Before Gopro Karma was finally revealed this September, I had seen people probably 8 out of 10 searching for a compatible drone to take their “Heroes” to the air. Actually, lots of drones can do that but Karma seems to be better optimized for sports filming. Folding into a backpack, ready-to-fly remote controller, gimbal available on a handheld grip, all looks well-thought-of but one thing seems to be left out on Karma.
There is a large group of people out there who like to use Gopro for action filming of water adventures like jet-skiing or wakeboarding. A bunch of waterproof cases can be found that secure the camera from the water. After Karma comes out, I often see the folks ask “is Karma waterproof?”. Well, the answer is obviously no. If you use Karma to take shots above water, there is a good chance that you will end it up in the drink due to communication loss or pilots’ misuses. Long before, lots of water crash tragedies happened to DJI owners on Youtube.
In fact, there are several waterproof drones on the market but I would say Splash drone may be the best match for Gopro. Splash drone is the earliest waterproof quadcopter created by Swellpro in 2014 when it was still named Mariner then. At that moment, Splash drone has a fixed clip to attach Gopro case. After Kickstarter crowdfunding in 2015, Splash drone came with a 2-axis waterproof gimbal and housing case that perfectly fit Gorpo Hero 3, 3+ and 4. The gimbal is completely watertight just like the drone’s frame and able to tilt camera below the water. Footage is smooth both in the air and underwater by Splash drone. Here we found a testing footage of Splash drone carrying Gorpo Hero 3 from a France pilot on youtube.
Another missing feature which disappoints Gopro users is that Karma doesn’t have autonomous follow-me. How come? If you want following shots of ongoing motorboat or a yacht, Karma becomes useless once again. With built-in GPS and ground station, Splash drone is able to follow a target just with a tap on the APP or autopilot through several preset waypoints. Actually, follow-me has been a basic function that most high-end drones have especially in terms of sports filming. Personally, I would recommend DJI Mavic Pro rather than Karma when it comes to fly on the land.
Another fact that you need to know is that few waterproof drones can carry Gopro camera. Most drones are small toy quads that can resist small splash or drip, and most importantly no gimbal attached, whereas Splash drone has taken Gopro into consideration before it’s born.