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Gear & Apps

GoPro Karma vs. DJI Mavic Pro Review | The GoPro Gets Hammered

By Shivani Reddy on November 2nd 2016

Among the bounty of gear releases over this past year, two products in particular have caught the eye of the mass consumer audience due to their affordability and relevance in the emerging tech of photography and videography: the GoPro Karma and the DJI Mavic Pro.

[REWIND: GOPRO KARMA VS. DJI MAVIC | SIDE-BY-SIDE INFOGRAPHIC HELPS YOU SEE WHICH IS BEST]

dji-mavic-pro-go-pro-karma

Both the Karma and the Mavic share vital similarities:

  • Portability – the most innovative feature in comparison to its predesscors is the compact nature of the drones, making them easy to transport and pack.
  • Gimble image stabilization – both have 3-axis stabilization making this a highly anxious element to test against each other
  • Camera specs – both sport a 4k, 12 megapixel camera

See this infographic for more info on the specs & features that both drones have to offer. 

This is possibly one of the most anticipated gear comparisons considering there is a negligible difference in price between the two drones. Consumers want to know which drone reigns supreme before emptying out their wallets right before the holiday season. YouTuber IphoneDo resolves any doubts that people may have with an extensive 40 minute long comparison and review, taking the Karma and the Mavic head to head in the same terrain and putting them through their paces.

His review delves into the nitty gritty details of each drone as he tests their battery life, stability, drift tendencies, and overall build. The results, although not surprising, are in favor of the Mavic, surpassing the Karma at almost all levels of adequacy. DJI isn’t new to the drone game and thus have an upper hand when it comes to mechanics, performance, and overall quality. Just based purely on stats, the Karma is left in the dust with a measly 1.86 mile maximum distance compared to the Mavic’s 4.3 mile range. You can see in the gifs below the blatant inadequacies of GoPro‘s flagship drone from IPhoneDo’s demo:

gopro-karma-stability

gopro-karma-battery

Watch as the battery life rapidly plummets  within a matter of miliseconds, which is worrisome for GoPro seeing as they are already shorting users on overall flight time.

gopro-karma-tilt

The majority of the Karma’s issues lie in its inconsistent performance abilities, whether it be the short battery life duration that affects flight time, or the clear lack of stability while shooting.

Still not convinced? Wired indulges us with a more concise review of the two drones, leaving us a bit more conflicted by the end of it. In his trials, Brent Rose fines that the Karma falls short in speed as well, reaching a peak of 34 mph while the Mavic speeds off at 40 mph. This shortcoming is due to the heavier build of the Karma prohibiting it from moving with agility.

go-pro-karma

There is one crucial aspect that GoPro did nail and that’s the actual camera – the Karma is advertised and recommended to be purchased with their new Hero 5 attached and it does not disappoint. It offers a wider angle lens allowing the user to capture expansive landscapes, details that are noticeably sharper, colors that are more vibrant, wider dynamic range, and it adjusts to different lighting conditions better than its competitor. The interchangeable cameras give Karma owners the ability to upgrade and switch out when a new model is released, while Mavic users are stuck with the inferior alternative. This may be GoPro‘s only silver lining, but it still isn’t quite enough to salvage dropping a grand for a product seemingly riddled with issues. See his culminating thoughts here:

Source: DIY Photography , IphoneDo, Wired.

Shivani wants to live in a world where laughter is the cure to pretty much everything. Since she can’t claim “Serial Bingewatcher” as an occupation, she’ll settle for wedding/portrait photographer at Lin and Jirsa & marketing coordinator here at SLR Lounge. For those rare moments when you won’t find a camera in her hand, she will be dancing, eating a donut, or most likely watching Seinfeld.

Follow her on Instagram: @shivalry_inc

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Vlad Mototolea

    Most of the bugs with the karma are firmware related. Also Karma is a 1st gen device. For a first gen device i’d say it’s pretty neat.
    The fact that it uses a go pro and it’s camera is upgradeable, as are most of its functions via fw update, puts it with the Inspire one.
    I’m sure the Karma 2 will be waaaahaaaay better, as will the 2nd mavic, while the Karma 1 will be improved via firmware.

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  2. Allen Wintermute

    You say that the Karma gets hammered, but you end with it has a far better camera… I am confused, isnt VIDEO/STILLS the entire purpose of buying one of these drones and the fact that it goes a little slower and not as far really doesnt matter at the end of the day when you edit and post the video.

    I have a Phantom 3 Advanced with a range mod and I am scared shitless to fly it further than I can visibly see or hear it. My current drone probably beats the mavic. But at $1000, that thing would never go far enough to get lost, so the Karma’s range is plenty.

    Also, you dont mention how much better the Karma controller screen is to the random cellphone that you have to use with the Mavic. Kinda pointless how far it can fly, if you cant see anything on your crappy phone screen. The Karma has a screen that is at least twice as bright as the brightest cellphone screen.

    IDK. Like many, drooled at the Karma and then peed a little when I saw the Mavik, but after everything, GoPro has better video and I am going to be using GoPro camera’s in my projects anyway, so its nice having a free handheld stabilizer with the package.

    Karma wins in everything that actually matters.

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  3. Jacques du Toit

    How much was Brent Rose paid to make the karma look better? Because it has quite some contradictions to other reviews of the karma

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