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If you have a Mavic, why own a Spark?

Xanth

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I ordered my Spark before the launch event was over. Why? Because on that first day DJI listed the Spark as weighing 250 grams (I'm not the only one who saw it). A <250 gram drone solves a lot of problems. It could get shots that otherwise would require all sorts of permits, etc. Even if it's only 1080p.

So, the spark arrives, and I find it weighs 300 grams, which would mean that technically it requires all the same PITA permissions to fly as the Mavic.

Given all of that, I'm seriously asking the question: Is there a reason to keep a $700 drone that takes worse video and flies 1/5 as far for almost 1/2 as long and yet requires nearly the same size bag as the Mavic...if you already have a Mavic?
 

DesertWindAero

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I ordered my Spark before the launch event was over. Why? Because on that first day DJI listed the Spark as weighing 250 grams (I'm not the only one who saw it). A <250 gram drone solves a lot of problems. It could get shots that otherwise would require all sorts of permits, etc. Even if it's only 1080p.

So, the spark arrives, and I find it weighs 300 grams, which would mean that technically it requires all the same PITA permissions to fly as the Mavic.

Given all of that, I'm seriously asking the question: Is there a reason to keep a $700 drone that takes worse video and flies 1/5 as far for almost 1/2 as long and yet requires nearly the same size bag as the Mavic...if you already have a Mavic?

Perhaps not for you...but, for someone like me, yes.

I intend to fly the Spark in an indoor tactical environment. I'm already training SWAT officers to fly the Mavic indoors...but, I am thinking the Spark will probably be much better for that purpose. We shall see soon when I start testing it.
 

Xanth

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Perhaps not for you...but, for someone like me, yes.

I intend to fly the Spark in an indoor tactical environment. I'm already training SWAT officers to fly the Mavic indoors...but, I am thinking the Spark will probably be much better for that purpose. We shall see soon when I start testing it.
First, I hope people understand that I'm not saying the Spark is bad, or no good for anyone. I was just hoping to open a discussion on what unique benefits it offers to those that already have a Mavic.

The training you're doing sounds really interesting, and if I may say so, a little comical. It almost sounds like a scene out of a Police Academy remake to see a bunch of hard-as-nails SWAT cops flying itty bitty brightly colored drones.
 
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aviscomi

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@Xanth if you're deciding what drone to get Mavic or Spark and finances aren't an issue then get the Mavic.
 
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DesertWindAero

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First, I hope people understand that I'm not saying the Spark is bad, or no good for anyone. I was just hoping to open a discussion on what unique benefits it offers to those that already have a Mavic.

The training you're doing sounds really interesting, and if I may say so, a little comical. It almost sounds like a scene out of Police Academy remake to see a bunch of hard-as-nails SWAT cops flying itty bitty brightly colored drones.
Whaaaat? There's a remake of Police Academy?

Where the heck have I been?
 
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Xanth

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@Xanth if you're deciding what drone to get Mavic or Spark and finances aren't an issue then get the Mavic.
AGREED! There's no question in my mind that the Mavic is nearly perfect. That said, I also own an Inspire because it does things that the Mavic can't do. My question remains, is that also true of the Spark? What significant thing can it do that the Mavic can't?
 

aviscomi

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AGREED! There's no question in my mind that the Mavic is nearly perfect. That said, I also own an Inspire because it does things that the Mavic can't do. My question remains, is that also true of the Spark? What significant thing can it do that the Mavic can't?
Besides going into small/narrow areas nothing else and how many times are you going to fly in tight quarters. You probably already know the difference in specs between the Mavic vs the Spark, thus I won't go into them. The Mavic outshines the Spark in EVERY category.
 

Xanth

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Besides going into small/narrow areas nothing else and how many times are you going to fly in tight quarters. You probably already know the difference in specs between the Mavic vs the Spark, thus I won't go into them. The Mavic outshines the Spark in EVERY category.
I haven't tried flying the Spark indoors because I've all but decided to return it and I don't want to risk damaging it. The Mavic has been hard to fly indoors for me. Does the Spark fly indoors well? If so, that could be a plus. How about in low light?
 
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aviscomi

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I haven't tried flying the Spark indoors because I've all but decided to return it and I don't want to risk damaging it. The Mavic has been hard to fly indoors for me. Does the Spark fly indoors well? If so, that could be a plus. How about in low light?
I personally have no desire to fly either indoors, I could get a $60 drone to do that task. I did attempt flying the Spark indoors, but my 3 home WIFI router wreaked havoc on my connection.
 

jimbug

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Perhaps not for you...but, for someone like me, yes.

I intend to fly the Spark in an indoor tactical environment. I'm already training SWAT officers to fly the Mavic indoors...but, I am thinking the Spark will probably be much better for that purpose. We shall see soon when I start testing it.
Thank you for your service @DesertWindAero! As a retired wildlife officer (30yrs), I know how important training is and especially these days. Be safe.
 

jimbug

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Don't ask me about my indoor flying....whoops....thank goodness for the prop guards...not a single mark:)
 

shorttimer

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I had a little room in my airplane hangar after my Mavic and P3P moved over to make room for the little fellow. Now my hangar is full and the red adds a nice touch of color..
 

N3M3SIS2ALL

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Man this thread is hitting home, Ive been debating on selling my mav over the last few hours. Came back from a 4 day trip to Cancun and had the spark waiting to be opened. Even though I seen a ton of vids on the spark it is surprising the size of the thing especially without the prop guards. I have a feeling I would have flown more using the spark than the mavick on my trip. Even though the Mav is small it does draw a bit more attention than I like, somehow I feel the spark would come off as a toy more than something serious. My whole reasoning to buying the mav is portability....which it is, but no comparison to the spark. But on the flipside the Mav I think blows it away in every other sense. I have never had the Mav feel like it was out of control and have always had a crystal clear view. Flying the spark today seemed good at times and bad at times. After I got over the pain of having connection problems I moved on. Tried some indoor flying with my phone, had a tendency to wander around a bit side to side up and down nothing to drastic, now in the sparks defense I had an overhead ac running, and 2 portable ac to the sides and one oscillating fan about 10 ft away but I dont think it should have been a problem. Tried indoor with the rc, definitely better. Tried inside hand jestures/palm control and it worked perfectly. Tried palm control outside and had a hard time staying in one place, it would read my hand, then lose it and wander to the left, catch my hand again and lose it again and wander more to the left and then I kinda panicked because it was heading toward a car.....and yes I didnt listen and was not connected in any other fashion "in case" sh*# happened. So as I started to freak out I tried to palm land and it would fidget and move back and to the left, few seconds later it finally landed. Day was a bit breezy but nothing drastic. Video connection was spotty, but was in a known bad area, my mav prompts me with warning signs on interference but still delivers perfectly in the same spot. But at the end of ends, I enjoy flying drones but I dont do it often enough, I have less than 4 hours on my Mav. What I really need is a flying selfie drone that I can pull out..no remote, no rc, take a snap put it away and move on. However at least now it seems like it needs a bit of work to feel confident in that feature.
Buut having said all that I think im going to sell the Mav and keep the spark. Just having the Mav in a bag and occasionally flying it in a parking lot just doesnt make sense. Bought the spark fly more package but in reality I'll probably just palm fly for pics and occasionally fly it around when the mood hits. I thing the Mav is just to much drone for my needs.
 

Mako79

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I have a pen. I have a Mavic. I have a Spark
Uhhh! I have pen-mavic-spark-pen.

I've got the flyless package. This means its gimped for speed and range. The public can see me flying it and at 300grams, i would willfully pay for damages if it hurts someone or damages property.

Been flying for 5 yrs and the biggest issue i have is losing the opportunity because i fear public safety and legality issues. The spark minimises this. It looks so toyish that the public dont even bat an eye.

The spark is basically a phantom 3 standard with vision sensors. I couldnt fly the p3s without attracting attention.

As for indoor flights.. the spark looks more robust and has less inertia/stored energy in a crash to do any damage. The gimbal looks like it can take a beating. In contrast, the gimbal on the mavic is over 800aud and fragile. The mavic gimbal is the price of the spark alone.
 
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beachcombing

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I'm considering getting a Spark to take kayaking with me instead of my Mavic.

I'm thinking that it will be easier to launch and land in this situation than the Mavic and the height and distance limitations will not be an issue. Plus if it ends up in the river, it will be less of a loss than it that were to happen with the Mavic. :)
 
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Xanth

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Man this thread is hitting home, Ive been debating on selling my mav over the last few hours. Came back from a 4 day trip to Cancun and had the spark waiting to be opened. Even though I seen a ton of vids on the spark it is surprising the size of the thing especially without the prop guards. I have a feeling I would have flown more using the spark than the mavick on my trip. Even though the Mav is small it does draw a bit more attention than I like, somehow I feel the spark would come off as a toy more than something serious. My whole reasoning to buying the mav is portability....which it is, but no comparison to the spark. But on the flipside the Mav I think blows it away in every other sense. I have never had the Mav feel like it was out of control and have always had a crystal clear view. Flying the spark today seemed good at times and bad at times. After I got over the pain of having connection problems I moved on. Tried some indoor flying with my phone, had a tendency to wander around a bit side to side up and down nothing to drastic, now in the sparks defense I had an overhead ac running, and 2 portable ac to the sides and one oscillating fan about 10 ft away but I dont think it should have been a problem. Tried indoor with the rc, definitely better. Tried inside hand jestures/palm control and it worked perfectly. Tried palm control outside and had a hard time staying in one place, it would read my hand, then lose it and wander to the left, catch my hand again and lose it again and wander more to the left and then I kinda panicked because it was heading toward a car.....and yes I didnt listen and was not connected in any other fashion "in case" sh*# happened. So as I started to freak out I tried to palm land and it would fidget and move back and to the left, few seconds later it finally landed. Day was a bit breezy but nothing drastic. Video connection was spotty, but was in a known bad area, my mav prompts me with warning signs on interference but still delivers perfectly in the same spot. But at the end of ends, I enjoy flying drones but I dont do it often enough, I have less than 4 hours on my Mav. What I really need is a flying selfie drone that I can pull out..no remote, no rc, take a snap put it away and move on. However at least now it seems like it needs a bit of work to feel confident in that feature.
Buut having said all that I think im going to sell the Mav and keep the spark. Just having the Mav in a bag and occasionally flying it in a parking lot just doesnt make sense. Bought the spark fly more package but in reality I'll probably just palm fly for pics and occasionally fly it around when the mood hits. I thing the Mav is just to much drone for my needs.
You've made really good points here. And it was good to see that your experiences flying the Spark were similar to mine. There were some things though that I wonder about:

1) Many have said that they FEEL flying the Spark won't be as upsetting to John and Jane Q Public as flying the Mavic. I FEEL that too, but since the Mavic is subject to all the same FAA BS, what good does that do? If someone turns you in, you're in just as much trouble. So, we're all going to put ourselves at risk more often than with the Mav because we HOPE people will ignore us?

2) The Spark is anything but a warm and fuzzy flier. Like you said, "good and bad at times." I like the Gesture Control, but it's really shaky. I did ultimately get it to work, but maybe 10% of the time. In the meantime, EVERYONE that saw me laughed, got bored, and left. You said you needed "a flying selfie drone that I can pull out..no remote, no rc..." I agree that would be awesome...if every shot wasn't of you looking half-panicked and your friends laughing at you.

3) I liked the "Dronie" shot. Again, I got nervous because it kept backing up until it went beyond signal range. Ultimately, I semi-panicked and hit the RTH button. I will admit the shot looked really smooth. It comes at no small risk though, since there is no obstacle avoidance on the back.

4) Speaking of risky shots, what happened to that shot he talked about at the Launch Event where the Spark backs up and spirals? There aren't many trees where I live and that shot still sounds like self-destruct mode. Maybe that's why I can't find it.

5) $500! A lot of the plusses people have listed almost imply a disposability about the Spark. 'If it runs into something, no big deal.' 'If it falls into the water, no big deal.' When did $500 become chump change? Or $200, for that matter. Technically, you can "fly more" with one more battery, but it's pretty weak to charge $200 for it. I guess moving the controller over to the bundle was their justification for pulling a batt. Still, 20 minutes is really not a lot more flying than 10. And for being so small, they take forever to recharge.

So, I remain on the fence. I hate to un-have tech/gear/toys, so I'm really open to hearing people's success stories as they roll in. Especially ones that involve flying in otherwise "restricted airspace" and having no one care. That would be huge.

Good luck!
 

Peter

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Jun 2, 2017
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I have both and before this evening I was contemplating selling the Spark but now that I've flown it in sports mode, I'm keeping it.

Sure it will never compete with the Mavic for film or photo quality but it is tiny, much less intrusive to the public generally and imo, much more fun to fly in sports mode than the Mavic.. They each have a place in my squadron alongside my favourite, the Mavic and 3 fpv quads.
 

James Lucas

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Jun 17, 2017
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I also have a Mavic that I'm planning on selling (once a couple early adopter issues are resolved).

It's all about your use case. For mine, the Spark is a no brainer. My analogy is my DSLR, which I'll explain below.

I'm a videography and photography hobbyist. But I found I stopped carrying my DSLR because of weight and size issues. And we're not talking about a professional or prosumer full frame but a Canon Rebel (again which I chose because it was smaller/lighter). My iPhone became good enough because it was always with me. I enjoyed shooting videos and photos, but just as a part of my adventures. It's not THE reason for my adventures.

This has changed recently as I now have a lightweight mirrorless Sony a5100 DSLR. It's small enough that I can fit it in a pocket or in a corner of whatever bag I carry that day. I'm OK that the lenses are not as sharp as my Canon lenses because I wouldn't be carrying a DSLR otherwise.

Spark v. Mavic is similar. I love the Mavic and the video quality. But it's big enough and heavy enough that I have to consciously chose to bring it. Then, when I decide to use it, I have to find a spot to launch, unfold, remove the gimbal cover, remember to remove the gimbal lock, unfold the remote, then launch. The video I get is Prosumer quality but, the best video is the video you take.

I'll carry and use the Spark way more often than I've used my Mavic.

Here's the features I care about:

Usable without controller: One less thing to carry, which will allow me to use it for trips where weight/space is an issue. Like camping or Backpacking.

Micro USB charging: See above. I'll already have a 6 Port USB charging hub for travel and can just plug the Spark into that. Plus for backpacking/camping I'll have a small solar panel

Lightweight: The Spark alone is 70% lighter (1.7lbs!) than Mavic+Controller. Spark+Contoller is about 1.1 lbs lighter (more than 45% lighter) than the Mavic equivalent. My wife won't notice me throwing the 300g Spark into the family daypack for hiking, travel, etc. Also, the Mavic+Controller is way too heavy for Backpacking, for example. Spark is under 11 oz and AC+RC is just over 20oz.

Quick Setup: The Spark is ready to go with a quick power on and palm launch. No unfolding, which would make it heavier and take more time to launch. No worrying about taking off on a dirt trail or tall grass.

I'm not 100% happy with it, but I'm hoping those issues can be solved with future firmware updates.

Real world weights:

Mavic AC: 756g
Mavic RC: 311g
Spark AC: 302g
Spark RC: 273g.
 

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