Why I like my DJI Spark more than my Mavic Pro. Plus, some footage.

Why I like my DJI Spark more than my Mavic Pro. Plus, some footage.

By Steve Huff

SEE MY VIDEO WHERE I TALK ABOUT WHY I LOVE THIS DRONE AND SHOW SOME COOL FOOTAGE SHOT AROND PHOENIX AZ

You may have noticed something lately…yes, I have started to write a bit about drones. Two reasons. 1. They are great tools for photography and videography and can even be used in a very cinematic way when you want to create some amazing looking footage that would be worthy in a low budget film ; ) and 2. I LOVE THEM. This tech is getting incredible and we are starting to get into a drone revolution. Drones are selling like hotcakes, and some photographer friends of mine that used to shoot Leica, Sony or whatever are now concentrating on DRONES, and shooting with them in all kinds of situations. It’s quite amazing really. I think that both go hand in hand. My camera for normal photos and a drone for cool in the air shots. Drones are huge, and they are here to stay unless laws get passed that makes no one want to own one ; )

COMES IN MANY COLORS, THIS ONE IS “LAVA RED”

With todays drones we have so many to choose from. There are quite a few companies creating them but after trying a few out there I decided to stick with the one company that I feel is making the most strides in the drone industry. DJI. I have owned the Phantom 4 Pro, which was AMAZING. Stable, fast, long battery life and stunning video quality. Not the smallest or most portable thing but a great drone. Then I picked up and still own a Mavic Pro, which is as good as the review say it is but if you are just a hobbyist and do not shoot video footage for pro work, then it can also be overkill. What DJI has done recently is release a small, tiny, almost pocketable drone that many wrote off as a toy or for absolute beginners. They could not be more wrong. In fact, the little spark has surprised the hell out of me and I see it as a ‘Mini Mavic” and truth be told, I have used my Spark more in the last few days that in 6 months of owning a Mavic. Why? Simply put, the size.

THE FLY MORE COMBO IS THE WAY TO GO

The Spark is incredibly tiny and therefore, will not be as feature packed as the Mavic. The Mavic will deliver longer battery life, a better camera (though not as huge of a difference as you may think) and it is also more powerful and faster…with better stability in the wind. The Mavic is also better suited to LONG distance flights. I have seen some go 4  miles using a Mavic Pro in optimal conditions. The Spark, well, will not deliver that same level of performance with the battery, so long distance is out. It will be a little shaky in string string winds at high altitude and does not have ALL of the features of the bigger brother, the Mavic. EVEN SO…the Spark is my fave drone ever due to the size, fun factor and the simple fact that I USE IT way more. I can take it with me ANYTIME I go out and if I see a scene I want to shoot, it takes me 45 seconds to set up and get in the air.

The video footage is incredibly cinematic as well, with its stabilized 2 axis gimbal, the footage is just as smooth as from my Mavic. Not sure how they did it but wow, it’s good. SO MUCH MORE THAN A SELFIE DRONE! DJI marketed this more to those who want a “follow me” drone, a selfie drone..but what they have delivered is a powerful tool that is perfect for anyone who shoot for fun, for themselves, and wants a drone they can use almost anywhere (where it is permitted of course). I even flew mine indoors, and it was stable as can be. Also, the build quality is very sturdy. I was shocked when I held it as I thought it would feel cheap, but nope. The spark is still a premium made DJI product.

Be sure to see the video above, as I go over why I love the drone and show you my setup for it. I then show you some footage where I tried to film something that appeared to be cinematic, and for me, it passed with flying colors. I spent a day in Phoenix driving around and just took out the spark when I saw something cool. Kind of like street shooting with a drone. Lol.

This is only the start, as I am now hooked. Also, if you never flew a DJI drone before, the Mavic and Phantom and this Spark literally fly themselves. I am not sure how some crash these as they make it very hard to do so Anyone can fly these drones and anyone can capture amazing and stunning footage that just a few years ago would not have been possible.

I HIGHLY recommend this drone if you are new to drones or highly experienced. BUT let me save you some regret down the road. BUY THE FLY MORE COMBO You get so much more for your extra $200. A carrying case, an extra battery, a charger that charges three batteries at a time, and the remote which turns the spark into a SERIOUS drone capable of vey impressive performance. $499 for the standard Spark and $699 for all the extras in the “Fly More Combo”.  I would only recommend this as the FLY MORE COMBO with the remote. Makes a world of difference as flying with your phone is quirky and limited, and not so much fun.

I AM SO IN LOVE WITH THIS DRONE, I MAY SELL MY MAVIC AND BUY A 2ND SPARK! FOR ME IT IS NEAR PERFECT. 

You can buy the DJI Spark at Amazon, via prime RIGHT HERE. 

Also available at B&H Photo HERE. 

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32 thoughts on “Why I like my DJI Spark more than my Mavic Pro. Plus, some footage.

  1. Hi Steve. I just purchased a Spark Combo on your recommendation. Got it today. It needed the drone, batteries and remote firmware updating. I wasted 3 hours using their dreadful and unhelpful
    Software. PC Assistant 2 was fine but only for the drone and batteries. I use an Android 7 phone and the latest Go 4 app will not update the remote. ( why can’t the pc assistant do this). So I had to delete the Go 4 app and find the old V4.1.5 release online which worked fine. Then delete v4.1.5 and reinstall the latest version.

    The updates wiped out the factory setup linking the drone to the remote so I had to make that bond again.

    By that time it was dark so I gave up and opened a bottle of red wine!

    Maybe their software should come with a case of red wine to dull the pain!

    On this experience all their software and firmware will be the same for all their products.

    Rod

    1. I use iOS and had no issues, so that sucks that you had that experience. Not sure if it is an android thing? I do agree that the firmware updates out of the box is a pain, as mine had to be updated as well, took me about 45-60 minutes but had no issues. A case of red wine, lol, they should! hehehe. Good luck.

      1. Yes an Android problem Steve – my problem was the version of the Go 4 App v4.1.8 on Android did not update the remote (latest now v4.1.9). It just got to 5% and stalled. Most of the time I wasted was researching that problem and finding the solution. A downgrade to Go 4 app v4.1.5 for Android was the solution..

  2. Steve,

    I have to ask.

    Why do you like the Spark more than the Mavic?

    You say it’s more convenient for travel, but it doesn’t fold. The Mavic is smaller in a bag. The Mavic has 4K. The Mavic is more powerful resisting wind (gusts being as important).

    I don’t get it.

    Folding Spark, great! Only a matter of time.

    1. Its quite a bit smaller than a Mavic, and more sturdy feeling even with the Magic folding. I had both here, owned both. I sold the Mavic as I use the Spark much more. If you want to know the “why” I go over it all in the video here ; ) I do not use 4K and have no interest in 4K, the Spark is smaller, I do not need to go 2 miles out (though the spark can do that as well), wind has never been an issue as if wind is an issue, the Magic during filming will not be usable in wind, neither would the spark. The spark, is smaller, puts out amazing video when done right, batteries are smaller (and I get 18-19 minutes per battery, enough for filming what I need). It all comes down to needs, and I do not need what the Mavic offers. I prefer the smaller size, the easier travel (you must also travel with batteries, charger, controller, etc) and my entire Spark kit fits in a tiny case with all of that, into my backpack or bag. The Mavic is nice but in reality all it is offering over the spark is 4K and a wider FOV.

  3. Will the army and navy documents calling for a ban on all DJI products have any effect in the company’s future? I read that the army did implement the ban.

  4. Great review, thanks. Please tell me where to get the OTG cable you recommended? The only OTG cable I found on the DJI website is the one that connects to the optional goggles. Thanks again!

  5. Hey Steve,
    If you’re not into 4K shooting and you’d want a drone for outdoor adventures (where literally every gram counts), but still want the highest quality 1080 video output as possible, would you go for the Mavic, or the Spark?
    Thanks!

  6. I agree with you. I also spend more time with the spark in a month than i did with my Mavic in 6 months. With every opportunity i take the little sparky with me. I am also thinking about selling the Mavic and then buy a dji goggles. I tested one and this is also an incredible gadget.

  7. Just found your site when searching for differences between the Spark and Mavic. Thanks for the great review and video. I’m also in PHX and this gives me a whole new perspective on our city. I love the wrap on the drone as well. Question for you, how much color editing or correction did you do in the video especially on the colorful graffiti buildings and the abandoned building at around 8:00?

  8. I wonder if you can get the Spark camera converted into full spectrum. Ghost hunting a large ghost town or battle field with a drone. Thanks for showing what the Spark can do and your thought on it. Ry

    1. Interesting idea Ryan. I am stepping back from that field after so many health issues caused from it. This last year has been crazy, and landed me in the hospital twice. Now with constant threats on my life, and more attacks I am getting out of it. Thank you.

  9. super footage liked the way you gave the moody bits in looked scary lol , that big sl box a 50mm ? review , these drones look fun have a great day and keep those reviews coming , got a 24-90 man its heavy 🙂 and zeiss 35mm f1.4 zm for my SL 🙂 cheers Steve .

  10. Hi Steve
    Really good to see drone reviews and shots here – I’m sure many of us appreciate the creative opportunities opened up by being able to fly our cameras today! As someone about to dive in and learn, your thoughts and sample video on this are really helpful. I’m still a little split, as I’d love raw photo, but for what it is the spark does look great – and tiny! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you James. I plan in mixing it up here so there will be more drone stuff and of course more normal photo stuff ; ) I will have loads of new things to share soon. As for the spark, it really is fantastic. Especially for those new to drones, or unsure of it. A great way to get started.

  11. I’ve been a longtime follower of your blog and like your work a lot, but feel like I need to point out that, aside from the crazy FAA rules (which I do not entirely agree with) doing stuff like flying over an active fire and over the heads of the firefighters involved in an active scene defies any sort of common sense and sets a bad example. The firefighters have a tough enough job that they don’t need any additional hazards or potential sources of interference. And we as drone pilots certainly don’t need more regulations.

    1. Well, it was high enough to where A: it would not have interfered, and B: they never saw it as it was too high and C: I waited for the fire to be put out before I flew it over there. So what I did was no different than a bird flying overhead. I was not close to them, nor would I have gotten close to them. I cropped the shots here to get closer in but I was high enough to not even have a chance to interfere. Nothing I did was irresponsible. Hell, most photographers are irresponsible when they go running up to a fire, camera in hand, to shoot. This was a non issue.

    1. Then blame the artist who made if you dislike it, not me. Just like with any type of photography and those who document life, that is all I did with the drone. It’s a sign of the times, and should be documented. Doesn’t mean that is my belief. Why are some so sensitive? If this was poster of Clinton with the same artwork I would have done the same. It was a striking colorful billboard and worthy of a shot. If you do not like it, then not much I can say.

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