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New Karma Drone Owner | Reviews and flight experience

Ellsworth_RD_Productions

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Hello all,

I am a new Karma drone owner, I bought the Hero 6 Black model with accessories, case and grip (06/18) Best Buy USA $849 US
Experience Level - First Drone, Have RC aircraft experience. Professional Photographer
Reason for Purchase - Steady aerial camera platform for professional use and hobby use.
Location - SE PHX Valley, AZ

Initial thought - After ready about the horrible reviews of the early Karma Models I was petrified and took every precaution and read up on everything I could before picking the Karma up.
I was amazed how in less than 2 hours of having the drone home I was ready to go out for my first test flight.

First flight review - I was amazed how easy it was to control. GoPro footage is hands down superior to any drone video I have seen.

Flight Reviews after 2 months, 4 hours of footage and about 15+ flights later...

Total issues - 2
Issue 1 - had the go pro camera overheat and reboot while hovering over a blacktop parking lot in 105 degree weather. Error on controller came up saying camera was unresponsive for about 30 seconds. Karma hovered in place and rotated itself around to face me. Once the camera came back online I regained control and landed. This was my first 'Glitch' and extremely nerve wracking. I consider this one ALL my fault since it was 105 and I was over asphalt at the time.

Issue 2 - GPS loss. This happened completely in the middle of nowhere. I was making a quick sunset flight to get a nice view and I got the GPS error. The Karma moved a bit on its own but mostly stayed still and drifted a little in the breeze. I was able to manualy bring it back from about 100 feet out and 20 feet up. Once the Karma got over me the GPS lock returned and attempted to land. As I was landing, I lost GPS again at the exact same time as a sideways breeze and broke 2 props on landing. Karma was only a foot off the ground the second time it happened.

Range - Way better than the reviews.
City Flying: In my rural suburb I can get out to 800 to 1000 feet on a regular basis and 400 feet up with good signal. I do notice range is limited around power lines and if im close to a development (WiFi interference).
Country Flying: Out in the dessert I have gone past 3100 feet in distance at 200 feet high and 1350 feet in elevation, about 1000 to 1200 feet out. I can regularly go past 1750 feet in distance outdoors on a regular basis. On my 3100 foot flight, my signal strength was still in the green. I basically chickened out and only went that far.

Stability - Rock solid. All my Phantom and DJ friends are envious of how smooth my videos are
Pre programed fly features (Cable Cam - Dronie, orbit and reveal) - Orbit is the best . I have played with this setting and had some awesome effects. Reveal is useless to me. At the end of the shot the drone just stops... I want it to keep going at a steady rate so I accomplish this manually. GoPro would really benefit from adding more of these pre programed features.
 

Ironspear

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Great review mate!
 

Shon

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I thought your review was “spot on”.

In regards to the videography aspect, many of the DJI Mavic and Phantom line drones have a glaring issue. If they don’t have “props” actually in the shot, there is often prop shadows that flicker on the screen, making footage practically unusable. Of course, there are ways to get around these issues, flying slower, flying backwards, or Paying attention to the sun in relation to the camera. Creative editing can also cut out these bad areas of video, but doesn’t restore the footage that is lost.

For the vast majority of recreational drone users, I imagine these issues are relatively minor, but like nails on a chalk board, they are something impossible for me to ignore.
 
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h00pla85

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I thought your review was “spot on”.

In regards to the videography aspect, many of the DJI Mavic and Phantom line drones have a glaring issue. If they don’t have “props” actually in the shot, there is often prop shadows that flicker on the screen, making footage practically unusable. Of course, there are ways to get around these issues, flying slower, flying backwards, or Paying attention to the sun in relation to the camera. Creative editing can also cut out these bad areas of video, but doesn’t restore the footage that is lost.

For the vast majority of recreational drone users, I imagine these issues are relatively minor, but like nails on a chalk board, they are something impossible for me to ignore.
Their video also has a spotty flickering issue that stands out at high resolution and they lack higher fps to capture slow motion.

For all the flack the Karma gets for drone issues, the Mavic has just as many video issues. I bought a Mavic Pro before my Karma and had all obstacle avoidance disabled as it can ruin video as well. I don't know how many times obstacle avoidance randomly kicked in for no reason and ruined a shot. And then when I did need it to kick in around a tree, it doesn't even work. The only way to make sure you get what you want for video is to manually control the drone.

DJI drones fly amazing, and the video quality is overall good for most things. But in order to make sure you capture what you want, you need to manually control it and disable OA which is the main advantage DJI has as a drone. Video-wise the Karma wins hands down and for me that is what I mainly use my drone for. My Mavic Pro is loaned out to friends and is rarely flown for video footage.

It really sucks that GoPro and DJI couldnt come to an agreement. A Mavic Pro with a detachable go pro/gimbal would be the best of both worlds.
 

Shon

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Their video also has a spotty flickering issue that stands out at high resolution and they lack higher fps to capture slow motion.

For all the flack the Karma gets for drone issues, the Mavic has just as many video issues. I bought a Mavic Pro before my Karma and had all obstacle avoidance disabled as it can ruin video as well. I don't know how many times obstacle avoidance randomly kicked in for no reason and ruined a shot. And then when I did need it to kick in around a tree, it doesn't even work. The only way to make sure you get what you want for video is to manually control the drone.

DJI drones fly amazing, and the video quality is overall good for most things. But in order to make sure you capture what you want, you need to manually control it and disable OA which is the main advantage DJI has as a drone. Video-wise the Karma wins hands down and for me that is what I mainly use my drone for. My Mavic Pro is loaned out to friends and is rarely flown for video footage.

It really sucks that GoPro and DJI couldnt come to an agreement. A Mavic Pro with a detachable go pro/gimbal would be the best of both worlds.
I just saw a video last night where a Mavic 2 Pro lost GPS, and slammed into the side of a tall building. I’ve seen tons of videos of folks using obstical avoidance at night, under low hanging trees, around chain link fences, the M2 Pro is doing great...and then others where the 2 Pro crashes into a light pole or a cornfield, or powerlines, etc. It’s a fantastic safety feature, but you can’t rely on it to be 100% accurate.
 

h00pla85

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Yeah, it can save you sometimes, but you can never count on it and should assume it will not work. Which is why I do not think it is a huge advantage over the karma.

Just by having it enabled there is a decent chance it will ruin a shot because it thinks there is something there when there isn't. I never have mine enabled on my Mavic Pro. Even the object tracking isn't that great. If you wear anything similar to the background you are shooting, it gets lost. I have no clue why these companies just don't give up on that system and go towards a tracking wristband or dongle

I have more flights on my Karma and have had fewer close calls than the Mavic FWIW
 
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Shon

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Yeah, it can save you sometimes, but you can never count on it and should assume it will not work. Which is why I do not think it is a huge advantage over the karma.

Just by having it enabled there is a decent chance it will ruin a shot because it thinks there is something there when there isn't. I never have mine enabled on my Mavic Pro. Even the object tracking isn't that great. If you wear anything similar to the background you are shooting, it gets lost. I have no clue why these companies just don't give up on that system and go towards a tracking wristband or dongle

I have more flights on my Karma and have had fewer close calls than the Mavic FWIW
Yeah...well I definitely stay as far away from potential situations like that with my Karma. No urban flights inbetween tall buildings, under bridges, slaloming through trees. Makes sense I would have less close calls. LOL

I like the object tracking implemented by the Karma. I just wish I could do it closer to the ground and that I could close the remote, but quickly open it back up and use it if needed...but I digress...
 

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