||40 mph (65 kph)||75 mph (120 kph)|
|Max Flight Time||16 minutes||27 minutes||20 minutes||27 minutes||40 minutes|
|Max Distance||1.24 miles (2 km)||4.3 miles (7 km)||1.86 miles (3 km)||0.31 miles (500 m)°°||2 miles (3.5 km)|
|Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level||13,123 feet (4,000 m)||16,404 feet (5000 m)||10,500 ft (3200m)||393 ft (120 m)°°||19,600 ft (6,000m)|
|Sensor||1/2.3" (CMOS), 12 MP||1/2.3” (CMOS), 12.35 MP||1/2.3” (CMOS), 12.35 MP||1/2.3” (CMOS), 12.4 MP||1/2.3” (CMOS), 12.35 MP|
|max. Resolution & Frame Rate||max. 1080p 30fps||max. 4K 30fps||max. 4K 30fps||max. 4K 30fps||max. 4K 60fps|
|Lens: FOV / aperture||FOV 81.9°|
25 mm (35 mm format equivalent)
28 mm (35 mm format equivalent)
14mm (35 mm format equivalent)
3.7 mm (Equivalent: 20 mm)
|Max Video Bitrate /|
Codec / Container
H.264, .mp4 / .mov
|Photo Resolution /|
.jpg & RAW
.jpg & RAW
.jpg & RAW
Pitch: -85° to 0°
Pitch: -90° to +30°
Roll: 0° or 90° (Horizontally and vertically)
Pitch: -90° to 0° (down/up)
Pitch: -90° to 0° (down/up)
Pitch: -90 to 30
|Remote Controller||No LCD screen °|
720p live video on mobile
|LCD screen with flight info|
1080p live video on mobile
|5" touch screen with|
720p live video
|No LCD screen|
720p live video on mobile
|mobile phone (only ?)|
|Intelligent Flight Modes|
|Obstacle Avoidance System||yes|
Sensor Range: 1-16 ft (0.2 - 5 m)
Sensor Range: 2-49 ft (0.7 - 15 m)
|Object Tracking System|
Trace, Profile, Spotlight
|Gesture Control System||yes||yes||no||no||?|
|Flight Path||Circle, Dronie, Rocket, Tap to Fly||Tap Fly, Waypoint||Circle (Orbit), Dronie, 2-Waypoint (Cable Cam), Reveal||Circle, Waypoint, Tap tp Fly||Circle, Waypoint, Tap tp Fly|
|Price||499 USD||999 USD||$1,099.00 *||459 USD||?|
° Controller not included in basic set. Included in “Fly More Combo” for 699 USD. Mavic controller is not compatible with DJI Spark.
°° These numbers are taken from Mi website. Seems the data refers to electronically limited distance / height. Remote control works for a distance up to 2000m.
* Remember that GoPro Karma includes GoPro Hero5 black and Karma Grip. Hence beside a camera drone you also get an action camera and a handheld gimbal which you can use individually. Karma Core without camera & gimbal is 399 USD.
Looking at the specs and price of the drones, these are my thoughts:
When DJI Spark is the best choice:
The size of DJI Spark is amazing and doesn’t require much space in addition to your video gear. 1080p video seems a bummer, 4K would have made it a great additional pice of equipment. It “only” features a 2-axis gimbal (no pan axis) but I don’t think it’s huge downside. DJI Spark is stuffed with tech that makes it easy to fly and get great shots. With the tracking feature it follows your action and obstacle avoidance makes it safer to fly. Spark also offers a variety of pre-defined shots: rocket (ascend with camera pointing downward), dronie (flying back upward with camera locked on a subject), circle and helix (flying upward, spiralling the subject). You can even control it with your hand, no controller needed (gesture control). With tap to fly you simply have to tap your phone’s screen and DJI Sparks heads towards that point.
When DJI Mavic Pro is the best choice:
DJI Mavic is an upgrade of Spark with 4K resolution video. Mavic is the second smallest drone in the comparison, but still only an addition to your other video equipment. a drone for aerial footage and according to most reviews an excellent one drone. But it’s not more than that. If you want to record action on the ground you need another camera. Hence Mavic seems a perfect addition to a DSLR or mirrorless camera. It can be an addition to an action camera, but in combination another solution might be more compact overall.
When GoPro Karma is the best choice:
Karma Drone seems a perfect addition to GoPro Hero5 black (Hero5 Session or Hero4), therefore a camera accessory – but only these 3 cameras. Even tough it’s larger than Mavic, consider that Mavic plus (action) camera plus gimbal stabilizer might be the same amount of equipment to carry. Karma appears to be more expensive than Mavic, but consider you get more than a drone. You get a full-featured action camera and a handheld gimbal for it (Karma grip is included). Delivery contents also a backpack for all your equipment – your production backpack. If you consider Karma Drone Core (without gimbal and camera) to be priced 399 USD the price appears differently. Add a camera and gimbal to the price of Mavic and you end up way higher. In addition to DJI Spark it might be same, depending on your choice of camera and gimbal. But you have another choice of camera and gimbal – e.g. a wearable gimbal if you don’t choose Karma grip. Even tough it is advertised as “easy to fly”, with a take-off button, defined flight paths,… it misses some crucial features I would have expected from GoPro. There are no sensors for collision avoidance and there is no follow-me mode. That’s a big downside if you want to get footage from activities you are doing. On the other hand there is a “passenger” feature where you can connect to a smartphone, so one person can fly using the controller and another one can operate the camera.
When Mi Drone 4K is the best choice:
Mi Drone 4K is the cheapest drone of them. Way cheaper than the 4K drones, and a bit cheaper than the 1080p DJI Spark. Even tough the undercarriage folds it is large compared to the others. It’s not an accessory of your other camera gear, its a large sized piece of equipment to carry. Price is interesting to get 4K video but not the size to “just throw it in the bag in case I need it”. It offers similar pre-defined shooting features than the others, but same as GoPro Karma it lacks obstacle avoidance. Currently I’m not sure about a tracking feature.
When YI Erida is the best choice:
In contrast to the other drones, YI Erida seems enormous. It’s a bit hard to put it in contrast as I don’t have info about the price. Hence some of the specs seem impressive. 40 min of flight time excels the opponents by far. Likewise the speed of max. 120 kph. What keeps me puzzled is the lack of a controller. Both mentioned features suggest YI Erida to be a drone for filming and a controller to be a more precise steering. There are several pre-defined flight modes such as follow, circle, hold & random so you don’t have to care about flying and you can focus on your activity. Obstacle avoidance supports them and avoids crashing when not paying attention. It seems YI Erida is getting footage of you without the need to control it and you are automatically framed within the shot. A manual mode is available but I don’t think the virtual joysticks on the screen will allow precise control. Same as GoPro Karma Erida relies on an Action Camera – YI 4K or YI 4k+. In contrast to GoPro Karma, YI Erida is equipped with a laser sensor which automatically changes height if the ground elevates. Additionally a follow mode is available, which Karma does not offer (yet?). Similar to Karma and in contrast to DJI and Mi’s drones you can remove the camera to use it for its purpose as action camera. On the downside you can’t remove the gimbal, hence if you want stabilization on the ground you additionally have to purchase the YI handheld gimbal.
Since I haven’t flown them, here are some great video reviews an comparisons of people who did:
DJI Magic vs GoPro Karma
DJI Spark vs DJI Mavic
DJI Mavic vs Mi Drone 4K
(incl. a Giveaway for Mi Drone 4k!)