Drone

DJI Mavic 2 Pro: Aerial photography gets even better

The Mavic 2 Pro is easy to control and carry around.
The Mavic 2 Pro is easy to control and carry around.PHOTO: DJI

DJI is poised to continue its reign as the king of the skies with its new DJI Mavic 2 Pro that improves on many features that made the first one such a standout - if you do not mind a heavier machine with a heftier price tag.

At 900g, this drone, one of two new Mavic offerings from DJI released in August, is heavier than the first DJI Mavic Pro ( 734g).

It would be understandable if some would be put off by the weight, but I think that given the features that DJI has packed into this machine, it is excusable.

The camera, which many critics and users alike celebrated in the first DJI Mavic Pro, has undergone a substantial upgrade. Making full use of the stake that it owns in Hasselblad, DJI has outfitted the Mavic 2 Pro with a camera from the Swedish camera manufacturer. And what a camera it is.

The full 1-inch sensor on the drone is adjustable from f/2.8 to f/11, making shots sharper and packing in more details.

Perhaps one of the best things about this camera is how much better it performs in low-light conditions, a common bugbear among aerial photography enthusiasts. With the maximum ISO increased from 3,200 to 12,800, I noticed a lot less noise in images recorded.

It is not just the camera that manages to impress when it comes to low-light conditions.

  • SPECS

  • PRICE: $2,149 from www.dji.com

    CAMERA: 20MP, with 4K, 2.7K and full HD video, 10-bit Dlog-M colour profile

    LENS: Camera: FOV of about 77 deg, 35 mm format equivalent of 28mm, f/2.8-f/11, shooting range of 1 m to infinity

    VIDEO: 4K - 3,840x2,160 24/25/30p, 2.7K - 2,688x1,512 24/25/30/48/50/60p, FHD - 1,920×1,080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p

  • RATING

  • FEATURES: 5/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 5/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 5/5

Some users of the Mavic 2 Pro, like me, may be surprised that the drone is able to deploy downlighting to make sure its automated landing system does its job.

The drone also now comes with omnidirectional obstacle sensing, meaning that obstacles on all sides can be detected.

Flight time is longer too. Where there is no wind and if the drone is flying at 25kmh, DJI says that the Mavic 2 Pro can last 31 minutes, up from 27 minutes previously.

The Mavic 2 Pro has an internal memory of 8GB.

This extra storage is clearly not meant for heavy usage but is useful as a last-minute backup.

The drone retains most of the first iteration's aesthetic, which is not a bad thing considering how sturdy the first Mavic Pro was. The Mavic 2 Pro looks almost identical to its predecessor, complete with the folding-arm design that makes it compact and easy to carry around.

Controls are responsive and if you have flown other DJI drones, then controlling this one will feel no different. I had no problems piloting the drone and its movements were tight, without any lag.

While its price tag could put off would-be drone pilots, the Mavic 2 Pro is a drone that will likely last you a long time, making it a worthy investment.

• Verdict: The Mavic 2 Pro justifies its hefty price tag with its excellent camera, sturdy design and ease of use, making this one of the best drones in the market. Recommended for seasoned users and new-comers alike.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 10, 2018, with the headline 'Aerial photography gets even better'. Print Edition | Subscribe