The new DJI Mavic Air is a compact marvel, but how does it stack up against DJI’s original drone design, the Phantom? We’ve already compared the Mavic Air to the Mavic Pro and the Spark, but how does it compare to the flagship DJI drone, the Phantom 4 Pro? What about the Phantom 3? What about the upcoming Phantom 4 Pro V2? Let’s find out.
Take a closer look at how these drones stack up against each other. If you want to see how the Mavic Air compares directly against the Mavic Pro or Spark we’ve done detailed comparisons of those as well. Click on the links below to learn more.
|See how the Mavic Air compares to the Mavic Pro||See how the Mavic Air compares to the Spark|
The first and most obvious difference is design. The Phantom models have a classic quadcopter look to them. The Mavic Air is a small and foldable sleek design. There are plenty of large backpacks that you can use to make the Phantom more portable, but you’ll still need a large bag and you’ll have to remove the propellers if you don’t want to be carrying around a much larger box. We think the large size of the Phantom series of drones is a bit exagerated, but it is easy to understand when you compare the diminutive size of a folded up Mavic Air. The Mavic Air is the ultimate in portability.
The Phantom 4 Pro camera is the absolute best camera you can get without spending thousands of dollars. Its one-inch sensor makes it more than good enough for almost any professional application. You’ll be able to get excellent pictures and video in a variety of settings and lighting situations. The Mavic Air camera is still quite impressive with a 1/2.3 inch sensor and it is capable of high-quality 4K video, but the gimbal doesn’t have the travel and the camera can’t match the professional quality on the Phantom 4 Pro. With an adjustable aperture and a mechanical shutter, the camera on the Phantom 4 Pro is in a class of its own.
While the Phantom 4 Pro is only slightly faster than the Mavic Air in Sport mode, the really important detail is how much faster it can fly while filming quality video in normal flight mode. The gimbal on the Mavic Air does not have as much travel distance, which means DJI has slowed down the Mavic Air for normal video capture. The Phantom 4 Pro is much faster in normal flight mode and that makes a big difference for capturing smooth video.
Other Things to Consider
The Phantom 4 Pro not only has front, rear, and bottom sensors, but also adds side sensors as well. While the Mavic Air lacks the side sensor, it does have the newest in avoidance software allowing it to navigate around obstacles, rather than simply stop when it senses an obstacle. The Mavic Air also adds new flight modes Asteroid and Boomerang to the video repertoire. Hopefully, DJI updates the Phantom 4 Pro to also incorporate these features.
What About the Other Phantom Models?
There are obviously a lot of other Phantom models out there. Phantom 3 Standard, Advanced, Pro, SE, 4K, Phantom 4 and Phantom 4 Advanced to name a few. Are any of these good options? In short, yes they are all good drones. They all have their merits as well, and all could be good options if the price is right. The Phantom 4 Pro is clearly top of the line, so if money isn’t an option that would be the Phantom model we recommend.
Which One is Best for You?
If you are looking for a great photography drone that you can bring with you then chances are the Mavic Air is the best option for you. After all, the best camera is the one you can bring with you (even in your pocket). The Mavic Air is portable, less expensive, and has a camera that can suit the needs of almost anyone. If you are a professional photographer or you simply want the best camera in the sky for under $2000 then the Phantom 4 Pro is the way to go.
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If you want to learn more about taking great pictures or flying FPV then check out our comprehensive guides on those topics. Also take a look at our articles on how to choose the right drone for great aerial photos or for getting started flying race drones. Learn more about drones and how to get the most out of them in our Drone Academy. In the Academy we also detail some of the advanced testing we do, including our recent addition, drone thrust testing.
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