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DJI in late April debuted the Mavic Air 2, a foldable drone that includes upgraded flight modes, longer battery life, a larger camera sensor, 4K video recording and 8K Hyperlapse video capabilities.

DJI Mavic Air 2

The Mavic Air 2 is DJI’s first Mavic drone able to capture 4K video at 60fps and 120Mb/s, supporting HDR video, 4x to 8x slow motion video, and 48-megapixel image capture.

It features a 3-axis gimbal, and its new motors, electronic speed controllers, refreshed aerodynamic design, and updated safety features make it easier to fly and increase flight time to up to 34 minutes. The drone can be used with either an iPhone or an Android smartphone, and it offers a long list of notable features, as outlined by DJI:

Smart Photo

 Pilots can choose this new feature; and, using advanced scene recognition technology.

 Mavic Air 2 will optimize the camera settings and automatically choose one of three modes to apply. General scene recognition (including grass, trees, sunsets, snow) or HyperLight for low-light scenes where the camera takes several images of varying exposure and merges them for a high-quality image with low noise or an HDR image. 48MP mode is not available when using SmartPhoto.

8K HyperLapse

Mavic Air 2 is the first done to feature 8K Hyperlapse for stunning footage to share with the world. Users can additionally choose lower resolutions including 4K, 2.7K and 1080. Note that 8K Hyperlapse will be available in mid-May 2020 via a firmware update.

Scene Recognition

Mavic Air 2 can recognize five categories of scenes including sunsets, blue skies, grass, snow, and trees, then optimize settings to make the photograph pop by bringing out the highest degree of color, detail, and tones.

Active Track 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

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.

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.

Design, Build and Ease of Use

Just about every drone DJI produces is marketed as the smartest and easiest-to-use drone yet, and I can’t argue with them on these points, but I don’t know how much easier flying a drone could possibly be. 

Putting the Mavic 2 Pro in the air is a piece of cake, and that is no different with the Air 2. The entire package goes from being bundled in a small bag to flying in under 3 minutes, and that’s me going slowly and taking my time. 

I think the biggest design change that I wasn’t expecting was with the Air 2’s controller. DJI actually did really redesign it, and I like it a lot more than I thought I would. 

The Air 2 controller feels like the best combination of those other two, being the perfect size for the average hands without being too big to comfortably carry around. DJI nixed the antenna on this new controller and redesigned the phone cradle.

Image Quality

Perhaps the biggest draw of the Mavic Air 2 is its 48-megapixel quad-Bayer 1/2 inch sensor mounted behind a 24mm f/2.8 lens.

That is easily the highest megapixel non-interchangeable drone camera we’ve seen yet, even outclassing the Mavic 2 Pro’s 20-megapixel sensor (by the way, the implementation of that sensor on that drone I absolutely love).

Video Quality

First and foremost, it records 4K video at 60 FPS, which bests even the Mavic 2 Pro’s 4K recording at 30 FPS. 

It’s also worth pointing out that it captures at a bit rate of 120 Mbps in this mode (dropping down to 100 Mbps with HDR video capture), which provides more room to retrieve details in the shadows and highlights in post.

 I also prefer the D-Cinelike profile for its low contrast and unsaturated colors, because I can better color grade it to my liking in post.

There’s no arguing that 4K 60 FPS and a 120 Mbps bit rate are unique offerings in the Mavic line, and also unique for drones in this same price bracket.

 Some $1,000 drones offer 4K 60FPS, and you’ll generally need to bump into that higher price bracket for a competitive video bit rate.

Mavic Air 2 Pricing

The Mavic Air 2 will be priced at $799 alone or $988 for the Flymore bundle which will include 2 extra batteries, a case, charging hub, and ND filters. Compare that to the Mavic 2 Zoom/Pro priced $1349/1499, and the previous Air, originally priced at $900 but currently selling for $599.

Conclusion

The Mavic Air 2 was never designed to appeal to the same audiences as the Mavic 2 Pro, as you could probably guess by the major differences in price points. 

It’s a smaller, lighter, more hand-holding of a product that is absolutely a great purchase for the average drone enthusiast who just wants to have fun flying a camera. 

It’s not going to win any awards for image quality, and it’s ISO performance lags significantly behind the Mavic 2 Pro. 

You also don’t get an adjustable aperture, which is another disappointing feature left off the Air 2 from the Mavic 2 Pro. 

The Fly More bundle does come with three ND filters that are easy to swap on and off the drone, but I do miss having that control on the lens itself.