#travel Video: Introducing Sparky, the DJI Spark

As you may have noticed here and there, we’ve been figuring that if we’re going to make a go of this travel blogging thing, we need to up our photography game to be somewhere in the neighborhood of the other twenty million travel bloggers/photographers out there…

… but y’know, it’s kinda hard to be a good photographer, and it takes packing around a lot of equipment, waiting for the right light, yadayadayada. And the prospect of that really wasn’t exciting us that much, seems far too much like work to fit in with the traipsing rover spirit we’re going for here.

However, we’d been vaguely aware that these “drone” whatsits are becoming a thing these days, and a flying camera? Now that sounds like FUN!

And as it happens, DJI the generally acknowledged leader in the drone space has just introduced the DJI Spark, which is aimed exactly at the novice drone user who is perfectly happy with 1080p video. Which we are; not like it’s going anywhere other than YouTube, so who needs 4K and whatever else the cool kids think is important these days?

For more technical detail, here is the review that decided “yep, Spark sounds right for us”:

DJI Spark In-Depth Review

TL;DR it’s pretty unarguably the best you’re going to find in a size small enough that you carry it everywhere without thinking twice. Which was the main consideration here.

A strong second is the automatic obstacle avoidance. Which we gave a strong workout on our very first flight. Which we have uploaded here, unedited, to give you an undistorted view of just how good the Spark is at dealing with a user who is not only a complete novice at drones, has never used the control app before, but repeatedly tries to drive it straight into a tree:

Obstacle Avoidance FTW! It does only work going forward, not backwards or upwards, but so far that hasn’t led to catastrophe, being smart enough to not let itself be driven straight into something has been enough for Sparky to handle its clumsy human.

There’s lots of accessories to go with the Spark too, controllers and goggles and whatnot; but so far we’re still just learning our way around the basic app. Definitely enjoying ourselves immensely playing with it though — this is a toy that makes traveling more fun, in a way we just don’t see lugging around a professional-grade camera setup would.

So yep — if you’ve been wondering about when would be a good time to get into this drone stuff, we’re quite certain that now with the DJI Spark is that time. And if you haven’t been, consider giving it a shot, these things are great fun!

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  1. Holly

    Isn’t it bulky to travel with?! Looks like a lot of parts and pieces?

    1. Alex

      Nope — the basic drone is smaller than my phone, and in its case it’s less bulky than a college math text, and light enough to toss in a daypack without thinking. Much more convenient than pro camera gear, and I figure drone videos will get lots more attention than being yet another photo blogger will!

  2. I love the idea of drones but the ones I’ve seen have been bulky. I’m glad I read your comment about the basic drone being smaller than your phone. Now, it’s even more tempting for me to look into getting one.

    1. Alex

      Yep — so far tiny drones have been toys, and ones with decent cameras have been big enough to need their own backpack. The Spark is the first one that gives you 1080p video with decent stabilization in a package small enough to carry in a regular daypack without trouble.

      1. I think I’ll be looking into one when I get to that point. Thank you for the info!

  3. Melissa

    My husband wants to get a drone so badly! I will definitely show him your post, I think it would be awesome to take on trips to get good overhead scenery shots.

    1. Alex

      Yep! There’s cheaper options too like the Parrot line, but the Spark is definitely the best tradeoff between size and quality you can get right now — if you’re only planning to upload to YouTube and the like, far as I can tell so far its video is as good as you’re ever likely to need.

  4. I didn’t realize there are drones smaller than your phone! That’s pretty insane and really cool at the same time. You totally made me wanna go out and buy one. 😛

    1. Alex

      Well, the *body* is smaller, counting wings it’s about a large college textbook size. But considerably lighter, so it’s no problem to carry in a daypack!

  5. Thank you for this! As I advance my own blog, this is so helpful to read and learn!

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