Edit: The GoPro Karma has now been officially announced. Read all about the Karma by clicking this link.
Even if GoPro hadn’t announced the date the Karma will be available to the public (19 September 2016), given all the teasers GoPro is putting out, we can clearly see we’re getting closer to the Karma release date.
The main question now is, will it be enough and will it be on time or did GoPro wait too long and did they miss their chance?
With rumors abound about the DJI Mavic, Yuneec just releasing the Breeze and countless other manufacturers presenting new drones at InterDrone, will the Karma deliver what it needs to be a player in the UAV market?
Let’s look at what ‘s known.
To be honest, unfortunately I don’t know a lot.
The Karma has been kept neatly under wraps by GoPro. Unlike with every DJI release, there are no “leaked” photos which makes it really hard to say anything about the Karma. Except for the following.
It’s becoming less clear whether the Karma is just a drone, a drone with a hand-held gimbal or an entire line of accessories.
I can already hear some of you thinking “Why whould he say that? GoPro has always spoken of a drone when talking about the Karma”.
And that’s true. But then, there are other manufacturers that offer a hand-held stabilizer with their drone (f.i. Yuneec) if their product comes with a detachable camera. And the Karma does. Or rather, it’s made for one, the GoPro Hero.
To me, it seems likely that we’re talking about a quadcopter with a hand-held stabilizer rather than an entire line of accessories when it comes to the GoPro Karma.
First, let me explain why I think the Karma will be more than “just a drone”.
Let’s look at the video below
When the video starts we see typical drone footage. Although the Karma seems to do a good job holding it’s position it moves around a little bit, as is to be expected.
But as we get a bit further in the video you’ll notice the typical up and down movement of the camera that occurs when somebody walks around with a camera. Unless you’re a trained professional this even happens with a stabilized camera. Not only that, paper on the table doesn’t get disturbed as the Karma passes and neither does the hair of people in the video. If this video was shot entirely with a drown, we would expect both these things to happen because of the the prop wash from the drone.
This indicates that the video was created by combining drone drone footage with shots from a hand-held stabilizer and this is why I think the Karma comes with a hand-held gimbal.
But I also mentioned that some people think Karma stands for an entire line of accessories.
Although it’s possible that there could be a line of accessories that would include more products than GoPro has already put on the market, I don’t think it’s very likely.
To start with, GoPro already has a line of accessories and they are all compatible. So, even though a stick to extend a hand-held gimbal makes sense, there is no reason to think the GoPro Karma won’t be compatible with existing products.
Second, GoPro has been losing market share lately. Forcing people to buy new accessories because current accessories don’t work with the GoPro Karma line would likely alienate customers and take away the incentive of buying the Karma over competitors products. So it doesn’t make sense to do that.
Because of that I expect the GoPro Karma to be made up of the drone / stabilizer combination, probably available separately as well.
There is one other possibility.
Even though it may not seem likely, when shooting this video they could have flown the drone, caught it and walked around with it (using it as a hand-held gimbal) from that point on. That would mean there is no separate hand-held gimbal with the Karma but that you can use the drone as a hand-held gimbal instead.
I guess we’ll have to wait until the 19th to be sure.
Till then, if you want you can use the comments to let me know what you think about the Karma or what you expect from it.
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