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IT’S CALLED THE Spark and it’s the small­est drone yet from DJI which de­scribes it as its “most per­sonal prod­uct yet”. This is be­cause one of the Spark’s party tricks is to au­to­mat­i­cally line it­self up and take self­ies… a bit more classy than a tele­scopic stick, eh?

There are al­ready small drones avail­able, but th­ese are mostly toys, while the Spark in­cor­po­rates all the smart tech­nolo­gies DJI uses in its big­ger mod­els, and in­cor­po­rates a gim­bal-mounted cam­era with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS im­age sen­sor. Full HD video is recorded at 30 fps and stills at 12 megapix­els res­o­lu­tion. A re­ally clever fea­ture is the Spark’s ‘Ges­ture Mode’ which en­ables it to be flown by hand sig­nals. It takes off from the palm of your hand and then fly ei­ther left or right, climb or de­scend in re­sponse to your hand ges­tures. Among th­ese sig­nals is one which will in­struct the Spark to climb to an ap­pro­pri­ate height and then snap a selfie. It will then land back in the palm of your hand.

The Spark can also be set to var­i­ous other in­tel­li­gent flight modes to au­to­mat­i­cally com- plete rou­tines such as track­ing a mov­ing sub­ject, or to record one minute of video footage while fly­ing a pre­set path which is then edited ‘in­drone’ to de­liver a ten-sec­ond clip that’s ready to share on so­cial me­dia. Four of th­ese ‘Quick­Shot’ flight pat­terns are avail­able – Rocket (a straight up climb with the cam­era point­ing down), Cir­cle (ro­tates around the sub­ject), Helix (spi­ralling up and away) and Dronie (climb­ing up and away). For stills pho­tog­ra­phy there are ‘Pano’ and ‘Shal­lowFo­cus’ modes.

DJI’s ad­vanced ‘FlightAu­ton­omy’ sys­tem con­sists of the main cam­era, a down­ward-fac­ing vi­sion sys­tem, a for­ward-fac­ing 3D Sens­ing Sys­tem, dual-band GPS and GLONASS, a high-pre­ci­sion in­er­tial mea­sure­ment unit, and 24 pow­er­ful com­put­ing cores. Th­ese fea­tures al­low Spark to hover ac­cu­rately with vi­sion sys­tem as­sis­tance at up to 30 me­tres and sense ob­sta­cles from up to five me­tres away.

You can, of course, fly the Spark more con­ven­tion­ally via a smart de­vice run­ning DJI’s GO 4 app or via an ac­ces­sory con­troller which en­ables an ex­tended range of up to two kilo­me­tres and a max­i­mum speed of 50 km/h. The max­i­mum flight time is around 16 min­utes.

The DJI Spark weighs just 300 grams all-up and is ready to fly straight out of the box at $859 which in­cludes a USB bat­tery charger and three pairs of spare pro­pel­lers. There’s a choice of five body colours, in­clud­ing blue, red and yel­low. A ‘Fly More’ kit is avail­able at $1199 and this in­cludes the con­troller, a spare bat­tery, a bat­tery charg­ing hub, four spare props, prop guards, all nec­es­sary ca­bles and a cus­tom shoul­der bag.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the Spark mini cam­era drone visit Dis­tri­bu­tion to cam­era stores in Aus­tralia is han­dled by C.R. Kennedy & Com­pany.

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