The View from Above
In 2017, the name of the game is exposure. From all angles.
We live in an era where attention-seeking is both the means and the end. We tell everyone who cares - and those who don't care, too - where we spend the weekend, which series we watch, what we think and what we do. Heck, even this author - who prides himself of protecting his privacy - is desperately seeking attention by writing a [moderately successful?] blog.
We plaster our social media sites with selfies. We post photos of ourselves in front of the Eiffel Tower, on the top of a mountain, while bungee jumping for the first and last time in our life. We study these photos of ourselves with an intense love not reserved for anyone else.
And now, finally, we are about to have access to the last selfie-frontier. It's a relief that in in 2017, the angle which has been the least accessible to our self-loving selves, can now be captured in a consumer-friendly fashion.
Presenting the DJI Spark. The - almost - pocket-sized drone that any tech-impeded Neanderthal can operate. Now we can finally capture ourselves in our glorious moments of self-immersion from above! Sure, the selfie-stick provided us with some context, but the DJI Spark presents us in the midst of the whole panorama, for a price that makes it accessible for most true believers of materialism as a religion and Narcissus as the Messiah.
While other drones are heavier and bulkier and may be more complicated to operate, the Spark fits in a spacious pocket and can literally be operated by the snap of fingers.
When better to play with our new pet than when the Locombia posse is gathered again. First in the moist autumn forests of Oslo and then in the chilly autumn in the parklands of New York. Here is our first impressions.
What is mos striking and appealing by the DJI Spark, is its nimble size. Arguably still a bit too big for the normal pocket, it It fits easily in a small backpack and won't add any significant weight. The size reduction, of course, comes at a price, the price being limited battery capacity and an inferior camera than its bigger siblings. However, the battery drawback is easily solved by carrying more spares - they take up so little space anyway - and the camera is good enough for our use.
And it performs very well. In 30 seconds, it's master (Omar) has it in the air and ready for action. True, it doesn't completely obey Omar's frantic waving and hand signals. This drone, you see, can be operated by hand movements. You give it a signal to move away and to land and you give it another signal to capture photos. And so on. Whether Omar's initial problems commanding it are a consequence bad software or shaky fingers, is yet to be determined.
The Locombia posse is an old-fashioned bunch when it comes to media. We prefer our photos still, and have only briefly tested the video function. The photo function, however, is okay, but not excellent. It's possible to adjust ISO and shutter speed so that you avoid blurry movements. However, don't expect the camera to work great in dark afternoons. More problematic, though, is the interval mode. The fastest interval allows you to capture photos every two seconds. For action photos, it's not frequent enough, and results in some awkward slow-motion biking in order to capture photos while we're in the frame.
Downloading is also a charm, and you can even capture photos in RAW format (according to Omar, I haven't confirmed it).
So buy or not to buy? I would go for the smaller size any day. If you're in the market for a drone, you might as well go small, as the Spark has all the necessary features.
This is a great gadget to register your adventures and show all your 500 best friends on Facebook/Instagram/Snapchat what a fulfilling and awesome life you live. For our sake, The DJI Spark is packed away at the bottom of the backpack as soon as proof is secured and we go on with what gives us pleasure: Biking.