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TECH REVIEW

06.05.20
DJI MAVIC SERIES

We live in a wild world of fast-paced technology with new drones coming out regularly. Whether or not you have any use for drone technology, the little kid inside you has to at least admit how cool they are. While drones may seem like a glorified tech toy, these flying cameras have a lot to offer and are quite impressive. From being a seasoned pro photographer/videographer capturing breathtaking moments or a novice capturing a quick weekend getaway, drones offer a whole new perspective while elevating production value.

So you’ve decided to buy a drone but perhaps you are feeling overwhelmed by the number of options available on the market? At Boundary we believe there is a right tool for every job, so we sat down with our top three favorite drones we’ve used recently to bring you this product review. Please note that airspace rules my vary from region to region and all drones were flown safely and responsibly.
While there are several drone brands on the market, we shoot exclusively with the brand DJI. Based out of Shenzhen China, DJI has emerged as the front runner of drone technology and has a wide offering of prosumer aircrafts. Their earlier Phantom models were large, bulky, ufo looking drones that often required a large carry case to transport to and from destinations. This all transitioned in 2016 when they released their first-ever game-changing Mavic Pro folding drone. Four short years later DJI commands 70% of the market and the Mavic series has quickly taken off. In this review, we sit down with the Mavic Mini, all new Mavic Air 2, and the Mavic 2 Pro. Dive in below and discover which drone best suits your needs.

The Mavic Mini

For those who want to get into piloting without spending a lot of money, the Mavic Mini is your choice. This thing is small, like fits in the palm of your hand small. It almost feels like a toy, which is exactly the approach DJI seems to have intentionally made when designing this drone. Most laws require drones 250 grams or heavier to be registered with local flying governments. Weighing in at just 249 grams, the Mavic Mini skirts this regulation and allows pilots to fly worry-free. While this small weight still holds flyers accountable to all other drone laws, the Mavic Mini still delivers a large variety of features. The Mavic Mini is extremely packable. When carrying weight and size counts, the Mini delivers. We fit ours in our Rift Pack or CB-1 and still have room to spare. This makes the drone extremely ideal for day trips, bike rides, and hikes. Did we mention the Mini costs less than $400? For near the price of an action camera you get a 3-Axis gimbal, 30 minutes of flight time, 4 kilometers of flight distance, and up to 2.7k video footage.
It should be mentioned that while the price is easy on the eyes, there are a few missing features that we long for. There are no real vision or anti-collision systems, all photos and video are set to auto-capture modes only, and we lose out on active tracking. All of this said, the Mavic Mini is still an amazing aircraft and should be considered for any consumers looking to get into an entry-level drone.

The Mavic Air 2

The saying “you get what you pay for” almost holds no effect when purchasing the new Mavic Air 2. Of all three drones in our fleet, the Air 2 delivers more bang for your buck than you can shake a stick at. Being priced at $799 may seem like a lot of money, but when compared to the Mini and Pro, the Air 2 has more features, a longer flight time, and hits that goldilocks zone in terms of size.
The Air 2’s highlighting features include up to 10 kilometers of flight distance, 34 minutes of flight time, obstacle avoidance, 8k hyperlapses, 48-megapixel photos, 4k video, slow motion video, and our favorite feature, focus tracking. This is a very robust list of features and while we have not had the drone for more than a month, the focus tracking is really what sets this drone apart. Active tracking isn’t anything new, it essentially allows pilots to lock onto any person or object to the center of the screen while recording. This feature essentially lets the pilot fly either on auto-pilot or while in control but without having to worry about framing. Focus tracking on previous Mavic models have felt gimmicky, but this feature finally delivers on the Air 2.

The Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom

The Mavic Pro is the drone that started it all. After two years of its release in 2016 DJI unveiled the Mavic Pro 2 which came in two options, one with zooming capabilities and the other with a 1 inch Hasselblad sensor. While the latter offers higher quality photos and color tones, we were more interested in the zoom capabilities and decided to buy the Mavic 2 Zoom. Featuring 31 minutes of flight time, obstacle avoidance, several quick shot features, and a 24-48mm lens, the Mavic Zoom elevates aerial photography by allowing up to 4x lossless zooming capabilities. Getting closer to subjects helps maintain safer distances, provides more interesting angles, and opens up new video capabilities with options like dolly zoom.
The Mavic Zoom retails for $1349 and is the most costly of the three drones. Aside from its higher price, it is also quite larger and heavier than the Air 2 and Mini as you can imagine. Holding the Zoom in your hand feels like an expensive piece of hardware that deserves to be babied, which is why we often keep ours in our pro camera insert, the MK-1. It’s size and price almost feel like downfalls as the Air 2 or Mini are simply more stress-free to fly. But when the zooming feature is needed, the Mavic 2 delivers.

Whichever drone you decide to carry, check out our drone protection cases, whether it's the Rift Photo Insert, CB-1, MK-1, or MK-2, we have a bag for all of your drone carry needs.

DJI MAVIC COMPARISONS

Features Mavic Mini Mavic Air 2 Mavic Pro 2
Price $399 $799 $1599
Weight 249g 570g 905g
Dimensions 140x82x57mm 180x97x84mm 214x91x84mm
Flight time 30 Minutes 34 Minutes 31 Minutes
Charge time 120 Minutes 100 Minutes 90 Minutes
Camera Sensor 1/2.3” CMOS 1/2” CMOS 1” CMOS
Photo Megapixels 12MP 48MP 20MP
Video 2.7k 4k 4k
FPS 2.7k/30fps 4k/60fps,1080/240fps 4k/30fps 1080/120fps
Max Flight Distance 4km 10km 8km

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