The Mavic Air 2 is a big upgrade from the Mavic Mini and is nearly as capable as the more expensive Mavic 2. It is an entirely different drone and a clear improvement over the original Mavic Air. The Mavic Air 2 brings new features and some exciting specs to the table. The Mavic Air 2 boasts a 34-minute flight time, a top speed of 42.5 mph (19 m/s), and a 6-mile (10,000-meter) range.
DJI Mavic Air 2 – Less Air, More Mavic
The Mavic Air 2 looks like DJI took the Mavic Pro 2 and shrunk it down. Or perhaps they enlarged the Mini. No matter how you look at it, the Mavic Air 2 perfectly fits in between the Mini and the M2 Pro in both size and features. DJI found a form factor that works and they are sticking with it. But it doesn’t feel like a toy. This is a serious machine. I loved flying it. It is maneuverable and capable. I felt like I was flying my Mavic 2 Pro.
If you want a drone from DJI that fits in our pocket, then the Mavic Mini is the way to go. Unlike the original Mavic Air, this the MA2 (Mavic Air 2) won’t be adding any bulge to your pants. We here at Half Chrome think the slightly larger form factor is a small price to pay for a much better drone with a much better camera.
What’s new on the Mavic Air 2?
The Mavic Air 2 has some impressive new features. The Mavic Air 2 is the first Mavic drone that is capable of shooting 4K footage at 60fps. It also is the only Mavic with the ability to shoot photos, panoramas, and video in HDR. The Mavic Air 2 is capable of shooting a 48-megapixel panorama in HDR. This is a definite upgrade over the original Mavic Air. It is a complete redesign.
The New Camera
The camera on the Air 2 is pretty darn spectacular. It sports a number of firsts for DJI, including a 48 MP sensor, HDR video and photos in all modes, and 4K-60. Let’s start by taking a closer look at the sensor.
Mavic Air 2’s Sony Sensor
We have no confirmation of this, but based on a little research, it looks like DJI picked Sony’s IMX586 1/2-inch sensor for the job. The 1/2-inch sensor captures about 30% more light than the Mavic Air’s 1/2.3 inch sensor. This is a seriously high-tech sensor with some tricks up its sleeve. It uses a “Quad Bayer” design to simultaneously have the light-capturing power of a 1.6-micron pixel and the extra resolution of a pixel half that size. This makes the IMX586 ideal for low light performance at 12 MP while maintaining high resolution 48 MP in better light.
The sensor also seems to be able to turn off half of the pixel mid-frame to aid in HDR image capture. It’s no wonder why DJI chose the Mavic Air 2 to be its first camera to really push HDR technology. This sensor was first announced in July of 2018, so it is also possible that DJI got its hands on a newer version of a similar sensor.
At 84°, the diagonal field of view is about the same as the Mavic Air’s 85°, but wider than the Mavic 2 Pro, which has about a 78° FOV. With an f/2.8 aperture, this camera has no need for autofocus so you never need to work about “focus breathing” or your shots being blurry.
This new Mavic is the first folding drone by DJI that is capable of capturing 4K footage at 60 frames per second as well as other frame rates, including 24, 25, 30, 48, and 50 fps. The camera also can shoot at 2.7K and 1080p. At 1080p it adds the ability to shoot at 120 fps and even as fast as 240 fps. All three resolutions are also capable of capturing HDR video as well.
This new Mavic’s camera sits on a full three-axis gimbal that has an impressive amount of travel. Unlike the original Mavic Air, the MA2 does an excellent job of keeping the camera stable in windy conditions and in Sport Mode.
The color profiles available are normal and D-Cinelike and you can choose to record in either H.264 or H.265. Photographers will be happy to learn that the Mavic Air 2 can capture either JPG or DNG (RAW) files.
Occusync 2.0 on the Mavic Air 2
The 10 km range (6.2 miles) is achieved by utilizing DJI’s Occusync 2.0 technology. It beats the Mavic 2 series by 2000 meters by auto-switching between 2.4/5.8 GHz to provide a clear live feed in up to 1080p. This is a huge leap from the original Mavic Air and Mavic Mini which rely on enhanced WiFi technology.
Obstacle avoidance and FocusTrack
The Mavic Air 2 has front, rear, and bottom sensors. The APAS 3.0 (Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems) utilizes an advanced mapping technology for smooth following and reliable obstacle avoidance in many different situations. It works much better than the APAS 2.0 system.
There are three different FocusTrack modes that allow you to track different subjects. ActiveTrack 3.0 allows you to follow subjects and avoid obstacles. Spotlight 2.0 allows you to fly freely while the camera stays locked on the subject. POI 3.0 creates an automated path to fly around a fixed point and keeps the camera centered on your target.
What about the FAA?
The new Air 2 isn’t the under the 250-gram mark like it’s little brother the Mavic Mini. That means in the US you’ll have to pony up the $5 and register with the FAA. It is DJI’s first consumer drone ever equipped with Airsense. Airsense uses ADS-B technology that is required on airplanes and helicopters to help keep the skies safer. Airsense will only be offered initially on units sold in the United States.
Should you order the DJI Mavic Air 2?
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is clearly an improvement over the original Mavic Air. It is most definitely an upgrade over the Mavic Mini. In some ways, it outclasses even the larger Mavic 2. With a price tag of $799, it is most definitely the most capable drone at that price point. We’d recommend upgrading to the Fly More Package. The cost jumps to $988 but having extra batteries and a nice carrying case plus a few extra goodies go a long way.
The new Air 2 may not have the 1-inch sensor that the Mavic 2 Pro and Phantom 4 Pro do, so it won’t be able to capture footage quite as well in low-light situations. The Mavic Air 2 also doesn’t have an optical zoom lens like the Mavic 2 Zoom. To gain either of these features you’ll have to find an extra $500-800.
Right now, unless you need the larger 1-inch sensor or optical zoom, then the Mavic Air 2 is the Mavic drone to have. We see this as the best all-around drone if you are looking to stay under $1,000. The camera on the Mavic Air 2 is excellent and certainly good enough to do some professional work without breaking the bank.
Check out our other articles as we compare the Mavic 2 Air to the Mavic Mini, the Mavic 2 series, the original Mavic Air as well as to the Autel Evo and the Parrot Anafi. We even have comprehensive specs articles that you can use as a reference that has more details than the one above. If you want to see how it stacks up against the Mavic Mini, click here. For a deep dive on the Air 2 vs the Pro and Zoom click here. If you are looking for a breakdown on specs then click here for the comparison of the different DJI Mavic models.
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