Mavic Air 2 is an exceptional all-round drone for content creators that builds on the impressive performance of the Mavic series drones. This Mavic Air 2 review is brought to you by Charles, an aerial photographer and independent cameraman. Read on to discover the new Mavic Air 2 drone and everything from OcuSync 2.0 to 8K Hyperlapse!
Mavic Air drones continue to pave the way for a new era of aerial creativity, offering content creators exceptional power and portability. For the last few years, I have carried Mavic series drones around with me on many different shoots as they provide an impressive all-round performance. With the release of the new Mavic Air 2, DJI introduced new features like SmartPhoto, 8K Hyperlapse, OcuSync 2.0, and more, inviting content creators across the world to up their game. I decided to accept this challenge and try out the new Mavic Air 2 in this hands-on Mavic Air 2 review.
Aerial photography is all about pushing your creativity to the next level. As an independent cameraman and aerial photographer, I have personally tried many different types of drones on the market. In this Mavic Air 2 review, I will take a closer look at camera performance, flight performance, intelligent modes, and safety features.
Mavic Air 2 Review: Design
"The new Mavic Air 2 remote controller is lighter, has a great battery life, and you can mount your smartphone above the remote controller."
Let’s cut straight to the chase. Mavic Air 2 does away with the rounded design found on the original Mavic Air and adopts a sleeker profile. The new design gives Mavic Air 2 a similar appearance to the bigger Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom.
Mavic Air 2 features the same foldable design as Mavic Air, which makes it very easy to carry and transport between shooting locations. Portability has always been an essential aspect of the Mavic series, and I am impressed that DJI has stepped up the level to fit so many powerful features in a drone of this size. When folded, the Mavic Air 2 is slightly larger than the original Mavic Air, but still fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.
Mavic Air 2 weighs 570 g, which is 140 g heavier than the original Mavic Air and 337 g lighter than the Mavic 2 Pro. The additional weight of Mavic Air 2 is understandable when you consider how many top-level features you get with this drone.
One interesting thing you will notice when you first unbox Mavic Air 2 is the labeled stickers on the drone arms. There are also two bags included in the box that are labeled “A” and “B” to help you set up your drone for the first time. Mavic Air 2 also has color-coded propeller attachment points in silver and black, which help you attach all your propellers correctly. For experienced drone pilots, color-coded parts don’t make a huge difference, but I can see the benefit of these additions for beginner pilots.
Mavic Air 2 features a 3-axis gimbal that houses the new 1/2-inch CMOS camera sensor with Quad Bayer technology.
Another immediate feature you will notice is the obstacle sensors located on the front, rear, and bottom of Mavic Air 2. The obstacle sensors give you added flight safety, which I will talk about later on in this Mavic Air 2 review.
The Mavic Air 2 remote controller features an entirely new design compared to other drones in the DJI Mavic series. I really liked the feeling of the controller; it’s a perfect size and easy to carry around with you. A smartphone can now be mounted on the top of the controller, which gives you a better line of sight from your controller to the drone. DJI also did away with the external antennae that can be found on their other remote controllers, instead opting for a simplistic design. The center of the remote controller contains a toggle slider for Tripod, Normal, and Sport flight modes.
Mavic Air 2 Review: Camera Performance
"Mavic Air 2 is a celebration of aerial content thanks to 48MP photo, SmartPhoto, and 4K/60fps video."
After taking a look at all the new design features, I couldn’t wait to take the Mavic 2 Air out. I picked up the Mavic Air 2 Fly More Combo because it comes with three Intelligent Flight Batteries, a Battery Charging Hub, and other accessories that make it easier to shoot content throughout the day. With Mavic Air 2 tucked inside my bag, I hopped on the train to my first shooting location.
One of the most impressive Mavic Air 2 features is its new, larger 1/2-inch sensor that is supported by Quad Bayer technology. This larger sensor has more surface area than other drones that use a 1/2.3-inch sensor, which means it is possible to capture impressive 48MP photos with the fixed f/2.8 lens. This is the highest megapixel count we’ve ever seen on a non-interchangeable drone lens.
Aperture is fixed at f/2.8, but you can pick up ND filters to optimize shutter speeds for landscape photography. The 48MP images are crisp and offer rich detail if you want to zoom in close. You can even opt for a 12MP output with pixel-binning, which produces excellent images with natural colors. If you are shooting 48MP photos, the max ISO range is 3200, whereas 12MP images can be shot at up to 6400 ISO.
DJI introduced SmartPhoto with Mavic Air 2, combining HDR, Hyperlight, and scene recognition into one useful photo mode. This mode uses advanced photographic optimization similar to that found in most modern-day smartphones.
HDR combines several images taken at different exposures and combines them to create an image with a better dynamic range. I was able to capture landscape shots with the sun in the shot without having overexposure ruin the image. Hyperlight is a low-light mode, which combines several photos together to remove noise and produce a better image. Scene recognition is quite an interesting feature of Mavic Air 2 that automatically detects sunsets, skies, grass, snow, and trees.
Overall, SmartPhoto produces images that are well-optimized, which is a great feature for your social media gallery or stories.
DJI describes the Mavic Air 2 panorama mode as the most advanced panorama mode they have on any drone. I reached the summit of my hike and took a few shots of the landscape using this mode. The ultra-wide panorama has a high dynamic range, exceptional colors, and clear details, which makes this a perfect feature to create an impressive social media shot.
DJI takes everything that is good about Mavic Air and makes it even better with Mavic Air 2, offering a bigger 1/2-inch sensor for breathtaking videos. Compared to Mavic Air’s 4K/30fps 100Mbps video, Mavic Air 2 excels with exceptional 4K/60fps 120Mbps video. You can film in different color modes that include Cinelike, Standard, and HDR. Have a look below to see some of the shots I was able to capture.
Mavic Air 2 Review: Intelligent Features
"8K Hyperlapse is one of the coolest Mavic Air 2 features that you can use to add a cinematic sequence to your footage without complex post-processing."
This is one of my favorite new features that DJI included with Mavic Air 2, which gives you a unique way to capture time and movement. Mavic Air 2 has four Hyperlapse modes to choose from:
Free: You have complete control over Mavic Air 2’s movement while it completes a hyperlapse.
Circle: Mavic Air 2 locks onto your subject and circles around it automatically.
CourseLock: Mavic Air locks onto a subject, keeping it in the center of the frame.
WayPoint: Select up to five fixed points at different altitudes, distances, and directions, and Mavic Air 2 will record a hyperlapse.
8K Hypelapse is currently only available using the Free and WayPoint Hyperlapse modes, so I used WayPoint to demonstrate this type of shot. Selecting the WayPoint parameters in the DJI Fly app is easy, the shots are generated quickly, and I didn’t need to use any post-processing to create the final sequence. Mavic Air 2 produces a complete video directly after completing the hyperlapse. Compared to Mavic 2 Pro, you don’t get any hyperlapse photo files from Mavic Air 2 to edit yourself, which means the drone does all of the hard work for you.
"FocusTrack includes professional drone tracking features that give you the power to shoot like you've never done before."
ActiveTrack 3.0 is a powerful feature on Mavic Air 2 that supports DJI’s best tracking software, letting you film high-speed subjects with ease. After selecting the feature in the DJI Fly app, Mavic Air 2 automatically tracks your subject and keeps them in the frame. This is an incredibly easy-to-use function that produces impressive, immersive footage.
Continuing from ActiveTrack, Spotlight 2.0 tracks your subject in high-speed scenes and keeps them in the frame. I like that you have full control over Mavic Air 2 while it is tracking a subject, which gives you plenty of options for creative footage.
We’ve all seen spectacular aerial shots on social media, but did you know how easy it is to replicate some of these shots yourself? POI 3.0 is another impressive feature that gives you control over the drone while it circles around a subject. From towering statues to interesting vantage points, you can explore your environment and shoot stunning clips to share with your followers.
“What I really like about Mavic Air 2 QuickShots is that they are easy to access from the DJI Fly app, and in a few taps, you can create exciting flight sequences.”
Every content creator is always looking for ways to shoot epic footage with minimal fuss. QuickShots are a great way to add unique sections to your travel videos, social media galleries, and pretty much anything you film! Here is my Mavic Air 2 QuickShots review:
This is a great shot to reveal a stunning landscape or unique scene in your footage. You can select your subject, and Mavic Air 2 will slowly back away, revealing the background scene.
Mavic Air 2 circles around your subject, revealing a 360° shot of the environment. I recommend using this QuickShot when your subject is positioned in an elevated environment, which is a great tip for producing interesting angles in your videos.
After you’ve conquered a mountain or reached the peak of your adventure, use Mavic Air 2 to circle around your subject while increasing elevation and distance from them.
This QuickShot adds another interesting perspective to your footage. Mavic Air 2 fixes on a subject and increases in elevation while adjusting the gimbal angle automatically. I particularly liked using Rocket to showcase an interesting building from different angles.
Boomerang is perfect for social media shots, which is a flight sequence that sends Mavic Air 2 around your subject and adjusts elevation and distance automatically.
Last up is Asteroid, which produces a stitched view of your subject, surroundings, and the earth with a 3D-globe effect.
Mavic Air 2 Review: Flight Performance & Safety
“Mavic Air 2 builds on the solid flight performance of Mavic Air and makes it even better and safer to fly.”
This is a real game-changer. Compared to Mavic Air’s Wi-Fi transmission, Mavic Air 2 offers the new generation OcuSync2.0. The transmission quality and signal are excellent in any location. OcuSync 2.0 also delivers a 1080p resolution from the drone to your smartphone, which produces a vivid livestream. DJI introduced smoother image transmission with H.265 encoding, and I really liked the signal performance compared to the original Mavic Air.
Obstacle sensors give you the confidence to push your creativity further, especially when you are shooting in different locations at different times of the day. Mavic Air 2 has forward, backward, and downward sensors that helped me fly confidently and safely wherever and whenever I needed to take a shot. The addition of an auxiliary light was incredibly useful when I needed to land Mavic Air 2 in low-lit areas.
Mavic Air 2 can also shoot in complex environments thanks to DJI’s advanced APAS 3.0 mapping technology. DJI claims this is the best obstacle avoidance on any DJI drone, and I am very impressed with how responsive Mavic Air 2 is around different objects. It was able to fly around trees in narrow spaces, opening up many possibilities for creative footage.
DJI upped the level again by offering up to 34 minutes of flight time on Mavic Air 2. Even compared to the 31 minutes of flight time offered on Mavic 2, Mavic Air 2 has the longest flight time across the DJI Mavic series.
I picked up the Fly More Combo because it also comes with three batteries, which gave me over an hour and half of shooting time!
DJI Fly App
Everything comes down to how easy the product is to use. When you are shooting on the go, the best product is always the one you can rely on to get the job done. DJI Fly makes the entire content creation process incredibly simple with easy access to settings, templates, and editing software. The user interface is clean, and everything from camera settings to QuickShots can be found in a few taps. This is hands down one of the most user-friendly drone apps I have ever used, and it opens up content creation to absolutely anybody.
Mavic Air 2 Review: The Final Verdict
Mavic 2 enters the content creation game with an exceptional camera and flight performance. 48MP photos are crisp, the 34-minute flight time is great, and OcuSync 2.0 is a huge step up from the original Mavic Air. I also really like the design of the new remote controller, which has a similar feeling to the DJI Smart Controller. Despite being priced between Mavic Mini and Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Air 2 pushes the boundaries for what a drone can do at this price, making it an ideal upgrade from Mavic Air or Mavic Mini. I also highly recommend getting the Fly More Combo, which gives you three Intelligent Flight Batteries, a Battery Charging Hub, an ND Filters Set, and much more.