The DJI Mavic Pro is the new offering from DJI that was announced in late September of 2016. Some have suggested that the Mavic is the first prosumer Drone to come to the market from DJI. Priced at $999 for the base model, the Mavic Pro boasts some very nice features. In fact, even though the Mavic Pro is technically a slight downgrade from something like a Phantom 4 ; it stands up quite well in most if not all areas. Read my review of the Phantom 4 here..
Lets start with the obvious; the Mavic Pro is extremely portable and will travel well due to its light weight (1.6 lbs) and foldable design. You no longer have to attach and disassemble propeller blades before and after a flight like you have to with other drones. The blades stay attached and fold down with the drone iteslf. When it is completely collapsed the Mavic Pro can be held in the palm of your hand so it easily fits inside a backpack.
Camera and Lens
The camera on the Mavic is different than the Phantom 4 also. The Mavic Pro has a 12 megapixel camera that can shoot 4k video at 30 frames per second. At 1080P the Mavic Pro can shoot at an astounding 96 frames per second. In addition, the Mavic can capture 12MBP photos and can be set to capture JPEG or RAW DNG format for some very high resolution stills.
The lens field of view is not as wide as the Phantom 4 – Mavic Pro 28mm vs Phantom 4- 20mm. So you may have to pan the drone at times to capture images that you could with the Phantom 4 without moving the camera. The lens on the Mavic Pro is also not a fixed focus lens like the Phantom 4 . This essentially equates to tapping the part of the image you want the camera to focus on in the DJI Go App on your smart phone.
This is potentially a bit of double edged sword. It gives you the ability to control your focus more manually (including focusing at distances under 3m- which was a Phantom 4 limitation). However, it is also possible to accidentally focus on the wrong part of your image and end up with blurry footage; so keep this in mind. This really is just a matter of getting used to a new system and having to adjust your focus occasionally.
When it comes to flying; early reports are that the Mavic Pro handles beautifully and competes well with a drone like the Phantom 4 . Although the Mavic is significantly lighter than the Phantom 4 (1.6lbs vs 3lbs), it seems to handle wind and turbulence as well if not better than the Phantom 4 . Another interesting feature of the Mavic Pro is the ability to track and follow its user. You can choose to have it follow from behind, lead in front, circle above or track alongside. It will essentially lock on to an object and keep it in the frame. In addition, it also has the same obstacle avoidance and tracking features available on the Phantom 4 .
The Mavic Pro includes a new OcuSync transmission system which offers up to 4.3 miles of transmission range. While the Phantom 4 does have a maximum speed of 5 mph faster (45mph) than the Mavic at 40mph; the Mavic certainly still has some pep. The base level Mavic Pro package will come with one intelligent battery that advertises flight times of up to 27 min. Although, I will note, the Phantom 4 lists a flight time of 28 min and in reality ends up providing 24 or so before it is necessary to land the drone.
DJI Mavic Promotional Video
The controller for the Mavic Pro is actually quite interesting. Its much less bulky than the controller for the Phantom 4 ; its around the size of a Playstation controller. The controller has some small attachments on the lower portion that fold out to hold your smartphone. Overall, this is a much more compact and light controller than the one for the Phantom 4 .
In addition, it is possible to control the Mavic Pro with only your smartphone using no controller and a wi-fi connection to the drone. However, this will limit your range more with the drone and some of the more advanced features of the controller. Im not sure what the benefits would be of using the smartphone only, if any at this point, other than not having to transport the controller. I will leave it up to Mavic Pro owners who have used this feature to report in and let us know if it is useful.
In addition, DJI has announced that they will release a pair of Oculus style googles that can be used with the Mavic. They will deliver a real time feed from the drone into the VR style googles that will let you control the drone in first person. The goggle visors use DJI’s Ocusync technology that displays and 85 degree view from the Mavic in 1080P in real time. There hasn’t been anything other than an official announcement at this point; no discussion of price. I will review the goggles more extensively once more information is released but here is some more information from Engadget- DJI’s VR Goggles for the Mavic .
What’s in the boxxxxxx!!!
DJI Mavic Pro aircraft with propellers
Remote controller and RC cable
Intelligent Flight Battery, charger, and power cable
One set of propellers
16GB MicroSD card and micro USB cable
Gimbal clamp and protector
Quick start guide
Some Final Thoughts
From what I have seen, the Mavic Pro looks like a really amazing drone. While this will certainly appeal to the consumer market; I think there will be many small business and even corporations who will find that the Mavic Pro suits their needs for aerial photography.
I would expect many real estate companies and agents to find use with something like a Mavic Pro (once they are licensed to fly) to promote their properties and developments. Although we use a Phantom 4 at work, if I was going to purchase a drone on my own it would probably be a Mavic Pro at this point. I love our Phantom and it is incredibly stable; but the portability and new features DJI has included, as well as the lower price point are going to make the Mavic a no-brainer for many people looking to experiment with aerial videography.
**FYI for anyone who is considering buying a Mavic Pro : Apparently DJI underestimated the amount of demand they would have and are behind in shipping the current drone orders. As of November 3rd the company has stated that they will “do their best” to have all the orders placed before November 3rd shipped and delivered in seven to eight weeks.**