DJI’s new Mavic Air is a 4K flying camera that’s small enough to fit in a jacket pocket
posted Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 12:30 PM EDT
DJI, a brand that’s become synonymous with drones and high tech camera equipment, has just announced their latest: a 4K drone that’s small enough to fit in a jacket pocket. About the size of the DJI Spark but with more high-end features, the newly-announced Mavic Air comes packed with features like QuickShot modes, SmartCapture, FlightAutonomy 2.0, and excellent image quality. It’s designed for travelers and outdoor enthusiasts, and its features and small size are sure to make it a hit.
Weighing just 430 grams, DJI is calming that the Mavic Air is the most portable drone they have ever created. Its folding arms and propellers sit flush against its slender aerodynamic frame, making it so compact that its footprint is nearly the size of a modern smartphone when folded.
Its recessed three-axis mechanical gimbal is suspended from dampeners to further reduce vibration, which DJI says provides superior protection and steadier shots. The camera housed on the gamble is a 1/2.3” CMOS sensor with an equivalent 24mm f/2.8 lens for capturing 12 megapixel photos and 4K video.
Speaking of those photos, the Mavic Air has a new HDR algorithm that perseveres more highlights and low light details, which will in turn allow for capturing more dynamic mixed lighting scenarios like sunsets. The 4K maxes out at 30p, but will write with a crisp 100 Mbps. In 1080p, you can capture slow motion video at 120 frames per second.
The Mavic Air comes with 8 GB of onboard storage with the option to add an additional microSD card. It also will feature a USB-C port for data transfer.
DJI has done their best to include a host of useful features into the Mavic Air, like the ability for it to automatically capture and shoot 25 photos to create a fully stitched 32 megapixel panoramic image inside of one minute. The Mavic Air also supports multiple panorama modes, creating horizontal, vertical, and 180 degree images.
The QuickShot intelligent video modes offer a few different options for predefined flight paths. Use Rocket, Dronie, Circle, or Helix plus two new modes Asteroid and Boomerang, to easily create videos that once required significant piloting 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.
The drone’s ActiveTrack intelligent flight mode has been even further improved over predecessors, allowing the Mavic Air to follow a subject while automatically sensing and avoiding multiple subjects. The Mavic Air also supports SmartCapture motion/gesture controls.
Speaking of onboard sensors, the Mavic Air has FlightAutonomy 2.0 which uses data gathered from seven onboard cameras and infrared sensors to construct a 3D map of its environment for better flight performance and extremely precise hovering. The improved forward and backward dual camera vision systems can sense obstacles up to 66 feet away. To help navigate through more complex outdoor environments, Mavic Air has newly developed Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems that helps pilots avoid and bypass obstacles automatically, providing an extra layer of reassurance during flight.
The Mavic Air has a maximum flight time of up to 21 minutes. It can fly stably in windy conditions of up to 22 mph (36 kph) and at high elevations of up to 16,404 ft (5,000 m) above sea level. The remote is the first to feature detachable control sticks that can be stored inside the remote controller for added portability. Its omnidirectional antennas placed on the foldable landing gear help increase signal coverage to deliver a maximum range of up to 2.5 miles (4km) with 720p real-time video transmission when flying with the remote controller. When in Sport mode, the Mavic Air flies at up to 42mph (68 kph) and is compatible with DJI Goggles for an FPV flight experience.
The Mavic Air will be available in three colors: Onyx Black, Arctic White and Flame Red. The US retail price including the drone, battery, remote controller, carrying case, two pairs of propeller guards and four pairs of propellers, is $799 USD. The Mavic Air Fly More Combo includes the drone, three batteries, a remote controller, a travel bag, two pairs of propeller guards, six pairs of propellers, a battery to power bank adapter and battery charging hub, for $999 USD.
Starting today, The Mavic Air will be available for pre-order at store.dji.com, the four DJI Flagship Stores and authorized dealers. Pre-orders will start shipping on January 28.