GoPro Karma first impressions.

 

Well only one test flight... My first beef with GoPro. I only have one damn battery. They have them on the site with a price but not available/coming soon (bad planning/marketing). I'm not sure if the 100's (it seemed like) of people bitching about the Karma crashing and such all got bad rigs or they are just incompetent and should not be flying. Either way after the 20 minutes of updates were downloaded (keep in mind my internet connection isn't the best) and installed automatically I took it out in the front yard and it took 3 tries to calibrate it as it said it was getting interference (I live in the middle of nowhere so Im not sure what was interfering). It calibrates just like any other Dji dance rig (full 360 circle holding it horizontally flat then full 360 circle holding it gimbal up props facing you. It will tell you when each calibration sequence is done and if it was successful or if it failed). The GoPro5 (which is what I got with it in a bundle) and its setting are set in the camera pretty much just like the Hero4 and 3 but are not changeable from the controller/radio. You can only stop/start video if in video mode or take photos if in photo mode and the mode needs to be chosen before taking off. This has been my biggest pet peeve about gopro since day one and I chalked it up to a gopro being on 3rd party rigs/gimbals, but you would think when GoPro themselves actually built a rig for their cameras they would incorporate those functions into their own rig because if the couldnt who could? There is no CSC style engaging to arm the motors it's just a start button you hold down for about 3 seconds then it arms. I have booted it up probably a dozen times to see if anything weird happened and not once did the gimbal level out horizontally perfect. It always had a slight tilt. After takeoff it all seemed to level out but gimbal "roll" adjustment would be nice like Dji has incorporated into their latest models. It takes about 30% stick it seems and it immediately jumps up about 2 feet. It has a beginner type mode which makes it very sluggish and slow to about 15mph max and a regular mode which is more responsive and hits about 38mph for me with almost zero wind on a 75 degree day. At first I went up and down side to side with full yaw rotations for a while and sometime the gimbal would be at a horizontal angle (up to 15 degrees in some cases) when I came to a stop/hover, but most of the time in regular forward flight it kept horizon just fine. Mind you this is only one test flight but I took it up to around 200 ft and out to about 3100 ft (a half mile) and started to get a choppy video feed. This will need more testing but remember I live in the middle of nowhere and there's not much to interfere with a signal out here other than random powerline here and there. The return to home works fine and that is adjustable as far as height. It seems there if a fair amount of expo programmed into the controller as it not as responsive as the Mavic (I know thats the model comparison most want) but it flies well and tracks true. I wanted this just because and I was hoping for more camera control like settings and switching from video to photo modes etc but that didn't happen. After getting about 14 minutes flight time (including it setting on for about 25 minutes to update) I Brought it in and did some low flying (about 18-24") of the ground and it did well and kept its vertical position quite nicely (consider there no sensors like many dji products). I'll fly it some more in the days to come and see what else I can notice but it wasn't a huge disappointment like many are saying and is very easy to fly and makes nice gopro footage. Oh and I almost forgot. If you're going to make the effort people at Gopro why not send two full sets of props instead of a set and a half. It's a small thing to do.