The Mavic 2 Zoom has a lot going for it: excellent battery life, 1/2.3-inch sensor, and fantastic range. However, its unique zoom lens is what makes it so compelling. With fantastic features like the Dolly Zoom, DJI has achieved incredible flexibility with this new addition to the Mavic series.
Yes, you can now shoot more discreetly from further away. However, you can also compress any scene with longer focal lengths, synching the foreground and background together. This opens up numerous possibilities for your compositions and provides dynamic perspectives.
While in Jamaica for a shoot, I wanted to show off the landscape. However, shooting straight out towards the water produced bland shots, so I decided to film along the coast. This is where the flexibility of the Mavic 2 Zoom came in handy. By moving the drone backward and zooming in simultaneously, I was able to compress the scene without losing the foreground. With a wider lens, I would have otherwise been too far away for a shot.
Adding layers by zooming
Mavic 2 Zoom at 48mm
Never have I left a single location with such a high number of unique compositions. The long lens compression inspires new shot ideas, flattens out your aerial shots, and makes it easier to cut out distracting elements.
Flattening the image
Try flying in Tripod mode for shots with a dynamic foreground. This will keep you from flying over it too quickly, which can be distracting for the viewer.
Shooting with a telephoto lens while flying will help to incorporate more background movement into your camera shots. Not only does this look elegant, but it also isolates your subject within the scene. Ensure that the camera is locked on to your subject so that it doesn’t move within the frame, which will create motion blur in the background.
The Point of Interest Intelligent Flight Mode provides you with a more accurate flight path for circular movements. You should practice this manually so that you can pivot around moving subjects as well.
With the flexibility that comes with the Mavic 2 Zoom, you’ll need to make sure that you have a proper camera setup. This is a subjective process, but I do have a few tips from testing.
For a simple and nice-looking image, I like my color set at normal with a custom style setting of 0 sharpening, -3 contrast, and 0 saturation. The boost in shadow will give you more dynamic range, but the image will still look flamboyant.
For more dynamic range and flexibility while grading, try using the color setting D-Cinelike with a custom style setting of 0 sharpening, -3 contrast, and 0 saturation. You’ll have a surprisingly flat image and more shadow detail than usual, which will give you more room to color grade in post. The point is to find a workflow that you like. I prefer to use a LUT preset to dial in the color and contrast. SkyGrades Natural and SkyGrades Cinema LUTs were designed specifically for the Mavic 2 Zoom, and they work like a charm.
When shooting on a bright, sunny day, a polarizer filter is a must. Not only will it reduce glare and reflections, but it also lets in more color and contrast. Before taking off, while facing the direction you intend to fly, hold the filter up to your eye and rotate it until you achieve polarization. After that, twist the front ring onto the gimbal, while aiming in the same direction, and you’re good to go. I like the SANDMARC Pro or the Polar Pro Vivid ND filters because they are equipped with quality glass.
Shooting in low light conditions will grant you more variety while filming. The trick is to let as much light into the camera as possible while keeping your ISO low. Be sure there are no ND filters on your lens. I usually lower my shutter speed to 1/30 of a second to gain an extra stop of light. Remember not to fly too quickly because there is an increase in motion blur when the shutter is set this low. One way to counter this is by keeping your ISO low as well.
Traveling with the Mavic 2 Zoom is hands down the most fun I’ve had flying a drone. Keep in mind that the zoom lens can collapse to a 24mm focal length as well, giving you about 15% more field of view when compared to the Mavic 2 Pro. The range and battery life are incredible, and the variable focal length opens up new possibilities for any situation.
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