DJI Mavic Air 2 Review: Best Choice For You

DJI Mavic Air 2

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a new drone that has launched in 2018. It is the latest update to the original Mavic Air, which was released in late 2017. The design of the drone itself has not changed much since the last iteration but there are some minor tweaks to its features and functions so it can be used for more advanced tasks such as aerial photography and videography.

In this review, LucidCam will provide you with information on what these changes are and how they may affect your decision-making process when considering purchasing DJI Mavic Air 2

Pros and Cons of DJI Mavic Air  2

PROS

  • Superlative battery life
  • An image quality and HD video
  • Obstacle detection and avoidance
  • Automated shots
  • HDR video and Raw imaging
  • AirSense transponder

CONS

  • Video profiles limited to standard and flat
  • App-based editing limited to 1080p output
  • Remote omits EV control wheel
  • Not easy to get Raw images to your tablet or smartphone

DJI Mavic Air 2 Review

DJI Mavic Air 2 Review 2

 

DJI Mavic Air 2 release date and price

  • This mid-range starts at $799 / £769 / AU$1,499.
  • You can pre-order now, with shipping expected in mid-May
  • A ‘Fly More’ bundle is also available for $999 / £949 / AU$1899

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is available for pre-order right now from the DJI store, with shipping expected in mid-May.

Like DJI’s previous models, the best drone is available in two bundles. The ‘standard’ package, which includes the Mavic Air 2, one battery, the remote controller, and all the required wires and cables, costs $799 / £769 / AU$1,499. That’s exactly the same as the original DJI Mavic Air, which makes it a good value considering the new tech on board.

If you’d rather do longer shoots with your drones and have a more convenient way to carry it around, then there’s also a ‘Fly More bundle. This includes all of the same items as the standard package, plus a shoulder bag, ND (neutral density) filters, a charging hub, and two extra batteries. It costs $999 / £949 / AU$1899 and is the best choice for more seasoned fliers.

Design

DJI Mavic Air 2 Review

  • It looks like a mini Mavic 2 Pro with a redesigned body.
  • Ocusync 2.0 controller is now available for an increased range.
  • Mavic Air 2 weight may mean that you might have to register your best drone.

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is a complete redesign of its predecessor. The drones have undergone a complete redesign to offer significant improvements in image quality, speed, and flight time. The Mavic Air 2 appears like a miniature DJI Mavic 2 Pro. It features the same folding design that allows the front arms to swing out and the rear arms to rotate down and out for flying.

The Mavic Air 2 measures just 180x97x84mm folded, which is roughly the same size as a 500ml beer bottle. When unfolded, it measures only 183x253x77mm. It weighs in at 570g and is half the weight of the Mavic 2 Pro. This makes it portable and powerful for filmmakers and photographers. It’s possible that you will need to register for the Mavic Air 2, depending on where you live.

The Mavic Air 2 is low to the ground because it adopts the folding design of the Mavic 2 Pro series. To avoid cutting the grass when landing in grassy areas, you need to find flat ground and short grass.

It can lead to erratic flight or, worse, crash. It’s worth having a small landing mat that can easily be pinned to the ground in order to ensure a safe and clear take-off zone. This is not an issue on concrete and tarmac, which are harder surfaces.

Controller

The Mavic Air 2 controller, which is a departure from all the previous Mavi folding controller designs, is larger and has no folding design. It’s almost like a smaller DJI Smart Controller but without the screen.

The new shape is more comfortable thanks to its contoured grips at the rear and 393g weight. The new controller also connects to the aircraft faster than the previous controller. This new design allows the phone to attach to the controller using a telescopic handle that can accommodate phones of any size, even phablets.

The phone connector cable is attached to the cavity of the phone holder. There’s also a slot for inserting the phone end to keep it out of the way. Although this is a nice feature, the cables are too long. Therefore, inserting the phone end into the storage space puts pressure on the cable and could lead to damage. There are two additional spares inside the box.

The controller has a few controls that can be accessed directly. These include the joysticks for flying control and a switch between Normal, Tripod, and Sport Modes. There is also a Return to Home button and a button to change from stills to videos. One FN button and a shutter button. A dial to control the gimbal and a button that turns the controller on/off.

Flight

Flight and features

Mavic Air 2’s flight speed is 42 mph and takes 34 minutes.

The 10km range is significantly longer than the 4km it had before.

Sometimes, the video feed may stutter or lock temporarily.

Mavic Air 2 has new motors, electronic speed controllers, and improved aerodynamics. They combine to give you a faster flight speed of up 42 mph in Sport Mode and a flight time up to 34 minutes.

This is an improvement on the original Mavic Air’s 21 minutes of flight time and even three minutes more than the Mavic 2 models. Although it may not sound like much, the longer flight time and lower battery drain really make a difference. It also has a longer battery life than its predecessor.

The smart technology used makes flying the Mavic Air 2 as simple as any DJI. OcuSync 2.0 is a superior way to transmit data between drone and controller than the original Mavic Air.

OcuSync 2.0 can switch between 5.8GHz and 2.4GHz frequencies when needed. Unwanted signals can be blocked by anti-interference technology.

Features

The Mavic Air 2 has obstacle sensors at the front and back of it. These can be used to help obstacle avoidance. They are automatically turned on, so it is best to keep them on. The drone also has avoidance sensors at the bottom and an auxiliary light that aids in automatic landing. These are very similar to the Mavic Pro models. Geofencing is another safety feature that will prevent the drone from flying near high-risk or secure locations like airports and critical infrastructure.

These safety features are not all that are available. Advanced Pilot Assistance System 3.0 (APAS 3.0) is also available. This will allow the drone to reroute itself if it encounters obstacles. This is so pilots can fly more difficult locations confidently without fear of falling.

AirSense technology is another first for DJI consumer drones. It uses ADS-B aviation technology, which receives signals from nearby aircraft and helicopters and displays them on the DJI Fly app’s on-screen map. This technology was developed to reduce the risk of air incursions.

The safety improvements aside, the Mavic Air 2 has many advanced features inherited from the Mavic 2 Pro as well as professional drones. These include smart capabilities in automated flight mode that allow for still and video capture. These include Hyperlapse (up to 8K), FocusTrack, and four flight options; free movement, Circle and CourseLock, and WayPoints.

There is also the QuickShot automated flight mode (the drone’s equivalent to an auto mode camera), which allows you to create visually appealing videos with just a touch. These are Rocket, Circle, and Helix. Boomerang and Asteroid are also available.

Photo

Photos and video quality

  • Mavic Air’s new sensor delivers significantly better image quality.
  • Amazing range of shooting modes, including 8K hyper lapses
  • The 48MP mode’s high-resolution stills are somewhat disappointing.

The Mavic Air 2 has a significantly improved image quality than its predecessor. The new 12-MP 1/2-inch Quad Bayer sensor provides cleaner images at all ISO levels. Despite this, the drone’s small sensors can still detect noise at ISO 100. ISO 400 is the best setting. The camera lens has a 24mm equivalent focal length with a fixed aperture of f/2.8. Despite this limitation, the lens focus is set to hyperfocal distance. However, the depth-of-field is large enough for sharpening landscapes close to home and in deep places.

The center of the frame is where images are sharpest. There is a drop in sharpness the closer you get the edges. The same applies to all Mavic. However, the Mavic Air 2’s edge sharpness is significantly better than its predecessor. Many functions can be used by photographers to create better photos. You can get better results with Raw (DNG) if you are an experienced photographer and by using manual shooting and editing techniques. The following feature creates JPEGs, not Raw files.

HDR photos are seven bracketed exposures, which are then merged in-camera to create an image that has detail from the shadows through the highlights. You can also shoot Raw images and use the Auto Exposure Bracketing mode to process HDR images. Hyperlight is a mode that allows you to shoot in low light. It combines several photos to reduce noise and average them out. You can do this manually by taking several Raw images and then noise-stacking them in Photoshop.

Scene Recognition can recognize five types of the scene – sunsets and blue skies, snow, and grass – and optimize settings in JPEG processing in-camera to each. This can also be done manually using Raw processing software like Adobe Lightroom. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are in photography. All levels of experience can be accommodated.

The 12MP sensor can also be used to capture 48MP stills. This is a highlight feature. This mode produces JPEG output images. Unfortunately, the images are less sharp than Raw files or standard JPEGs. Additionally, photos look washed-out and desaturated. This would indicate that 48MP images were created with an in-camera algorithm for interpolation. Photoshop offers better interpolation results for larger images when using the Preserve details Resample option in the Image Size dialog.

The Mavic Air 2 is a first for DJI. It also includes features that are not available in the flagship Mavic models. These include 4K video at 60fps and slow-motion video up to 1080p at 240 fps. It is small enough to be used professionally in some situations, even though it is quite small. The standard format is the equivalent of a JPEG. The neutral D-Cinelike profile displays more detail in shadows, highlights and requires color grading.

Video quality

HDR video can also be viewed at 4K, FHD, and 2.7K at 30fps. 4K can be shot at 60fps, while 2.7K can be shot at 60fps. FHD is available at 240fps. Video can be shot in MP4/MOV format (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC or H.265/HEVC), with a maximum bitrate limit of 120 Mbps.

Remote Control

Remote control

The DJI flight remote was redesigned last year to be compatible with the Mavic Air 2 release. This remote is also included in this package. It is a rectangular, gray slab that can be removed to access the flight controls and buttons. It fits in your hand like a game controller. The remote has a clip on the top that can hold your smartphone. This is necessary to view and adjust camera settings. The drone supports both Android and iOS phones. It ships with USB-C, Lightning, and micro USB cables that will ensure compatibility with your device.

The clip can hold larger phones and the remote will charge your phone. These are great features as my large iPhone 8 Plus battery doesn’t last nearly as long as it used to. It is easy to fly a drone. The left stick controls altitude and yaw, while the right controls the drone’s direction in space. This guide is for new pilots. However, if you have used any other brand of drone, you will feel right at home.

A button for emergency control can be found on the remote. It allows you to set the aircraft to hover at your location with a quick press or to flying back to your original position using a long press. The control wheel can be used to tilt the camera at the left bumper and the video/photo button is at the right.

The toggle in the middle switches between normal (Cine), slow (Sport), or standard (Normal) flight modes. Normal and Cine are great choices for elegant camera moves. The drone will remain perfectly level and smooth if you rotate it in the air. It will fly faster in Sport mode for video, and you can get a banking and POV effect when you turn it. This drone is great for action shots. However, it’s not recommended to fly when you are high enough to see trees. Obstacle detection isn’t supported by Sport.

The remote is well-designed. The remote doesn’t have a screen so you will need to connect your smartphone for flying. The Autel EVO II series can fly without a smartphone. We are currently reviewing the EVO Pro II quadcopter, a $1,800 model with a similar camera as the Air 2S.

DJI Fly App

DJI Fly App

DJI Fly App is an essential download. It’s available for both Android and iOS. It’s simple to set up. You’ll need to create an account with DJI to activate your drones and grant them access to your phone’s camera roll. It shows you the view from your drone’s camera and allows you to access Air 2S’s automatic flight modes. The app also shows a map showing your location in the world and the drone. A blue arrow represents the drone, while a floating red line connects its position to your current location. This is helpful in case you lose sight of it visually.

The app can also be used to switch between different photos and video modes. The drone can capture images in JPG and Raw formats. It can also use Smart Photo scene recognition modes. You can also adjust frame rates and change the color profile.

Some features won’t work at 5.4K or at 4K if you push the frame rate above 30fps. Active Track, which follows a subject while it moves, is one. APAS 4.0 is an automatic obstacle avoidance system. It will continue to use its avoidance sensors for obstacle avoidance at higher frame rates and resolutions. Instead of flying around roadblocks as it does with APAS and hovering in place at 4K60 or 5.4K, the drone simply stops and hovers.

You can also access advanced features such as re-orienting and soaring the drone. To access Quick Shots for automated orbits and reveals as well as other common drone imagery, you can tap through the menus. These have been included by DJI for many product cycles and are now available in a stronger version with the Air 2S.

Master Shots combine camera movements with automated flight paths. The drone will do the rest. I picked myself as my subject for a quick test. It included several pull-backs and reveal shots as well as corkscrew orbits and a final zoom-in that brought the drone to a stop just a few feet away from me. The camera moves are all automatic and professional-grade. However, the output is only 1080p30.

DJI Fly also has basic video editing tools. However, it only outputs 1080p. This is fine for quick social posts, but not enough to justify the purchase of a drone equipped with a 5.4K camera. You can also access the Flight Log function to review your flights and check speed and altitude. If you need to land your drone somewhere else, the Find My Drone function can help you locate the exact location.

We would like to see DJI improve its app. Although we are happy to have multiple color spaces for video, we would like to see more. This is especially important for pilots who don’t want to spend too much time correcting color and toning videos. A built-in monitoring LUT would make D-Log recordings easier to view on smartphones.

Operation

DJI claims that the Mavic Air 2’s video transmission range is 10 km. These range numbers seem impossible to achieve in real life. Often, the range is greater than half that distance. However, it’s still impressive and far beyond the operator’s reach. The drone has become more capable of capturing personal experiences, rather than distant objects. This task seems to be the purpose of the Mavic Air 2. It can fly for hours in straight lines, but it is capable of tracking and providing unique vantage points.

The DJI Mavic Air 2 comes with the latest object tracking technology. It works as long as you understand its limitations. Drag a box around an object, and the software will lock onto it and keep it in focus. This, combined with the obstacle detection sensors gives the Mavic Air 2 a remarkable suite of capabilities. DJI’s object tracking technology is a significant improvement on previous generations. It seems to detect large objects without any difficulty, whether they are in front, behind, or under the drone.

My experience was that the Mavic Air 2 picked up power wires, birdhouses, and large tree branches, as long as they weren’t on its side. It can see people and vehicles perfectly. The drone has difficulty tracking Nova. It often loses him, even when he is walking. The drone will start beeping furiously if it detects a collision.

It allows the operator to be away from the camera by using object tracking. This feature opens up a world of possibilities. The Mavic Air 2’s lack of sensors on its side is what limits it. You can use it in a parking lot or field. You won’t have a good time if you use it along a trail or river.  Skydio offers a consumer drone with similar features. The Skydio drone’s object recognition is superior to that of the Mavic Air 2. This makes the tracking feature even more useful. Skydio can fly autonomously in areas that the Mavic Air 2 cannot.

The Mavic Air 2’s camera was amazing, especially considering its price. It captures blue skies and wispy clouds, which is not something that a consumer drone can do. Landscape photos are vibrant and vivid with vibrant colors. With a 48MP image sensor, you can zoom in on areas without losing image quality. DJI has released a range of ND filters that attach to the front of this camera lens. This gives the user greater control over lighting.

The Mavic Air 2’s battery life is outstanding. In Normal mode, I was able to fly for around 30 minutes in moderate wind. With high winds and spirited flying in Sport mode, the battery life drops to about 25 minutes. The drone flew more than 12 times during my time with Mavic Air 2. I don’t believe I have ever needed to recharge the controller.

What are these modes?

Well built into the Mavic Air 2 are some of the following:

  • Hyperlight – This mode merges multiple photos to create sharper images in low-light situations.
  • HDR Photos – The drone can automatically capture up to seven different exposures and combine them to give you an even greater dynamic range in one file
  • Scene Recognition – The Drone can recognize five major elements of a photograph (Sunsets, Grass, Snow, and Trees), and analyze them in order to maximize tone, clarity, and colors

Other Photo Modes:

  • Panoramic Vertical (3×1) and Horizontal (180deg).
  • “Tiny world” Sphere mode (3×7)
  • HDR Panromas
  • Single
  • Burst
  • Timer
  • Automatic Exposure Bracketing
  • 8K Hyperlapse

The app was very easy to use, allowing you to select the model that interests you. All of these modes came out amazing! One thing that I found interesting was the 48mp “smart” photo mode. The photos were darker in the highlights and more overall than single-shot or normal modes. You can edit and adjust this based on your preferences in the post. But it’s worth mentioning for the review in the case that you decide to try this at home.

Panoramic was the only mode that made me feel overwhelmed. The panoramic mode was the only one that left me feeling underwhelmed. This would normally not bother me but the drone automatically merges these files.

You don’t have to manually edit the raw/jpg files. A firmware update would allow the system to save all raw files in a “Stack”, or similar to lightroom, along with the final merged file. This mode is great, but it did not work well in my tests. We will have to wait to see if DJI updates the system to allow raw stacks.

The video quality was excellent! The Mavic Air 2 is the first drone to capture 4k/60p video at 120mbs with the H.265 codec. It also has 4k/30p HDR, HD/120p, and HD/240p slow-motion video. Although I am not a professional video editor, these files look impressive to me. I think the Mavic Air 2 will be a great addition to your video editing toolkit.

The 8k Hyperlapse/Timelapse video mode was the only one I wasn’t able to test. Sorry, I don’t know much about this feature. However, from what I have read, it is an impressive feature that requires additional software to view and process the footage on your computer.

Verdict

verdict 1

DJI’s Mavic Air 2 is a comfortable middle ground between the Mavic Mini and the two Prosumer Mavic 2 models.

This Mavic Air is significantly better than the old Mavic Air. It features a new design, a stronger connection to the controller, and 48MP stills from the 1/2-inch Quad Bayer sensor.

The Mavic Air 2 is a great choice for videographers and photographers who want a lightweight drone that can be carried with other equipment. It can shoot raw stills, slow motion FHD video, and 4K/60p video.

DJI’s Mavic Air 2 has been launched. It is sure to be popular thanks to its smart flight features, stills, and video functionality. The upgraded design, motors, and battery provide significant performance improvements over the predecessor model.

Although the Mavic Air 2 may not be perfect, it is a joy to fly and shoot with and could easily become one of the most loved DJI drones.

Do I need to register DJI Mavic Air 2?

New legislation has been adopted in some countries, including the US, UK, and Canada, for drones weighing 250g or more. The law regarding registration of the DJI Mavic Air 2 varies depending on where you live. Here are the laws in place for Australia, the UK, and the US.

USA

You can register your Mavic Air 2 with FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) if you are a recreational drone pilot. Once you have registered your drone, you will need to mark it with the registration number.

A ‘Aeronautical Safety and Knowledge Test’ is being developed for recreational drone pilots. However, it is not yet known when it will be available.

UK

The UK’s CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) has introduced a drone registration program. Anyone who is responsible for a drone between 250g to 20kg must now register as an operator. The DJI Mavic 2 weighs in at 570g, so it qualifies.

Registration costs PS9 per annum. You’ll also need to pass an online theory test that is based upon the information in The Drone code and Model Aircraft code. The test is free and can be renewed every three years.

Australia

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority of Australia (CASA) is currently planning a new drone registration system similar to the one mentioned above. However, it has not been officially launched.

CASA states that drone registration and accreditation are in progress and will be completed within 12 months. There is no need to register drones such as the DJI Mavic Air 2 at this time, but we will update this page if that changes.

The competition

DJI drones make the best consumer drone that caters to a broad range of videographers and photographers.

The lines between Mavic model can become blurred, so the DJI Mavic Mini (which shoots Jpegs only) and the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom models, respectively, are direct competitors to the Mavic Air 2.

The DJI Mavic Air 2 offers a wider range of modes, including object tracking than the Mavic Mini. Overall, it is the best all-rounder DJI Mavic Air 2. The Mavic 2 Pro Zoom and Mavic 2 Zoom offer zoom and sensor capabilities that are superior to the Mavic Air 2. However, Zoom offers far greater value for money.

Conclusion

DJI drone has released a new one, the Mavic Air 2. The company is famous for its excellent drones that are both easy to use and pack in tons of features. This newest model does not disappoint! Here’s what you need to know about the Mavic Air 2 release date and price, design and new controller, flight and features, photo/video quality before making your decision on whether or not this might be right for you.

We hope that you can get the best advice from our blog post conclusion so as to make an informed purchase decision when it comes time to buy it. If there is anything else we can help with please, don’t hesitate to contact us at LucidCam

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