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    • vegasphotog

      Back in 2000 when I started shooting "professionally" (trying to eek a few bucks) and I was loaded up with my Nikon D1, someone told me of some guy who was flying a camera around in the sky and making money selling images of real estate and shopping malls. I was like....RIDICULOUS....a true commercial image must require a photographers eye to compose, right?

      A few years after that, some of the digital still cameras were also offering video capabilities. Again, nah, a true DSLR is not meant to do both, right?

      Circa the new millenium and between smartphones, drones and Panasonic DSLR's shooting remarkable 4K video along with stellar still images, I have surrended that if I call myself a photographer I better not lock myself in a closet and just profess a superior affinity to just still images.

      For the adventure travel I like to do, nowadays, having a few drone seems like a must and really, in moderation, a perfect compliment to an adventure travel portfolio.

      I have surfed and surfed and surfed and I think for an upcoming trip I am just going to dive in with a DJI Spark. I have poured through all the specs and giving up RAW and 4K is not a big deal for me as this is just a small part of the bag.

      Anyone else shooting with a Spark and I would appreciate any frank opinions and experience.

    • Us

      What about lily?

      http://www.lily.camera/

      It has some great features for the adventure type dealio, follow me mode, 360 loop and the first version did some cool zomm in type variety of angles, the new version seems to have remote control as well which was lacking in the first gen, which was purely dumb follow based on beacon you wore, if it hit a tree or mountain it was an oops.

      Big deal to make sure you can film too
      https://www.faa.gov/uas/where_to_fly/b4ufly/

      I pissed off a neighbor as he was hovering over my house on his "test" flight. Big no-no and would call the cops if he didn't stop.

    • Ben

      We took a Spark on our bicylce ride along the Silk Road. We used it in China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Uzbekistan bans foreigners from taking drones in the country so we left it with a friend in Tajikistan and hope to see it again some day...

      We had debated for a while if we would take a drone and I'm happy that we did. It added a great perspective to our videos. Here's one from the Bartang Valley in the Pamir Mountains of Tajikistan. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kwtpy0H4zkA. I only wished we used it more.

      Here's my take on using the Spark for adventure travel...

      Pros
      - Light weight
      - Comes with a solid foam carying case
      - Can charge by USB powerbank.
      - Doesn't require a controller (use your phone)
      - Low-ish cost
      - Surprisingly stable video, even with only 2-axis stability.

      Cons
      - Tracking software often lost the subject, so had to fly manually. Couldn't do all the cool shots that they showed in demo videos.
      - Often lost the Wifi and GPS signal, causing it to only hover (in best case scenario) or fly away at crazy speeds towards a mountain cliff (in worst case scenario).
      - It's hard to smoothly control the camera angle using the phone app (I think the controller would be better). So we had to set the camera angle before starting our shot.

      Give it a shot. All in all, I think you'll like it!

    • Chris

      What?! Who gets to say they bicycled through Bartang Valley in Tajikistan?!! It looked so desolate... I saw a few goats (and a glimpse of people?). Wow. How long did it take you and how many miles did you go?

    • Ben

      Entering the valley, we rode for 4 days, 150 kilometers, at over 4,000 meters before we saw any villagers. It was rugged, but it was gorgeous. The best mountain biking I've ever done on a road bike 😉. Our full trip was 5,000 kilometers over 5 months.

    • vegasphotog

      BEN! DUUUUUUUUDE! Your trip was amazing! The visuals gave me goose bumps. Thanks for the pros and cons....You absolutely confirmed my need and want to go vertical. My upcoming trip is about 2-3" above sea level so I should be ok. I cannot even begin to imagine how you planned a trip like yours. Thanks for sharing!

    • vegasphotog

      Well, I finally bought a Spark with a controller. I am using a Samsung Note 5 to connect to the controller. Pretty darn cool little device...Great starter drone....yes, this does not shoot 4K or shoot RAW .dng.....but, slap a polorizer on it and some pretty darn good shots.

    • Chris

      Nice! I can't wait to see how you like it after a month or two. I am so tempted.

    • scarysharkface

      I picked up a Yuneec Breeze to learn on. ~$200 and controlled via cell phone. After I figured it out a bit, we got a DJI Mavic Pro Platinum (~$1400 with three batteries and a bag in the "Fly More" kit) and the picture/video quality is really very good. A polarizer helps as well. The tracking is kind of not very good, but using the Litchi app and adjusting the gimbal sensitivity have made this a tool that I think I'll be able to use.

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