Drone Review for Travelers: I love travel photography and debated getting a drone for months and months, but they are expensive and I wasn’t sure if a drone was worth the money for travel photography… After tons of research, I decided to go with a DJI Spark because it had great reviews and was said to be the best drone for travelers! DJI has now replaced the Spark with an even better drone for travelers, the Mavic Mini.
But at nearly $500, is a drone really worth it? Here are my thoughts…
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Drone Review: It Takes Your Travel Photos to the Next Level
Drone photos are incredible and create such a unique view — especially when traveling. There is no denying that a drone is a great way to take your photography to the next level. This was one of my favorite photos from my entire trip to Mexico:
Drone Review for Travelers: They are Compact and Easy to Travel With
Like I said, I have the DJI Spark and it has been fairly easy to travel with. It is about the size of an iPhone with the arms coming off another 3 or 4 inches. It weighs 300 grams making it super light to travel with! The only thing is that I wish the arms would fold in…
Which is just one of the things that makes the new Mavic Mini an improvement on the Spark. It’s even smaller, lighter (250 grams), and the arms DO fold in!
Something super important to remember… you CANNOT pack the batteries in your checked luggage when flying! You have to carry them on with you.
Luckily I’ve only made this mistake with a portable phone charger battery, but at $45+ a piece, having your drone batteries confiscated from your bag is an expensive mistake to make.
Drones Take High Quality Photos and Video
I love the photos my DJI Spark takes! The camera has 12 MP and is equivalent to a 25 mm lens with an aperture of f/2.6. The shutter speed ranges from 2 seconds to 1/8000 of a second!
Even in fairly low light it does well!
Most DJI Drones are VERY Easy to Use, Great for Beginners!
I have found the DJI Spark easy to use. There has been a little bit of a learning curve trying to control it and not being too jerky, but that comes with practice!
One thing I love about this drone, especially as a beginner, is that it has obstacle avoidance. If you’re flying and get to close to something in front of you, the drone will automatically stop itself from hitting it. This can prevent you from getting as close as you want to somethings, but there is an option to turn obstacle avoidance off.
NOTE: obstacle avoidance does not work if the drone is flying backward — it only has the camera in the front.
The Mavic Mini also comes with 360 degree Propeller Guards that protect the propellers and improve flight safety!
Drones are Great for Solo Travelers
As someone who has done a fair bit of solo travel, a drone is SUPER helpful when it comes to taking your own photos! Personally I find it much easier than setting up a tripod and hoping to get the shot framed right.
The DJI Spark will hover in one spot (just like a tripod) and you can program it to take a photo every second or so. With the app, you can easily adjust the frame without having to totally readjust like with a tripod, making it more flexible while shooting.
It’s also great for couple or group photos! We took these photos together with my drone in the South of France!
You Don't Even Need A Controller - But You Should Still Get One
You are able to control the DJI Spark with motions and gestures. I haven’t tried this mode out yet because it’s so much easier with the remote controller. Anyone I’ve talked to has said the same thing, so do yourself a favor and get the remote.
It Has Many Different Intelligent Fly Modes
QuickShot Rscending with the camera pointing downward.
QuickShot Flies backward and upward, with the camera locked on your subject while videoing.
QuickShot rcle around your target while capturing amazing video
ly upward, spiraling around your subject and video.
ActiveTrack — Spark automatically recognizes objects of different shapes and sizes then tracks them according to what they are and how fast they move. This makes tracking much easier and more reliable.
This video does an awesome job explaining this feature:
TapFly — in this mode, just envision your shot and Spark captures it for you. Tap your phone screen and Spark, using vision technology, flies in the direction of your tap or exactly where you tapped while actively sensing obstacles.
Gesture Mode — Control your DJI Spark simply by gesturing at it with PalmControl mode!
The Mavic Mini also has these features but offers a simplified flight experience through the new DJI Fly App.
DJI App is Easy to Use
For the Spark, the DJI 4 Go App is how you fly the drone with your controller. It shows what the drone shows right on your phone screen! The app also features automatic editing templates and an array of filters. Quickly edit videos and share them straight to social media!
The Mini Mavic uses a new app, the DJI Fly app and is supposedly even more simple to use.
Drone Review for Travelers: The Cons
With the Spark, the battery will last you only about 15 minutes, so that was always a big downside for me.
Amazingly, the Mavic Mini has double that and can fly for up to 30 minutes on one battery!
Another thing travelers need to consider is that you have to carry-on your drone which can take take up some space. Luckily, like I’ve mentioned, both these drones are very small and portable so don’t take up all that much room, but it is something to think about!
REVIEW: So Is A Drone Worth It For Travelers?
Where to Buy a Travel Drone
That being said, you can’t go wrong with either if you’re looking for a great beginner drone to travel with! I am happy with my Spark right now and probably won’t upgrade for another year or so.
To learn more about the Mavic Mini vs The Spark, check out this article.
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