DJI and GoPro used to work effectively with each other just two or three years ago. You can mount your GoPro camera perfectly to your DJI Phantom. But, along with the release of DJI's own camera platform, and GoPro's moving to 3DR for partnership, their relationship ends up without doubt.
The DJI Mavic Pro is still one of the favored drones amongst many professional and amateur drone pilots. One of the latest releases which was designed to capture the market regularly using the DJI Mavic Pro drones is the GoPro Karma. This device which was designed by camera maker GoPro was made to capture aerial photography as well as be a performance drone. They are both priced at close to the same budget and they are both able to shoot in 4k. The competition between these drones is extensive, but which one is the better option?
Both of these drones are designed to fold up, both drones have a 4k camera with a 3 axis stabilized nation for quality images as well as competitive flight speeds and battery life in a portable drone market. When we get closer into the specs and features however, we can start to see a real difference between the two.
Here is an info graphic made by Mdiakix, they break down the basic specs and features between DJI Mavic Pro and GoPro Karma. Scroll down to see it to get a better and complete picture
Even though both drones are designed to fit easily into a backpack for transportation, the DJI Mavic is already considerably smaller and the propellers will fold up inside the drone as well. The DJI Mavic is around the size of a 1 L water bottle after it is fully compacted. This makes it very easy to place this drone into a backpack, carry-on luggage or into some type of professional photography case. There is no need to bring along large professional equipment or a whole vehicle just to carry aerial photography equipment. The Mavic is definitely the smaller drone with the better design for flight and portability.
2. Flight mode – Winner: DJI MAVIC PRO
The DJI comes with extensive features for flight including GLONASS positioning modes as well as collision detection. There is GPS and follow modes available with this drone making it great for capturing action shots and more. With an intuitive control style and very fast reactions during flight, this is a portable drone that's actually a joy to fly. The Karma unfortunately doesn't come with the same number of smart flight features and it can take a little longer to actually learn how to fly this drone in a safe way. DJI wins again for the flight performance in their DJI Mavic Pro model.
3. Controller/transmitter – uncertain
The Mavic does have an optional controller as well as the option to use a smart phone or tablet device. Pairing the device with any type of phone or computer is extremely simple and the controller really doesn't offer a huge advantage over touch screen controls. The GoPro Karma comes with its own controller which works quite well and is a great value when compared to the optional controller from the Mavic. With the smart flight controls available on the DJI Mavic Pro however there is less need for precision controller. Ultimately this category is a bit of a stalemate between the two with similar range and performance from controller feedback and response.
4. Camera - Depends on your needs
The camera on the GoPro is definitely a draw for this drone. GoPro has always made excellent sports cameras and outdoor cameras. There's even the option to outfit this drone with the latest GoPro Hero 5. Overall it's tough to find video quality that can look so good especially with shadows and image processing in 4k. The Mavic Pro is no slouch either with a camera that can capture 4k and 1080p at a 96 frame per second rate. The color quality and the processing with the on board camera is decent but it may not serve the needs of someone that needs to capture professional images consistently. As far as a portable drone goes however, this is one of the easiest cameras to use that can still produce an image quality that's close to a full-size quadcopter with GoPro or pro 4k camera on board.
5. Grip – winner: Karma
Setting up the camera with a detachable grip is one of the smartest things that GoPro did with the Karma. It's easy to configure the camera as well as customize the type of camera that you would like to place on board. You could potentially have multiple versions of the GoPro added to this drone and it could even scale up as GoPro releases new products. This definitely gives the Karma an edge for setup and image quality as image quality can continue to scale versus the onboard grip and setup with the Mavic.
Video comparison for GoPro Karma and DJI Mavic Pro
Overall these drones are fairly comparable especially if you are looking for something portable that can produce a great image. DJI still remains the favorite amongst many beginners and the performance and set up that it offers is a big argument to give it a try. If you are looking for the best quality images from a portable drone with the option to scale up as GoPro releases new cameras, the Karma is likely a good choice for you however. Although it will take some time to learn how to fly and it has a steeper learning curve than the Mavic this is likely the more future proof drone for use by professionals.
For the best value of current on board features, The DJI Mavic Pro is still the recommended option for now!
Max Wales is a writer and a lover of all things video.