GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

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GoPro  Karma drone is already out in the market, which is something that people have been anticipating for a long time. This, was big news for GoPro because what it did, is it essentially  converged  their business into the same exact market, as the industry leader in the field, DJI.

As owner of  three DJI Phantom and three GoPros, I was  very intrigued. The first DJI Phantom  ever owned  was  a  DJI Phantom 2. What I liked about it, is that it allowed me to use my  GoPro  Hero3 and    when I wasn’t using the drone I can take the camera off and do other things with it.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

Practically, that didn’t turn out to be very useful, because the way that it was mounted onto the drone was too cumbersome to take off and on and off and on each time I wanted to use the GoPro myself.  So I ended up  believing  the GoPro on all the time. Since then, DJI camera technology in their image quality has caught up, if not surpass  GoPro image quality in their cameras.

Now the DJI Phantom 4 which the new one that I own, it will do 4k video, it would do 1080p at a hundred twenty  frames per second  slow-motion, the image quality is really good, a lot of manual controls. The most of all what i like about it, is that, it presents  a rectilinear image, which means when you look at the horizon, there’s no distortion.

GoPro Karma


DJI Phantom


Let me just kind of go through what  GoPro  announced,  that what’s new about the  GoPro Karma is compared to what’s already on the market today. First of all, their price point for the GoPro Karma without a camera is 799 dollars, which is significantly cheaper than what it cost to buy a DJI Phantom 4.   However , the DJI Phantom 3 which is still available in the market, can be had for much less than that.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

The differences  by  DJI Phantom 3 versus a GoPro  Karma, the Phantom 3 comes with its own built-in   camera,  a very high quality camera that. To get the GoPro Karma with a new GoPro  Hero5 camera, it’s going to cost you eleven hundred dollars which in essence,  puts it pretty close on par with what the DJI Phantom  4 sells for. Right now, the DJI Phantom 4 can be had for about, it over thirteen hundred dollars.


The things that GoPro  is touting with a new  GoPro  Karma its form factor. Its slim, meaning that it has a very low profile. If folds the arms, retract, so it fits into a backpack and also has a detachable stabilizer.     The  gimbal is what they’re calling the stabilizer which also goes into a handgrip, they called the Karma grip.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

This is not unlike what DJI has done in their top-of-the-line flagship drones,  the Inspire 1. Inspire 1   also has a detachable gimbal  that goes into a handheld mount but, that is at a much higher price point. What  GoPro  is also doing is that there including a backpack. A backpack, slimming profile, fits everything that comes with the  GoPro inside it for transport. The grip, the drone itself, the controller and the stabilizer.

How GoPro selling this is that they’re selling is a complete system. It’s not just a drone that takes  aerial photography, it is a way for you to take your GoPro and get whatever kind of shots that you want  whether be  handheld, aerial or mounted.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

The GoPro Karma  grip allows you to take all your   existing GoPro mounts, amount the Karma grip to it, meaning that you can now have the stabilizer in your Karma grip, mounted on a bike handlebar, outside your vehicle. On the backpack that comes with a  GoPro  Karma, that big ecosystem a GoPro mounts is going to be really helpful  in selling the GoPro Karma especially to die hard GoPro fans.


While GoPro is also saying, that this drone is very easy to fly. As  one button  take off, which at this point   every drones in the market does. As a feature, what  GoPro  calling shot paths, basically it’s for automatic modes that  allows a user who’s flying the drone to get a specific shot.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

One of them is orbit. Orbit essentially let you fly the drone up in the air, click a button, set the radius of the orbit and  set the center of the orbit and have the drone fly in a circular motion around it, while keeping the   camera pointed to the center.

Drones  have a second  mode called the droney,  which if you don’t know what a droney  is essentially lets you set the drone up, in front of you, for selfie shot and have the drone fly backwards and up, revealing  the location.Third  motors reveal its like a Hollywood shot where, the camera is initially pan down and as it moves forward, slowly pans up revealing what is in front of the camera.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

And , the third one is called cable camp. It’s a film industry term, where cameras mounted on   the cable, so it could be fixed to slide back and forth and space, whereas in this case, it’s using their GPS coordinates.


I like the Phantom 4, the Karma’s controller is more like the game controller. It’s got a built-in LCD   screen that folds up, and when it’s in the down position, it covers the gamepad. It doesn’t have any visible antennas,  which makes me wonder one thing about its range and it’s not something  we talked about.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

If you don’t have a  GoPro  Hero4, you won’t have to buy new  GoPro to make this work, because the GoPro Karma is compatible with the Hero4  and the newly-announced Hero5. With the built-in LCD screen,   the GoPro Karma also doesn’t require a smartphone to use as your FPV monitor. So those are the  things that, they’re touting  as unique features.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

However, it’s the things that they don’t say that makes me wonder exactly what this thing is capable of. Number one, they don’t say much about the   range of the   GoPro  Karma, from what i can tell on their website and  their  technical  specs,  it has about a 1 kilometer range, which is actually pretty decent. Most likely, you’re not going to fly further than 1 kilometers from you, especially if you’re in the US, where you’re sort of required to keep your  drones  within line-of-sight. So, usually if you’re flying farther than that, you’re not going to be able to see it.


Secondly,  I don’t know what the battery  life is. One of the shots in their promotional videos showing   that it  has an 18-minute battery life. I’m also not sure if we actually going to get 18 minutes or if that is just 18 minutes of hovering and non-aggressive flying.   But the Karma doesn’t have as compared to other products like the DJI Phantom 4 is, the DJI phantom 4 has other sensors, besides the standard ones, like the accelerometer   and compass and the GPS.

Gimbal and other specs

The DJI Phantom 4 also has, optical sensors pointing  down and optical sensors pointing forward as well as sonar sensors  pointing down. What that lets you do, is let you fly indoors when  there is no GPS signal, from what  i can tell the GoPro  Karma is only going to be able to fly  outdoors  when it has a  GPS sensor. It will probably fly indoors too, it just   won’t fly nearly a stable and you’re more likely to crash into walls and objects.

And with the GPS module that has on the GoPro Karma, they don’t say whether or not it supports  GLONASS  which is the European standard. The DJI Phantom  4 supports both the US GPS standard as well as the European GLONASS standard, which means that you’re going to be  able to fly this more reliably, internationally.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

With a gimbal stabilizer  mounted  on the front  of the drones, it’s going to be great because one of my biggest gripes with the DJI Phantoms, when  I’m flying  forward at a very high speed, the drone is tilted forward and with it tilted forwad so much, a lot of the times  you’re able to see the propeller spinning, in the corner of your shot , which is kind of annoying to me. You’re not going to have nearly the same problem with the  GoPro  Karma.

GoPro  Karma has the gimbal mounted in the   front, basically eliminating all possibilities that you will see the propellers when you’re flying. On the   other hand  though, that makes me wonder about crash durability. I’ve crashed  my DJI Phantom 2 a couple of times, and for the most part, it survived, it’s got some scratches. Once the gimbal, one of the balance and have to get it replaced, but for the most part by GoPro, in the DJI Phantom 4 escaped unscathed, after all the crashes.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

With the gimbal on the GoPro mounted in the front and especially protruding so far away from the rest   of the body with no protection whatsoever, now wonder how durable  the  GoPro will be in an event of a crash. There’s no statistics yet, because nobody actually has one of these  GoPro Karma. They don’t   actually  release until the third week of  October, but from all i can see,  it’s most likely that this thing is not  going to be nearly as durable in a crash as the DJI Phantom series.

GoPro is not selling this for the professional market, in fact, the professional market wants more flexibility than what the  GoPro camera angles can offer. If you want the aerial photography  drones for your independent film,  you’re most likely not going to want your footage to have that signature GoPro fisheye look.


I would say the DJI Phantom series is going to be a better bet because it gives you  erected linear  squared-off  image. The horizon is going to be straight, when you’re panning up-and-down things are going to be distorted.

Well, GoPro  they’re targeting this for the mass market, for the consumers, for people who are into outdoor activities, they want videos of the mountain biking, snowboarding, exploring, adventuring, camping on edges of ocean cliffs and things of that nature. So, in summary i  think the GoPro cameras going to do really well.

The price point is right at $799.I don’t know for sure but I’m assuming  the Karma’s grip and the stabilizer is also going to be compatible with the GoPro Hero4. If you’ve already invested   three to four hundred dollars into a GoPro Hero4, spending an extra hundred    dollars to get a drone, with the stabilizer is kind of a no-brainer.

However, if you have to spend the entire level hundred dollars to buy a camera  and a drone, i’ll really think twice about what you plan to do with it. The DJI Phantom 4 right now is ahead by 2 generations as compared to the GoPro  Karma. Since the Phantom 2,DJI has advanced their product line by 2 generations.

GoPro Karma VS DJI Phantom

The DJI Phantom 4 as i mentioned earlier has obstacle avoidance, which means, when it’s working properly, it is impossible to crash moving forward into any objects. And also has downward-facing optical sensors, meaning  that when you fly indoors without GPS or Glonass  signal,it will stay in place both in altitude and in position, which is not something i believe the GoPro  Karma is going to be able to do without those sensors.

So without seeing one of these and playing with on these GoPro Karma in person. This is kind of my   first impressions, of what the GoPro Karma going to be like.I think it’s going to be a great product, they’re probably  going to sell a tons of these but, where they go from here is something that I’m interested  to see.

Essentially  GoPro  and  DJI have become the same company. Three years ago DJI made drones, GoPro make cameras and they work with each other to build an aerial photography platform. Since the Phantom 2 vision, DJI has been in the imaging business for a couple of years.Now GoPro  is finally getting into the drone business. It’s an interesting fight and I’m looking forward to seeing where they go from here.

GoPro Karma


DJI Phantom

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