DJI, the world’s renowned maker of consumer drones, has mentioned in their teasers about their dream of building a drone that combines technology, engineering, and aerial photography. They also added that this drone will bear the signature technologies of the company and will redefine what we know about aerial photography. Now that dream has come into fruition with the creation of the DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
This is a second generation for the model as the original Mavic Pro was introduced two years ago. It was a hit because the design was revolutionary. It has all the features of Phantom 4, a previously released innovative drone from DJI and put them all in a foldable Mavic Pro. This was the first foldable drone that has an excellent camera and a 3-axis gimbal. Everything was top of the line.
However, we still crave for more innovations. DJI again release another model in Phantom 4 Pro, but consumers want the compact and foldable design of Mavic Pro. The Phantom 4 is superior in this quality of footages, but they do not like to carry around a drone as bulky as a cooler. Drone enthusiasts still want a drone in a compact package, the same as the original Mavic Pro. The answer to this is the newly released Mavic 2 Pro.
What is a Drone?
In the technological context, a done is an unmanned aircraft. In the scientific world, they are unmanned aerial vehicles or AUVs and unmanned aircraft systems or UASes. Drones are generally a flying robot. You can control it remotely, or it can autonomously fly using software to control the flight plans that is embedded in their system while working in concurrence with the built-in GPS and sensors.
Drones are often associated with the military. It is used for anti-aircraft target practice, intelligence gathering and its most controversial used as platforms for a weapon. Nowadays, drones are used in a wide range of civilian roles.
Drone Popularity & Usage
If you have watched the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony, it had created a world record for the numbers of drones flying simultaneously. Drones are becoming very popular for a number of reasons. You can point the popularity of drones to the increase in public interest on the technology. In the consumer level, drone technology is advancing at an exponential rate, with more drones becoming portable and more affordable. Here are some of the reasons why drones are more popular these days.
- Affordable. Ever since the drones have become mainstream, its price has dropped significantly. There are even drones for less than $50 but with limited capabilities. As its features and capabilities increase and more brands compete with each other, its price will continue to drop.
- Coolness Factor. Drone is a whiz toy that is not very common; therefore, there is a coolness factor when a person owns and flies one.
- Entertaining. Even Dolce and Gabanna used one in their fashion show, one dance troupe centered their choreography on a flying drone, Intel used it for their light shows and even Time Magazine used a drone for their cover.
- Creative tool. Photography and videography will never be the same again when drones came in the picture. Drones we able to capture a new perspective, close-ups that are impossible to capture and even places or things that are dangerous to shoot.
- Productivity. Nowadays drones have allowed humans to go to unsafe and impossible places to reach. Drones are also used to survey, inspect, and even spray crops.
Drones will continue to change different facets of our daily lives as its adoption continue to accelerate.
Popular Uses of Drones
Although drone usage is currently restricted under FAA’s regulation for drone under 55 pounds, there are many companies and individual who are using drones in their work. It helps them to work smarter, faster and with lower liabilities and risks.
Drones have found its way in remote sensing because they can be loaded with remote sensing equipment to assist in a number of tasks. It is also used in geological surveying, archeology, and agriculture and in a number of industries that can benefit from the different sensors; you can pack in a drone.
Among its useful applications are in agriculture with the use of remote sensing technology called Lidar. It can measure the height of the crops. You can also use drones for surveillance, emergency response, detecting temperature and in land surveying.
Commercial Aerial Surveillance
Surveillance does not need to be from a security perspective or for spying. Drones are also helpful for farmers to monitor their livestock and vast land. The fire department can use drones to monitor wildfires, and private companies can use drones to monitor their infrastructures like pipelines and buildings. It can also be used in inspecting power lines, tall structures, and towers, which can save them money and would limit liabilities from exposing humans to danger.
Commercial and Motion Picture Filming
The introduction of drones in video and filmmaking has dramatically reduced the amount spent in production. Before 2014, filming involves using equipment like dollies and booms. They also used manned aircraft or helicopters. Nowadays, sporting events are using drones because they are easy to maneuver and can reach further than cable-suspended cameras.
Oil, Gas and other Explorations
Drones are used in combination with electromagnetic sensors to gather geological information. It helps geophysicists in gathering information and approximating the location of oil minerals and even natural gas.
Because you can pack as many sensors as possible in drones, they are particularly helpful in locating and saving lives during natural disasters. It can also help in gathering data and deliver supplies, medicines, and other necessities to disaster areas. The infrared sensors in drones are particularly useful in detecting humans using their heat signature.
Real Estate Development
You can survey land and get information on the job site with drones. Through drones realtors, builders and developers can make videos and photos for building inspections. This is also important in preparing their marketing materials.
Perhaps the most common usage of the drone is for fun. The ability to fly is something that remains a mystery to man and flying a drone is the next best thing. Using drones for recreational flying is legal. You can also attach a camera to your drone to take beautiful videos and photos of the world around you.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro: What’s New?
According to drone experts, the two new drones of DJI, the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic 2 Zoom are the two most advanced drones that it has released. Here are the features that set the Mavic 2 Pro apart from its predecessors.
There is not much improvement in the Mavic 2 from the original Mavic when we are talking about the flight specs. The drone can stay in the air for a couple of minutes more, meaning 31 minutes instead of 29 and it can fly a few miles faster. The most significant improvements in this model are on its cameras, software and sensing abilities.
We can say that Mavic 2 Pro is more of an evolutionary rather than being revolutionary. Here are the many new characteristics of DJI Mavic 2 Pro:
- It has an additional Hyperlapse mode, which is divided into four sub-modes: Waypoints, Course Lock, Free, and Circle.
- Additional Hyperlight and Enhanced HDR shooting modes
- Emergency landing when there is a decrease in Battery RTH
- The level of low battery warning is adjusted to 25%
- Improvement in the overall quality of Panorama photos
- No more issue of sudden movement of the drone when there is compass interference
- The random issues of gimbal were not centering after QuickShots are also fixed.
- Improvement of the overall quality of photos.
- Vision systems are put to better use.
- A minimum flight altitude of 2m is added to ActiveTrack 2.0
- A lot of improvement in QuickShots including the glitch when the camera does not record video and video quality
- Type of Drone: Quadcopter
- Dimensions: 322 mm x 242 mm x 84 mm
- Approximate Weight: 907 g
- Sensor (camera): one-in, 20 megapixel
- Lens: 28 mm
- Built-in Memory: 8GB
- Flight Time (max): 31 minutes
- Maximum Speed: 72 kph
DJI Mavic 2 Pro: Full Review
Finally, it is here. After much speculation, DJI has launched the successor to the legendary Mavic Pro. There are actually two drones in the series that were released simultaneously, but for the purpose of this review, we will concentrate only on Mavic 2 Pro. This drone is small and foldable and has the capability in capturing footages. It has placed itself in the DJI product line as the middle drone between the high-end Phantom and the entry-level Spark.
Unique Features and Specs
As mentioned in the earlier part of this article, there are three most significant improvements done on Mavic 2 Pro to distinguish it from the original. These are the cameras, sensing abilities and the software.
In terms of software, DJI’s Mavic 2 Pro has the new ActiveTrack 2.0. This new software makes it possible for the drone to follow moving objects precisely on its own. It also has the innovative OcuSync 2.0, which is the newest version of video transmission technology from the company. This means that you can view what the drone is seeing in full HD (1080p) in real time.
Another new feature in the Mavic 2 Pro is the more improved environmental sensing system. The original version of Mavic can only sense the obstacle in front of it. This new generation has the omnidirectional “sense and avoid.” It has 10 sensors that are positioned all around the drone- front and back left and right, top to bottom.
Lastly, of course, the highlight feature of Mavic 2 Pro, its cameras. This new generation of Mavic has a built-in Hasselblad camera with an integrated 1-inch CMOS sensor and aperture you can adjust. More discussion on this later.
This drone is actually a refinement of the good features of its original version, which is good because it has kept the good qualities of the first-generation drone from DJI and the designers worked only on areas that have huge potential for improvement.
Design, Quality, and Durability
In terms of design and built, the Mavic 2 Pro is an outtake from the original Mavic. As we all know, its predecessor is one of the most durable and well-built unmanned vehicles and this latest offering from DJI did not differ.
Even the form has not changed at all, and it looks identical to the first generation Mavic save for minor modifications. This newest release is a little bigger and heavier. As mentioned earlier, it has more sensors in its hull than its predecessor. If you are worried about the rock-solid built and folding-arm design of Mavic, this model still has this awesome feature.
Even without subjecting this drone to crash testing, we know that it can barrel its way into bushes, bump into anything and bounce around inside your bag and it will still fly. That is how durable this drone is.
Battery and Charging Time
Because of its awesome aerodynamic design, the Mavic 2 Pro can fly at an optimal condition up to 31 minutes on maximum at a constant speed of 7 miles per hour, roughly around 25 kph. Subjecting this drone into a series of tests provided results not far from what DJI’s claim.
In the static hover test, where the drone is flown hover in place until it runs out of battery and land themselves. The average flying time on the hover test is 28 minutes and a few more seconds. This value is close to the 29 as claimed by its manufacturer.
In testing the drone on a normal flight, where the drones are flown in different variables, the average flying time is still within the range at 28 minutes and 44 seconds. It is a little short of the 31 minutes that DJI claimed earlier.
Charging the battery will take 45 to 50 minutes. It is slightly faster than the earlier models from the same company.
On its maiden flight, the first that you will notice with this drone is its quietness. There is still noise as what you would expect when flying a motorized vehicle but it is not irritatingly loud. This means that you can still have an audible conversation even if it is flying just5 to 10 meters away from you. This good feature is due to the redesigning of its Sinusoidal drive and the new low-noise propellers.
Because of the increase in weight of this new Mavic 2 Pro at 907 grams, it has become more stable than its previous version. When you compare the ‘old’ Mavic with the Phantom, the latter has more stability in the air. The new version of Mavic has addressed this concern not with the size of the drone but its weight. The 24% increase in its weight has made the difference.
Propellers and Motors
Since the cameras and the gimbal of this second-generation Mavic are larger, you would expect that its motor size would increase too. However, this did not happen, as the motor diameter did not change at all. Only the motor’s height increased to accommodate the increase in stator windings. The covers of the motor did not change too, and the propellers are still compatible to move forward and backward.
The only significant change here is the propeller because of the increased in top-speed of its sports mode to 72 km/h, about 45 miles per hour.
Power and Efficiency
Given that there is an increase in the size and weight of this model, you would expect that its batteries to burn out easily. However, this is not the case here, and this is where Mavic 2 Pro stands out with its advancement. This new model is equipped with DJI’s new four Cell wired in Series (4S for short) battery made from Lithium polymer. This allows the battery to increase its stored energy in each of the cells just like adding a small gas tank in a car. Although the batteries might feel massive, it contributes to the roughly 20% increase in its flight time. It also improved communication and transmission between that remote control and the drone.
Omnidirectional Obstacle Avoidance
Not only did this Mavic have an improved Advanced Pilot Assistance System it also has the new omnidirectional obstacle avoidance with multiple sensors located all around its body. However, take note that the obstacle avoidance on the sides will only function if the drone is in Tripod or Active-Track mode.
In addition to this improvement, there are also two more LED lights for additional lighting and an improvement of the accuracy of the bottom sensors in less-than-ideal conditions.
Piloting and Control
When it comes to its performance in the air, its older sibling will not leave behind Mavic 2 Pro. It has the same tightness, athleticism, and responsiveness. According to drone enthusiasts, flying this drone is very much like any other drone from DJI. Moreover, if you are new to flying a drone, you will fly this like a pro. This is because of the top-notch flying software that eliminates drifting, wandering and slippery controls.
This awesome manual control is only the beginning. The omnidirectional obstacle avoidance system makes you fly it with confidence and if you are about to crash, this drone it will send a beeping signal. It can even do an auto-brake if you did not heed to the signal to avoid crashing.
Camera and other Accessories
The Mavic 2 Pro has a Hasselblad camera with a 1-inch CMOS sensor. It has a better shooter, and the large sensors give it a better resolution, better low-light performance, and an even better range. The Hasselblad camera is also equipped with an adjustable aperture. This feature allows you to control how much lights is entering the camera and lets you change the field. If you are a professional photographer, you will love this feature because it gives you dynamic control over the equipment.
Another feature to love is the Dlog M 10-bit color recording. We know this is a technical jargon but to put it simply, this means that it can recognize a billion of hidden colors. The only thing that Mavic 2 Pro cannot do is zooming. Nevertheless, in spite of this limitation, it can still give you creative freedom to shoot beautiful footage and pictures.
This is a new addition and is included in the intelligent flight mode while making different navigations to take individuals photos and make them into hyperlapses. You can do this by circling one point of interest, course-lock a heading or navigate freely. You can have this save in the task library and refly this existing route later.
There are many improvements here too from the original version. The OcuSync 2.0 has an improved interference, and the drone can automatically switch between 2.4 & 5 GHz. It facilitates higher transmission at an even longer distance like up to 8 km for a 1080p video. You can have a good resolution streamed into the mobile device for a quick edit, and you can upload the video too if you need to.
The Bottom Line
If you are looking for a reliable and advanced drone in a compact body with an excellent camera, then the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the best choice. It is an exciting piece of technology, and you will not find anything like it outside of the DJI sphere. It is the right drone too if you are into filmmaking and photography.
However, if you have drones under DJI before, you might feel that it does not have much difference from the previously released drones. It did not break any limitations that drone consumers experienced with their drones. There is no meaningful innovation and does not bring something new to the table.
Although this drone is really worth the hype if you are a pro in buying drones, today might not be the right time to buy it. This is because if DJI is poised to launch another new model, it will push the price of Mavic 2 Pro down.