Two years ago DJI’s Mavic Pro took the drone community by storm. Combining most of the important features of its larger sibling, the Phantom 4, into a folding package with a decent price point, it has quickly become a favorite for both amateurs and many professionals. As a full disclosure, I purchased two of them (always good to have a backup) and have flown well over 100 missions with each. Today, DJI upped the prosumer drone ante even further, with the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. They both feature plenty of upgrades over the current generation. The only question for many will be which one to save up for.
Mavic 2 Pro: Hasselblad Camera With Variable Aperture
Mavic 2 Zoom
Along with the increased focal length comes a need for more accurate autofocus, for which the Zoom adds a hybrid phase and contrast detection system. The camera’s native resolution is 12MP for stills, but the Zoom offers a mode that stitches together nine images for a 48MP final output. A new Dolly Zoom quick shot mode (also similar to the one on the Anafi) creates a special effect where the drone moves backward while zooming in, simulating a popular cinematographer technique.
Mavic 2 Family Features
Both models have a substantially improved flight time of up to 31 minutes, thanks in part to a 19 percent more efficient chassis profile. Also featured are improved communications and a promise of 1080p video connectivity at up to a theoretical 8 km. That should make additional real-time applications possible, and also allow some video workflow without needing to actually retrieve and unload the microSD card.
The Mavic’s current, very limited obstacle avoidance has also been beefed up to an array of 10 sensors that can work up/down, left/right, and front/back. DJI says the updated FlightAutonomy and Advanced Pilot Assistance system can “analyze its surrounding environment and automatically fly around obstacles without stopping.” However, DJI does caution that the left/right only works in certain modes and that the sensors don’t provide full 360-degree coverage, so I’d suggest caution relying on the feature until some brave souls run some field tests.
New Flight Features
Along with the updated hardware, the Mavic 2 family adds and upgrades some flight features. ActiveTrack has been updated to allow higher-speed tracking and better ability to stay with a temporarily occluded subject. A new Hyperlapse provides an automated way to create time-lapse videos (a blessing for those of us who’ve been doing it manually in Premiere Pro). A particularly interesting aspect of the Hyperlapse feature is that DJI says it will work with preset Waypoints. Hopefully, that means that the new drones will also support a generalized Waypoint-mode, that today requires using a third-party app like Litchi. Let’s also hope that at least some of the new features are backported to the current Mavic family models.
Both Mavic 2 models are on sale now.