DJI have announced their latest drone, the Mavic Air and oh boy it’s going to sell like hot cakes.
- Price: £769
- Ultra Compact foldable drone
- 4K 100 Mbps video at 30fps
- 12-megapixel image resolution
- 32-megapixel spherical panoramas mode.
- SmartCapture gestures
- QuickShot automated flight modes
- 8Gb internal storage
Who are DJI targeting the Mavic Air towards?
Who is the Mavic Air for? DJI touted the wevent with the tag line ‘Adventure Unfolds’, and this provides a good idea who the drone is aimed towards. Outdoor photographers, travellers and anybody interested in adventures and exploring hard to reach locations. It’s size makes it an ideal item that can be easily added to a backpack without compromising on features. But just like the Mavic Pro, Mavic Air is likely to be popular with anybody that wants to create aerial footage for their content.
When folded The Mavic Air is slightly smaller than the DJI Spark but weighs a little bit more. Mavic Air is 430 grams compard to the Spark at 300 grams. It is consideratebly smaller and lighter than the bigger Mavic Pro. Considering it’s weight/size is more similar to the Spact, it impresive that it’s featureset is better than the bigger Mavic Pro.
Because of it’s folding design, the Mavic Air is much more portable than the non-folding Spark as it will better fit withing a backpack.
The Mavic Air has a similar 12MP 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor to the Mavic Pro. It is unknown yet the exact verdion of sensor. This means the image quality will be very similar to the Mavic Pro.
With a 24mm equivelant lens at F2.8 and a FOV of 85º the Mavic Air’s camera is a little slower than the bigger Mavic Pro that has a 28mm F2.2 lens with a 79º FOV.
Unlike the Spark, The Mavic Air comes with a 3-axis gimbal even though both are similar in size. DJI must have spent a lot on designing what is one of the smallest 3-axis gimbals on the market.
When DJI launched the Spark one of the main gripes from photographers was the lack of RAW support. Well DJI have solved that with the Mavic Air. The new Mavioc Air not only has a similar 12MP sensor as the Mavic Pro and Spark, just like it’s bigger sibling, supports RAW images.
As well as RAR, the Mavic Air can capture vertical, horizontal, and 180º panoramas as well as 32 megapixel spherical panoramas by stitching 25 still images onboard the craft all done in about 60 seconds. Yopu cal also skip the onboard stitching to do it later in Photoshop if you prefer.
Another feature of the Mavic Air is the ability to shoot HDR images. Although some might prefer to edit the photos manually, it’s good to have the option built in.
The Mavic Air beats the Mavic pro and Spark in the video department. It can shoot in UHD 4K/30p with a 100Mbps H.264 codec, similar to the more expensive Phantom 4 Pro/Advanced. But there is always a compromise with this size craft. It cannot shoot in the HEVC (H.265) codec nor can it shoot in Cinema 4k. The Mavic Air can also shoot in 2.7k@60fps as well as 1080@120fps giving you some decent slow-motion options.
The Mavic Air controller is very similar to that of the Mavic Pro and Spark, leaning more towards ther Smark RD due to the fact it has no LCD screen and 5D button.
DJI have made some changes though. In order to keep the RC as portable as the Mavic Air itself, they have made the sticks removable ( and stowed away under the folding smartphone holder. The thickness of the device it can hold is also greater meaning you can now use your smartphone in its case.
The Mavic Air gets the same gesture contol that its smaller spbling has. Gesture is useful when you are filming yuorself, allowing you to set the drones to do a specific shot allowing you concentrate on doing what you want it to record.
Gesture on the Mavic Air has been significantly improved to overcome some of the issues users desctived with the Spark. Distance at which it works has also been inproves to 5.8m.
Unlike the Mavic Pro and Spark, Mavic Air sports frontal,downwards and rearwards obstacle avoidance sensors. This will give you added peace of mind when using some of the autonomous flight features.
Advanced Pilot Awareness System (APAS)
DJI is making flying it’s drones easier and easier. With what DJI call “Flight Autonomy 2.0”, the mavic Air builds a 3D map of the world aroubnf itself. Using this 3D map, Advanced Pilot Awareness System’ (or APAS) allows the mavic Air to not only stop if there is an obstacel in it’s way, it uses the 3D map to find it’s way arounf the obstacle.
Intelligent Flight Modes
The coolest feature on DJI drones is by far te ActiveTrack. On the mavic Air it’s even more improved. Capable of identifying multiple object simultaniously and more precisely. Combinig ActicveTrack with APAS you have a very capable drone when followijg an object.
The mavic air also supports the other intelligentmoseld available in the other models. DJI also introduced ‘Asteroid mode’ and ‘Boomerang Mode’. The most useful being the Boomerang Mode, flying up and away from the subject then back around again ( as the name suggests, like a boomerang ).
Similar to the mavic and Spark, mavic Air supports MicroSD for storing video and images. But whee it differs from other two is that it has 8Gb of onboard memory. So even if you leave home forgetting any MicroSD cards, you can still capure footage. mavic Air is also the first DJI drone to have the newer USB Type C interface. The RC has the same connections as the mavic Pro.
Mavic Air has a flihgt time of 21 minutes, 6 minutes less than the mavic Pro but 5 minutes more than the Spark. Seems reasonable foe the size of the craft. As always, yuo can buy spare batteries from DJI at a cost of £69. You cal also get a charging hub for £39.. If yuo plan to get these accessories I would suggest just getting the Fy More Combo that comes with the hub as well as three batteries.
With a top speed of 42.5 Mph in Sport mode the Mavic Air is definetly no slouch. Combinigng this with an operational ceiling of 5000m it is idealy suited to adventure filmakers.
No doubt about it, the mavic Air looks a stunning bit of kit. It is available in three different colours, Arctict White, Onyx Black and Flame Red. It’s a shame they didd’nt have the same color range as the Spark.. Byt by far my favourite is the Onyx Black.
The Mavic Air will be priced at £769 for the drone only version and £949 for the Fly More Combo. There is also an optin for the Fly More Combo with the Goggles for £1308. DJI state that iot will begin shipping as soonas the 28th January 2018.
The DJI Mavic Air can be purchased in any of the colours or combinations here..
1. How many ways are there to fly the Mavic Air and how do I change control methods?
There are three ways to fly the Mavic Air. You can use the dedicated remote controller, your smartphone, or both together. For the other two options, the Mavic Air connects to your smartphone via DJI GO 4.
2. How do I activate the Mavic Air?
Connect the Mavic Air with your mobile device and follow the instructions in DJI GO 4 to complete activation.
3. Is the Mavic Air waterproof?
4. What Micro SD cards are recommended to use with the Mavic Air?
SD Card Capacity Class/UHS
Kingston SDHC-I SDCAC/16GB
Sandisk Extreme V30
Sandisk Extreme V30 A1
Sandisk Extreme V30 Pro A1
Sandisk Extreme V30 A1
Sandisk Extreme Pro V30 A1
Sandisk Extreme V30 A1
Sandisk Extreme Plus V30 A1
1. Can I connect my smartphone to the remote controller using an ordinary USB cable?
Yes. You can use an ordinary USB cable to connect your smartphone to the remote controller via the USB port at the bottom of the controller, but this may result in more discomfort when handling. Different cables come with the aircraft to meet your needs.
2. Where can I find the Mavic Air’s Wi-Fi name and password?
For safety reasons, every Mavic Air has a unique Wi-Fi name and password. These are listed on the side of the aircraft body, in the battery compartment, and on the carrying case. (For iOS systems, iOS v9.0 or later is required.)
Connect your smartphone to the aircraft’s Wi-Fi by scanning the QR code with DJI GO 4 app for first-time use. Alternatively, you can manually type in the Wi-Fi name and password.
3. How can I change the Mavic Air’s Wi-Fi name and password?
First, connect your smartphone to the aircraft via Wi-Fi. Next, enter the DJI GO 4 app and go to Wi-Fi Settings to change the Wi-Fi name and password. You can also change the Wi-Fi name and password with DJI Assistant 2 on a computer.
4. Is it possible to connect to the Mavic Air’s Wi-Fi by using a third-party app to scan the QR code?
No. You can only scan the QR code to connect to the aircraft’s Wi-Fi using DJI GO 4.