DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is the best little drone you can buy, and a fantastic choice for most aerial photography and YouTubers.
The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum ($ 1.1149) is the best little drone you can buy. Its foldable form factor fits easily into a camera or shoulder bag and has a special remote control which is also quite compact. Flight performance is excellent, with 4K video and built-in security features to prevent automatic return home and obstacles. It’s a fantastic choice for most aerial cameramen and YouTubers, as well as our selection of editors, although DJI offers some options for the high end, including Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire 2.
Editor’s note: The price of the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum went from $ 1,099 to $ 1,149 on September 4, 2019. According to the DJI, the price increase is linked to the prices calculated by the United States.
The Mavic Pro Platinum ($ 999.00 on Amazon) is the second version of the Mavic drone. DJI has made no changes to the basic design: apart from a lighter silver finish, it is indistinguishable from the Mavic Pro (a darker gray). Once folded, the drone measures 3.3 x 3.3 x 7.8 inches; It weighs about 1.6 pounds. It fits in the same bag as my photo bag, in which I usually keep a small telephoto lens, like the Sony FE 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 GM OSS.
This is a big difference for the Phantom 4 Pro, which really requires a backpack like the Think Tank Airport Helipak for transportation. A drone shot can give your vlog or independent film project serious production value. It is a big problem to have one that you can throw in a backpack, get up in the air in a few minutes, and fly in a confined space, thanks to its size and avoiding obstacles to it. ‘before. And the Mavic is much easier to travel than a ghost.
DJI Plantom 4
Read DJI Plamtom 4
It is also easier to configure. Mavic propellers can be folded down (two sets are included) so you don’t have to be taken out for storage. Phantom uses fixed accessories that are easy to install: they click and lock instead of screwing, but extend the flight preparation by a few minutes.
Pro Platinum promises two updates compared to its predecessor: longer flight times and quiet operation. Both are the result of improvements in the design of engines and propellers. It’s definitely quieter: you can hear the difference in the clip above. Both drones were recorded from the same position with a Nikon D850 with manually configured audio levels and a Rode VideoMic.
And fly longer. During our battery tests, the average flight time with a fully charged battery is approximately 28 minutes. It’s a bit shy compared to DJI’s 30-minute estimate, but a huge improvement over the 23 minutes we got on average with the original Mavic Pro. A few more minutes in the air can help reduce the pressure if we are trying to get the last shot. However, it is a good idea to bring a spare battery (or two) with you. Additional batteries cost $ 89 and DJI sells the Mavic Pro Platinum Fly More package for $ 1399. Add two additional batteries (three in total) plus a carrying case, a pair of additional replacement propellers, a car charger and a charging center. The hub can manage four batteries at the same time. They are charged not one at a time, but one after the other, the least discharged batteries being filled first.
The drone collects information on the GPS and GLONASS satellites. It recognizes the position very quickly and, thanks to the precise positioning of the satellite, can float in position. The Mavic can also fly indoors without the help of satellites. It has downward-facing sensors that read the ground’s underlying patterns to keep it stable when you’re flying indoors. You should avoid flying on the surfaces of the mirrors and have enough space.
The Mavic sailed on test flights at a constant speed of 20 miles an hour with the ability to avoid obstacles. It has an available sport mode that disables obstacle sensors, but increases top speed to 40 miles per hour. Phantom 4 Pro gives you a little more speed, 31 mph in standard mode and 45 mph in sport. The added speed can add a little spice to your aerial video. However, keep in mind that Premiere Pro can speed up video at any time.
DJI Go App and Remote Control
Mavic Pro Platinum comes with the same compact remote control as its predecessor. When closed, the remote control is the size of a gamepad. It has a monochrome LCD screen (showing connection status, battery life, etc.) and two analog sticks for flight control. Buttons include power, return to start, and pause. The adjustment wheels control the exposure of the camera and the inclination of the gimbal. There is a small joypad on the face with customizable functions that can be assigned via the DJI Go 4 app. The remote control also has a video and photo capture button. fixed, is located at the top left or right.
The remote control has a lower clip that can be folded down to hold a smartphone. It can be easily adapted to a large device like the iPhone 8 Plus. A USB cable is pushed to the side and through the clip to connect the phone to the remote control. DJI includes Lightning, Micro-USB and USB-C cables, so all modern smartphones are covered. Routing and locking the cable can be a bit difficult, but you don’t have to worry after installation. A slide adjusts its position, essential to accommodate several phones.
You can control the Mavic without a smartphone, but you will not have a first-person view of the camera and you will not have access to customize several of its video and photo functions. I recommend using the phone with the remote control. The security benefits of seeing through the drone’s camera are reason enough.
You need a phone capable of running the DJI Go 4 application. I used an iPhone 8 Plus in the tests, but any modern Android or iOS phone works. Android devices must be running version 4.4 or higher, while iOS requires version 9.0 or higher.
In addition to a live stream from the Mavic lens (in 720p quality), the application allows the use of automated flight modes, system configuration to avoid obstacles and adjustment of video capture parameters and ‘picture. Automated flight models include Point of Interest, which flies around a point in a perfect circle, Waypoints, which can repeatedly pilot a predefined model, and Follow Me, which tracks the position of the remote control.
You also get TapFly, which flies the drone by tapping the phone screen instead of using the flight sticks, and Broken Lock and Home Lock, which change the way the drone responds to stick commands based on their orientation or position linked to your current position.
Videos and Image Quality
The Mavic Pro Platinum imaging features have not been updated. Use the same camera that is mounted on the nose and stabilized with a 3-axis gimbal. It covers a field of view that almost matches a 25mm lens of a full-frame camera (wide angle but not wide angle) and can record 4K videos at 60 Mbit / s as well as JPG and still images raw (DNG).
Video quality is excellent, with crisp details and a variety of styles, including a flat color profile. The gimbal ensures that the film material remains smooth and stable. The image quality corresponds to a camera to be aimed at (the image sensor is a 12MP 1 / 2.3 inch CMOS design).
It is very good and printable in bright light. If you are concerned about shooting at high ISO values, the 1 inch sensor used by Phantom 4 Pro and Advanced is more suitable and offers a resolution of more than 20 MP.
In addition to recording in landscape format, the Mavic Pro Platinum can rotate the lens and record in portrait format. This is more useful for still images than for videos. This is not a feature I use a lot: I prefer wide angle shots in a wider horizontal orientation, and when shooting from the bottom, there is no need. But it’s nice to have it.
Video options include 4K UHD at 24 or 30 fps, DCI (the largest 4K cinema format) at 24 fps, 1080p with standard frame rates up to 60 fps and 96 fps for slow motion playback and 720p at 180 fps. The Mavic does not record audio, so we added music to our test role.
The Mavic camera supports focus settings, which is not the case with all drone cameras. Many are focused so you don’t have to worry about setting up an AF point. If the footage is not clear, touch a distant subject on the screen to find the focus.
How We Test Drones
Another option is automatic subject recognition. With ActiveTrack, you can draw a field around a pattern. The drone follows you as you move and uses your system to avoid obstacles and avoid collisions. Remember to be careful because Mavic only has front sensors to detect obstacles in its path. The pause button on the remote control stops you in its tracks, just in case it backs up and you are about to hit a tree.
According to FAA regulations, you must keep an eye on the drone during the flight. The Mavic can go much further if you work with an observer or if you fly to a place with less strict rules. DJI evaluates the transmission range in miles so you don’t have to worry about losing video in flight. In the unlikely event that communication is lost, the Mavic Pro will automatically return to its starting point and land.
Firmware and No-Fly Enforcement
Since the last time we evaluated one of their products, there has been a lot of noise in the DJI firmware updates and in the no-fly zone app. Let’s talk about the firmware first.
DJI regularly releases firmware updates. And since you’re using an Internet-connected phone to run the DJI Go 4 app, you know if new firmware is available. You can usually ignore the update in the field and fly away, but some previous updates have prevented theft.
But following the firmware is a good thing. Bug fixes were implemented, new functions added, typical firmware elements. Frequent travelers can keep up to date with updates. But what if you only use the drone a few times a year?
If you are in this group, you will likely need to upgrade before most flights. Allow an hour to do so the day before the flight. It is better than entering the field to determine that Mavic Pro is not ready to fly. For example, I updated the firmware before my test flights in late December. In the few weeks that passed before I had time to write this review, a second firmware update was released in the second week of January.
No-fly zones are another bone of restraint. DJI has taken a more practical approach to limiting theft to force its customers to comply with FAA regulations. The drone does not take off in certain areas, DJI calls these limited areas. These include Washington, DC and the surrounding large and small airports. If you are authorized to use the drone in this normally prohibited airspace, you must send an e-mail to DJI to organize a flight
So there are the authorization areas. You can unlock them using the app, provided you have verified your DJI account. Some of these changes are based on events (I’ll see one in Manhattan for the VIP movement at press time), others are static. DJI offers a flying club model as an example of a typical clearance area. These are often located near small airports.
Finally, there are advanced warning zones that you can unlock without a verified account and warning zones that cover the United States, but don’t prevent you from getting started. The DJI Go app warns me that there are unpaved runways near my parents’ rural farm in Pennsylvania, my favorite area for first flight tests, which is new to me.
DJI has an interactive map that divides all of these areas. It is worth taking a look at before buying the Mavic Pro Platinum. You don’t just want to go to drone ownership to find out that your residential area is plagued by flight restrictions.
Prevent drone owners from flying where they shouldn’t cause division problems. Those who are philosophically on the more libertarian side will see it cross government boundaries: DJI is a private establishment, but the flight restrictions are based on FAA data.
The other side of the argument is that the app can keep you from causing serious problems. Ignorance is not a defense when you are flying in an area that you shouldn’t be, be it a forest fire or a military base. An aerial photo or photo is not worth the trouble in prison.
The DJI Mavic Pro Platinum is the best little drone on the market. The foldable design makes it an option to go anywhere, just in a tool bag. It’s a little quieter and flies longer than the original Mavic Pro, but it also costs more. Do not exclude the first version, especially if you have a limited budget and do not worry about a few minutes of flight less.
Video and image quality is solid, as are other DJI models with similar image sensor designs. These include the Phantom 3 series and the first version of Phantom 4. If you need a little more, the Phantom 4 Pro and Advanced models offer a 1-inch image sensor camera as in high-end compact cameras. With the Zenmuse X7 SLR APS-C camera, you can set up a professional-quality Inspire 2.
If you’re looking for a compact quadcopter for vlogging, video production and photography, the Mavic Pro Platinum is for you, but it’s expensive. DJI sells another small model, the Spark, which is now available for less than $ 500 MSRP. The Spark is perfect for occasional use, but its flight time is very short and the video is only 1080p. It contains a lot of small-scale technology, but is more of a toy than a real creative tool. Although Mavic Pro Platinum is expensive, it is the best of all and our publisher’s choice.
A small drone with serious power, safety features and agility. This is still the best drone according to it’s price and functions, DJI also added new version Mavic Platinum and now it’s even more better than ever.