Introduction

Arriving only one 12 months after its predecessor, the Mavic Air 2, the Air 2S is DJI’s latest mid-range shopper drone. The brand new mannequin sheds the acquainted Mavic branding in favor of a shorter naming scheme, following the lead of DJI’s Mini 2 mannequin, however receives some important upgrades in return. Most notably, the Air 2S incorporates a digital camera with a 1″-type sensor – one thing that was beforehand unique to DJI fashions costing over $1,500.

Whereas the Mavic Air 2 emphasised decision over sensor measurement, with options like 48MP stills and 8K hyperlapse modes, the Air 2S pivots within the course of picture high quality; its bigger 20MP sensor simply outperforms the digital camera on the Mavic Air 2 and addresses probably the most frequent requests from customers.

The draw back is that the retail worth of the Air 2S is $200 greater than the Mavic Air 2, coming in at $999. The excellent news is that the Mavic Air 2 will proceed to promote alongside the brand new Air 2S, so shoppers can select the choice that most closely fits their wants – to not point out their finances.

There’s additionally a Fly Extra combo that features two extra batteries, a charging hub, a set of three ND filters, and a shoulder bag for $1299. The addition of ND filters to the Fly Extra combo ought to please numerous customers as they are a frequent add-on buy.



Key Options

  • 20MP, 1″-type CMOS sensor
  • 22mm (equiv.) lens with 88º FOV and glued F2.Eight aperture
  • 5.4K/30p, 4K/60p, and 1080p/120p video
  • H.264 and H.265 recording at 150 Mbps
  • 10-bit D-Log and HDR video seize
  • Uncooked and JPEG picture seize
  • OcuSync 3.0 (O3) picture transmission (12 km vary)
  • 4-way impediment avoidance
  • APAS 4.0
  • ‘MasterShots’ cinematic seize mode
  • ‘RockSteady’ digital picture stabilization
  • 31-minute flight time
  • 595g (1.Three kilos) complete weight

In comparison with…

On paper, the Air 2S compares favorably to each the Mavic Air 2 in addition to the dearer Mavic 2 Professional.

DJI Air 2S Mavic Air 2 Mavic 2 Professional
Worth $999 $799 $1599
Digital camera

20MP, 1″-type sensor

22mm equiv. F2.8 (mounted)

48MP, 1/2-inch sensor

24mm equiv. F2.8 (mounted)

20MP, 1″-type sensor

28mm equiv. F2.8-11

Video transmission OcuSync 3.0 (O3), Four antennas, 12 km, 1080p OcuSync 2.0, twin antenna, 10 km, 1080p OcuSync 2.0, twin antenna, 10 km, 1080p

Video decision 5.4K/30p, 4K/60fps 4K/60p 4K/30p
Video bit-rate 150 Mbps 120 Mbps 100 Mbps
Log video 10-bit D-Log, HDR video (10-bit) HDR video (8-bit) 10-bit D-Log, HDR video (10-bit)
APAS model (Superior Pilot Help System) APAS 4.0 APAS 3.0 APAS 1.0
Impediment avoidance Ahead, Backward, Downward, Upward Ahead, Backward, Downward Ahead, Backward, Downward, Left, and Proper
Flight time 31 minutes 34 minutes 31 minutes
Dimensions 180×97×80 mm 180x97x84 mm 214×91×84 mm
Weight 595g 570g 907g

There is no query the improved digital camera alone warrants an improve. In truth, the Air 2S one-ups the Mavic 2 Professional in an vital space. The Mavic 2 Professional might report 4K video utilizing the complete width of its sensor, nevertheless it did so utilizing pixel binning. Consequently, one of the best 4K footage was obtained by capturing from a local crop of the sensor, which additionally narrowed the digital camera’s area of view.

In distinction, the Air 2S captures 5.4K video utilizing the complete width of the sensor – with no pixel binning – leading to extra detailed video seize. The upgraded sensor seems to place the Air 2S on par with the prosumer Mavic 2 Professional. Or does it? Let’s check out what the Air 2S has to supply and decide if it is a must-have for hobbyists and professionals alike.

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Plane and controller

At 180x97x80 mm folded down, the DJI Air 2S has a body that’s virtually an identical to the Mavic Air 2 and might match within the palm of your hand. What’s noticeably totally different is that the 2S has impediment avoidance sensors positioned on prime of the drone.

The Air 2S (L) and Mavic Air 2 (R) side-by-side. The Air 2S boasts a digital camera with a bigger 1″-type sensor plus upward impediment avoidance sensors.

In truth, DJI has outfitted the Air 2S with four-way impediment avoidance detection and APAS 4.0 – the most recent iteration of an autopilot system that routinely avoids, and can fly round, obstacles it encounters, when recording as much as 4K/30p footage. There may be additionally an auxiliary gentle on the underside of the plane to assist in takeoff and touchdown throughout low-light conditions.

The Air 2S makes use of the identical distant because the Mavic Air 2.

DJI has opted to make use of the identical distant that powers the Mavic Air 2 and Mini 2. It would not have exterior antennas, and it could possibly nonetheless be a problem to connect a smartphone. Nonetheless, it is comfy to carry and contains every thing you have to function, together with a gimbal wheel plus buttons to immediately begin and cease taking images and video. It’s straightforward to modify between Cine, Regular, and Sport Modes whereas the Return to Dwelling characteristic is immediately accessible.

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Images and video

The digital camera on the Air 2S has a 20MP, 1”-type CMOS sensor, mounted on a 3-axis gimbal stabilized with the ‘RockSteady’ EIS system launched on DJI’s FPV drone. It has a 22mm (equiv.) fixed-aperture F2.Eight lens with an 88º FOV.

Till now, getting a 1″-type sensor on a DJI drone required you to buy a way more costly mannequin just like the Mavic 2 Professional or Phantom Four sequence. So the truth that it is now out there on a mannequin costing underneath $1,000 is notable. The place the digital camera on the Air 2S differs from the Mavic 2 Professional is that the Hasselblad coloration profile just isn’t included.

The digital camera on the Air 2S makes use of a 1″-type CMOS sensor able to 20MP images and as much as 5.4K/30p video.

Like its predecessor, the Air 2S is powered by the DJI Fly app. The pared down, intuitive menu showcases all of the photograph modes on the identical display. Single, SmartPhoto, AEB (in brackets of three and 5 pictures), and Burst mode might be simply accessed. The shutter permits as much as an 8-second publicity, and along with DJI’s RockSteady EIS, make’s low-light, night time time, and movement blur images doable.

The shutter permits as much as an 8-second publicity, and along with DJI’s RockSteady EIS, make’s low-light, night time time, and movement blur images doable.

SmartPhoto mode, which makes use of computational pictures know-how just like smartphones, routinely provides you a great picture utilizing one of many following strategies, relying on lighting situations:

  • HDR images: The digital camera routinely captures seven totally different exposures and combines them for higher dynamic picture.
  • Hyperlight: Photographs taken in low-light situations are usually grainy and comprise noise. Hyperlight takes a number of images and merges them for a clearer picture.
  • Scene recognition: This mode permits the drone to acknowledge 5 main elements of a photograph – sunsets, blue skies, grass, snow, and bushes. It can analyze these objects and maximize tone, readability, and colours.

DJI’s RockSteady EIS makes it doable to seize night time photographs with lengthy publicity and movement blur.
ISO 200 | 6 sec | F2.8

The Air 2S means that you can report video at resolutions as much as 5.4K/30p, 4K/60p, and 1080p/120p at 150Mbps with both the H.264 or H.265 codec. You may also zoom as much as 4X at 4K/30p, 6X at 2.7K/30p, 4X at 2.7K/60p, 6X at 1080p/60p and 8X at 1080p/30p. That is an improve from the Mavic Air 2, which maxed out at 4K/60p and 120 Mbps (which remains to be spectacular in its personal proper).

This video reveals an instance of 5K/30p video captured on the Air 2S.

One space the place the there is a large distinction between the Air 2S and Mavic Air 2 is help for HDR and Log video. The Mavic Air 2 might seize HDR video however was restricted to 8-bit, and it did not embody a Log gamma profile. In distinction, the Air 2S contains 10-bit D-Log and 10-bit HLG seize along with the Regular (8-bit) coloration profile for video. That is a considerable improve for critical video shooters.

Additionally, as famous above, the Air 2S captures 5.4K video utilizing the complete width of its sensor, with no pixel binning, for detailed video seize. That is a step up from the Mavic 2 Professional which might report 4K video utilizing the complete width of its sensor, however did so utilizing pixel binning. Consequently, one of the best 4K footage on that mannequin was obtained by capturing from a local crop of the sensor, which additionally narrowed the digital camera’s area of view.

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The DJI Fly app and flight modes

The Air 2S makes use of the DJI Fly app, which was first launched with the Mavic Mini. Not like the DJI GO Four app, which is extra fully-featured and appropriate for prosumer drones, they Fly app was created with newer pilots in thoughts. It is simple to navigate and principally each photograph and video setting you want is true on the identical display.

When switching out of Auto mode and into Guide, or Professional mode, on this case, the bottom-right-hand nook provides you sliders that will let you alter white steadiness, ISO, shutter pace, and select JPG or Uncooked+JPG imagery. Decision might be adjusted on the video finish.

DJI’s Fly app is pared down, easy, intuitive, and straightforward to navigate.

Three dots on the upper-right-hand nook of the app will enable you go deeper into the principle settings. That is the place you’ll be able to choose which video coloration profile you need, whether or not you want to brake in entrance of or bypass obstacles, which codec you favor, and the way excessive an altitude or far a distance you’d favor the drone to fly.

A brand new characteristic known as MasterShots has been launched as a method for pilots to generate professional-grade footage that is able to share on social by merely choosing a couple of parameters, comparable to proximity and portrait or panorama orientation. DJI has outfitted the Air 2S with ActiveTrack 4.Zero and Level of Curiosity 3.Zero for elevated accuracy in monitoring topics throughout automated flights. The same old QuickShots, together with Dronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket Asteroid and Boomerang are included.

That is an instance of a accomplished MasterShots sequence, full with title and music, that was routinely edited collectively utilizing the DJI Fly app.

I attempted the MasterShots characteristic and have combined emotions about it. Upon launching it, a notification to ‘be careful for obstacles’ instantly seems. The drone then autonomously launches right into a sequence of pre-programmed photographs together with Dronie, Rocket, and Boomerang together with another sweeping actions. It is best to concentrate on a static object versus a shifting one because the Air 2S will lose observe of the latter.

I paused the flight two separate occasions whereas a MasterShot was in progress as a result of I used to be afraid it was going to fly into the aspect of a mountain I used to be near, and over shifting visitors in one other location. Anybody wanting to check out this characteristic ought to ensure they’re at a excessive sufficient altitude that the drone will not encounter a tree or constructing because the Air 2S tends to pitch down at one level in the course of the recording.

I aborted this MasterShots sequence to keep away from having the drone fly over a freeway with automobiles, nevertheless it it illustrates how MasterShots runs the drone by a sequence of pre-programmed photographs.

MasterShots was made with the informal shopper and starting pilot in thoughts. Choose photographs are stitched right into a remaining clip and music is routinely added in for one thing that may be immediately shareable on social channels from the DJI Fly app. This isn’t prone to be one thing knowledgeable with entry to Adobe Premiere Professional, Ultimate Lower Professional, or related software program will likely be concerned with utilizing, however they’re additionally not the market DJI is focusing on with this new characteristic. Lastly, it solely works in Auto mode which makes for some doubtlessly awkward lighting switches.

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What’s it prefer to fly?

The very first thing anybody will discover when working the Air 2S is that the drone is extremely quiet. It is clear that DJI has up to date the digital pace controllers and continues to create extra aerodynamic propellers for a noticeably extra nice expertise. It maneuvers effectively too. Sadly, it would not maintain up in average to excessive winds. In low winds, nevertheless, it is regular. RockSteady EIS picture stabilization makes low-light imagery particularly straightforward to seize.

What impressed me most was the improved APAS 4.0, the most recent model of DJI’s Superior Pilot Help System, which maneuvers the drone above, under, or to the aspect of an impediment. With the Mavic Air 2, I felt that APAS was a bit missing. This model of the know-how labored seamlessly. Within the instance under, it flew above a tree after which to the aspect, lacking each department. Be mindful, this characteristic works on 4K/30p video and under.

This clip reveals APAS 4.0, DJI’s Superior Pilot Help System, in motion because the drone navigates across the tree. APAS 4.Zero is noticeably improved over earlier variations.

Total, every thing feels vastly improved and extra extra dependable. Hyperlapse, particularly, appears a lot cleaner and extra secure on a 1″-type sensor coupled with RockSteady EIS. I used to be impressed with how straightforward it was to get easy footage on a mildly windy day.

Hyperlapse sequence captured on the Air 2S.

Odds and ends

Geared up with OcuSync 3.0 (O3) transmission know-how, the Air 2S can fly at a distance as much as 12 km (7.45 miles) when freed from obstacles or interference. Like its predecessor, it helps each 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequency bands. The utmost flight time clocks in at 31 minutes in ideally suited situations, on par with the Mavic 2 Professional however lower than the 34 minutes the Mavic Air 2 affords. It may journey as much as 68.Four km/h (42.5 mph) in Sport mode.

The Air 2S helps reminiscence playing cards as much as 256GB and in addition has 8GB of onboard inside storage must you neglect a card or run out of area. Geared up with ADS-B, pilots are warned when manned plane are close by. One characteristic I appreciated was the truth that the Air 2S routinely returned to dwelling after shedding its connection, even because the distant display remained darkish.

The Air 2S Fly Extra combo features a set of ND filters that assist create higher movies and hyperlapses. A easy twist attaches them to the digital camera.

I might additionally suggest contemplating the Fly Extra combo – notably because it now contains ND filters, that are very useful for capturing video and hyperlapses.

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Who’s it for?

DJI has created a top-of-the-line consumer-grade drone with the Air 2S. To have entry to a digital camera with a 1″-type sensor that’s able to capturing 20MP imagery and video as much as 5.4K/30p, for underneath $1,000, is really exceptional. Whereas the digital camera would not embody the colourful Hasselblad coloration profile of the Mavic 2 Professional, it nonetheless produces respectable coloration. Imagery feels cleaner and crisper in comparison with previous fashions, general.

The Mavic 2 Professional (proper) is barely bigger and heavier than the Air 2S. It may fly in additional turbulent situations, and at increased altitudes, however prices considerably extra as effectively.

With that context, what does it imply for the Mavic 2 Professional, DJI’s different foldable drone with a 1″-type sensor? Professionals should not write off the Mavic 2 Professional simply but. Barely bigger, heavier, and sturdier, it could possibly stand up to excessive winds like its bigger peer, the Phantom Four Professional. It additionally has impediment avoidance sensors on all sides making it extra appropriate for inspections and different excessive danger gigs that require maneuvering in tight or treacherous areas. Let’s not neglect the adjustable aperture both.

The Air 2S could be a terrific drone for knowledgeable to take to a marriage, for instance, notably with its quieter props. Nonetheless I would not dream of taking it with me to shoot round a excessive rise constructing, the place winds get stronger the upper you ascend, or to a ship race the place it will be whipped round. The Air 2S is constructed for extra informal conditions.

The Air 2S could be a terrific drone for knowledgeable to take to a marriage, for instance, notably with its quieter props.

With its mounted aperture and user-friendly options, the Air 2S remains to be focused extra in the direction of on a regular basis shoppers and people who desire a stable choice to get into drone imaging. DJI is not going to cannibalize its skilled and prosumer strains of drones by permitting it to function in the identical method. MasterShots and among the QuickShots options had been created for vacationers and content material creators who wish to seize spectacular imagery and share it immediately. The Fly app has even been up to date to make including a soundtrack and subtitles straightforward for anybody.

Ultimate ideas

The discharge of the Air 2S is a robust indication that subsequent Mavic Professional (and even Phantom or Encourage) will see important bumps in options and capabilities. Additionally, with Distant ID finalized, DJI has numerous incentive to begin rolling out some new fashions that each hobbyists and professionals have been wanting for the previous few years.

I examined DJI’s Fly Extra combo, which incorporates two extra batteries plus a set of ND filters, and was thrilled to have the ability to carry the whole set round in a bag the dimensions of a small purse. I can think about knowledgeable industrial pilot wanting certainly one of these for enjoyable or impromptu shoots, particularly now that it features a 1″-type sensor. This actually is a perfect answer for journey and on-the-go content material creation.

What we like

  • 1″-type CMOS censor
  • 5.4K/30p video with 10-bit D-Log and HLG help
  • Quiet flight
  • Improved APAS 4.Zero efficiency
  • Capacity to shoot lengthy exposures

What we do not

  • Mounted aperture lens
  • Might be unsteady in windy situations
  • 1080p recording in Fast and MasterShots modes
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