DJI has been a leader in drone manufacturing for more than 10 years. It’s no surprise that the Mavic Air is their most popular quadcopter. The Mavic Air’s compact size and 4K camera are ideal for aerial photography enthusiasts who capture stunning footage. The AIR 2 is now available!
Mavic Air vs Mavic Air 2, which is better? In this blog post, Lucidcam will compare these models so that you can choose the best one for you.
Mavic Air vs Mavic Air 2 – General
- Very little.
- Video with high bit rate 4K UHD.
- HDR and Panorama still capture.
- Raw and JPG support.
- Asteroid video shot.
- It is possible to avoid obstacles.
- Intelligent flight modes
- USB charging is not supported.
- No 4K DCI video.
- Panorama stitching requires some effort.
- The real-world flight takes around 18 minutes.
2018 Best of the Year logo Small DJI’s first attempt to sell drones to the public was not as successful as one would expect. However, the company has been a leader in the market in terms of sales and quality since consumer drones. Last year’s Spark was plagued by short battery life and an interface that required tweaking to make it ready for mass production. The DJI Mavic Air ($919), which is foldable and has a 4K camera, offers longer flight time and is much more like the Spark. You get a lot of tech in a compact package. It also includes some video and panoramic photos.
Mavic Air 2
- Battery life is exceptional.
- Video quality and strong image quality
- Avoidance and detection of obstacles
- Automated shots
- Raw and HDR (High Dynamic Range) video
- AirSense transponder
- Video profiles are limited to flat and standard video clips.
- App-based editing is restricted to 1080p output.
- Remote control of EV steering wheel
- It is not easy to download Raw images to your smartphone or tablet.
DJI’s entry-level Mavic Air2 ($799.99) is a small folding drone that DJI calls the Air 2. It can fit in most cameras bags and has many safety features. The camera has a Quad Bayer sensor that captures crisp, detailed images and 4K HDR video. Its footage is smooth. The Air2 is our Editors Choice if you are looking for a drone that costs less than $1,000.
Mavic Air vs Mavic Air 2 – Comparison
- DJI Mavic Air – Folded 168x83x49mm
- DJI Mavic Air 2 – 180x97x84mm (folded).
- DJI Mavic Air – 430g
- DJI Mavic Air 2 570g
- Both foldable
- Mavic Air is available in multiple colors; Air 2 comes in grey.
- They are the biggest of the consumer DJI Drones.
The Mavic 2 seems to reflect a change in ethos. The first drone was a fun, small drone in bright colors. The second drone is a serious consumer drone with better performance.
The new Mavic model is only currently being shown in grey, unlike the other models in the Mavic lineup in red, white, and black.
This is not the only design change. To match the Mavic 2 or DJI Mini, the small, almost bulbous body has been replaced by a more shark-like shape. It is also noticeably heavier and more significant than the original Mavic Air.
It’s still heavy and oversized, but that’s not what it is. It weighs in at 570g, so it is easy to pack and take with you. The DJI Mavic Air is only 140g heavier than the original Mavic Air. However, the Battery is more extensive and adds weight.
Specifications and features – Mavic Air vs Mavic Air 2
- Mavic Air 2’s range is 10 km, while the Mavic Air 2’s range is 4km.
- 34 minutes of flight time, which is a significant improvement on the 21-minute average.
- Two drones are equipped with front, rear, and downward obstacle avoidance sensors.
The DJI Air2 takes a significant step forward in safety features and shooting modes. It even surpasses the Mavic 2 series in certain areas.
The Mavic Air 2’s battery life is significantly longer than that of the DJI MavicAir. The Mavic 2’s flight time now averages 34 minutes. This is a significant improvement on the previous model’s 21 minutes. This was one of our few complaints about Mavic Air, so it’s great that they have addressed it. The battery life is three minutes longer than that of the Mavic2 Series.
The DJI Mavic Air 2’s camera and other shooting features are what make it DJI’s best-value DJI drone. Although it doesn’t have the Mavic 2 Pro’s larger sensor, the Air2 has a 1/2-inch CMOS sensor capable of shooting 4K/60p video at 120Mbps. This is a significant upgrade to the Mavic Air’s 4K/30p video at 100Mbps. DJI’s mid-range drone can also shoot video at 1080p at 120Mbps for some slo-mo effects.
You can also shoot a 4K HDR video with the DJI Mavic Air, but only at a maximum 30p frame rate. This allows you to increase dynamic range in scenes that are more difficult due to high contrast.
The Air 2 steps up to the plate with more intelligent features, taking your filmmaking options to another level. FocusTrack FocusTrack is a newly introduced suite of intelligent tracking modes for Mavic 2 that enables you to obtain more varied footage.
You can also shoot stills with Hyperlight, which automatically merges photos taken in low-light situations and Scene Recognition. This recognizes specific scenes, including blue skies, sunsets, and snow, and adjusts the settings accordingly.
Some of these features can be accomplished outside of the drone using software like Lightroom and PhotoShop. In the case of 48MP stitched stills, we think that is preferable.
The Mavic 2 is an upgrade to the DJI Mavic Air 1 because of the vast array of shooting modes, including the Mavic series’ first attempt at 4K/60p video with a 120Mbps bit rate.
Image and video quality – Mavic Air vs Mavic Air 2
- The DJI Mavic Air 2 has a significantly improved image quality for still images.
- The new model offers more video options, including 4K/60p.
- While subject tracking is effective, manual tracking yields better results.
The Air 2 review noted that the image quality has “massively improved performance” compared to its predecessor.
The new 12-MP 1/2-inch Quad Bayer technology provides sharper images at all ISO levels. It’s still a tiny sensor compared to the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. This means that you will still see some noise at ISO 100, and you’ll only need to increase it to ISO 400.
Our tests showed that landscape shots were sharp throughout the scene despite the fixed aperture of f/2.8. The Mavic2 Pro’s adjustable aperture will give you much more control. You can use it in aperture priority, shutter preference, and manual mode, just like a standalone camera.
Overall, we were impressed with the DJI Mavic Air 2’s stills performance. Its edge sharpness is a significant improvement over the original Mavic Air. The wide range of shooting modes makes the Air2 ideal for beginners who don’t want to do too much post-processing.
The video is similar to the DJI MavicAir, but the main advantage is the greater versatility. You can shoot 4K at 60fps, which allows for smoother footage when played back at 30fps. The Mavic 2 has the additional power to shoot 1080p at 120fps and 4K HDR at 30fps. HDR Panorama Air 2 offers DJI’s most advanced panorama mode, with a higher dynamic range and colors that are vivid and incredibly accurate.
Although we haven’t compared the Mavic2 with the Skydio 2, subject tracking was excellent in our tests. DJI’s Active Track 3.0 performed well. Although you can track subjects like cyclists in one of the two modes, Smart or Parallel, it is worth noting that manual flying and tracking subjects yield superior results.
The Mavic 2 also features more formatting options and can shoot in JPEG, DNG RAW, MP4, and MOV formats.
These options will significantly increase your ability to capture more diverse footage than the original Mavic Air and enable you to adapt to different shooting conditions. The Mavic 2 Pro is the Best Choice for high-quality footage, but the Mavic 2 is the best mid-range drone.
Camera performance – Mavic Air vs Mavic Air 2
- Mavic Air 12MP 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor
- Air 2 48MP 1/2″ CMOS Sensor
- Air – 4K at 30fps and 1080p at 120fps
- Air 2 – 4K at 60fps and 1080p, up to 240fps
- Three-axis gimbal for both
- Air 2 gets a new SmartPhoto mode.
The camera department is another big difference between Air 2 and Air. The sensor of the second generation is larger and has more pixels. It has 48-megapixels rather than 12-megapixels. Another big reason to love the Mavic 2 is a higher ISO range. A higher ISO means that images will have better detail, more vibrant colors, and more contrast — and they’ll be less grainy in low-light.
DJI can allow you to use all 48 million pixels, but DJI defaults to using a similar pixel binding technique to modern smartphones. This converts four pixels into one larger pixel to create a 12-megapixel image.
There is a difference in the video recording capabilities. The Air 2 can record 4K 60fps while the Air 1 captures only 30 frames per sec at that resolution.
Its slow-motion capture is also superior. Both can record slow motion at 1080p resolution. However, the Mavic Air can only capture 120 frames per second, while the Air 2 can record 240 frames.
Smoothness is a concern with both drones. They have a 3-axis gimbal that is stabilized footage as it’s being taken.
DJI also launched a SmartPhoto interface with the Mavic Air 2. There are three modes available: one for improved low-light capture, one to improve HDR, and one to adjust scene recognition and adjustment. Scene recognition optimizes different camera parameters for various scenes and supports intelligent recognition of five categories: sunset, skies, grass, snow, and trees.
- Mavic Air 2 controller is more stylish than the Mavic Air.
- It supports Ocusync 2.0, which increases the Mavic Air’s range.
- The DJI Smart Controller doesn’t currently work with the Mavic 2.
The remote controller is another significant design difference between the drones. The DJI Air 2 features an entirely new pad with two main improvements.
One is the overall design. It is more comfortable than the Mavic Air’s pad, thanks to its contoured grips.
Attaching your phone to the controller using a telescopic handle makes more sense. It makes the Mavic Air 2’s pad feel like a smaller version of DJI’s Smart Controller.
The Smart Controller is not compatible with the Air 2 at the moment (DJI said it would in the future but didn’t have a timeframe), but the new controller is a good substitute, even though it doesn’t have its screen.
The sticks of the Air 2 remote controller are also removable and can be stored in rubberized sections. This is useful if you need to fit it into a backpack. You’ll rely on the DJI Fly app to change between Normal, Tripod, and Sport flight modes (S-mode). The DJI Fly app has a simplified menu which is better for newbies, while also not being any worse for pros.
Ocusync 2.0 support is perhaps the essential feature of the new Air 2 controller. This transmission method is far superior to Mavic Air’s Enhanced Wi-Fi and offers a more excellent range (10km compared with 4km) as well as a stronger signal.
Overall, the Mavic Air 2’s controller is a significant improvement on the folding Mavic pad. It also doesn’t add any extra cost to the drone.
- Both drones – Front and Back sensors
- Mavic Air 2 – APAS3.0
The only area where these drones are not as good as the pros is obstacle avoidance. However, the Mavic Air 2 will still be quite capable.
The first and second-generation Mavic Airs have front and rear sensors. This helps ensure that the drone doesn’t hit anything behind or in front of it. The underside has sensors as well.
The Mavic 2’s pattern recognition allows it to pinpoint its origin. However, it has more precise depth sensors that can detect the distance it is from the ground. It has advanced obstacle avoidance and flight.
Air 2 features the APAS 3.0 system. This means that the device can adjust its trajectory to avoid obstacles as it moves forward. This is especially useful when flying low above rocks or through trees.
Also, the drone features POI 3.0 (Point of Interest) which makes your device fly an automated flight path around a specific subject. And Spotlight 2.0 helps your drone lock a subject in the frame while the user has a free operation of the drone’s movement.
Flight Performance, speed, and Battery
Mavic Air is a great choice for users looking for an all-around drone that combines a powerful camera with reliable flight performance. If you are looking for the latest camera drone features with upgraded performance, The Air 2 has powerful imaging capabilities, a longer flying time, and a stronger video transmission system.
The Air 2 has a significantly different battery when it comes to performance. The Mavic 1 has a 2,375mAh lithium battery, while the Mavic 2 has an impressive 3,500mAh.
The Mavic Air 2 is DJI’s most efficient consumer drone in terms of flight time. It can capture an impressive battery life of up to 34 minutes on a single charge, which significantly improves the 21 minutes of flight time offered by the original Mavic Air.
Both can fly up to 42.5mph when in Sport mode. A physical control pad controls them with an antenna, removable joysticks, and a grip for a phone. The control pad’s size and shape are vastly different. The controller is no longer small enough to fit in your palm. It is much bigger and has a firmer phone grip built into its top edge.
Basic kit: $799 at launch
The new Air 2 launched at the same price as the original Air 1 and is significantly cheaper than the Mavic Pro and Zoom versions.
The Air 2S is DJI’s best-selling consumer drone. Before you decide on one of these, make sure to read the other.
The DJI Air 2 significantly improves the original Mavic Air in almost every aspect, including its range, battery life, and image quality. It’s a great mid-range drone capable of shooting stunning stills and video.
The Air 2’s new design and features are impressively the same prices as the predecessor. Finding the original Mavic Air is challenging, so it’s hard to decide between these two models.
You’ll be more confused if you are a beginner and trying to choose between the Mavic 2 or Mavic Mini. The price of the latter is half that of the Air 2 at $399 / PS369 / AU$599, and unlike the Air 2, the 249g weight doesn’t mean you have to register it according to new guidelines from either the FAA (in America) or the CAA (in Britain).
The Mavic 2 is the better option if you need to capture a 4K video, track moving subjects, or require your drone to be more stable in windy conditions.