Drones have become increasingly popular over the past years among remote control (RC) hobbyists. Though regarded as fancy toys, these quads have evolved into awesome gadgets with recreational and commercial values.
Drones are currently in widespread use by businessmen, police and military personnel, sportsmen and professional photographers. The foldable drone is the latest unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) model to hit the market. Foldable legs are the latest features incorporated in high-end camera drones for ease of transport. Journalists, hobbyists and photographers can easily take these compact drones in places where opportunities to take aerial shots may arise, even when they travel on foot.
The recently launched foldable drones are compact and lightweight models that fit easily in a backpack. GoPro has taken the lead with the earlier launch of the Karma foldable drone, and DJI followed suit with the launch of the Mavic Pro. The two companies shared a business link when the DJI Phantom drones were designed for the mounting of GoPro cameras. The link was cut when DJI decided to control the whole platform by mounting built-in cameras to the popular Phantom drones.
GoPro has planned the launch of the Karma foldable drone earlier this year, but had to postpone to fine tune some of its features. As the first GoPro camera drone, Karma is expected to challenge the dominance of the DJI Phantom in the high-end segment of the market.
An earlier camera drone model like the popular DJI Phantom 4 weighs about 3 pounds and requires a luggage-sized carrying case. By comparison, the foldable drones have similar features and capabilities, and weigh about 1.6 pounds. The Karma and Mavic Pro fold easily into a tiny package that you can stash in your backpack along with other items. The price tag is similar when the GoPro Karma drone is paired either with the Hero5 Session or with the pricier Hero5 Black camera.
Though similar at a quick glance because both offer a 4.3 mile range and a 4K camera, there are distinct differences between the two foldable drone models. The DJI Mavic Pro can sense and avoid obstacles along its path, thereby ensuring safe flights even for novice drone pilots. It has a tracking mode, which keeps moving subjects centered in frames, and a Gesture mode for prompting shots with a hand wave.
The intelligent obstacle avoidance and other smart features are not present in the GoPro Karma. However, the Karma is customizable with different kinds of GoPro cameras while photographers have to settle with the camera that is built-in with the Mavic Pro.
GoPro executives refer to the Karma as a new piece in the company’s larger camera and content ecosystem that will benefit heavy users of GoPro. Film makers and photographers will certainly value the more customizable Karma over Mavic Pro. However, the smart flying capabilities of Mavic Pro are definite advantages that deliver maximum value to consumers.
Both foldable drone models can be flown with a small controller or with a smartphone. These pricey models are ideal for hobbyists and professional photographers who value personal adventures and opportunities to capture unique aerial shots.