You might have noticed that I've been doing a lot of articles and videos lately about drones. A big reason for that is having the opportunity to test the DJI Mavic Air 2...
While I've tested tons of drones over the years, my favorite is the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. For my needs, it has the best blend of photography and videography capabilities of any drone in the DJI lineup.
I have to say that I have been absolutely blown away by the capabilities of the Mavic Air 2, particularly when it comes to still photography. But the most surprising part is this - I owned the original Mavic Air, and it sucked! I hated it so much that I sent it back within a couple of weeks. That should indicate to you how much time and effort that DJI put into improving the Mavic Air 2.
In fact, in the time I've had the Mavic Air 2 in my hot little hands, I've come to the conclusion that it is the best drone you can buy for less than $1,000. In many regards, this drone hits way above its weight class. And, honestly, with the exception of a couple of things, it goes toe to toe with the Mavic 2 Pro very well.
So, what specifically makes the Mavic Air 2 such a great drone? Let's take a look at some of its best features.
For more information or to buy a DJI Mavic Air 2, click here.
The 48-Megapixel Sensor
As I discuss in the video above, the Mavic Air 2 still only has a 1/2-inch sensor, but it's a 48-megapixel Quad Bayer sensor that gives the drone far better photo capabilities. In fact, if I had to choose between the Mavic Air 2 and the Mavic 2 Pro strictly for photography purposes, I'd choose the Mavic Air 2.
You can zoom in for a tighter shot without worrying about a ton of noise. Likewise, when you're processing the images, you can really appreciate the incredible detail, clarity, and colors in the photos.
It also helps that you can take 12-megapixel images or opt for using the full resolution of the camera to take 48-megapixel images when necessary!
The Battery Life
One of the absolute worst features about the original Mavic Air was its flight time. I could scarcely keep it in the air for 20 minutes...
But the mad scientists at DJI figured out how to wrestle more time out of the battery - a lot more time, in fact.
The Mavic Air 2 is rated for a flight time of 34 minutes (under ideal conditions, of course). I've been able to meet that mark on the few occasions lately when the wind wasn't ripping around.
Even with the vast improvement in battery life, I would still invest in a second (or third) battery. But the fact that the Mavic Air 2 improved so much in this department and can now stay in flight longer than the Mavic 2 Pro says a lot about how good this drone is.
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As I explain in the video above, the Mavic Air 2 has four - yes FOUR! - hyperlapse intelligent flight modes: Free, Circle, Course Lock, and Waypoint.
Though they aren't all at the same level in terms of ease of use or intuitiveness (I'm looking at you, Waypoint...) they all provide you the opportunity to create some truly compelling footage.
On top of that, the Mavic Air 2 allows you to shoot in 8K when you're in hyperlapse mode. The detail you can get in 8K is really awesome.
I'll admit that it's weird there's no 4K hyperlapse option - just 8K and 1080p. But I'd rather have 8K than 4K!
I fully admit that if I had to choose between the Mavic Air 2 remote and the Mavic 2 Pro remote, I'd choose the latter.
That doesn't mean that the Mavic Air 2's redesigned remote isn't completely badass.
I love that DJI concealed the antennas to help give this big remote a smaller form factor. I also like that the joysticks are removable and that you can stow them away in the bottom of the remote. It makes storing the remote and removing it from my bag much easier.
I also really like the way the phone seats on top of the remote. On the original Mavic Air, I felt like I had to fight the controller to get the phone to seat properly. That's certainly not the case now.
This remote will charge your phone, and if I'm honest, I like how it looks as well.
For more information or to buy a DJI Mavic Air 2, click here.
There's Awesome Accessories
Even though the Mavic Air 2 is brand-new, there are already a host of awesome accessories you can buy to boost its functionality.
For instance, Haida makes ND/polarizer filters for the Mavic Air 2 that allow you to take long exposures and control the shutter speed as you film videos.
What's so great about these combination filters is that you don't have to mess around with multiple filters - you get the best of both worlds in one filter.
That means you can control glare with the polarizer while extending the shutter speed with the ND at the same time.
This kit comes with 3-stop, 4-stop, and 5-stop options so you have much-improved flexibility in how you use your drone for photo and video purpose.
They're inexpensive too! At less than $50, these filters are a steal for your Mavic Air 2.
Mavic Air 2 Price
All of the features I list above make the Mavic Air 2 well worth the price of admission. But when you add what I consider to be a bargain-basement price to the list, this drone becomes an even better buy.
At $799, it's half the price of a Mavic 2 Pro at the moment. But you don't get half the drone for that price. As I noted earlier, the Mavic Air 2 goes toe to toe with the Mavic 2 Pro in virtually every category.
In fact, as I see it, the only categories in which the Mavic 2 Pro beats the Mavic Air 2 is in video quality, the controller experience, stability in flight, and speed.
I'm not trying to bash the Mavic 2 Pro here. After all, it is my favorite drone of all time. But I'm trying to give context to just how good the Mavic Air 2 is. If it can play with the big boys this well at this price point, it's hard to argue against the notion that it's the best drone for under $1,000!