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Spark for professional use? Please comment.

Join
Oct 16, 2017
Messages
2
Age
45
Good morning, everyone!

I just joined a day or so ago. I'm an architectural and commercial photographer and wanted to know your opinions on this. I'm a bit on the fence about choosing between the Spark and the Mavic, although after many, many weeks of reading, watching tutorials, sample videos with and without post-production editing and color correction, I'm leaning way more towards the Spark.

I was able to find some full-res images taken from a Spark of a house, put them in Lightroom and after a bit of tweaking, got the images up to a quality that I wouldn't hesitate to show a client. So, my first BIG fear has been answered positively: the photographs that the Spark makes can be, albeit a bit small in dimensions, very usable at a professional level, even though they are not RAW images directly from the camera but jpegs.

Now, for my clients, it is VERY doubtful that any of them will actually ask for 4K at least in the next couple of years. I'm also sure this will change radically as soon as 4K TVs and 4K programming becomes the norm, much as HD TVs did in the early 2000's. So, for video, using Tripod mode, what is your opinion on the quality of the video? Is the 2-axis gimbal good enough? Is the HD video, with correct editing and, mainly, color correction, good enough to make simple videos for clients or for Getty Images (which still accept HD video but, as I said before, have informed us that 4K will become the norm in the future, but not yet)?

Videos for Getty Images tend to be VERY short. We're talking anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute, and without sound because clients usually like to put in their own voiceover and/or music.

What is your opinion on the Spark for professional use?

I live in Mexico City and would be recording videos and making photographs of the city and the country (registering the drone with our transportation ministry as soon as I get it, of course). I also just bought the Osmo Mobile for this purpose, too. The price here is about 900 dollars for the Spark Fly More Combo, while the Mavic Pro has a price of about $1500-1750 for the Fly More combo, so price is a factor, too.

Thanks, everyone!

Sergio
 

DesertWindAero

Well-Known Member
Join
May 28, 2017
Messages
526
Age
69
I'd say probably good enough, providing most images and videos are viewed online. Most people can't tell the difference between 4K and 1080p if they're not doing a side by side comparison.
 

His415

Well-Known Member
Join
Jul 12, 2017
Messages
436
Age
38
Sounds good enough for your use to me! One down side is the gimbal on the spark doesn’t yaw so motion can be a little jerky when panning left to right.
 

Scobo

Well-Known Member
Join
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
129
Loc
UK
Sounds good enough for your use to me! One down side is the gimbal on the spark doesn’t yaw so motion can be a little jerky when panning left to right.
I would agree with that. The 2 axis gimbal doesn't provide mechanical stabilisation for the yaw axis.
The digital stabilisation is not as effective as a 3 axis gimbal.
That plus the fact the battery only runs for around 12-13 minutes is a bit limiting at times.
 

Brelsh

Member
Join
Sep 19, 2017
Messages
13
Age
41
Loc
UK
I regularly take photos for estate agents with my drone, first I used the Phantom 3 pro and now I use the spark. I always use the bracketed photo option to do hdr with the spark and can't fault it. Way easier to carry around and hardly anyone notices it buzzing around
 

Darren Roach

Well-Known Member
Join
Sep 8, 2017
Messages
59
Age
53
Although you get 1080p on the spark I don't think its really good enough for professional application's. Granted you get good quality but until they put a higher grade camera" which I am sure they will at some point" on the spark I would stick to at least the mavic or the phantom 4 series.
 

sdharris

Well-Known Member
Join
May 29, 2017
Messages
75
Age
44
I would get the Mavic or Phantom 4. The Spark might be good for location scouting but due to the relatively low bitrate the video quality is not great and the last time I looked at Getty they were quite particular, well for still images at least. I would describe it as its ability to resolve detail, not resolution of the video or the image, but the detail in that image.

The gimbal will also limit your ability to perform complex 'camera' movements which will restrict the number of shots you can perform.
 

d0ppler

Active Member
Join
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
26
Age
42
I would get the Mavic or Phantom 4. The Spark might be good for location scouting but due to the relatively low bitrate the video quality is not great and the last time I looked at Getty they were quite particular, well for still images at least. I would describe it as its ability to resolve detail, not resolution of the video or the image, but the detail in that image.

The gimbal will also limit your ability to perform complex 'camera' movements which will restrict the number of shots you can perform.
Mavic is just slightly better than the Spark in terms of image quality.
I would say Phantom if you're planning to go pro
 

sdharris

Well-Known Member
Join
May 29, 2017
Messages
75
Age
44
Mavic is just slightly better than the Spark in terms of image quality.
I would say Phantom if you're planning to go pro
Agreed, the Phantom 4 beats the Mavic hands down. For me, the Spark has meant that the Mavic is not needed as you have the Spark for portability and the Phantom for quality.
 

Darren Roach

Well-Known Member
Join
Sep 8, 2017
Messages
59
Age
53
I'm not bias about the spark. I have one, fly it and love it. The pictures and video are great for keeps and sharing.
The portability is fantastic being so light. I also have a phantom 4 which to be honest is in a whole league of it's own. I enjoy flying both and find they both have a place in my life.
 

Kilrah

Well-Known Member
Join
Aug 26, 2017
Messages
242
Age
37
For photo only the Spark would work, but the yaw stabilization is not good enough to create decent commercial-level video.

Flight time is a bit short too.
 

Sparkbart

Well-Known Member
Join
Jul 1, 2017
Messages
335
Age
58
I'd say the Spark is okay for some uses and may be good enough for some purposes. I'd go with a Phantom 4. The Spark isn't as stable in windy conditions. It has a short flight time. The camera is okay. The Phantom 4 would offer you alot more flexibility...
 

Raul Flys!

New Member
Join
Aug 22, 2017
Messages
4
Age
49
Hello Sergio,

Paisano! I believe in Mexico the spark will give you enough,
I live on the beach and as I am having fun, but really the only difference is what I see as you did a good study to decide which, the spark adjusted more to my pocket and really
I do not have 4k TV because TV signals only come in HD, I do not think customers notice the difference, if shooting in RAW gives us more flexibility, but really as a graphic designer I am, people sometimes do not care or has no idea of the difference for us maybe it is important but for customers I do not think so, Regards!
 
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Dick

Active Member
Join
Jul 5, 2017
Messages
36
Age
76
Loc
Lake Keowee South Carolina
I agree with those who indicate the Spark is fine for commercial use when using Vimeo or YouTube. In fact, those that tout 4K @ 60fps must have a formidable computer to edit and render it, not to mention an internet connection that can deal with the massive upload in less than 1/2 a day. I have found that even 1080P @ 60fps will "stutter" the download from youtube and my (download) Internet speed is in the 50-60 Mbps.
I can shoot in 4K, but when editing/rendering the result, I always use 1080P.........the big advantage for 4k is "crop/zoom" during edit.
 

icarus23

New Member
Join
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
2
Age
55
Good morning, everyone!

I just joined a day or so ago. I'm an architectural and commercial photographer and wanted to know your opinions on this. I'm a bit on the fence about choosing between the Spark and the Mavic, although after many, many weeks of reading, watching tutorials, sample videos with and without post-production editing and color correction, I'm leaning way more towards the Spark.

I was able to find some full-res images taken from a Spark of a house, put them in Lightroom and after a bit of tweaking, got the images up to a quality that I wouldn't hesitate to show a client. So, my first BIG fear has been answered positively: the photographs that the Spark makes can be, albeit a bit small in dimensions, very usable at a professional level, even though they are not RAW images directly from the camera but jpegs.

Now, for my clients, it is VERY doubtful that any of them will actually ask for 4K at least in the next couple of years. I'm also sure this will change radically as soon as 4K TVs and 4K programming becomes the norm, much as HD TVs did in the early 2000's. So, for video, using Tripod mode, what is your opinion on the quality of the video? Is the 2-axis gimbal good enough? Is the HD video, with correct editing and, mainly, color correction, good enough to make simple videos for clients or for Getty Images (which still accept HD video but, as I said before, have informed us that 4K will become the norm in the future, but not yet)?

Videos for Getty Images tend to be VERY short. We're talking anywhere from 10 seconds to a minute, and without sound because clients usually like to put in their own voiceover and/or music.

What is your opinion on the Spark for professional use?

I live in Mexico City and would be recording videos and making photographs of the city and the country (registering the drone with our transportation ministry as soon as I get it, of course). I also just bought the Osmo Mobile for this purpose, too. The price here is about 900 dollars for the Spark Fly More Combo, while the Mavic Pro has a price of about $1500-1750 for the Fly More combo, so price is a factor, too.

Thanks, everyone!

Sergio
 

icarus23

New Member
Join
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
2
Age
55
As a professional filmmaker, I use a lot of different tools. A spark gets shots I can't get with basic gear, and gets other shots more quickly. Having it in my kit has gotten me jobs, but it wouldn't be high enough quality for many projects. I'll leave those more demanding jobs to people that want to spend money on that kind of gear. With this industry changing so quickly, I'll wait for a couple of more innovations before purchasing something else, meanwhile getting up to speed with the automated stuff. Litchi seems to have some interesting functionality. And yes, I have my part 107 and insurance.
 

sassafras

Member
Join
Jun 25, 2017
Messages
19
Age
57
If you are mostly doing stills, you should be fine with the Spark. I was on the fence for quite a bit, and went with the Spark (and have zero regrets). The Spark and Mavic have the same sensors. For video you gain an extra gimbal movement, but the preset flights with the Spark produce nice results very easily. The Mavic gives you RAW formatting, but that is a software thing that may change if DJI wants to (hopefully).

The Spark performs poorly under low light, but you even see those complaints against the P4. The Spark tends to blow out specular highlights (white surf foam for example), but you can easily fix this by using the AEB bracketing feature, which gives you 3 exposures.

I am smitten with the vertical panos, and they give you HUGE files which helps overcome some of the technical limits. I am still playing around with different apps to handle the merging, but have not settled on a clear winner yet. Pshop works, but only passably. For the HDR merges I use Luminar's Aurora, which lets you throttle back the obvious HDR look.

I am actively using the Spark for tourism stuff and we are flying while we are shooting traditional ground stuff. There is a lot of architectural work crossover in what we do, and it handles it aptly. Fly in bright light. Always post-process the files, and you will be well pleased. My gut was that the Spark was a great first drone, AND a handy second drone to have paired with an Inspire, or something much higher end. I never thought I would have a Spark and a Mavic. The Spark is tiny, unobtrusive, can be launched within a few minutes. If you are doing a lot of higher end video, you might want to pick the Mavic. Lastly, there seems to be a slight odd color casting in some of the Mavic's images (in the magenta/green). The Spark seems a bit better balanced IMO. Good luck with your decision.
 

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