Right in the middle of a stay at home period, DJI introduces its new drone, the DJI Mavic Air 2, an update to the series, still with 4K video, but able to shoot aerial 8K Hyperlapses, and with some firsts for a consumer drone.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 drone news are not news… because images have appeared online since March, and more recently the Brazilian certification body leaked the manual, so everybody knows how the new drone looks and what it does. Joining the Mavic Air, launched a couple of years ago, this new model is different, larger and heavier than the original model, and also distinct, with lines that make it look a bit like the Mavic 2 models – Pro and Zoom.
Heavier and larger, the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone has the same speed as the original Mavic Air – 43 mph or 68.4 km/h – but has a longer flight time, of 34 minutes against the 21 minutes of the original drone. This is possible due to the larger battery, with 3,500mAh capacity, one of the reasons why its weight increased to 570g against the 430g of the first Mavic Air drone.
DJI states that this model sets new standards in terms of performance and mobility and offers advanced functions in a compact form factor. Intelligent recording functions and excellent image quality make cinematic aerial photographs child’s play, says the company, adding that with a safer and smarter flight, perfect shots are easier than ever.
Flat color profile D-Cinelike
Mavic Air 2 is the first drone in the Mavic series to offer 4K video at 60 fps and 120 Mbps. Additionally, users can record unique content using HDR video, 4X Slow Motion in 1080p at 120 fps or 8X Slow Motion in 1080p at 240 fps. Pilots can record 12-megapixel images or choose a new high-resolution 48-megapixel feature that photographs in stunning detail, while a mechanical 3-axis gimbal helps compensate for camera shake to create smooth and stable footage, even in unpredictable scenarios. Taking full advantage of the large Quad Bayer 1/2″ sensor, the Mavic Air 2 is the perfect tool to take creativity to the next level with a suite of image capture modes.
“Mavic Air 2 is another milestone for DJI, demonstrating that our smartest consumer drone does not have to be the largest,” said DJI President Roger Luo. “While the Mavic Air 2 bears all the hallmarks of the Mavic drone family, we had to completely rethink its design and development process. Our goal was to create a drone that offered the best overall experience possible to even the most novice pilot. We hope our drones can help boost creativity and become a fun yet educational experience that can be enjoyed, even at this unprecedented moment in history.”
The newly added SmartPhoto records 12-megapixel photos using advanced scene analysis and deep learning to automatically choose one of three image capture options. For video, the flat color profile D-Cinelike stores more image information for post-processing. The H.265 (HEVC) video codec records more image information, uses less storage space and preserves the dynamic range and details of the footage.
A new remote controller
The camera is also able to shoot cinema-like recordings: 8K Hyperlapses and Quick Shots. DJI’s unique technologies such as obstacle sensor and intelligent flight modes like ActiveTrack 3.0, Point of Interest (PoS) 3.0, QuickShot and advanced flight assistance systems 2.0 makes it easy to capture complex shots effortlessly.
The newly designed remote controller is very different from the foldable model used for the Mavic Air. The smartphone used as screen is placed on the top, a more common design. DJI notes that integrated with the remote control, DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 long-range transmission technology offers a maximum transmission range of 10 km and sends the videos captured by the aircraft to DJI Fly on your mobile device up to 1080p at 30p.Automatic frequency change between 2.4 / 5.8 GHz guarantees, says DJI, reliable signal and smooth flight. The controller has a long battery life: 240 minutes.
Obstacle avoidance is designed to guarantee the drone flies safely. The Mavic Air 2 perceives its surroundings in three directions: forwards, backwards and downwards. An additional light supports visual positioning, safe landing and visibility in the air. Obstacle detection, which is ideally suited to push the limits of what’s possible, offers further security.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new complexities for global shipping and logistics of many products. As a result, the Mavic Air 2 will be initially available for immediate purchase in China while other regions will begin taking preorders now with an expected ship time of mid-May. Mavic Air 2 will be available in two purchasing options: a standard package which includes Mavic Air 2, one battery, remote controller and all the required wires and cables for $799 USD, and the Fly More option which includes all items from the standard version as well as a shoulder bag, ND filters, charging hub, and 3 batteries for $988 USD.
It’s not just the distribution of the new drone that is slowed. With the current limitations regarding leisure periods outdoors, it will be interesting to see how the Mavic Air 2 fares when it becomes available in Western markets. That and the growing limitations to the use of drones will, no doubt, contribute to a reduction in sales. Still, for those looking for a drone for leisure or work, the Mavic Air 2 looks like an interesting new option that keeps DJI at the top of any list of best drones.