Game of Drones - DJI Spark, DJI Mavic Pro, GoPro Karma, Mi Drone 4K, Yi Erida

 

Xiaomi Mi 4K vs DJI Spark vs DJI Mavic vs GoPro Kamra

I’m not an experienced drone pilot, but maybe you are in my situation: Which of these drones to choose from?
I’m more likely a camera guy who wants to get aerial footage and can’t decide which drone to go for. 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, higher or faster, but how to get great video footage. And further which drone best complements my camera equipment. Here’s the list I took a closer look: Xiaomi Mi 4K Drone, DJI Spark, DJI Mavic & GoPro Karma.

 

Specs Comparison

 Mi Drone 4KDJI SparkDJI MavicGoPro Karma
Mi Drone 4KDJI SparkDJI MavicGoPro Karma Drone
Weight3.06lbs / 1390g0.66lbs / 300 g1.62lbs / 734g2.22lbs / 1006g
Dimension (folded)
L / W / H
380 x 455 x 170mm143 × 143 × 55 mm198 x 83 x 83mm356.2 × 224.3 x 89.9mm
Maximum Speed40 mph (65 kph)31 mph (50 kph)
(Sport Mode)
40 mph (65 kph)
(Sport Mode)
35 mph (56.3 kph)
Max Flight Time27 minutes16 minutes27 minutes20 minutes
Max Distance0.31 miles (500 m)°°1.24 miles (2 km)4.3 miles (7 km) 1.86 miles (3 km)
Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level393 ft (120 m)°°13,123 feet (4,000 m)16,404 feet (5000 m)10,500 ft (3200m)
Camera
Sensor1/2.3” (CMOS), 12.4 MP1/2.3" (CMOS), 12 MP1/2.3” (CMOS), 12.35 MP1/2.3” (CMOS), 12.35 MP
max. Resolution & Frame Ratemax. 4K 30fpsmax. 1080p 30fpsmax. 4K 30fpsmax. 4K 30fps
Lens: FOV / apertureFOV 94°
3.7 mm (Equivalent: 20 mm)
aperture f/2.8
FOV 81.9°
25 mm (35 mm format equivalent)
aperture f/2.6
FOV 78.8°,
28 mm (35 mm format equivalent)
aperture f/2.2
FOV 133.6°
14mm (35 mm format equivalent)
aperture f/2.8
Max Video Bitrate /
Codec / Container
60 Mbps
H.264, .mp4
24 Mbps
H.264, .mp4
60 Mbps
H.264, .mp4 / .mov
60 Mbps
H.264, .mp4
Photo Resolution /
Format
4000×3000
.jpg
3968×2976
.jpg
4000×3000
.jpg & RAW
4000×3000
.jpg & RAW
Stabilizer3-axis gimbal
Pitch: -90° to 0° (down/up)
2-axis gimbal
Pitch: -85° to 0°
3-axis gimbal
Pitch: -90° to +30°
Roll: 0° or 90° (Horizontally and vertically)
3-axis gimbal
Pitch: -90° to 0° (down/up)
Remote ControllerNo LCD screen
720p live video on mobile
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
Intelligent Flight Modes
Obstacle Avoidance Systemnoyes
Sensor Range: 1-16 ft (0.2 - 5 m)
yes
Sensor Range: 2-49 ft (0.7 - 15 m)
no
Object Tracking System
(Follow-me)
noyes
Trace, Profile
yes
Trace, Profile, Spotlight
no
Gesture Control Systemnoyesnono
Flight PathCircle, Waypoint, Tap tp FlyCircle, Dronie, Rocket, Tap to FlyTap Fly, WaypointCircle (Orbit), Dronie, 2-Waypoint (Cable Cam), Reveal
Price399 USD499 $999 $$899.00*

° Controller not included in basic set. Included in “Fly More Combo” for 699 USD. DJI 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.

 

Conclusion

Looking at the specs, here 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 piece 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. 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, here’s me review of Gesture Control. With tap to fly you simply have to tap your phone’s screen and DJI Sparks heads towards that point.

Price Comparison

DJI Spark

DJI Store: 499 USD// 599 EUR
(worldwide free shipping / tax & customs included°)

TomTop: 487 USD // 438 EUR*
Coupon Code: LQP50DJISP
(*Tom Top ships free worldwide / with no additional customs & tax in EU°)

Gearbest: 449 USD // 382 EUR
Coupon Code: SparkMS45
(worldwide free shipping)

Banggood: 539 USD // 484 EUR

DJI Spark – Fly More Combo

DJI Store: 699 USD // 799 EUR
(worldwide free shipping / tax & customs included°)

TomTop: 695 USD // 597 EUR*
Coupon Code: HTY104DSP
(*Tom Top ships free worldwide / with no additional customs & tax in EU°)

Gearbest: 988 USD // 871 EUR
Coupon Code: GBSpark
(worldwide free shipping)

 

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.

Mavic Pro

DJI Store: 999 USD // 1199 EUR*
(worldwide free shipping)

TomTop: 929 USD // 854 EUR*
Coupon Code: HTYDJIDD
(*Tom Top ships free to EU with no additional customs & tax°)

Gearbest: 867 USD // 737 EUR
Coupon Code: HalloweenDJI

Mavic Pro – Fly More Combo

DJI Store: 1299 USD // 1499 EUR*
(worldwide free shipping)

TomTop: 1116 USD // 959 EUR*
Coupon Code: HTY283DJIMC
(*Tom Top ships free to EU with no additional customs & tax°)

Gearbest: 1199 USD // 1067 EUR
Coupon Code: GBMAVICP

 

When GoPro Karma is the best choice:

Karma Drone seems a perfect addition to GoPro Hero5 black (or Hero6 black), therefore a camera accessory – but only GoPro 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.

Banggood: 529 USD // 466 EUR
(ships worldwide for free)

TomTop: 459 USD // 423 EUR*
Coupon Code: HTYCCXM
(*Tom Top ships free to EU with no additional customs & tax°)

Gearbest: 475 USD // 423 EUR
Coupon Code: GBMAVICP

 

Reviews

Since I haven’t flown them, here are some great video reviews an comparisons of people who did:

DJI Mavic vs GoPro Karma

 

DJI Spark vs DJI Mavic

 

DJI Mavic vs Mi Drone 4K

 

 

° According to TomTop they “will pay tariffs in advance when ship to these countries : UK, FR, DE, ES, IT, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia,…)”
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