DJI Continues to Push the Boundaries of Drone Technology

June 9th, 2017

This past week DJI (the world’s leading company in the civilian drone industry, accounting for 70% of the global consumer drone market) continued to push the boundaries of drone technology by announcing the DJI Spark.

While this isn’t what real estate photographers would consider a professional level drone because it doesn’t shoot 4K video, it is an amazing little device. The Spark will be shipping from Amazon on June 15 for $499. In this video Casey Neistat tries out an early release model.

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8 Responses to “DJI Continues to Push the Boundaries of Drone Technology”

  • Seriously though, who needs 4K for everyday real estate work? I think this thing will be plenty good enough for 90% of RE work.

  • I agree with Jim. The Spark might be enough to create much of my/our real estate needs for basic aerials, elevated shots, and moderate quality video for exteriors.

  • I have been using a Phantom 4 since last November, my backup drone arrived yesterday, a Mavic Pro. Both are great for what we do, well almost great. The Mavic will always be less than the 4 and Spark will be less than the Mavic.

    First consideration isn’t the 4K or resolution, but the weight of the Drone. Sometimes I shoot at the Beach and if the drone is too light it can’t stay stable in the high winds.

    Ah, but 4k. Let’s keep things in perspective. A 20 megapixel cell phone is as good as a 20 megapixel Canon (or whatever) full frame SLR. Well almost because they are both 20 megapixels, right? the sensor size doesn’t matter, or does it? Both are using f2.8 lenses so the resolution (resolving power) is the same between a lenses 2 inches across or a lens the size of a pencil eraser, right?

    Now I love the new technology and I do shoot 5 brackets with both drones but I would never compare the images to what my 5D mk II produces, and that camera is ancient technology.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that newer, lighter, smaller and cheaper isn’t always the best answer no matter what the specs say. On the other hand, I do love the results I get from my Sony A6000 and cheap Samyang 12mm lens.

  • I think this is great and it reminds me of cellphone technology. When they first came out they were giant phones and quickly became smaller and smaller with technology advancing quickly, but now it’s going back the other way.

    Smaller is not always better especially in the drone world. I don’t think DJI is going to develop a $500 drone to replace their 10K models or they would be out of business pretty quick. This thing is designed for the average consumer to film themselves snowboarding or mountain biking because it’s so compact. Is this drone good enough for Real Estate? I guess that depends on how much you value the quality of your work and if the quality this drone outputs matches the quality of your other services such as interiors photography then it’s perfect. In my opinion your business is only as good as the weakest link. Because this thing is so light and falls under some exemptions I can see a lot of relators buying these and doing their own videos most of which will look as good as the rest of their listings shot on their iPhone and go pro with a cheap stabilizers. This is perfect for those types of people. If you offer a professional photography and video production service, this is not a professional tool to add to your business however IMHO. You will never be able to charge more or gain respect from clients as professional using the cheapest equipment and work arounds to try to look professional. Professional does not equal cheap. Starting out, sure you have to start on the cheap, but if you don’t strive to be better and invest back into your business you’ll never grow. There will always be $99 shooters with home made websites, cheap cameras shooting HDR and now adding aerial services with a toy drone, but they will never get the low bar they’ve set for themselves any higher. I love how the guy in this video says “this is NOT a paid advertisement”…..fake news people.

  • Just “spit-balling” here….
    I could see the value of this unit for interior video.
    While I haven’t checked into it, I doubt FAA licensing would be required as long as you don’t take it outside.
    As a retiree that does RE photography only “to make ends meet”, my client base is pretty small. For 99% of their listings my elevated pole images are perfect, as the lots are small.

    However, my clients love my slide show virtual tours.

    While shooting a listing I’m always thinking about “transition images”, which allows me to bring the viewer through the listing.
    The down side is this leaves me with 6 to 8 images I shoot ONLY for the tour.
    While it might not be any easier to shoot less pictures versus small drone work, the quality of the tour would improve drastically.

  • I don’t see most realtors using these things, regardless of price. That’s because they won’t have the FAA certificate to do it, and for them to use a drone anyway is a huge liability to themselves and their brokerage.

    Can’t see using one indoors. The image quality won’t be that good and what would be the point? To get a shot from the ceiling of the great room?

    You don’t need 4k, as someone mentioned, but you should ALWAYS shoot in 4k and then down-res to HD when importing into your editing system. Quality of 4k downres is much higher than shooting native HD.

    Someone said, “A 20 megapixel cell phone is as good as a 20 megapixel Canon (or whatever) full frame SLR. Well almost because they are both 20 megapixels, right? the sensor size doesn’t matter, or does it?”

    The image quality of the sensor is a combination of a lot of things. These days, most camera have millions and millions of pixels. Quality of the pixels and their light gathering abilities are more important than how many there are. Sensor size will matter if comparing 2 different sensors of equal quality. Generally, more expensive camera are higher quality regardless of sensor size, because ALL variables count.

    That said, my Phantom 4 sensor is not that great, especially when compared to my Sony a6300’s sensor. And my a6300’s sensor is not that great compared to Sony A7’s full frame sensor. My iPhone’s sensor sucks when compared to either of the above. etc etc etc! But could someone take a great picture with an iPhone? YES!

  • @Lee Miller, Using an aircraft indoors is risky but elevated photos can be useful for some layouts. I’ve used my pole inside plenty of times to get photos of an upstairs family room or other features that wouldn’t look as good trying to make a photo looking up or backed into a corner. It’s cheating a little since the POV isn’t someplace where a person could stand, but I’ve have agents that just love me for those images.

    A bigger sensor is going to outperform a smaller sensor with a comparable pixel count nearly every time. Smaller sensors are also usually sitting behind an injection molding piece of plastic and the larger sensors behind a serious of precision polished and coated glass elements. The way the camera reads the sensor affects quality as well. Action video cameras claim 4k or better video, but the interlaced scanning yields a far lower quality file than a higher quality digital cinema camera (or video capable DSLR). All variables DO count and the system needs to be high quality all the way through. Weakest link and all that.

  • At this price point it is going to put a lot more technology into creative hands and I agree that it will probably be good enough for 90% of RE work. The end user of RE photographs and videos is the buyer and the buyer does not care about plumb verticals, correct color balance, window pull or 1080p vs 4k. Buyers want information and this will give them more information to decide whether to view the property. The Youtube real estate channel receives a billion visits a month and this is only going to boost that number.

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