DJI Spark Vs DJI Mavic Pro: Which Is Right for You?

DJI Spark Vs DJI Mavic Pro Which Is Right for You

If you are an enthusiast with aerial stills or your work requires high-quality drones, perhaps DJI will be the top brand to choose. And you are trying to compare the image quality or flight capabilities of the DJI Spark Vs DJI Mavic Pro to decide which drone to invest in.

Then this is exactly where you need to come; Staaker will analyze and compare each aspect of these two drones. You will know all details about the quality of the image, size, driver, and their ability to overcome obstacles and, ultimately, their competitive pricing. Keep reading our article to know which you should choose.

DJI Spark

Although the Spark may seem like a toy drone at first glance, it can do so much more than that. It can be controlled entirely with hand gestures, so no controller is required to fly the Spark.

You can launch it from your palm, then use hand gestures for quick aerial selfies. Then you can return it to your hand. The front obstacle detection feature ensures that you don’t accidentally knock it into your face while taking those selfies.

Spark

The drone’s image quality is excellent, and it can be edited and shared from any mobile device. The drone’s palm-size size can be controlled by a smartphone or paired with an external remote controller for greater range (though it will set you back $100).

Despite the Air announcement, Air’s shortcomings are now more apparent. The camera is a lower resolution and mounted on a 2-axis gimbal. It stabilizes for tilt, roll, but not pan. It can be controlled digitally.

Although the battery life can last up to 16 minutes, it takes to charge fully; it will only last 10 to 14 minutes depending upon wind and how hard you push it.

The wireless range of the controller will also limit you. It can only transmit up to 100m (328ft) and 50m (164ft) above ground, without interference and unobstructed. It’s still likely to be a good camera drone for most people.

DJI Mavic Pro

Mavic Pro is a drone that has been in existence since October 2016. It doesn’t have the same features as DJI Mavic Air vs DJI Spark. You can use hand gestures to get the drone’s camera focus, follow your movements, and take pictures. However, gesture controls are pretty limited. The drone also has front obstacle avoidance.

DJI Mavic Pro

It is also larger and heavier than the others, even though it can be folded into a compact package. Its battery, which can keep it in the air for up to 27 minutes, is partially responsible for the bigger size and heavier weight.

It can climb and descend much faster than the Air and has a wider transmission range. You can also get the Mavic Pro Platinum for an extra $100. This increases battery life by 30 minutes and features quieter motors.

DJI reserved additional professional camera options for Mavic Pro, including more advanced tracking options and a wider ISO range for video and cinema4K, as well as UHD 4K video resolutions.

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Size

The DJI Spark’s smaller size and lighter weight were another reason I initially invested in it. It measures 8.2x3x9.8 inches and is as small as a toy. It attracts less attention than any DJI drone when it is in flight.

The DJI Mavic Pro measures 9.5″ x 9.5″ x 10.5″ (20.8 x 220.8 x 26.6 cm) folded. It is no Goliath, but it is larger than the DJI Spark. It is 1.62 pounds lighter than the Spark (300g).

While I had always wanted a lighter, smaller drone in my camera bag, after purchasing the DJI Spark and the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum and comparing them side-by-side, it became apparent that there was more than just the size and weight of the drones.

The DJI Spark is lighter than the Mavic Pro, and that is a good thing. It is also smaller. It is also smaller, which I think is a major problem.

The propeller arms of Spark cannot be folded in half like the Mavic Pro. It isn’t easy to pack the Spark in a bag. Because it is difficult to store other items between the arms, you need to consider Spark’s outer perimeter.

I prefer the Mavic Pro’s compact size, which can be carried like a brick and easily stuffed into a rolling bag or backpack.

While I miss the Spark’s lighter weight than the Mavic Pro, I have mavic pro vs spark, and I find it much easier to remove the Mavic Pro from my camera bag.

Construct

The DJI Spark’s capabilities are more impressive than the Mavic Pro. Therefore, Spark’s build is simpler in two areas.

The gimbal on the Spark’s gimbal is 2-axis, while the Mavic Pro has a 3-axis movement. While this is not important for still photographers, it does mean that the Mavic Pro’s gimble is fiddlier and more fragile than the Spark.

The Mavic Pro should be stowed with the attached gimble brace or gimble cover. These are both quite fiddly. On the other side, Spark does not require such protection and is, therefore, easier to transport.

The Mavic Pro’s speed and agility in the Air are second to the Spark. Therefore, its propellers have a longer life span and are equipped with more advanced hardware.

The Spark feels solid and can be moved around, while the Mavic Pro feels fragile. However, the Spark is more durable.

This is not relevant to everyone. You’ll need to read the rest to determine if the Mavic Pro is the drone you want.

Gimbal Systems

DJI is known for its highly developed, stable, and smooth gimbal technology. Each drone, including the Spark, Mavic Air, and Mavic Pro, can take extremely steady shots. However, every drone has its unique gimbal system and functions.

The DJI Spark features a 2-axis mechanical gimbal system. It also has DJI’s UltraSmooth technology, which ensures steady shots and minimizes rolling shutter effects. All other DJI drones currently have a full 3-Axis system.

The DJI Mavic Air, the smallest DJI drone, features a 3-Axis Mechanical Gimbal. For added protection, the Mavic Airs gimbal has a triangular design with gimbal dampeners.

The DJI Mavic Pro features DJI’s 3-Axis Gimbal system, which ensures smooth and stable shots. The advanced gimbal system on the Pro will intelligently and automatically cancel out any unwelcome shakiness. The Mavic Pro’s camera and gimbal are more vulnerable to damage than other drones.

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Flight Controls

The Mavic Air, Spark, and Mavic Pro come with basic flight controls, including two piloting toggles and a Return To Home button. There is also an interface via DJI Go 4 App. The advantage of any DJI drone model is the identical remotes and piloting controls.

The Spark is the only drone that doesn’t include a remote control in its basic kit. The remote control of Spark uses a wifi transmission system. It looks similar to Mavic Air’s remote control.

There are two piloting toggles and a Return button. There are also two buttons for taking photos and videos. The remote has a Micro USB port, folding clamps that allow users to mount their Smartphone devices to it securely.

The Mavic Pro is the only remote control that uses DJI’s OcuSync Transmission System instead of a wifi System. The Mavic Pro is the only remote with an LCD telemetry screen built in that displays basic flight information that can be viewed at a glance.

The Mavic Pro’s remote features a dedicated exposure knob and two customizable buttons that allow for more personal flight experiences.

Range

Range

In this case, range refers to the distance that the remote controller can transmit the drone and its battery life.

When I bought the DJI Spark, range and battery life were not a major concern. It was not intended to be used professionally. I only wanted it to provide a bird’s-eye view of a couple at the wedding or lay down somewhere.

The advertised battery life of 16 minutes and the 1.2 miles (2km) range of the DJI Spark sounds more than adequate.

Although you might expect to fly your drone at a close distance, it is tempting to push the limits once you have one.

The lack of enough battery life made flying the DJI Spark extremely stressful.

I was too concerned about the battery dying and rushed the composition of my photos. This made it difficult to enjoy the experience of flying the drone.

Even with the auto return-to-home function when the battery was low, there was always the risk of a headwind preventing the Spark’s lightweight and under-powered from returning safely.

You’ve probably seen my embarrassing Facebook footage of me landing the Spark in Spain while I was on holiday earlier this year. This was because I had miscalculated how much battery life was left and was trying to land it as quickly as possible manually.

I switched to the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum because of the poor battery life.

You can fly for up to 30 minutes, and you have a range of 4.3 miles (7km)! With a little over 10% battery remaining, I bring it home with me on every flight. The battery life for the regular Mavic Pro is 27 minutes.

Even if you only need to take a basic bird’s-eye view photo with your drone, I recommend the Mavic Pro Platinum.

This will allow you to spend more time looking for photo opportunities while in the sky and properly composing your photos, rather than rushing to get home.

Image Quality

Image Quality

The Spark is a Mavic Pro for photographers. I won’t discuss video quality as I am comparing it to the Mavic Pro. The Spark can record 1080p video, while the Mavic Pro records 4k. This is a clear win for the Mavic.

The Spark only offers JPEG, while the Mavic Pro has RAW + JPEG. Professional photographers will want RAW support to take advantage of the extra latitude RAW files provide when post-processing.

However, I must mention that the JPEG quality right out of the DJI Spark, which I reviewed here, is better than the DJI Phantom 4’s.

The image is vibrant and sharp, and the colors are great. It’s a JPEG, so you can easily apply your presets in the post to make the images look great. All images in this review were post-processed in Lightroom.

Yes, the DJI Mavic Pro RAW files allow for more experimentation with white balance and shadow/highlight recovery. However, don’t expect too much from the tiny 1/2.3″ sensor.

You can blow your highlights and crush your shadows forever.

Noise is also quickly introduced by anything higher than base-level ISO, so expect low-light photography (although it’s not recommended to fly after sunset).

This image was taken at ISO 800 while I was photographing a Sri Lankan destination marriage reception. This image is acceptable, but I had to use 1/100 to balance a low ISO and dark exposure. Higher winds may have made this impossible.

You can see the ambient light when I took the photo, even though I didn’t adjust the exposure in the post.

Although it’s difficult to tell if there is any visual difference between a JPEG file saved from Spark and one that has been converted into a JPEG using the Mavic Pro’s editing software, I prefer the RAW option from the Mavic Pro.

Many other professional photographers will likely do the same.

For stills, the DJI Mavic Pro offers a 16 to9 ratio. This is much better than Spark’s 4:3. The drone photo has a 16:9 ratio, which gives it a cinematic feel. This is evident in the below image taken at the cave entrance.

Auto-exposure is my default setting for drone photography. This allows me to focus on the flight and not worry about other variables. In the photo below, I wanted to reduce ambient light as a ray from the sun was adequately lighting the couple. I, therefore, shot manual.

The photo above is quite good, but if you want incredible image quality from a drone, you will have to spend a lot of money.

A Phantom 4 Pro has a 1″ sensor, which allows for better stills photography performance.

Both images from the DJI Spark and the DJI Mavic Pro are professional-ready, even though one drone offers RAW support.

Clients will be impressed by their aerial photos. Even slight differences in quality won’t matter.

Video: 

Obstacle Avoidance Systems

For safe and smooth flight, all DJI drones have front and bottom-facing obstacle avoidance sensors. Spark has front and bottom-facing sensors that can detect obstacles up 16 feet from its path. The Mavic Pro has front and bottom-facing obstacle avoidance sensors but can detect obstacles up to 50ft in front.

The Mavic Air has the best vice-obstacle avoidance system of all three drones. For increased safety, the Mavic Air has a rear, bottom, and front sensors. Users will feel safer flying in the Air thanks to the ability to fly backward with obstacle avoidance.

The Mavic Air’s Advanced Pilot Assistance System is another unique feature. It intelligently allows the Mavic Air to fly left, right, or above any object it encounters and then continue flying.

The DJI Spark is the first DJI drone to have new TapFly submodels, including Direction and Coordinate. The Spark features “FaceAware”, a face recognition technology that allows users to launch their drone directly from their palm.

There is also a new PalmControl Mode that allows users to control their drones using hand gestures. The Spark also features four new Quick Shot modes that allow for more creative aerial photography options.

The Mavic Pro has the most intelligent flight modes of any drone. The Mavic Pro also features new flight modes, including Profile, Tripod and Spotlight, Terrain, and Gesture.

Pilots can fly their drone in Trace Mode to place it in front of or behind a subject or circle around it as it moves. Gesture Mode allows users to take selfies by simply waving their hands.

Noise

My opinion is that drone sound quality is very important. This was, ironically enough, the most important factor that led me to upgrade from my DJI Spark to the Mavic Pro Platinum.

A drone can attract many people because it makes a lot of noise during takeoff and landing. The larger drones can attract attention even though they are not in flight.

Photographers will try to fly their drones discreetly as possible. This is to preserve their candid photos (especially if they include members of the public) and to avoid anxiety. I get nervous flying a drone when large audiences are watching, and I’m sure you feel the same.

The DJI Spark is the smallest and lightest DJI drone, so it makes sense that it is also the quietest. I had seen a Mavic Pro in flight before and was familiar with its noise and potential to draw attention.

All that changed when I discovered the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum. Platinum provides significantly reduced noise levels for an additional 300 dollars.

The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum’s pitch, or tone, makes it less noticeable than the Spark. If you’re curious about the sound of a Spark, check out this video.

The original Mavic Pro sounds like a bee swarm, but the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum produces a deep, low sound similar to what you might hear every day.

This was something I had in mind. I am so happy that I found a drone that will not disturb the public, especially at weddings, while still allowing me great aerial photos.

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Cost

Let’s start by saying that buying a drone for hobbyist aerial photographers is likely to prove difficult.

The DJI Spark drone is the most affordable in the DJI range. You can purchase the Spark by itself without the remote control for as low as $400

The Spark + Fly More Combo is a great option. You get the spare battery, remote control, and other essentials. The Spark isn’t worth considering without the remote controller, as the flight distance is extremely limited.

It was amazing to buy a drone with this level of quality for only $600. It is easy to overlook the technology involved in a consumer product that can fly 500m up in a sky or 1.2 miles (2km) away. This allows you to take photos and video, as well as broadcast in real-time to your smartphone. This is amazing.

You can buy the Mavic Pro for approximately $900. However, I recommend that you purchase the Mavic Pro Platinum for $300 more. Although the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum + Flight More Combo is slightly more costly, I do not believe it’s necessary.

The price was the only reason I purchased the DJI Spark Fly More Combo at first. Realistically, I didn’t intend to use a drone to take photos, so I bought it as a toy. Spark owners will likely feel the same way.

The DJI Spark is the winner in this regard, as it’s less expensive than the Mavic Pro. Next, we will need to determine if the Mavic Pro’s higher price is justified.

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Conclusion

If you are a beginner drone pilot or a casual user, then DJI Spark is great for you with a reliable and advanced drone platform and a good price.

If you need a compact drone, work lengthier range and battery life, and more intelligent flight mode options, then you should choose Mavic Pro.

We hope that our DJI Spark vs Mavic Pro article can help you know more details about them and have decisions better. Let’s wait for our DJI Spark vs Mavic Mini 2 article next time.

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