DJI has launched its Mavic Air drone, a foldable quadcopter that offers a middle ground between the Mavic Pro and the Spark drones, with the new model featuring a 4K camera on a three-axis gimbal and the ability to control it using gesture controls.
Most of us who know drones know that DJI is one of the leaders in the industry. Over the past few years, they have been making some of the best products for both professionals and consumers. With other companies like GoPro, Yuneec and Autel trying to compete with some of DJI’s main products, DJI is here to claim their place as the industry leader yet again.
The Mavic Air is tiny, half the size of a Mavic Pro, and about half the weight at just 430 grams, so it can be slipped into a bag or even a pocket with relative ease. Like its predecessors, the Mavic Air is foldable and thus super portable, and “delivers higher performance, more intelligent features and greater creative possibilities than any other consumer drone.” Its size and shape make it perfect for explorers who want to capture their adventure at a high-quality level without having to lug around a bigger machine.
A first for a drone its size, the Mavic Air features a 4K camera that is stabilized on a 3-axis gimbal. The chassis design is such that it encloses and protects the gimbal while in flight and in transport, allowing for more precise camera movements. To help further reduce camera shake, the gimbal utilizes supplemental vibration reduction for extremely steady shots.
The Mavic Air features a camera with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor, a 24mm f/2.8 (35mm equiv) wide-angle lens. The camera can capture 4K-resolution video in H.264 at 30 frames per second, as well as full HD videos at up to 120 frames per second, and offering a HDR capture mode as well. For stills, the drone is able to produce 32-megapixel spherical panoramic images, by stitching together multiple shots, as well as 12-megapixel stills.
The drone has 8GB of storage for photos, which can be expanded by a micro SD card. Connectivity is provided by wi-fi, and a USB-C port. The drone can fly at 68km/h in Sport mode, operate in winds of up to 36km/h, rise up to 5,000m, cover a range of 4km, and stay airborne for 21 minutes at a time.
“With a maximum range of up to 6 meters, you can give hand gesture commands to launch, follow, photograph, record, push, pull and land, letting you capture the moment from any angle without the need for a remote controller,” says DJI.
There are 6 different QuickShots modes: Rocket, Dronie, Circle, Helix, Asteroid, and Boomerang. These can be activated with a tap and helps you capture certain video shots without having to have advanced piloting or camerawork skills.
“Asteroid starts with a spherical image that zooms in as it descends toward the subject on the ground, while Boomerang circles the subject in an oval-shaped flight path with the video finishing at the start point,” DJI says.
Mavic Air will be available in three colors: Onyx Black, Arctic White and Flame Red. The Mavic Air ships on January 28th for $799. At that price, it hovers in DJI’s lineup between the $499 DJI Spark, the gesture-controlled flyer released last year, and the more capable $999 Mavic Pro.
YouTuber and drone enthusiast Casey Neistat has already taken the drone to Bermuda and pitched it head-to-head against its DJI stablemates. In the video, Neistat takes the Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, Spark, and Phantom 4 Professional, and flies the same route while recording with the camera.