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Depending on what you need, there’s a DJI drone for everyone. For most, you’ll find that drone somewhere in DJI’s Mavic lineup, which is now bolstered with improvements to its mid-range offering as its new Mavic Air 2 takes to the skies with a number of improvements borrowed from its pro relatives.
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Right in the middle of a stay at home period, DJI introduces its new drone, the DJI Mavic Air 2, an update to the series, still with 4K video, but able to shoot aerial 8K Hyperlapses, and with some firsts for a consumer drone.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 drone news are not news… because images have appeared online since March, and more recently the Brazilian certification body leaked the manual, so everybody knows how the new drone looks and what it does. Joining the Mavic Air, launched a couple of years ago, this new model is different, larger and heavier than the original model, and also distinct, with lines that make it look a bit like the Mavic 2 models – Pro and Zoom.
Heavier and larger, the DJI Mavic Air 2 drone has the same speed as the original Mavic Air – 43 mph or 68.4 km/h – but has a longer flight time, of 34 minutes against the 21 minutes of the original drone. This is possible due to the larger battery, with 3,500mAh capacity, one of the reasons why its weight increased to 570g against the 430g of the first Mavic Air drone.
DJI states that this model sets new standards in terms of performance and mobility and offers advanced functions in a compact form factor. Intelligent recording functions and excellent image quality make cinematic aerial photographs child’s play, says the company, adding that with a safer and smarter flight, perfect shots are easier than ever.
Flat color profile D-Cinelike
Mavic Air 2 is the first drone in the Mavic series to offer 4K video at 60 fps and 120 Mbps. Additionally, users can record unique content using HDR video, 4X Slow Motion in 1080p at 120 fps or 8X Slow Motion in 1080p at 240 fps. Pilots can record 12-megapixel images or choose a new high-resolution 48-megapixel feature that photographs in stunning detail, while a mechanical 3-axis gimbal helps compensate for camera shake to create smooth and stable footage, even in unpredictable scenarios. Taking full advantage of the large Quad Bayer 1/2″ sensor, the Mavic Air 2 is the perfect tool to take creativity to the next level with a suite of image capture modes.
“Mavic Air 2 is another milestone for DJI, demonstrating that our smartest consumer drone does not have to be the largest,” said DJI President Roger Luo. “While the Mavic Air 2 bears all the hallmarks of the Mavic drone family, we had to completely rethink its design and development process. Our goal was to create a drone that offered the best overall experience possible to even the most novice pilot. We hope our drones can help boost creativity and become a fun yet educational experience that can be enjoyed, even at this unprecedented moment in history.”
The newly added SmartPhoto records 12-megapixel photos using advanced scene analysis and deep learning to automatically choose one of three image capture options. For video, the flat color profile D-Cinelike stores more image for post-processing. The H.265 (HEVC) video codec records more image information, uses less storage space and preserves the dynamic range and details of the footage.
A new remote controller
The camera is also able to shoot cinema-like recordings: 8K Hyperlapses and Quick Shots. DJI’s unique technologies such as obstacle sensor and intelligent flight modes like ActiveTrack 3.0, Point of Interest (PoS) 3.0, QuickShot and advanced flight assistance systems 2.0 makes it easy to capture complex shots effortlessly.
The newly designed remote controller is very different from the foldable model used for the Mavic Air. The smartphone used as screen is placed on the top, a more common design. DJI notes that Integrated with the remote control, DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 long-range transmission technology offers a maximum transmission range of 10 km and sends the videos captured by the aircraft to DJI Fly on your mobile device up to 1080p at 30p.Automatic frequency change between 2.4 / 5.8 GHz guarantees, says DJI, reliable signal and smooth flight. The controller has a long battery life: 240 minutes.
Obstacle avoidance is designed to guarantee the drone flies safely. The Mavic Air 2 perceives its surroundings in three directions: forwards, backwards and downwards. An additional light supports visual positioning, safe landing and visibility in the air. Obstacle detection, which is ideally suited to push the limits of what’s possible, offers further security.
The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new complexities for global shipping and logistics of many products. As a result, the Mavic Air 2 will be initially available for immediate purchase in China while other regions will begin taking preorders now with an expected ship time of mid-May. Mavic Air 2 will be available in two purchasing options: a standard package which includes Mavic Air 2, one battery, remote controller and all the required wires and cables for $799 USD, and the Fly More option which includes all items from the standard version as well as a shoulder bag, ND filters, charging hub, and 3 batteries for $988 USD.
It’s not just the distribution of the new drone that is slowed. With the current limitations regarding leisure periods outdoors, it will be interesting to see how the Mavic Air 2 fares when it becomes available in Western markets. That and the growing limitations to the use of drones will, no doubt, contribute to a reduction in sales. Still, for those looking for a drone for leisure or work, the Mavic Air 2 looks like an interesting new option that keeps DJI at the top of any list of best drones.
Just 10 days after a major leak told us what we should expect, Chinese drone maker DJI has officially unveiled the Mavic Air 2: a drone they’re calling “the smartest, safest and easiest-to-fly consumer drone” on the market.
The Mavic Air 2 combines new hardware with intelligent software to pack a lot of aerial imaging power into a drone that weighs just 570 grams. Admittedly, it’s slightly bigger and heavier than the original Air, but it offers a lot more performance to make up for it.
At its core is a 48MP 1/2-inch QuadBayer image sensor that takes 12MP pixel binned photos normally, but can capture the full 48MP resolution of the sensor in a special “high-res” mode. It can also capture 4K/60p video at 120Mbps (a first for the Mavic series), 1080p video at 120fps or 240fps, and 8K hyperlapses in timelapse mode.
The Mavic Air 2 has also been redesigned with new motors, better aerodynamics, and ‘advanced’ battery technology to offer a max flight time of 34 minutes. And thanks to OcuSync 2.0, you can control the drone from up to 6.2 miles (10km) away.
But the base hardware is only the foundation. Like many of the flagship smartphones on the market, DJI has built several “smart” features into both the camera and the drone itself.
The camera will use deep learning and “advanced scene recognition” to automatically choose one of three options:
- HDR Photo automatically captures and combines 7 exposures into a final image with better dynamic range
- Hyperlight does something similar for low-light situations, capturing ‘multiple’ shots and merging them into a final version with better exposure and less noise
- And Scene Recognition can intelligently detect five different categories—sunsets, blue skies, grass, snow, and trees—and optimize the color, detail and tone of your photo to match.
This works together with the latest FastTrack object and subject tracking features—Active Track 3.0, Point of Interest 3.0 and Spotlight 2.0—to provide plenty of options for pilots who want to let the drone do most of the work.
Finally, DJI is also emphasizing the extensive safety features they’ve built into the new drone.
As the leaks indicated, there are no top-mounted sensors on the Mavic Air 2, but you do get obstacle sensors on the front and rear of the UAV, as well as some additional sensors and auxiliary lights on the bottom to facilitate smoother automatic landing.
The drone is also equipped with DJI’s Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 3.0, which uses 3D mapping to plot its own paths around obstacles, and ‘AirSense’ technology, which uses Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) technology to warn drone pilots about other aircraft nearby and display their location on your control screen.
Here’s a closer look at the new drone from all angles:
And here are a couple of sample images that DJI sent over (click for high res):
You can get the Mavic Air 2 in one of two kits: the Standard option that includes the drone, a battery, the remote controller, and all the necessary cables for $799, or the Fly More option that gives you all of the above plus a shoulder bag, a set of ND filters, an extra set of propellers, a charging hub, and a total of three batteries for $988.
Due to shipping issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mavic Air 2 will only be available right away in China. All other regions are currently limited to pre-order, with an expected ship date of “late May.”
To learn more about the Mavic Air 2 and dive deeper into all of the flight and photography features that DJI has built into the software and hardware alike, head over to the DJI website or pre-order yours today.
The DJI drone receives a larger sensor, frame rate bump, and HDR video.
What a difference only a few years can make in the world of drones. DJI has officially announced the rumored Mavic Air 2, a refreshed version the original Mavic Air.
DJI has announced the Mavic Air 2, the newest compact, folding drone in DJI’s growing lineup. In addition to new hardware, both inside and out, the drone also features new fly modes for simplifying the flight process.
At the heart of the Mavic Air 2 is a 1/2” Quad Bayer CMOS sensor that’s capable of recording 4K video at up to 60 frames per second (fps) with a 120Mbps data rate. When dropped down to 4K/30p, the Mavic Air 2 can record HDR video while a slow motion mode can max out at 240 fps when shooting at 1080p. DJI has also included a new Hyperlapse feature that will result in 8K video using one of four flight modes: Free Movement, Circle, CourseLock and WayPoints. This isn’t the true 8K capture the Autel EVO II drone has promised, but it is 8K and we’re still yet to see the EVO II hit the market.
On the stills front, the Mavic Air 2 can capture 12MP stills with a special 48MP supersampling option that uses the drone’s three-axis gimbal to help compensate for movement in-between frames. A new ‘SmartPhoto’ capture mode will also snap 12MP stills using one of three image capture options that DJI says uses ‘advanced scene analysis and deep learning to automatically choose one of [the shooting modes].’
The first of the three shooting modes is HDR, which will snap seven photos at various exposures and merge them together to optimize the dynamic range in an image; the second mode is Hyperlight, which is a low-light mode that will take multiple photos and merge them together to create a single image with less noise than would be possible with a single image; the third and final mode is the ‘Scene Recognition’ mode that will automatically analyze the scene and select from one of five presets (sunsets, blue skies, grass, snow, and trees) to apply to the image to bring out the best of the scenery.
DJI is using new motors and electronic speed controllers (ESCs) in combination with improved battery technology to offer up a maximum flight time of 34 minutes on a single charge. This benchmark is also helped by a more aerodynamic design and lighter weight, with the device weighing just 570g (1.26lbs).
Transmitting live video from the drone to a mobile device is done with DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 protocol, which has been updated to support both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequency bands, as well as an auto-switching feature, to offer a maximum range of 10km (6.21 miles) when unobstructed. Also included in the Mavic Air 2 is Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) 3.0, which is a new obstacle avoidance technology that will recognize when an object is in the drone’s flight path and reroute the drone accordingly. DJI says this new version uses 3D mapping to ‘[aid] in smooth transitions and more fluid movements around objects even in highly complex environments.’
|A sample photo captured with the Mavic Air 2, provided by DJI.|
AirSense technology has also been included, which uses ADS-B aviation technology to help warn drone pilots of other nearby aircraft by displaying messages on the pilot’s screen, making sounds and vibrating with compatible mobile devices. DJI does note though that due to supply chain shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, only Mavic Air 2 units sold in North America will feature the ADS-B transponder; units sold in other regions will be identical in every other regard. No timeframe is given as to when this discrepancy between units could change.
The Mavic Air 2 also features a number of AI-powered features, including ActiveTrack 3.0, Point of Interest 3.0 and Spotlight 2.0. Below is a breakdown from DJI explaining each of the three 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.
The Mavic Air 2 will be made available in China starting today, while other regions should see the first units hitting store shelves in mid-May for $799. This ‘standard’ kit will include the Mavic Air 2, one battery, the remote controller and all necessary cables. A new Fly More option, which will include everything in the standard version as well as a shoulder bag, ND filters, a charging hub and three additional batteries, will retail for $988. Other optional accessories include propeller guards, protective cases and a tablet holder. You can find out more information about the Mavic Air 2 on DJI’s product page.