A drone is best used if you aim for aerial shots of sceneries and if you need wide-angle videos or photos for landscapes or large-scale subjects such as vessels, bridges, skyscrapers, etc.
It can give you versatile shots that a mobile phone camera or DSLR can’t do.
There are also various drones in the market that you can choose from should you decide to venture into blogging or vlogging.
I opted for DJI Mavic Air and GoPro Karma because both of them offer good features in their own rights and they satisfy my requirements for photos and videos that I want to shoot.
Let’s take a look at the key specifications of DJI Mavic Air and GoPro Karma and see what are the advantages and disadvantages of each drone.
|SPECIFICATIONS||GOPRO KARMA||DJI MAVIC AIR|
|Max. flight time||20 mins.||21 mins.|
|Flight range||1 km (max)||4 kms (max)|
|Photo and Video Quality||Compatible with GoPro action camera (Hero 4 Silver and Black; 5 Black; 6 Black; 7 Black)||4K capable|
|Internal Storage||None||8 GB|
|Weight||1 kg||0.43 kg|
|Size (in cm) L x W x H||Folded: 36.5 x 22.4 x 8.9||Folded: 16.8 × 8. 3 × 4.9|
|Unfolded: 30.3 x 41.2 x 11.7||Unfolded: 16.8 × 18.4 × 6.4|
|Sensor||None||Front, back and bottom|
|Price||*May vary depending on the store outlet||Ranging $962 – $965 (Php 48,800)|
|**Fly More Combo Ranging $1,200 – $1,205 (Php 61,000)|
*GoPro discontinued Karma and exited the drone business in January 2018
**Fly More Combo (FMC) offers more accessories like 2 extra batteries, 2 sets of propellers, etc.
Ease of Use
The GoPro Karma comes with controller 5-inch screen with 720pixels resolution that allows you to control your drone without using a smartphone.
The DJI Mavic Air drone can also fly without a smartphone however, it is too risky to fly it if the drone is too far and is already out of your sight.
Readiness to be used
The GoPro Karma will take more time to assemble if the action camera is not yet installed. You have to put the gimbal out, remove the side door of the GoPro camera, insert the GoPro camera in the gimbal and then install the gimbal in the GoPro Karma drone.
Aside from that, you have three batteries (drone’s battery, controller and camera) to check before flying the drone. Replacing the GoPro camera battery will also take time because you have again to remove first the gimbal from the drone, and then remove the camera from the gimbal before you can replace the battery of your camera.
The DJI Mavic Air has its own complication. Since the remote controller has no built-in monitor, you need to connect the controller to your smartphone before flying the drone. Also, there are batteries (drone’s battery, controller and your smartphone) that you need to check as well. The good thing about it is that it is easier to recharge them without disassembling some of the drone’s parts.
The GoPro Karma comes with its own charger that can connect the drone’s battery and controller. The GoPro action camera can also be charged but you need another Type-C USB charger.
The DJI Mavic Air comes with charging hub where you can charge a maximum of 4 batteries at the same time. This is one of advantages of DJI Mavic over the GoPro Karma. The charging hub of DJI Mavic requires Type-C USB connector however, the remote controller requires mini-USB port. This is the downside of DJI Mavic as you need to carry two different charging cables in order to charge your units. Maybe this is not a big issue since you can put them in the bag. However, if you forget to bring one and your controller runs out of battery, this is going to be worrisome.
WINNER: DJI Mavic Air
I prefer DJI Mavic Air over GoPro Karma because it is easier to use. It requires less time to prepare before making the drone ready to fly. I always put extra charging cables (both for mini-usb and type-c) in the bag which is also compatible to my smartphone.
The DJI Mavic Air and GoPro Karma are clearly two different ‘species’. Both drones have 4 arms with lights, own battery and controller. If you want to put some design, there are also decals that can be purchased to change the skin of your drone (I use Iron Man skin for my DJI Mavic Air. You may contact Scheme N Form for orders).
The gimbal of GoPro Karma is detachable which makes it more useful to shoot videos without using the drone. You just have to put the gimbal to the Karma Grip and you can shoot stable and good videos.
The DJI Mavic Air’s gimbal and camera are built-in. You can only use them if you will use the drone.
WINNER: GoPro Karma (with a very slight margin)
You can take quality photos and videos because of the detachable gimbal (and put it in the Karma grip). You will appreciate the quality of the video because the gimbal and grip stabilize the movement of the camera.
The DJI Mavic Air has an obstacle avoidance feature which GoPro Karma does not offer. The DJI Mavic Air has sensors in the front, back and bottom of the drone which plays a major role when flying in forest or mountains.
In a worst case scenario where the drone loses signal or connection to the controller, both DJI Mavic Air and GoPro Karma will hover for awhile while reestablishing the connection. If the reconnection fails, both have the ability to return to home where you launch the drone.
WINNER: DJI Mavic Air
Obstacle avoidance is the key!
The DJI Mavic Air is way smaller compared to the GoPro Karma. It is very handy as the drone itself fits inside your front pocket.
The DJI Mavic Air drone and all accessories can be placed in a small shoulder bag.
This is not the original bag of DJI Mavic Air. I ordered this online so I can carry one bag only for drone, all batteries and accessories.
The GoPro Karma, because of its large size, it has its own backpack to carry the drone, one battery, extra propellers, controller, charger and grip.
When traveling by land and you’re driving your own car, you can definitely bring both drones. But it is quite different if you are traveling via public utility vehicles or by air or sea, you will have to choose a smaller one which is not a hassle to carry.
WINNER: DJI Mavic Air
Does size matter? Of course! The smaller and lighter the better… for drones. Clearly, DJI Mavic Air has an edge over GoPro Karma in terms of portability.
It’s up to you to choose which drone suits your blogging or vlogging needs and requirements. There are low-end and high-end drones too in the market which maybe more suitable to your budget. You may check various drones and their prices in the following websites: DJI, GoPro, Henry’s Camera and Urban Gadgets.
There are also rumors that DJI will release a Mavic Air 2 this year. You might want to wait for it instead of buying the first version.
I made this comparison of GoPro Karma and DJI Mavic Air as I do have them both and I experienced how to use them. The quality of videos and photos maybe slightly the same but I will definitely choose DJI Mavic Air for all my travels – domestic or international because of the convenience. I will only bring my GoPro Karma if I will be driving a car to carry the drone.
By the way, another thing that is unique from DJI Mavic Air is the Asteroid auto shot.