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Help me make up my mind

redsox93

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I know there have been countless threads about this type of thing, but I want to hear everyone's latest responses.

Basically over the past week I've been flip flopping back and forth between picking up a spark, an air, or neither and waiting to see if we get a spark 2 or if the air drops in price when the MP 2 comes out.

I'll preface this all with the fact that after doing my research, I'm 95% confident that the spark will meet all my flying needs hands down. I've been flying toy-level drones for about 2 years now. Had a few hubsan x4's (which flew away on me), and recently I picked up a syma x5sw - which is a lot better, but still very toy-ish, and really basic in comparison to a DJI.

I live in Canada, and we have some stupid, harsh drone laws that basically create no-fly zones just about everywhere except the middle of no-where. As such, I'm really only interested in a smaller type quadcopter like the spark or air, even though I've seen a lot people suggesting to go with the MP or MPP, just to be as unobtrusive and inconspicuous as possible. I like the fact that the spark still looks like a toy-ish quad, whereas the air is pushing into the realm of "oh look at that flying machine filming me".

As I mentioned, I'm very confident the spark will meet my flying needs, but I have a soft-spot for technology and I feel like after a few months with the spark I'll regret not sinking the extra $600 into the air. Can anyone who has both speak to this? The thing that makes me the most nervous about the spark is the connection issues I read about. As I've had 3 hubsan x4's fly away on me, my biggest nightmare is getting one of these quads, and watching $1000 fly away from me. I know there are features built into the quad to protect against this (such as RTH when connection is lost) but are these 100% reliable?

I'm also slightly disappointed that the spark doesn't support litchi, which almost seems like a must. Besides waypoints, what else does litchi provide thats a must have? I've also heard the spark doesn't fair well over water. Watching my drone take an unwanted bath is my second biggest nightmare. As the majority of my flying will happen around my cottage which is in the middle of a dense forest and surrounded by a lake, I need a drone that I can be confident isn't going to die suddenly on me and either end up lost in a forest (stuck in a tree) or land in the drink.

Ultimately, for someone who probably won't make much use of a 4k camera, is the extra $600 worth it for the air, for what seems like a few extra mins of battery life, a bit longer range and a few extra camera features (which again I won't use)? The majority of answers that I see for my specific question (spark vs air), is if you can afford the air get it...while I can afford the air, if the spark will satisfy my needs (and keep my satisfied for at least a year or 2) I'd definitely rather invest my $600 into something else. Curious what everyone thinks...

I appreciate any suggestions, tips or advice you can give me. Thanks.

As an fyi, if the price point make a difference: The spark fly more bundle with 1 extra battery + dji care will run me $845 CDN

In comparison: the MA fly more bundle + ND filters + dji care will run me $1475
 
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msinger

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I'm very confident the spark will meet my flying needs, but I have a soft-spot for technology and I feel like after a few months with the spark I'll regret not sinking the extra $500 into the air. Can anyone who has both speak to this?
If you're sure the Spark will meet your needs, spending an extra $500 for technology you'll never need/use sounds kind of silly. No?

I know there are features built into the quad to protect against this (such as RTH when connection is lost) but are these 100% reliable?
RTH is a great feature, but there are things that can cause that failsafe to be unreliable. For example, the battery could die before the drone makes it home, the drone could be flying in ATTI mode (where RTH cannot be initiated), the wind could be too strong for the drone to return home, or the drone could crash into an obstacle on the way home. You should be able to avoid those unfortunate situations by always fully charging the batteries, not flying in strong winds, planning ahead, etc.

I'm also slightly disappointed that the spark doesn't support litchi
The Spark is compatible with Litchi.

I've also heard the spark doesn't fair well over water.
Flying over water is just like flying over land. The only difference is it could be tough to recover your drone if it lands in the water.

Ultimately, for someone who probably won't make much use of a 4k camera, is the extra $500 worth it for the air, for what seems like a few extra mins of battery life, a bit longer range and a few extra camera features (which again I won't use)?
If a Hubsan x4 met all of your needs, a Spark is probably a great fit for you.
 

redsox93

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Camera aside, is the MA significantly more fun to fly than the spark?

I've heard flying in ATTI mode is not recommended, is this because it messes with the RTH feature? Furthermore, if at any point you lose direction of which way the drone is going, can you simply hit RTH to get you back on track?

I read on another forum that the spark was not compatible with litchi. Does that mean that spark supports way points? If you're making waypoints, and the way points are further out than the drone can go or perhaps if you have a distance limiter set, will it still fly out to those way points?

I heard that the spark doesn't fair well with water because its sensors have a hard time sensing it.

The hubsan x4 didn't really meet my needs...the thing basically couldn't fly in any winds stronger than a light breeze, was tough as hell to keep track of which way the drone was facing (and no headless mode made this even harder). I think the coolest part about DJIs from what I've seen in videos, is being able to put your drone just about anywhere and have it hover almost completely still (obviously wind speed dependent)
 

Derek_M

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Hey I was in the same position as you! It was between the mavic air and the spark. For some reason, I went for the MP refurb. You can’t go wrong with spending 660 dollars for a refurb which looks brand new. The MP uses occusync which is better for range and the live video. I’m gonna get the spark in a few months as a small back up drone for me. But the MP is a great drone and I highly recommend it.
 

redsox93

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Hey I was in the same position as you! It was between the mavic air and the spark. For some reason, I went for the MP refurb. You can’t go wrong with spending 660 dollars for a refurb which looks brand new. The MP uses occusync which is better for range and the live video. I’m gonna get the spark in a few months as a small back up drone for me. But the MP is a great drone and I highly recommend it.
As I mentioned in my first post, I'm trying to steer clear of the bigger/very robotic looking drones to stay as unobtrusive and inconspicuous as possible. That's why I love the design of both the spark and the MA. I feel like both of the quads (especially the spark) are much more digestible to the average on looker than a MP flying around.
 

msinger

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Camera aside, is the MA significantly more fun to fly than the spark?
I think so. The Spark is pretty slow when not flying in sport mode. With sport mode disabled, you'll only reach about 7 MPH with obstacle avoidance enabled and 13 MPH with obstacle avoidance disabled. The Mavic Air can fly up to 17 MPH when sport mode is disabled.


I've heard flying in ATTI mode is not recommended, is this because it messes with the RTH feature?
Neither of these drones can be manually switched to ATTI mode. If you want to fly in ATTI mode, you should consider buying a Phantom instead.

Furthermore, if at any point you lose direction of which way the drone is going, can you simply hit RTH to get you back on track?
Initiating RTH will make the drone fly home. It would be better to learn how to control your drone so you know which way it's facing and/or how to adjust it so it's facing the desired direction.

I read on another forum that the spark was not compatible with litchi. Does that mean that spark supports way points?
Per Litchi's release notes from August 2017:

"added support for Spark: all flight modes are supported except waypoint/orbit at this time (if you are using Spark with the remote controller, you must connect using Wi-Fi between the RC and the mobile device, connecting via USB OTG is not currently supported)"

You can use waypoints if you're flying with Autopilot.

I heard that the spark doesn't fair well with water because its sensors have a hard time sensing it.
I'm not sure what that means. It would be best to steer clear of the drink.
 

redsox93

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For my purposes I don't think I want to be in ATTI anyways...it seems like ATTI just keeps your altitude locked while letting the drone drift around in the wind. As I previously mentioned I really like how DJIs are able to hover relatively still, so I don't think ATTI is for me anyways.

Obviously, knowing how to fly your drone is important, but tell me how are you supposed to tell which way the drone is facing when you're 200 meters out and can't see the lights on it anymore? This is basically how I lost my hubsans...at some point your orientation gets turned around and you end up flying your quad further away than closer, until it loses signal, and the rest is history.

Autopilot is an app I've never heard of. Can you make a recommendation as to which is better; Litchi or Autopilot?

I read on another forum, that the sparks sensors have a hard time detecting water...eventually when Im comfortable with my drone, I'm interested in using the active track mode to capture me water skiing (hence it will be flying over water). Additionally, as I mentioned I would be flying around my cottage a lot, it's inevitable that the quad will be going over water at some points.
 

msinger

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For my purposes I don't think I want to be in ATTI anyways...it seems like ATTI just keeps your altitude locked while letting the drone drift around in the wind. As I previously mentioned I really like how DJIs are able to hover relatively still, so I don't think ATTI is for me anyways.
Right -- most people prefer to fly in P mode (GPS mode). However, the drone will auto switch to ATTI mode if the GPS data is not available and/or cannot be used for some reason. That most commonly occurs during times of compass interference (most often caused by taking off near a magnetic metal object).

tell me how are you supposed to tell which way the drone is facing when you're 200 meters out and can't see the lights on it anymore?
You should use your eyes and/or the attitude indicator in DJI GO.


Autopilot is an app I've never heard of. Can you make a recommendation as to which is better; Litchi or Autopilot?
That would be like comparing apples and oranges. Neither is better. Litchi is less feature-rich, but is easier to use (and more like DJI GO).

I read on another forum, that the sparks sensors have a hard time detecting water
Why would you need to detect the water?
 

redsox93

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Good advice not to take off near metal. Thanks.

I'll have to watch the video when I'm home from work...unless you have super powers, your eyes will only work to a certain distance lol...add in the glare of the sun to some situations and I bet even the more experienced flyers will have a hard time telling the front of the quad when it's out past a certain distance, without looking down at your screen (which you're not supposed to do).

Couldn't tell you lol, maybe for landing purposes? It's just what I read, I'm not trying to make any claims here.
 

msinger

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Couldn't tell you lol, maybe for landing purposes? It's just what I read, I'm not trying to make any claims here.
Ah, well, maybe it would make more sense if you link the content you're referencing.
 

Derek_M

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Go for mavic Air great camera and 3 axis gimbal. Better battery and obstacle avoidance 3 ways
 

TrayBoz

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Best of luck in your decision.

I hope you understand that their are a LOT of Mavic Pro users in this forum, so it's hard for some of us to weigh in on your dilemma.

To us, you may seem a little like a guy walking into a Ferrari dealership and asking which is better, Chevy or Ford.

Personally, I'd take an old, used, crashed-6-times, beat-up Mavic Pro over a Spark or an Air any day.
Even if it was Pink with glitter on it.

But I might be a little biased. :D
 
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msinger

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The Inspire is most definitely overkill for what the OP needs.
 

andythilo

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I got the Air combo. Fantastic drone for the money and tiny!

Just come back from 2.5 weeks in Cyprus and used it nearly every day. Once I figured out forcing it to FCC mode the range and video signal was great.

And it’s sooooo tiny! Half the size of a Pro and TBH smaller to carry around than a spark due to the folding arms.

I got a CrystalSky 5.5 as well and it’s just amazing, never had any issues in the Mediterranean sun.
 
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