DJI Spark drone is child’s play to fly

Stanthorpe Border Post - - LIFE - MARK FURLER

FLY­ING a drone is rarely child’s play.

In my short “ca­reer” as a drone tester, I’ve been hit in the face by one (and still bear the small scar to prove it) and had one lit­er­ally fly off on me, never to be seen again.

Both in­volved the same model of drone, which seemed to have a mind of its own – and an app that re­peat­edly failed to work.

That can’t be said of DJI’s small­est drone, Spark.

This is a drone any­one can fly.

In fact, my 13-year-old son was fly­ing it in minutes – and teach­ing me a thing or three in the process.

Its sell­ing point is it can be guided by sim­ple hand ges­tures – and you can launch it off and land back on your hand. (Best with guard on.)

It is sim­ple to launch and fea­tures a re­turn-to-home func­tion, mak­ing it a lot harder to lose.

But it’s when you start us­ing the DJI Go 4 app, par­tic­u­larly on an iPad, that you see what this baby can re­ally do.

You can eas­ily lock in on a tar­get and have it fol­low it, whether it be a child in a park or dog run­ning down the beach.

But it goes well be­yond that. It fea­tures su­perb cin­e­matic film­ing con­trols, which al­low it to soar into the air and per­form ma­noeu­vres while cap­tur­ing smooth, sta­bilised video.

Modes in­clude rocket, dronie, cir­cle and he­lix and the end re­sult is the sort of footage only ex­pe­ri­enced drone op­er­a­tors could ex­pect to achieve.

Other In­tel­li­gent Flight Modes in­clude TapFly, which lets you send the drone to a spe­cific spot, and Ac­tiveTrack, which sets the drone to fol­low you or an­other sub­ject you se­lect on-screen.

Us­ing Quick­Shot, Spark au­to­mat­i­cally flies along a pre-set flight path while record­ing a short video and track­ing a sub­ject along the way.

The 1080p HD cam­era de­liv­ers not only great video but also sharp aerial pho­tos.

A new 180 mode stitches 21 in­di­vid­ual pho­tos to­gether to cap­ture 180-de­gree panoramic images.

The photo res­o­lu­tion when shoot­ing in Ac­tiveTrack and Ges­ture modes has been im­proved to cap­ture images at 12- megapixel res­o­lu­tion of 3968×2976 pix­els.

One of the coolest fea­tures is how it cre­ates lit­tle videos us­ing what it con­sid­ers to be the high­lights of your footage, com­plete with mood mu­sic, ready for post­ing on so­cial me­dia.

The Aus­tralian re­tail price of DJI Spark, in­clud­ing an air­craft, bat­tery, USB charger and three pairs of pro­pel­lers, is $859.

The Spark Fly More Combo in­cludes an air­craft, two bat­ter­ies, four pairs of pro­pel­lers, a re­mote con­troller, pro­pel­ler guards, a charg­ing hub, a shoul­der bag and all nec­es­sary ca­bles, with a re­tail price of $1199.

With a bat­tery life of about 15 minutes, you will prob­a­bly want to go for this op­tion.

SIM­PLE OP­ER­A­TION: Get­ting great footage with the DJI Spark is very easy thanks to a good sta­bilised cam­era.

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