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AgSnap

Technology in Agriculture, Simplified

New Drone Models – DJI Mavic and GoPro Karma

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Some quick thoughts on the newly announced drone models –

DJI’s Mavic versus GoPro’s Karma

These are both relatively new small and compact form-factor drones. Yes, Parrot and some others have made $400 drones this size for years, but they aren’t capable of long, stable flights or images of this caliber. Mavic and Karma are designed for consumers that want an ultraportable drone that’s relatively simple. These may not be main workhorse commercial or quite even pro-level consumer drones, but they can still be useful for agriculture. The Inspire and  Phantom models are almost a bit large to keep in a pickup full time, but these new models would easily fit under the seat, including their controllers and spare batteries. I’m considering a Mavic as a backup to my Inspire, just out of convenience. Don’t expect these smaller drones to handle the wind as well, nor have quite the image quality of a Phantom, Inspire, etc (although quality should be really close); But like photographers say, the best camera (drone) is the one you’ll carry with you and use.

GoPro Karma

Advantages:

  • Less expensive, especially if you want a GoPro or already own one
  • Comes with handheld stabilizer
  • Video display built into controller

Disadvantages:

  • GoPro is new to drones.. I’m suspicious this will be the first and last drone they make (look at how well 3DR did with the Solo.. and they were already established in drones)
  • GoPro cameras still have that horrible lens curvature and distortion along the edges, they’re just not made for quality long distance image capture
  • Advertised flight time of 20 minutes vs 27 for Mavic.. probably translates closer to 15 minutes
  • Shorter range for control and video feed.. Nobody matches DJI here

GoPro Karma on their website

 

DJI Mavic

Advantages:

  • DJI quality – although DJI does have software problems sometimes, they lead the industry in ease of use, features, and quality
  • Extreme long range and low latency vidoe feed – I’m not even sure how they push HD video 4 miles without directional atennas but apparently its possible, even if its not legal to fly that far
  • 27 advertised minutes of flight time.. probably more like 22-25 minutes, but still that’s long compared with many models
  • Dealer network – many sellers, better parts and service availibility.. I recommend my friends (and neighbor/customer) at FlyingAg.com
  • Compatibility – Sounds like DroneDeploy is planning on supporting Mavic, but no mention of Karma
  • Resale?

 

Disadvantages:

  • More expensive
  • Can’t do anything else with the camera
  • Camera isn’t waterproof, or likely as durable as a GoPro
  • To see a video feed you’ll need a smartphone or other device.. no video display built into controller

DJI Mavic on their website

 

Thoughts on this post? Comment below or tweet me @AaronBobeck

  • Sam

    Great article and videos. I originally was thinking Karma with the removable camera, planning on another GoPro sometime anyway. However, the whole “fit in your backpack” thing has me moving towards the Mavic.

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