DJI‘s Mavic family has almost replaced its Phantom line of consumer drones. Mavic drones are smaller and foldable for easy storage and transport. The top-of-the-line Mavic 2 Pro ($ 1,729) has the largest image sensor we’ve seen on a drone of this size. This means the images and videos look better than other drones, including the professional’s twin brother, the Mavic 2 Zoom. The Pro is a bit more expensive at $ 250, but we think the improved image and video quality is worth the extra cost. The Mavic 2 Pro is the ultimate drone for avid pilots and our editors’ choice.
Editor’s Note: The price of the DJI Mavic 2 Pro increased from $ 1,499 to $ 1,729 on September 4, 2019. According to DJI, the price increase is linked to tariffs imposed by the United States.
Best Folding Drone
The Mavic 2 Pro is inspired by the design of the original Mavic Pro, but slightly larger. It measures 3.3 x 3.6 x 8.4 inches (HWD) folded and 3.3 x 9.5 x 12.7 inches with arms outstretched.
Using the drone is quite simple. All you have to do is remember to swing your forearms in front of the lower ones. The plane weighs around 2 pounds and is heavy enough to require an FAA registration if you are traveling to the United States for recreational purposes.
Although the Mavic 2 Pro is slightly larger than the original Mavic and the newer Mavic Air, it is still quite portable. It fits very well in the camera bag and takes up about the same space as a typical 70-200mm f / 2.8 zoom lens. You do need to make a little more room for the remote, charger, and extra batteries you buy, but you don’t have to dedicate a backpack to the Mavic like you do with the Phantom design.
DJI divides the Mavic 2 lineup into two models: the Pro, which we’re looking at here, and the Zoom, which has a 2x optical zoom lens but a 1 / 2.3in 12MP image sensor sized from a smartphone. . The Mavic 2 Pro has a 1 inch sensor which is approximately four times the size of the imager behind the Mavic 2 zoom lens. The larger surface area allows for higher image resolution (20 MP) and quality. superior video.
The supplied remote control is similar to that of other Mavic models. It is gray and has a short, interchangeable cable to connect to the smartphone, which mounts under the controller. Two clips hold the phone; They are big enough for a phablet and can handle a slim phone case. However, you need to remove the phone from the case when using a large phone. There is a cutout on the left clip so that you can access your phone’s home button when it is mounted on the remote. Cables are included for phones with Lightning, Micro-USB, and USB-C ports.
The remote control has a monochrome display: it shows the battery status, telemetry data and other information. It is possible to pilot the Mavic 2 without a telephone connected. However, you will need an Android or iOS device and the DJI Go 4 app to activate the drone before your first flight. However, we do not recommend flying without a phone as you will not be able to see the view through the camera without one.
In addition to the flight levers, which are removable for storage, the remote includes dual-control wheels and buttons on the shoulders. The left wheel tilts the camera up and down, while the right wheel brightens or darkens the exposure and the buttons are used to take a photo or start a video. The remote also has a switch to change the flight mode to one side, a dedicated button to activate the Mavic’s return home function, and a pause button to lock the drone. There is also a small four-way controller; can be used to point the camera forward or down. Two programmable control buttons on the back complete the job.
The Mavic 2 Pro is designed for up to 31 minutes flight time on a fully charged battery. This number is based on the time the drone can hover in place. So in reality, expect a few minutes less life. Our tests lasted an average of 27 minutes; That’s still a bit of airtime, better than the 23 minutes the original Mavic Pro had on our flights.
Expect a $ 1,500 drone to include an obstacle avoidance system, and the Mavic 2 won’t disappoint. It has sensors in all directions. In most flight modes, the forward, reverse, up, and down sensors are always active and stop the drone in place when an obstacle is detected. By switching to ActiveTrack, where the Mavic identifies and tracks a moving subject, side sensors are activated.
They also work in tripod mode, a low-speed setting that allows photographers to move the drone very slowly for better shots. The Mavic 2 also has a sporty high-speed setup. Increase the top speed from about 32 mph to almost 45 mph. All obstacle sensors are disabled when sport is active. So handle it with care.
DJI has started adding internal storage to its drones. We saw it first with the Mavic Air. The Mavic 2 Pro matches the Air’s capacity of 8 GB and also has a microSD card slot. The card slot is necessary because 8 GB is not enough to store a large amount of video. The Mavic 2 records 4K footage at 100Mbps, so you only have 15 minutes of footage in internal memory. I wish there were at least 16GB in a model called the Pro. Memory cards aren’t expensive, however, and internal storage means you won’t be left in the dark if you forget to pack a card. .
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DJI Mavic 2 Pro
DJI Go 4 App and Features
As with other DJI drones, the Mavic 2 Pro works with the DJI Go 4 app, which is available as a free download for Android and iOS devices. The app does a lot of things, but the most important thing is that you can control the drone’s camera and see its position in 1080p quality. It also displays a world map embedded in the video feed that you can switch to if you need to locate the Mavic in relation to you.
In the app, you can also access automatic recordings or access a special recording mode like Hyperlapse. Essentially a period in motion, Hyperlapse is a fun way to capture time-lapse views of the world. I’m not a big fan of how DJI implemented the experiment – the remote clicks every time the drone adds an image and the speed drops a bit. Your mileage may vary, but you definitely want a smooth camera view with no audible distractions, like the hyperlapse mode on the cheaper Parrot Anafi.
In addition to Hyperlapse, there are many other automated flight modes and options. This includes Asteroid, which combines panoramic images and videos to transform a normal view of the world into a Little Planet projection that we first saw with the Mavic Air. It also supports TapFly which allows you to fly the drone by tapping your phone screen, ActiveTrack and APAS. The latter, the Advanced Pilot Awareness System, is useful for flights with many obstacles to overcome. It slows down the drone, but when activated, it automatically hovers over obstacles it encounters.
The app also has some security features. Works with drone’s GPS to enforce no-fly zones eg. B. Permanent White House bans and temporary drone bans in areas with aerial fires. It can help you avoid the problems. If you have an FAA Part 107 commercial license, you can also use the app to authorize flights near airports so you don’t have to communicate directly with the control tower. Firmware updates, which may be common with DJI products, are made through the app.
Superlative Video and Images
The DJI Mavic Pro 2 offers the best material and the best drone images you can get in a compact size. To improve on that, you have to think of a big, expensive airplane with an SLR sensor and interchangeable lenses like the DJI Inspire 2.
The reason your images are sharper than other 4K drones is because of the size of the sensor. Most drones use a 1 / 2.3 inch sensor, similar to a smartphone. However, the Mavic 2 Pro uses a 1 inch imager which is roughly four times the size of the Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic Air, and other foldable drones.
This is not the first time that DJI has used the sensor size of a drone. It is also available for the larger Phantom 4 Pro and Phantom 4 Advanced models. Both are still available and have some advantages, including support for the wider DCI 4K format. If you’re ok with UHD, you’ll find that the Mavic incorporates many of DJI’s latest innovations, including more robust automated recording and APAS, not available in the Phantom series.
You receive 4K UHD material with 100 Mbps compression and either H.264 or H.265 of your choice. You can record editable footage with a standard color profile – DJI used color science technology from its partner Hasselblad for the Mavic 2 Pro’s camera. All of our test images were taken with the standard color profile.
You can opt for a different built-in profile if you want your video to be more artistic and filtered, or you can shoot with the flat, low contrast Dlog-M profile. Flat Shot gives you more options for color correction – Dlog-M is a 10-bit format. However, it is only recommended for serious video professionals, as you will need software and knowledge to make your Dlog-M footage stand out. It also supports HDR video using the HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) profile.
Different frame rates are available. For 4K, you get 24, 25, or 30 fps. If you lower the resolution to 2.7KB, that adds 48, 50, and 60 fps, and you get all of the above at 1080p (2K) and 120 fps. The lens has a variable aperture that can be configured from f / 2.8 to 1:11, and the sensor can range from ISO 100 to 6400 for video. You can add neutral density filter for flights with bright light. I don’t recommend using the lens at a tighter f / 5.6 setting to minimize the loss of resolution caused by diffraction. However, if you don’t have a lens, you can definitely take another break to keep the lens shutter angles correct for your movie.
There are two viewing angles to choose from for 4K recordings. DJI doesn’t do a particularly effective job of identifying them in the app, which is a shame because the Mavic 2’s camera offers a similar coverage area to that of the Mavic 2 Zoom for 4K video. The default FOV setting is a wide angle view of the world, approximately 28mm from a full frame. Switching to the HQ (high quality) setting slightly reduces the angle of the camera; it is closer to 40 mm. You don’t get the same camera range as the Mavic 2 Zoom (24-48mm), but it’s close enough. You lose the opportunity to snap a zoom shot of the rig, but it seems like a reasonable price for better video overall.
The images are also very versatile. We’ve seen that the 1-inch sensor size in compact cameras finds a place where it performs better than you might expect from your smartphone. The Mavic 2 Pro takes photos in JPG or Raw DNG format, and I would expect more serious photographers to use the latter. The large sensor makes it easy to take aerial photos in poor lighting conditions. The ISO value can be set to 12800 when shooting. I would recommend ISO 3200 max for this type of sensor instead, but you still get great sunset shots.
The Best Small Drone
Is there a foldable drone more powerful than the DJI Mavic 2 Pro? I do not believe it. It’s small enough to fit in a backpack with your video and ground imaging equipment, but doesn’t make a lot of sacrifices compared to larger drones. Assuming you absolutely don’t need to shoot movies meant to be shown in a theater, the 4K UHD format (used by your TV) is more than sufficient for any project you want to show in a living room.
Combine video quality with the ability to capture dual-angle footage, stunning photos, and the incredible stabilization provided by the Mavic 2’s gimbal stabilization, and you’ve got a drone that’s easy to love. Yes, you pay a hefty price, but the Mavic 2 Pro is the best foldable drone we’ve ever flown. Our editors therefore have a choice.
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The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the best small drone on the market, with superior video and image quality, obstacle avoidance, and great battery life.