The Mavic Air 2 was announced on Monday night as part of a launch event dubbed “Up Your Game” — and it’s a dream for photographers.
This drone is all about photography, featuring 8K functionality and a larger 1/2″ camera sensor.
With the Mavic Air 2, DJI is especially honing in on a demographic of people who want a great aerial camera, but don’t want the complexities that come with a drone. DJI has made the Mavic Air accessible in terms of size (it has the same compact, foldability signature to all other Mavic drones). It also has pre-programmed flight modes to make flying as simple as possible so newbies can focus on photography, not fear of flying.
And, from a safety standpoint, it’s loaded with sensors to assist in obstacle avoidance (so you don’t accidentally fly into a tree), as well as to warn you if you might be taking off in an area you shouldn’t, or even help out if you end up in a sticky flying situation with other aircraft nearby.
All that for just $799.
The original Mavic Air was launched in January 2018, at the time going for $799 (it has since dropped to $599), which is the same price that the new Mavic Air 2 is selling for.
The Mavic Air was notable for being about the same size as the DJI Spark in flight, but in Mavic signature style, had the ability to fold up like the Mavic Pro to become even smaller. Other notable features included gesture control, the ability to shoot 4K video, plus features like TapFly and ActiveTrack.
The Mavic Air 2 takes all that and turns it up with even better camera specs, improved safety software, a longer flight time and more. In short, the Mavic Air 2 is great for photographers, and it’s great from beginners. But it’s no basic, beginner drone.
Mavic Air 2 photography features: it’s all about high-quality imagery
The Mavic Air 2 is the first drone in DJI’s Mavic series to offer 4K video at 60 fps and 120 Mbps.
Plus, you can choose to record in more unique settings, including:
- HDR video
- 4X Slow Motion video in 1080p at 120 fps
- 8X Slow Motion video in 1080p at 240 fps
- 12-megapixel images
- a high-resolution 48-megapixel feature
DJI also added a new feature called SmartPhoto, which records 12-megapixel photos to allow you to shoot in one of three image capture options.
- HDR photos: Your drone shoots seven varying exposures of the same photograph, merging them together (designed to bring out a highly dynamic image)
- Hyperlight: your drone takes multiple photographs and merges them to bring out a clear image with less of the noise which usually occurs in low-light scenes (designed for situations where you shoot in low light)
- Scene Recognition: Your drone automatically detects landscapes (ie sunsets, grass, snow, trees) to optimize their settings (helpful in situations where snow might otherwise appear gray, or faces might appear dark in front of a vibrant sunset)
Mavic Air 2 is packed with optimized intelligent features allowing users to quickly and easily record images and video that deserves to be shared with the world. FocusTrack is the most advanced tracking feature on any DJI drone and offers three different capture modes:
- ActiveTrack 3.0: Select a subject for Mavic Air 2 to automatically follow. The third iteration of ActiveTrack uses state-of-the-art mapping technology and new flight path algorithms to offer improved subject tracking and obstacle avoidance, along with the ability to quickly re-engage the subject if it temporarily moves behind an object.
- Point of Interest 3.0: Set an automated flight path around a specific subject. The updated iteration improves surface recognition to better dynamically track subjects.
- Spotlight 2.0: Found in professional DJI drones, Spotlight locks a subject in the frame while the user has free operation of the drone’s movement.
There’s also a hyperlapse feature (it’s like a timelapse but with the element of the drone moving too), which can be shot in a max resolution of 8K.
And once you’re done flying, you can edit on the fly. Like the Mavic Mini, the Mavic Air 2 integrates with the DJI Fly app, a one-stop tool to edit footage and quickly share it online.
What the Mavic Air 2 looks, feels and flies like
One big attention-grabber of the Mavic Air 2 — it has a whopping 34 minute flight time. That’s a new record for the Mavic series. DJI attributes that to new motors, new electronic speed controllers (ESCs), enhanced battery technology and an aerodynamic design
While not as small as the last drone announced by DJI, the Mavic Mini, it’s still small.
It weights 570 grams — a bit over twice the weight of the Mavic Mini. 570 grams is slightly less than what a basketball weights.
OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology
Another big win for the Mavic Air 2: HD video streaming. The Mavic Air 2 comes equipped with DJI’s proprietary OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology.
OcuSync is an “integrated high-resolution video transmission solution.” In short, OccuSync works with DJI Goggles to wirelessly transmit information (ie. live video feeds). It’s often attached to racing drones, supporting the above theory. It’s also frequently attached to drones for enterprise work like rescue operations and inspections (where large amounts of live data must be transmitted).
OcuSync 2.0 can transmit HD video feed from the drone at a maximum distance of 10km. It supports both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequency bands, using an auto-switching feature to move between the two based on signal strength.
ADS-B receivers set new standard for safety
The Mavic Air 2 is DJI’s first consumer drone with AirSense technology, a feature designed to warn drone pilots of other aircraft nearby. By using ADS-B to receive signals from nearby airplanes and helicopters (and displaying their location on the drone pilot’s control screen), AirSense can warn the drone pilot with messages, sounds and vibrations to move the drone safely away from other air traffic.
DJI Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs Brendan Schulman called the addition an “ambitious commitment to installing ADS-B” and sait it makes the Mavic Air 2 “the world’s largest single deployment of ADS-B receiver technology.”
Other Mavic Air 2 safety features
The Mavic Air 2 is equipped with obstacle sensors on the front and rear of the drone, warning you if you’re too close to an object (and preventing you from flying closer unless overridden).
The Mavic Air 2 is also equipped with an Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 3.0 system. When enabled, the Mavic Air 2 can automatically create a new path around, under or over objects in its path to avoid collision.
While there are just two obstacle avoidance sensors, the drone does have other sensors and auxiliary lights to improve flight, such as automatic landing even in difficult lighting.
As most DJI products do, the Mavic Air 2 comes equipped with GEO, a geofencing software from DJI that prevents you from taking off in highest-risk locations, such as busy airports, unless overridden (if eligible).
Will coronavirus affect Mavic Air 2 sales?
In short, yes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new complexities for global shipping and logistics of many products,” DJI said in a prepared statement.
While it’s available for immediate purchase in China today, most other regions are merely taking preorders (with an expected ship time of mid-May).
How to buy a Mavic Air 2
There are two Mavic Air 2 packages.
- Standard package ($799): includes Mavic Air 2, one battery, remote controller and all the required wires and cables
- Fly More option ($988): includes all items from the standard version as well as a shoulder bag, ND filters, charging hub, and 3 batteries
- DJI Care Refresh add-on option: For an additional charge, DJI Care Refresh offers comprehensive coverage for incidents such as collision and water damage as well as up to two replacement units within one year.
Mavic Air 2 is available for preorder through all authorized retailers as well DJI’s online store.
Or, order on B&H Photo. The New York-based photo shop says shipping will begin Monday, May 11.
If you’re buying directly from DJI’s store, due to limited new product availability, each customer can only purchase one unit.