The DJI Mavic Pro and the DJI Mavic Air have both been a big success for the DJI company. The DJI Mavic Pro has been around for two years, but now they have released an updated version called the DJI Mavic Air. Mavic Pro vs Mavic Air, which one is better for you? In this post, Lucidcam will discuss the key features of two drones to help you easily decide.
Mavic Pro vs Mavic Air – General
The DJI Mavic Pro is a compact, folding drone that was a pioneer for portability. This quadcopter folds down to fit easily in a backpack, or large pocket while opening up to take 4K video to over 40mph in the sky.
The 3-axis stabilized gimbal offers very smooth footage and OcuSync enables long-range and HD live video streaming. The Phantom line of drones may have established DJI as a leader in the consumer drone market, but the DJI Mavic Pro made high-quality aerial photography fun and highly accessible.
- Versatile, folding drone
- Powerful drone for its size
- Folds down for simple transport
- Inspired many similar machines and a line of Mavic drones
- Easy to operate
- Solid flight features
- Good obstacle avoidance
- Ocusync connectivity
- Avoiding obstacles in limited directions
- Older camera sensor is not as good as newer models
- Joysticks on remote do not remove for transport
DJI found great success with the DJI Mavic Pro, they followed that up with the far less expensive Spark. The DJI Mavic Air bridges the gap between these two, offering all the fun features from the smaller Spark as well as all the pro-flight features of the DJI Mavic Pro.
After the launch of the Mavic 2 series of drones, we had to recommend the newer Mavic line as the best camera on a compact drone, but the DJI Mavic Air still remains our top pick if ultimate portability is your concern. The Mavic Air manages to pack down to almost fit comfortably in your pocket.
Better yet, the Mavic Air introduced a 100Mbps data rate for video capture on a DJI drone under $1500. That sounds like a mouthful, suffice to say that the Mavic Air instantly took the crown for the best video at the lowest price of any drone on the market.
- Small and foldable drone
- High bit-rate 4K UHD video
- HDR and Panorama still capture
- Raw and JPG support
- Asteroid video shot
- Good obstacle avoidance
- Automated flight modes
- Doesn’t support USB charging
- No 4K DCI video
- Panorama stitching needs some work
- Real-world flight time is limited to about 18 minutes
Mavic Pro vs Mavic Air – Comparison
Let’s start with a review of the specifications of each device, as they relate to storage, cameras, and sensors.
Mavic Air’s 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor can capture 12MP stills and HDR, as well as 32MP spherical panoramic shots. The camera can shoot 4K video at 30fps or 2.7K video at 60fps. Full HD video is available at 120fps. The camera can record at speeds up to 100Mbps, which allows for more detail in the video. The camera has an 85-degree field of view and is supported by a 3-axis tilt gimbal to ensure stable shooting.
Although the DJI Mavic Pro’s camera system looks similar to that of the DJI Mavic Air, there are some differences. Although the DJI Mavic Pro supports its camera on a 3-axis tilt gimbal it has only a 78.8-degree field of view. The camera can also capture 12MP still images at 12fps and 4K video at 30fps. It can only shoot at 120 frames per second, however, and cannot capture HDR images.
Professional video applications have a slight advantage because they can shoot at 24fps in cinematic 4K (higher resolution) and in the industry-standard 24fps. Mavic Pros video bitrate comes in at 60Mbps, which is slightly slower than that of the DJI Mavic Air.
In terms of sensors, the Mavic Air is more advanced than the DJI Mavic Pro. The drone can communicate with the controller up to 4.3 miles away. The DJI Mavic Pro has the advantage when it comes to operating distance. It can communicate with the controller from up to 4.3 miles away, compared to Mavic Air’s 2.5-mile functional range.
Both the Mavic can support micro SD cards. However, the DJI Mavic Pro only supports 64GB. This is not enough to be competitive. Mavic Air supports a 128GB Micro SD Card and has 8GB internal storage in case you need it.
The DJII Mavic Air is lighter and smaller than other aircraft. This was at the cost of flight time which was reduced to 21 minutes. This is 5 minutes less than the DJI Mavic Pro, and nearly 10 minutes for the DJI Mavic Pro Platinum. This isn’t the only reason the Mavic Air is handicapped. Because a drone can fly at 5km, it requires a lot more autonomy.
If autonomy is not important to you, an extra battery may be able to solve your problem. It is possible to purchase one or two extra batteries, or even a combo of fly more batteries, due to the DJI Mavic Air’s price differences.
Automating DJI’s drones is one of the most compelling reasons to purchase them. Both the DJI Mavic Pro & the DJI Mavic Air are excellent examples of this.
You can use two drones to track a person wherever they go. You can then decide how high and far you want to follow them.
The DJI Mavic Air or DJI Mavic Pro will automatically take the drone down if you enter a No-Fly Zone.
The DJI Mavic Air has enhanced sensors, which might allow for a better flying experience. If your DJI Mavic Air is set to fly forward and encounters an obstacle detection, it will move around it and continue flying.
Ease of use
You can control both the DJI Mavic Pro or the DJI Mavic Air from your smartphone. The Goggles allow you to see in the first person and also allows for hand gestures. To use the phone controls, download the DJI app on your iPhone or Android and insert your phone into the controller.
Although the experience is the same between the two devices, the Mavic Air’s gesture control takes the crown. Mavic Air’s sensors are more advanced than the DJI Mavic Pro, and they can better identify where you want to go and how to get there. This gives you more control with your hands.
DJI Mavic Air vs DJI Mavic Pro – Design and portability
Both the Mavic Air’s and Mavic Pro’s designs are very similar. Both have foldable propeller arms that extend from the corners of a rectangular body. Both have a camera mounted at the front. The DJI Mavic Pro’s camera has more visibility, while the Mavic Air’s camera fits slightly into the chassis.
Designed to be the most portable drone of the line, the DJI Mavic Air measures just 213 mm diagonally, compared to the Pro and Pro Platinum’s 335-mm wingspan.
The big difference between the drones is their size. The Mavic Air is roughly half the size of a DJI Mavic Pro and 41% lighter. The DJI Mavic Pro is 1.62 lbs (734g), while the Mavic Air weighs in at 0.94 lbs (430g).
Although the DJI Mavic Air is as wide as its bigger brother, it is shorter and more compact. The DJI Mavic Pro measures 7.79 inches x 3.26×3.26 inches (198x83x83mm), while its smaller brother, the DJI Mavic Air, measures 6.61 inches x 3.26×1.92 inches (168x83x49mm).
The bottom line, the DJI Mavic Air is far more portable. The DJI launch event presenter made it a point to carry his phone, wallet, and three DJI Mavic Air drones inside his vest. He also carried the wireless controller in his back pocket. The controller comes with removable thumbsticks that allow it to be folded down for portability.
Bulk and weight
A drone’s dimensions and weight are other characteristics that both amateurs and professionals in aerial photography must consider. The law is changing and drones that weigh more than 800g must be trained.
The Mavic Air certainly does look a lot smaller than the DJI Mavic Pro when they are both unfolded and ready for flight. Once they are folded up, the size difference becomes less noticeable. The DJI Mavic Air weighs in at 430g which makes it considerably lighter than the DJI Mavic Pro at 734g.
This difference in weight is not significant once the bag has been closed. The Mavic Air is lighter and more compact than the other models. It can even be stored in your jacket pocket.
The size of a smartphone is what we are referring to. While opinions differ on the subject, once folded it is more or less the same size as an iPhone Plus or Galaxy Note. We are still not sure about the thickness.
It was risky to keep so many technologies in a small drone because it was necessary for the DJI’s Mavic Air to be able to adequately evacuate heat.
DJI Mavic Air vs DJI Mavic Pro – Flight modes and control
We’ve already said that the DJI Mavic Pro has a greater range than the Mavic Air, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all good news when it comes time to fly and control.
The DJI Mavic Air and DJI Mavic Pro come with remote controls, and DJI Goggles support for first-person flying. These points are the same for both.
Mavic Air’s 2,375mAh battery can provide 21 minutes of max flight time. The Mavic Pro’s 3,830mAh battery can provide up to 27 minutes of flight time. The DJI Mavic Air can fly 6.2 miles (10km) with no wind, while the DJI Mavic Pro is capable of flying 8 miles (13km) on one charge.
The DJI Mavic Air is slightly faster than the DJI Mavic Pro. When it comes to the top speed flying in Sport Mode, They are pretty close.
The DJI Mavic Air can reach speeds of 42.5 mph (68.4 km/h), whereas the Mavic Pro’s top speed is 40 mph (65km/h) in sport mode. They are almost identical in how they handle windy conditions. Each can withstand winds of 19-24mph (29-38km/h).
When it comes to Intelligent Flight Modes, the Mavic Air performs much better than the DJI Mavic Pro. It not only has everything DJI Mavic Pro has but also features the latest and greatest ones including FocusTrack, Spotlight 2.0, QuickShots, SmartPhoto, and more.
While all of these intelligent flight modes are great you really do need to be very careful where you are using them. A lot of them can only be safely used in big wide open spaces.
If you had, for example, four batteries for both the Mavic Air and the DJI Mavic Pro, the extended flight time you get with the DJI Mavic Pro equates to one extra flight. There is also much difference in the noise of both drones. The Mavic Pro is quieter than the Mavic Air.
These are the areas where they start to diverge. Each drone can be controlled using a smartphone or remote controller. However, they can also easily be operated with a pilot’s naked hands via gesture controls. These gesture controls were upgraded to the DJI Mavic Air.
The remote controller is one of the major differences between these two models, the new Mavic Air doesn’t use the same design as the Mavic family, it features a bigger controller that is similar to that of a Phantom drone, also it changed the way you mount your phone or tablet, it allows you to attach the mobile.
The DJI Mavic Air, as well as the DJI Mavic Pro both, support the Autonomous SmartCapture modes Rocket, Dronie Circle, Circle, and Helix. Each of these flight patterns allows the drone to automatically capture a short video.
All three Mavics share most of the same camera modes, but the Mavic Air adds two new Quickshot modes: Boomerang and Asteroid. Boomerang is a drone that goes out and back in an arc. Then it circles back to the pilot, returning like a boomerang. The asteroid has the drone fly out to create a spherical panorama merged with video as the drone flies back toward the subject.
Mavic Air’s upgraded sensors allow it to fly more intelligently while being controlled in any of its control modes. It will not stop when it encounters an obstacle, like older DJI drones. Instead, it will create a flight path that circles the obstacle and then continue on its way.
The Mavic Air also has rear obstacle avoidance sensors while the Mavic Pro doesn’t.
There’s one other feature that used to make the Mavic Air really unique when it was released—APAS (Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems). APAS is a feature that you can activate on the main flight screen.
While flying forward, instead of stopping when an obstacle appears, the Mavic Air will fly left, right, or up to avoid it and then keep going instead of just stopping cold like the old Mavic Pro.
In DJI’s ActiveTrack mode, where it follows a subject and keeps it in the middle of the shot, it also takes the lead. ActiveTrack works with the Mavic Pro by drawing a box around a subject that the drone is supposed to follow. However, with the Mavic Air, the pilot can simply click on the subject to track. The Mavic Air can also follow multiple subjects.
Overall, the Mavic Air seems to be superior to the Mavic Pro when it comes to flight capabilities and controls.
Indoor Vs Outdoor Flying
The Mavic Pro and Mavic Air are solid options for indoor flying. However, it requires some knowledge and experience. The Mavic Air, which is lighter and smaller than the Mavic Pro, will be better suited for indoor flying.
They are almost equal outdoors, but the Mavic Pro has a slightly longer battery life. The lighter Mavic Air is the better choice if speed is what you are looking for.
The Mavic Pro can record video at 4K resolution at 30 frames per second. This might not be the best option for sports or fast action but it should work well for standard recording. The Mavic Pro has a 78.8-degree field-of-vision and a 60Mbps bitrate. It also offers an ISO range from 100 to 3200.
DJI’s Mavic Air records video at 4K resolution. It also offers 24-frames per second recording, which allows you to capture fast-acting movements more efficiently. The device has an 85-degree field of vision and a 100Mbps video bitrate. It has an ISO range of 100 to 3200, just like the Mavic Pro.
The Mavic Pro has a 12-megapixel sensor with an ISO range from 100 to 1600. The camera, which can record in JPEG and DNG, adds HDR photography in addition to single-shot, burst shooting, auto exposure bracketing, interval, and panoramic. The JPEG Images on both drones look very similar to videos shot in the standard color profile.
Although the Mavic Air has a slower aperture at f2.8 than the Mavic Pro’s f2.2, the image it produces at the same settings should be slightly darker. Usually, Mavic Pro is used with ND filters to bring the shutter speed down, but there are not any ND filters for the Mavic Air.
The Mavic Air has many of the same features. The Mavic Air comes with a 12-megapixel camera and an ISO range of 100-3200. This makes it slightly more powerful than the Mavic Pro.
Mavic Air ✖ Mavic Pro CMOS image sensors are slowly replacing CCD sensors, due to reduced power consumption and better image quality.
The camera on the Mavic Air can capture stills with a Higher Dynamic Range (HDR), and it has a wider field of view, letting you squeeze more background into closer shots and selfies.
My biggest complaint with most of the DJI drones is that the dynamic range, highlight roll off and low light performance haven’t improved that much over the years. They still struggle with contrasty conditions and trying to re
Price and Release Date
The base price for the Mavic Pro is $999 (PS1,099 AU$1,599). This includes the controller, extra propellers, and a variety of cables that can be connected and charged.
The DJI Mavic Air is cheaper at $799 (PS769 AU$1,299). It still includes a controller, two additional propellers, the required cables, and a set of propeller guards.
The Air is available for pre-order now, and it’s expected to ship on January 28. The Mavic Pro has been available for some time, and it can be ordered here.
Which One Is The Best For You?
These drones are amazing. In fact, they’re arguably two of the best drones on the market right now (though they compared to the Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom). Both are great choices if you’re looking for a drone to purchase.
However, some models are better suited to different types of pilots. The DJI Mavic Air is likely to be more suitable for novice drone pilots since it has improved obstacle avoidance, which allows them to fly more confidently. The Mavic Pro may not be the easiest drone to control, but the Mavic Air’s larger frame and less advanced avoidance systems might make it more suitable for pilots with more experience.