Chapter in this post:
In the last few days I've had a lot of quarreling with myself whether or not I would Buy DJI Mavic Air should or not. During that time I watched so many reviews and footage that I felt like a Youtube addict. :) In the end I decided to buy the little Mavic Air because I think that it meets my requirements. But I can tell you - at some points I was on the verge of sitting it out and waiting for the DJI Mavic Pro 2. Anyway: I have it Mavic Air combo ordered and in a few days I will take a closer look at it.
If you are also in the decision-making process and still have unanswered questions about the Mavic Air, then my contribution here may help you. I once set it up in the form of questions and answers because I think that's the quickest way to find the points that interest you. If some things seem double-mocked to you, it is because some questions have the same answer. But that was no reason for me to leave out the questions. All questions are divided into larger subject areas so that you can keep track of things a bit.
The following list is a collection that I would like to continue. If you have a question that is not answered here, please leave it as a comment. I am happy to take it up and will try to find an answer to it.
If you want to buy a Mavic Air, you can find the appropriate link here:
The sensor of the Air has 12 MP, like the sensor in the Mavic Pro and in the Phantom 4. The Phantom 4 Pro has a 20 MP sensor, which is also larger (1 inch). Rumor has it that the Mavic Pro 2 will also get this 1-inch sensor.
The focal length of the Mavic Air is 24 mm. The FoV (Field of View) is 85 °. Here are the other drones in comparison:
No, luckily not. DJI pays attention to this, so that even at 85 ° FoV there is no fisheye effect.
Yes, the files are then saved in .DNG format.
Yes, but the Mavic Air does not offer the D-Log and Cinelike-D formats like the Pro, but only Cinelike-D. From my point of view, this is not a disadvantage.
Yes, I know that the Mavic Air also allows you to take photos with bracketing. While the DJI Spark only offers 3 photos, the other drones (Mavic Pro, Mavic Air and Phantom 4 Pro) can take bracketing with 3 photos as well as with 5 photos.
Yes, the Mavic Air is currently the only DJI drone that can take HDR photos without having to create them yourself with bracketing.
No, there are only 4, 24 or 25 fps to choose from in 30K. The 60 and 120 fps are available in full HD.
The Mavic Air has a 1 / 2.3 inch CMOS sensor - like the Mavic Pro and the DJI Spark too. Only the Phantom 4 Pro currently has a 1 inch sensor (I leave out Inspire models). The camera offers 12 megapixel resolution and takes photos in the format 4: 3 (4056 x 3040 pixels) or 16: 9 (4056 x 2280 pixels). In comparison: The Phantom 4 Pro has a resolution of 20 MP with 5472 x 3648 pixels.
No, unfortunately not. Only the Phantom 4 Pro currently has the H.264 / HEVC codec in addition to the usual H.265 / AVC.
From a purely technical point of view, from my point of view there is no reason why this flight mode should not be supported by the Mavic Air. In practice, however, it is not available for the Air in the DJI Go app. I hope that it will be delivered with a software update. Course-Lock can be used to make beautiful recordings that would otherwise be difficult to fly.
Update 14.02.2018/XNUMX/XNUMX: I just have this video seen about three new tap-fly features the Mavic Air has. The Tap-Fly mode "Free" seems to be something like Course-Lock. From my point of view, even more flexible, as the drone automatically maintains a climb or descent, which you would otherwise have to do laboriously yourself.
No. The other drones (DJI SPark, Mavic Pro and I think Phantom 4 Pro) also have the function in the DJI Go app. The selection includes spherical 360 degree panoramas, cylindrical 360 degree panoramas, 180 degree panoramas and vertical and horizontal panoramas.
In principle, the software makes the panorama almost complete. A small field is only interpolated vertically above the viewer, so that you can see blurred spots here if the sky had clouds there. If you have a completely blue sky, it looks good how the software calculates this part. But there is also the option of taking this zenith photo from the ground using the drone. You can see how to do that in this video.
The Mavic Air takes 25 single photos for a spherical panorama, which are then stitched together to form a panorama by the DJI Go app on the mobile phone. The result is a panorama with 32 megapixels. If you take the trouble to add up the individual images yourself with PTGui, PanoramaStudio Pro or Autopano Giga, you can get a file with approx. 186 MP. The reduction to 32 MP is probably carried out by the DJI Go app, as social media have size restrictions that would prevent the image from being "shared". If you want to create your panorama with Autopano, you can here get the XML files from Kilian Eisenegger for a simplified addition of the photos.
The 24 mm focal length specified by DJI is the calculated 35 mm equivalent. The actual focal length is 4,1 mm and the sensor is a 1 / 2,3 "CMOS sensor with the dimensions 6,16 x 4,62 mm and a crop factor (CF) of 5,84. Here again, all in one clear list:
Can you put an ND filter on the camera?
Yes, there are even ND filters for the Spark and so of course for the Mavic Air. I have to admit, the assembly is quite fiddly, but it works. You can find the most important tips here: Installation of ND filters on the Mavic Air. And I have put together suitable (and reasonable) ND filters for you here: ND filter for the Mavic Air.
No, definitely not. I wrote a post about the range of the DJI Mavic Air where you can find more details. But so much in advance: While I sometimes have serious problems with the radio connection with the Spark at 100 m, the Mavic Air flies at least 500 meters without the first error message. It is best to set the transmission manually to a 2,4 GHz channel, because the range is higher in this frequency band.
Update 14.02.2018/6/300: I now have a good XNUMX batteries with my Mavic Air flown empty and the Spark for comparison. The result: The range of the Enhanced Wifi may not be OcuSync, but today I never got a message that the signal was weak on any flight (distances up to approx. XNUMX m, even in areas with WiFi). The transfer went perfectly. Also no noticeable latency. The Mavi Air is really great!
No, that is also criticized by many. However, because the WiFi transmission on the DJI Spark was so bad. As a number of range tests with the Mavic Air in CE mode have shown, you don't have to worry about radio transmission with "enhanced WiFi". It is not enough to run the Mavic Pro 7 km with OcuSync, but the range is significantly higher (500 - 2000 m) than you could fly "on sight". So absolutely ok in Germany.
Yes, that is possible. You can do this via the DJI GO app. There you go to the settings of the drone, then to the wifi symbol and then to "Custom". I'll make a detailed description of the days.
That's fine. As with the other models, DJI also provides a selection of USB cables to help with this.
These data are on a sticker in the slot for the battery. If you remove this, you will see the small sticker. Tip: Take a photo with your smartphone and then enlarge it. Otherwise the password will be difficult to decipher. Otherwise you can also establish the connection with the QR code that you scan in the DJI Go app.
DJI specifies the latency as 170 to 240 ms. However, the value also depends on the performance of the smartphone you are using and on interference. So FPV racing will probably not be possible with the Mavic Air ...
Update 14.02.2018/XNUMX/XNUMX: I have now made test flights with my Mavic Air. The latency is barely noticeable. You can make clean camera movements and don't have the feeling that commands are only executed after a second, as is often the case with the Spark.
The enhanced WiFi works with the Mavic Air at 720p at 30 fps. So 1280 x 720 pixels at 30 frames per second.
Short answer: no. This is only possible with the Phantom. The Spark and Mavic Air or Pro do not have this option. With the Phantom, this is done via a switch on the spark, if I have that right in my head.
Definitely no. It has the FoC drive system with sinusoidal control, but apparently the propellers are not designed for "quiet". The noise development is somewhere between Spark and Mavic Pro. However, it has the high-pitched hum (like a wild hornet swarm) of the Spark. I hope that DJI will deliver low-noise props for the Mavic Air.
In principle, this is feasible, as you can in this video sees. They can be mounted and the drone also flies with them. However, the area of the Spark propeller is smaller, which is why the motors have to turn faster for the same lift. This ensures a higher temperature in the motors and certainly also less reliability in borderline situations. Using the Spark propellers on the Mavic Air brings no benefits and only risks. That's why I would leave it ...
Not yet. I hope that DJI will improve this and shortly deliver such low-noise props as you get for the Mavic Pro, but DJI has not yet officially commented on this.
In fact, at 5000 m above sea level, the Air already has a small record in terms of operating conditions. DJI specifies the temperature range for use as 0 - 40 ° C. At cold temperatures around freezing point, the motors seem to "shake" with some users, but this goes away after a short time when the motors are warm (source: here ). However, it shows that clean video recordings at -17 ° C are also possible in practice this video.
DJI says that this makes the propellers more aerodynamic and makes folding the drone easier. Foldable propellers would also have no advantages with this design.
Technically, according to DJI, this works up to wind speeds of 10 m / s. That is about 37 km / h or strength 5 on the Beaufort scale or 16-21 knots. Soft movements for video recordings are easier to achieve when there is less wind. If you want to see how the Mavic Air and Mavic Pro behave in strong winds (approx. 50 km / h), you can here daily.
No, the Mavic Air's sensors are facing forwards, backwards and downwards. If you fly sideways, you can still crash into a tree or "take" a lamppost with you. It is also important: The distance sensors do not work via infrared (as with the Spark) but "optically". This means that they no longer work properly in the dark or at dusk. I have also seen videos on the Internet showing that the Mavic Air's sensors cannot reliably detect any wires or thin branches. So you shouldn't trust the technology 100%.
No, as described above, they only work with sufficient lighting. The DJI Spark, on the other hand, has infrared sensors that also work in the dark.
Partly yes: The sensors facing down are also active in sport mode. The front and rear distance sensors, however, do not. Basically, you should fly as safely in sport mode as if you had no sensors. At over 60 km / h I would not expect the lower sensors to reliably detect rapid inclines.
DJI specifies this at around 2,5 to 6 meters.
This is designed for security reasons. You can only control the flight altitude of the drone with your palms from a distance of 3 meters. Taking palms to the drone and then further apart means flying higher. Closer means flying lower.
At 430 grams, the Mavic Air is slightly heavier than the Spark (300 g). But it also offers a lot of features. The Mavic Pro weighs 734 grams and the Phantom 4 Pro 1388 grams.
If you then add the weight of the remote control and an additional battery, you get approx. 840 grams, which roughly corresponds to the weight of the remote controller of the Phantom 4 Pro (only the controller!). You can see how "nimble" the Mavic Air is.
Basically you can use any micro SD card that corresponds to Class 10, UHS-1 (U1) or V30. I have put together a selection of compatible SD cards here: SD cards for the Mavic Air.
I took a look at the SD card that I've been using in the DJI Mavic Air for some time and that I also formatted with the DJI Go app. This has "ExFAT" as the file system. This is a file system specially optimized for flash memory. The data can be read out on both a Mac and a Windows PC.
Yes, that is possible. But unfortunately not wireless (you would need OcuSync for that) and unfortunately not with as low a latency as the Mavic Pro. To connect the DJI Goggles to the remote controller of the Mavic Air, you need a USB to micro-USB cable (such as this one from anchor). How to connect the whole is in this video described. You may have to update the firmware of the goggles with the DJI Assistant 2 . make
Unfortunately not. I wish it were like that, because charging the drone via a power bank in the backpack would be a nice feature that the Spark has already been happy to use. The power bank adapter that comes with the Fly More Combo is only suitable for converting from a DJI Mavic Air battery to make a power bank for the smartphone or tablet. That's not inconvenient either, but charging via USB-C would have been great. That means the USB-C output is only there to load the data from the drone onto a Mac or PC. This is necessary because the drone has 8 GB of internal memory.
8 GB of memory are already built into the Mavic Air. However, you can also insert memory cards with up to 128 GB of RAM. If you have connected the drone (switched on!) To the computer with the USB-C cable, you will find both a "NO NAME" and a "Untitled" storage medium (this name can vary as it is your SD card). When I open the "Untitled" storage medium, I get the folder structure, where all sub-folders for panoramas, HDR photos, films and other items can be found in the "DCIM" folder (see screenshot below).
Yes, as with all drones, you need insurance for Mavic Air. Here you can my recommendation on drone insurance read. Incidentally, the 250 gram limit only applies to mandatory labeling, but this also includes Mavic Air.
Definitely yes. All quadrocopters with a take-off weight of 250 grams or more require a sticker with the address of the owner. At 430 grams, the Mavic Air is above this limit. Here you can find my recommendation on drone license plates.
There is no yes or no answer. If you want to fly privately or commercially in areas for which you need a special permit, then a drone license is mandatory. Since the Mavic Air weighs well under 2 kg, you don't always need proof of knowledge (as the thing is also called) to operate. You can find more on this topic in my post "Drone license".
If you have the refractory metal badge (here is my recommendation If you want to attach a mini metal badge that meets the legal requirements) my address to the drone, you should pay attention to the manufacturer's recommendations. In some places, the installation can have a negative effect on the flight characteristics, as sensors, GPS or radio connections are disrupted, for example. According to the DJI, the sticker should be attached behind the gimbal (when looking at the camera from the front). Here is the sketch from DJI:
DJI gives a clear no in the specifications. That the small drone can withstand a bit of splashing water shows this video with a little immersion. A drying phase of several hours allowed them to fly again.
The battery charging time is approximately 55 minutes according to the DJI. The charging station works in such a way that it recognizes the battery with the most remaining charge. It charges it first and then gradually uses the other batteries.
If you do not use the batteries of the DJI drones, they discharge after a few days in order to extend the service life. So that they are not completely discharged over time, they should be fully charged once every three months. Or even better: go fly out! ;-) The Lipo batteries prefer it when they are used often.
The Litchi app (see flylitchi.com) is a great thing if you want to completely preprogram your flights. This means that very professional tracking shots are also possible with smaller drones. Litchi does not currently offer any support for the DJI Mavic Air, but since the Mavic Air also supports waypoint flights and uses the mobile SDK interface, it is only a matter of time before the Litchi programmers will add the Mavic Air to their program. You can find the current status on the "Help" page from Litchi. All drones that can connect to the app are listed there.
I hope my contribution helped you decide for or against the Mavic Air. If you want to buy a drone from DJI, you can find the corresponding links to the different models in the DJI Store here:
Jens has been running the blog since 2012. He appears as Sir Apfelot for his readers and helps them with problems of a technical nature. In his free time he drives electric unicycles, takes photos (preferably with his iPhone, of course), climbs around in the Hessian mountains or hikes with the family. His articles deal with Apple products, news from the world of drones or solutions for current bugs.