September 20, 2016

Photokina 2016: Go Pro Karma Drone

Too little too late or will the Go Pro Karma really hit the spot?

Go Pro Karma Drone

Post updated January 2018: Go Pro yesterday released full details of their new Go Pro Karma Drone and video system at Photokina 2016 in Germany. Check it out in all its typical Go Pro glory below:

Having flown a DJI Phantom and then, (after qualifying as a CAA certified drone pilot), the DJI Inspire 1...I was always keen to hear more about the Karma from Go Pro as soon as the rumours started appearing.

I have been a fan of Go Pro since their first cameras. However, over the past couple of years I have started to wonder what had happened to them. After all, the HD Hero 5 missed its usual, annual release date and we have heard very little in the meantime.

The reason for this was more than likely the Karma Drone and its development.

Go Pro Karma Drone

The Karma isn't just a drone as many of us had expected. It is actually a very neat, incredibly compact and well thought out video system.

The system includes:

  • Karma Drone
  • Stabilizer + Harness (Gimbal)
  • Controller
  • Grip (Hand Held Stabilizer...Cool)
  • Charger
  • Battery
  • 6 Propellers
  • Mounting Ring
  • Case (For Everything Above)

However, it doesn't come with a camera.

But...the Karma Drone is compatible with the new Go Pro HD Hero 5, the Hero 5 Session and the HD Hero 4. Black and Silver. This is a good move for those of us that already own the HD Hero 4.

What I think will be the biggest selling point for the Karma Drone, is the inclusion of a hand-held stabilizer. The Karma Grip. You will be able to land the Karma Drone, whip off the camera and gimbal assembly and put it right on the Grip in seconds.

This is similar to the DJI Inspire 1/Osmo set up albeit a LOT simpler, more portable and cheaper!

Karma Drone Features

A superb characteristic of the Karma Drone is its portability. The whole drone folds into its own compact case (included) that you can wear like a small rucksack. Great for when you are skiing, cycling or hiking allowing you to set up and fly within minutes.

Like most modern drones, the Karma is easy to fly whether you are a beginner or seasoned professional drone pilot.

It'll also let you share the experience and utilise friends as camera operators. It does this by hooking up their smartphones or tablets to the Karma to either watch and enjoy the experience or to assist with camera operations.

Here are the main specs for the Karma Drone:

  • Maximum Speed: 35 mph (15 m/s)
  • Max Distance: 3280ft (1000m)
  •     "   Flight Altitude: 14,500ft (4,500m)
  •     "   Wind Resistance: 22mph (10m/s)
  • Operating Frequency: 2.4GHz
  • Dimensions (Opened/No Propellers) Length: 12in (303mm)
  • Width: 16.2in (411mm)
  • Height: 4.6in (117mm)
  • Dimensions (Folded/Transport) Length: 14.4in (365.2mm)
  • Width: 8.8in (224.3mm)
  • Height: 3.5in (89.9mm)
  • Propeller Length: 10in (25.4cm)
  • Weight: 35.5oz (1006g)

Karma Controller Features

Neat, fold-able and compact with a game-style design, smart controls and a touch display.

Go Pro Karma Controller
  • Screen Size: 5in (12.7cm)
  •       "        Resolution: 720p
  •       "        Brightness: 900 nits
  • Battery Life: 4 hours
  • Operating Frequency: 2.4GHz
  • Weight: 22oz (625g)

Go Pro Karma Grip

I think Go Pro have been watching the drone industry closely and paying particular attention to DJI. They have clearly taken on board what people want (and need) and have included a superb hand held stabilizer with the Karma Drone. Kudos Go Pro.

Go Pro Karma Stabiliser

All in all, and starting at just £720 in the UK, this looks to be a great kit for starter pilots. Or even people like myself that are already qualified and working in this industry. I am already thinking how great and easy to carry this would be for my upcoming skiing holiday.

The rucksack is light enough to wear whilst skiing. Then, being able to fly the Karma Drone at the drop of a hat or mount the camera to a superb hand held stabilizer is brilliant.

For me, this would be more of a "toy" or something I would use for mostly leisure shooting. This is because there are limitations for professional use such as (as far as I can tell at this stage):

  • No "follow me" or smart features
  • 360 degree camera view missing
  • Lightbridge video feedback system missing
  • The Go Pro HD Hero 5 still seems to have that annoying lens distortion

However, I am being picky and have to admit that I am impressed. If I wasn't already invested heavily into DJI, I would be all over this : )

The Karma Drone and full kit will be available on October 23rd so start saving!

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