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Good Idea to get a Karma bundle in the next few weeks?

Suhair Zain

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I know that this has been discussed probably more than it deserves to be, but I read a lot of threads in this forum and the general consensus that I get is to not buy a Karma drone as of now. I'm weighing all of the pros and cons and it'd be much appreciated if someone could help me out here.

I live in India where it's neither legal nor illegal to fly a drone, and there's a lot of confusion until a proper regulation comes in. So the customs have decided to go with not allowing its imports and thus it's difficult to buy a drone. But somehow, DJI drones seems to be plenty in availability here, albeit at a premium price.

I'm planning on buying from Amazon, where it goes for $850 right now. Get it delivered to one of my friends there and have him bring it back to India in about a month. Do you guys know any store offering better deals?

Anyway, here are the points that I could gather for and against a decision to buy a karma bundle. It'd be great if someone could weigh in on these:

Pros:
1. I get an action camera and a gimbal that I can use when I'm not flying the drone.
2. The image quality of Hero 6 is pretty great and even though some people do not like the fisheye effect, I'm neutral towards it.
3. When GoPro releases an updated version of Hero, I'll most probably still be able to use it with the Karma. Meaning, I get an updated camera on my drone, without updating the drone itself.

Cons:
1. Discontinued model. I do not expect there to be any more software updates or additional features. It is what it is.
2. Lack of parts. The DJI models have a lot of spare parts easily available, whereas it's a hassle to get the parts for the Karma.
3. The Karma as a drone is not as good as the other models. I've heard issues about the drone not staying in a place and drifting away by almost a meter instead of being still.

My question is, is it worth buying the karma for the camera and the grip? Or is better to buy a camera, a gimbal and a better, possibly less expensive drone?
 

RoyMurray

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If you use it for more than a drone I think it’s worth it. I love the camera a and the Gimble is amazing looks so smooth for videos. I see it’s on sale now starting on thursday from Bestbuy. It’s s a big discount. Basically free drone with the purchase of a new GOPro and Gimble.
 

meeshootkin

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Bought a used one (10 flights, 10/10 condition) with a spare battery and 4 extra blades for 700$. For Europe that's a reasonable bargain, new set costs 1000-1200 after all the clearance discounts (price varies from country to country).

As the grip itself is a great thing I'd love to use, drone+spares cost only 400$ for me.

Freshly released DJI Mavic Pro 2 costs 1500$+320$ for Fly More set.
Yes, it's a far more advanced drone and has a 1'' sensor and all the proximity sensors and better battery i'd wish i had, but I opted to take a risk with the cheaper GoPro.

So far so good but I fly with a double caution bearing in mind the reviews.
 
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Shon

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Hi Roy,
Thanks for letting me know about the sale. I'll be using the camera and the gimbal on its own a lot. I primarily ride my bike and the drone will be used to take shots of interesting places I go to.

BTW, I could find the Hero6 bundle for $850 on Bestbuy.com. (https://www.bestbuy.com/site/gopro-karma-quadcopter-with-hero6-black-white/6029300.p?skuId=6029300). Is this the one you mentioned?

I love the Karma, I get great use out of the product. For the price, and what you get cost/value it is actually a pretty great deal, as long as you realize that you are compromising on the quality of the drone in comparison with other products. Here are some of my thoughts:

Karma Pros:
---Removable and upgrade-able camera. Hey DJI fans...want a better camera? Buy a new drone! LOL. Can't decide between an optical zoom or 1 inch sensor? Buy two new drones at $1300-$1500! LOL. Buy one and decide you want the other camera? Send your drone back to the DJI factory for who knows how many weeks and they will swap it for you...LOL
---Removable and handheld usable gimbal and stabilizer. When I first got this drone, this part was an after thought. I would never have thought about spending $299 on a camera stabilizer. After owning it...I honestly can't imagine living without it. This product is in use WAY MORE than the drone. I'm often traveling in locations where drones are not allowed to fly due to weather or other restrictions, but the camera and stabilizer can come with me.
--Remote with View screen. No need to attach your smartphone or even have a smart phone on you. Don't have to worry about attaching cables or special mounts to the controller.
---Shared Camera Control. This is a feature that is only offered on the most advanced DJI drones costing thousands of dollars. The Karma "Passenger app" allows another user to control the Camera via a smart phone or tablet, while the pilot focuses on flying. It also allows the pilot to share streaming video with friends or family to view on another monitor away from the pilot.
--Karma battery can be used to charge the Karma Grip or other USB-C items on "the-go". No need to have it plugged into an outlet. Plug the charger into the battery and plug the USB-C part of the charger into another device and you have a back up battery.
---Cover Land Sea and Sky. Your camera is waterproof. Various mounts, housings, and accessories, allow for you to use it in countless ways other than just being attached to a drone. As the tagline says, Karma truly is more than a drone.
---Easily removable and customer repairable parts. Break and arm? Break the Gimbal? Parts on this drone are easily removable and reparable. Gopro even publishes Youtube DIY videos.
--No Props in shot. Need I say more? LOL
--Single Video Source for your Footage. In post-production, folks are often trying to colorize and match video taken with various cameras. Using a single video source or Camera makes this aspect of post-production a bit easier.
--Price. If you consider the price of the Camera, gimbal, and drone separately, The Karma is a $300-$400 drone, that is often compared to an $800 DJI drone. It does well for the price...but comparing it to more expensive DJI drones is like comparing a Honda Civic to A Mercedes M class. It will get the job done, but certainly not with the comfort and bells and whistles offered in more expensive products.

Karma Negatives (When Compared to DJI drones):
--- Large and Bulky. (The backpack is HUGE for this thing. The weight is noticeable too. If you are sticking it in the trunk of a car, no big deal. If you are flying, this will be your carry-on. If you are riding a bike with it, or hiking? well let's just say that for roughly the same amount of money, you could get a Mavic Air that is roughly the size and weight of a single Karma Drone battery, and would easily fit in the bottom of a small backpack. Yeah...you are paying a premium for the DJI Air...but as the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. I have taken the Karma on long hikes, and have used hiking backpacks in order to carry this drone, camera accessories, and other things (Water, suncreen, Snacks, etc.). It is do-able...but I can't say that the size and portability of other drones isn't a factor I will be considering on my next purchase.
--- Range and Stability. The Karma Drone doesn't have the range of many DJI drones. The Karma relies on GPS for stability and can drift 3 meters up/down, left/right. The Karma seems to be more effected by signal interference and lost GPS than DJI drones. DJI was a remote control company before they were a drone company. Their product is quite superior in this area. In the U.S., We are required to fly "line of sight" and so, range doesn't seem to be much of a factor...but consider that it is the "strength" of the connection between the drone and controller that make range possible. You are going to have a better experience in this area with DJI drones. Karma drones tend to experience more signal loss even at close distance. The more open and rural the area you are flying, the better the drone performs. I've had quite a bit of anxiety when flying this drone in "sketchy" situations.
---Safety Features. I don't think any drone is "idiot proof", but the DJI drones have expensive sensors that are not available on the GoPro Karma. These sensors help the DJI drones more accurately hold their place in the air relative to the ground, even with GPS loss. These sensors can detect when the drone is too close to an object and either stop or maneuver around the object, depending on how advance the drone is that you are buying. These sensors can also allow some of these drones to fly indoors. The Karma drone doesn't have these sensors. These safety features help avoid crashes due to pilot error, and help avoid injury as well. They allow for flying in tighter conditions than I would feel comfortable flying the Karma Drone.
--Lack of advanced auto flight Features. DJI products have many advanced flight modes and many software options that allow the pilot to customize their flying experience. The Karma Drone is pretty basic in comparison.
--Lack of Karma drone specific accessories. While Gopro and third parties have many accessories for the camera, Accessories for the Karma Drone specifically, are sparse.
 
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James Hatch

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I wonder if GoPro will be of a mind to sell the production rights, so that there will always be a source of complete units and spares available.
As this unit still outshines the other drones in quality and results.
 
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h00pla85

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I love the Karma, I get great use out of the product. For the price, and what you get cost/value it is actually a pretty great deal, as long as you realize that you are compromising on the quality of the drone in comparison with other products. Here are some of my thoughts:

Karma Pros:
---Removable and upgrade-able camera. Hey DJI fans...want a better camera? Buy a new drone! LOL. Can't decide between an optical zoom or 1 inch sensor? Buy two new drones at $1300-$1500! LOL. Buy one and decide you want the other camera? Send your drone back to the DJI factory for who knows how many weeks and they will swap it for you...LOL
---Removable and handheld usable gimbal and stabilizer. When I first got this drone, this part was an after thought. I would never have thought about spending $299 on a camera stabilizer. After owning it...I honestly can't imagine living without it. This product is in use WAY MORE than the drone. I'm often traveling in locations where drones are not allowed to fly due to weather or other restrictions, but the camera and stabilizer can come with me.
--Remote with View screen. No need to attach your smartphone or even have a smart phone on you. Don't have to worry about attaching cables or special mounts to the controller.
---Shared Camera Control. This is a feature that is only offered on the most advanced DJI drones costing thousands of dollars. The Karma "Passenger app" allows another user to control the Camera via a smart phone or tablet, while the pilot focuses on flying. It also allows the pilot to share streaming video with friends or family to view on another monitor away from the pilot.
--Karma battery can be used to charge the Karma Grip or other USB-C items on "the-go". No need to have it plugged into an outlet. Plug the charger into the battery and plug the USB-C part of the charger into another device and you have a back up battery.
---Cover Land Sea and Sky. Your camera is waterproof. Various mounts, housings, and accessories, allow for you to use it in countless ways other than just being attached to a drone. As the tagline says, Karma truly is more than a drone.
---Easily removable and customer repairable parts. Break and arm? Break the Gimbal? Parts on this drone are easily removable and reparable. Gopro even publishes Youtube DIY videos.
--No Props in shot. Need I say more? LOL
--Single Video Source for your Footage. In post-production, folks are often trying to colorize and match video taken with various cameras. Using a single video source or Camera makes this aspect of post-production a bit easier.
--Price. If you consider the price of the Camera, gimbal, and drone separately, The Karma is a $300-$400 drone, that is often compared to an $800 DJI drone. It does well for the price...but comparing it to more expensive DJI drones is like comparing a Honda Civic to A Mercedes M class. It will get the job done, but certainly not with the comfort and bells and whistles offered in more expensive products.

Karma Negatives (When Compared to DJI drones):
--- Large and Bulky. (The backpack is HUGE for this thing. The weight is noticeable too. If you are sticking it in the trunk of a car, no big deal. If you are flying, this will be your carry-on. If you are riding a bike with it, or hiking? well let's just say that for roughly the same amount of money, you could get a Mavic Air that is roughly the size and weight of a single Karma Drone battery, and would easily fit in the bottom of a small backpack. Yeah...you are paying a premium for the DJI Air...but as the saying goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. I have taken the Karma on long hikes, and have used hiking backpacks in order to carry this drone, camera accessories, and other things (Water, suncreen, Snacks, etc.). It is do-able...but I can't say that the size and portability of other drones isn't a factor I will be considering on my next purchase.
--- Range and Stability. The Karma Drone doesn't have the range of many DJI drones. The Karma relies on GPS for stability and can drift 3 meters up/down, left/right. The Karma seems to be more effected by signal interference and lost GPS than DJI drones. DJI was a remote control company before they were a drone company. Their product is quite superior in this area. In the U.S., We are required to fly "line of sight" and so, range doesn't seem to be much of a factor...but consider that it is the "strength" of the connection between the drone and controller that make range possible. You are going to have a better experience in this area with DJI drones. Karma drones tend to experience more signal loss even at close distance. The more open and rural the area you are flying, the better the drone performs. I've had quite a bit of anxiety when flying this drone in "sketchy" situations.
---Safety Features. I don't think any drone is "idiot proof", but the DJI drones have expensive sensors that are not available on the GoPro Karma. These sensors help the DJI drones more accurately hold their place in the air relative to the ground, even with GPS loss. These sensors can detect when the drone is too close to an object and either stop or maneuver around the object, depending on how advance the drone is that you are buying. These sensors can also allow some of these drones to fly indoors. The Karma drone doesn't have these sensors. These safety features help avoid crashes due to pilot error, and help avoid injury as well. They allow for flying in tighter conditions than I would feel comfortable flying the Karma Drone.
--Lack of advanced auto flight Features. DJI products have many advanced flight modes and many software options that allow the pilot to customize their flying experience. The Karma Drone is pretty basic in comparison.
--Lack of Karma drone specific accessories. While Gopro and third parties have many accessories for the camera, Accessories for the Karma Drone specifically, are sparse.

Deal in Canada is $799 for the hero6 bundle which I jumped on because I was in the market for an action cam. If you need one and also interested in drones, this is a no brainer.

The detachable camera makes this package such a great value. I find the video is better than the Mavic as well. I own a Mavic Pro and although the Mavic flies better, if I had the option between a Pro for $1300 and this package for $800, it is the Karma hands down.

In regards to the safety features and auto flight stuff and I find people make too big of a deal about it. I have had many issues with obstacle avoidance kicking in for no reason what so ever and ruining a shot. It also rarely activates when it comes to branches or small objets (street lamps), so no matter what you always need to watch the drone so it is somewhat pointless. Return and obstacle avoid? Yeah right, I have caught my mavic attempting to fly straight into trees dozens of times. You are better off not relying on sensors period because they will always let you down. There is way too much going on in a 3D space for it to know what is going on. Even the object recognition software for follow me commands is hit and miss, you almost have to wear the exact opposite colour of your surroundings to make sure it works.

Honestly they are over thinking that aspect. Just make a rubber bracelet with a tracking device for the drone to tag onto, why over complicate things as 99% of the time you want tracking on a person.

The only thing I wish was better on the Karma was the size, battery life (or cheaper/smaller batteries), and a downward sensor for keeping it in place if using it to pivot

I will likely sell my Mavic if I can get a decent amount for it and wait 1-2 years for drones with a better battery life to come out. Before the Karma, I had to bring a shitty action camera, gimbal and the mavic out to shoot. The action camera died so i figured I would buy something better and now I find I only bring the Karma out and the mavic is reserved for flying around the house.
 
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