The DJI Mavic series drones have proven to be reliable, easy-to-learn and feature-rich portable quadcopters that have made aerial photography more accessible. The latest addition to the family is the Mavic Air 2, released to the public at the end of April 2020. The most popular question is what is the difference between the new product and the first generation Mavic Air? Looking ahead, let’s say that we are talking more about a fundamentally new product. Why? We offer you to compare the camera capabilities, intelligent modes and flight characteristics of two drones!
The camera of the new Mavic Air 2 has a large 1/2‑inch sensor, shoots 48 MP photos and has a set of SmartPhoto features.
Let’s start with the most important difference, the results of which will be visible in every shot. The Mavic Air 2 has a 1/2‑inch sensor, while the Mavic Air has a 1/2.3‑inch sensor. The camera of the new quadcopter also supports Quad Bayer pixel binarization technology. This solution is already used by manufacturers of modern smartphones: four pixels are combined into one, resulting in a 12 megapixel image with a large pixel size, so that in low light we get a photo with more brightness and less noise. The detail of the photo has also increased, which is especially noticeable when enlarging the picture or using the digital zoom.
The ISO range of the DJI Mavic Air camera is 100‑1600 in auto and 100‑3200 in manual mode, for the Mavic Air 2 these ranges reach 100‑3200 and 100‑6400 respectively in 12MP mode. A wide range of light sensitivity is the key to greater detail under various lighting conditions. If you chose the 48 MP mode, then the ranges are 100‑1600 and 100‑3200 — a good solution for shooting during the day. Let’s compare photos taken by Mavic Air and Mavic Air 2 at different ISO settings.
SmartPhoto is a brand new solution introduced for Mavic Air 2. It combines HDR mode, scene recognition and Hyperlight function in one intelligent algorithm. Smart Photo easily and quickly optimizes camera settings based on specific conditions — the tools of modern smartphones are now available to advanced amateur drone operators.
One of the most interesting features of the first generation Mavic Air is the 32MP spherical panorama with automatic merging of multiple images into one. In addition, it can shoot horizontal, vertical and circular panoramas.
All of these features are available on the Mavic Air 2, plus an HDR panorama mode has been added. Enjoy stunning footage with an incredibly wide dynamic range!
Mavic Air 2 shoots 4K video at 60fps at 120Mbps
Frame rate and bit rate
The frame rate and bitrate have increased compared to the first generation drone, the difference is noticeable to the naked eye. When using Full HD mode, the Mavic Air 2 shoots at 240 fps versus the Mavic Air 2’s 120 fps. This not only gives you a smoother picture, but also allows you to use amazing 4x slow motion in your videos.
Mavic Air 2 shoots HDR video at 4K/30fps and 2.7K/30fps, resulting in incredible colors regardless of scenery or lighting conditions. HDR video has more dynamic range than standard video. Now you don’t have to worry: you won’t light up the frame with a bright sun and you won’t lose the color of the sky, the result will always meet your expectations!
The Mavic Air 2’s video ISO range is 100‑6400 versus 100‑1600 for the Mavic Air. This means colors are more vibrant and contrasty, even in low light.
How is the H.256 codec available to Mavic Air 2 users different from the H.264 codec used on the Mavic Air? H.256 is a new video compression standard that stores information more efficiently. Simply put, the same quality is maintained with a smaller file size and disk space occupied. You will especially appreciate this advantage when you upload a video to share it on social networks!
Mavic Air 2’s advanced intelligent features take shooting to the next level.
FocusTrack is a new set of intelligent subject tracking features first introduced for Mavic Air 2, giving you more scenes to capture. First and foremost is ActiveTrack 3.0, which brings together the best features of DJI tracking software. It allows you to more accurately control the flight of an object at high speed, as well as restore tracking of an object that has temporarily hidden behind another, without the participation of the pilot. Point of Interest (POI) 3.0 — a mode for flying around stationary objects along a pre-programmed route with improved surface recognition algorithms. Finally, Spotlight 2.0 is a feature that comes from the world of professional drones: the subject is always in the center of the frame, while maintaining full control of the drone. FocusTrack will appeal to those who want to give the solution of complex tasks to smart automation to realize their creative ideas.
Mavic Air 2 owners have access to 8K Hyperlapse, which gives you control over space and time when shooting video. Whether you’re shooting a city falling into the night or the sun rising over the mountains, you get a unique Smart Mode and a new means of artistic expression at your disposal. Mavic Air 2 is the first and only drone with 8K Hyperlapse to date!
Many of us want to add a few cinematic effects to our creations, but don’t want to spend all day painstakingly setting up a drone. If you recognize yourself in this description, then the QuickShots feature set will suit you: just a few clicks, and the quadcopter will fly along a preset route and record video. Both Mavic Air and Mavic Air 2 have 5 trajectories in their arsenal: Drony, Circle, Rocket, Boomerang and Asteroid, but Mavic Air 2 features improved electronic stabilization in these modes.
Flight performance and safety
Mavic Air 2 has an improved transmission system, additional safety features and an impressive flight time of 34 minutes.
In terms of flight performance and safety, there are no less cardinal differences. Mavic Air 2’s reliable OcuSync 2.0 transmission system ensures uninterrupted, lag-free video streaming over long distances, even when you’re in the middle of mountains or dense urban areas. Compared to the Wi-Fi transmission used for the Mavic Air, this is a significant step forward.
The Mavic Air 2 is a real breakthrough in this regard, with a flight time of up to 34 minutes, not only more than the Mavic Air, which flies 21 minutes, but more than any other drone in the Mavic series. Even more possibilities open up to you if you choose the Fly More Combo kit, which includes three batteries — you can fly for more than 100 minutes without recharging the batteries and use this time to the full for creativity.
The remote control of the new Mavic Air 2 is designed from the ground up. The smartphone is installed on top, it is more convenient to look at it.
The controller of the new drone is lighter, more ergonomic and more convenient to use. In addition, it has a built-in antenna and a three-position slider to switch between Tripod, Normal and Sport flight modes. The remote control works on a single charge for up to 240 minutes and can itself serve as an external battery for your smartphone and other gadgets, thanks to the reverse charge function. Mavic Air can stream video at 720p 30fps to a smartphone, while Mavic Air 2 can stream video at 1080p 30fps.
The DJI Fly and DJI GO 4 apps offer the user a simple and intuitive interface with a wide range of functions.
The DJI Fly app makes controlling the Mavic Air 2 and its modes accessible to everyone with a simple interface for content creators. All functions — from hyperlapse to fast shooting, are available in a few taps. The DJI Go 4 app, used for the first generation drone, has a redesigned home page, editor, and video playback interface. Both apps are intuitive and easy to master for any smartphone user.
Both drones come with a wide range of original accessories to help you get the most out of every day of filming.
DJI manufactures a large number of original accessories for every drone, designed to give you even more flexibility and freedom in your creative process. For example, ND filters reduce the amount of light on the camera’s sensor for shooting in various artificial and natural lighting conditions.
Mavic Air 2 or Mavic Air?
The first generation Mavic Air is a good choice for a first drone experience on a medium budget. It has the necessary minimum of functions for high-quality shooting and traditionally high reliability for DJI products. If your choice is devices that incorporate the latest technology, then the Mavic Air 2 is definitely worth a look. a modern blogger or traveler needs!