So yesterday DJI dropped another drone into the already saturated market, I say saturated because there's many other brands on the market making similar types of drones but there really isn't competition to DJI. The quality of the products, the technology that they come up with their drones is just far superior than any other manufacturer. GoPro tried their hand at it with the Karma but the Mavic Pro came along and blew it out the skies, and now it's time for the next step for the Mavic, the Mavic Air.
So whats new? Well apart from it being more compact, DJI have improved the camera and offering more features, like the 32MP Sphere photography and Panoramic picture capture. The camera now has a 3-Axis Gimbal which the 4K Camera sits on, its the only drone of its size to have one. It has 3 Directional Environment Sensing, Smart Capture and an improved flying time of 21 minutes. We'll break down some of these features below.
Sphere & Panoramic
When it comes to drones, it's no phone if the camera is crap and with the smaller drones offered previously from DJI, quality on these camera's were not as great if you had to compare it to the Phantom 4 Pro, with the Mavic Pro offering still a good picture but not nearly as much enhanced colour recognition as the Phantom, and much the same with the Spark, which only offers videoing in 720p. With the Mavic Air, the camera offers 4K recording at 30 fps, recording at 100 Mbps with UHD quality, it also supports recording 1080p 120 fps slow motion video for those awesome action adventure shots. In addition to this, it is able to take high quality pictures, with its 32MP Sphere panoramic feature. So you can take stunning 180 degree panoramas, where the Mavic Air stitches up to 25 photos together in just 8 seconds to give you a crystal clear 32MP image. You can even view them in an immersive perspective with DJI Goggles. The camera also has HDR algorithms to enhance exposure and give you deeper, more natural colours and transitions.
Battery & APAS
The battery in the Mavic Air has improved a lot from the previous gens with it giving the drone up to 21 minutes of flight time. With the maximum transmission distance of 4km, you can be to go further than you ever had before with your drone. The Mavic Air has a max speed of 19 meter per second, so getting to that 4km mark won't be that slow either. One of the great things about the Air is that even though its size, it still remains stable in strong winds and high elevations but the kicker for me is the new APAS system. The advanced pilot assistance system on the Mavic Air allows the drone to detect obstructions in its path with the means of front and back obstacle avoidance sensors. This will help the drone to avoid colliding with objects that you cannot see on the screen by flying around them without stopping, this will help avoid hefty repair bills of loss of the drone!
Smart Capture & Active tracking
With Active tracking before, you could only select one object to track, now it allows you to select multiple, not sure how it will work if one object gets further apart form the other. The Mavic Air also comes with some built in quick shot modes, something like the different settings on Instagram camera, with Asteroid has it coming in fast from high above you to a certain point and Boomerang which does a 360 video around you before returning home. Smart Capture has been enhances with hand gestures and facial recognition. The controller is similar to that of the Pro and Spark but now has removable sticks to make storing the remote easier. There's a whole range of colour options and accessories for the Mavic Air, so you can personalise your own.
No idea on what the local retail costs are on the Mavic Air but it is on sale in the US for $799, so we're probably looking in the region of 10-12K for just the drone. The controller would be sold separately since you can fly the drone with just your phone. Overall it looks like another quality product from DJI, and another must have for those budding photographers and videographers.