Rumors of a Mavic 2 have been circulating for quite some time, even before the introduction of the Mavic Air.
Drone enthusiasts were only left to guess what the Mavic 2 might include. Many fans of the original Mavic were really hoping for a larger Phantom-type camera on the smaller foldable body.
Others were hoping for longer flight time and quieter propulsion.
Did anyone get what they wished for?
Mavic 2 Upgrades from the Original Mavic
On a casual first glance, the Mavic 2 looks strikingly similar to the original Mavic Pro. But there are some significant upgrades both inside and outside.
The Mavic 2 is quite literally covered in sensors. Whereas the Mavic Pro only had sensors on the front and bottom, the Mavic 2 is covered in every axis.
This familiar-looking drone retains the stereoscopic camera sensors on the front and bottom and adds two more in the back. There is also one camera sensor on each side of the drone, towards the rear.
The Mavic 2 adds an infrared sensor to both the bottom and the top of the drone, assisting in obstacle avoidance above the drone now, and adding more to the bottom.
These avoidance sensors won’t be active all the time; for example, the side sensors only work in certain modes like Tripod and Active Track.
The Mavic 2 takes the redesigned motors and propellers from the Mavic Platinum for superior flight characteristics. These improve the battery life while at the same time decreasing the noise signature of the drone. It also increases flight stability.
The speed of the Mavic 2 is also increased slightly, up to 45 miles per hour, helping you track fast-moving objects and improving performance against strong winds.
Pilots will appreciate the Advanced Pilot Assistance System, unveiled in the Mavic Air and now enhanced in the Mavic 2. This system uses all of the camera sensors to create a three-dimensional map of the environment, which the drone then uses to fly around obstacles.
Differences Between the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic Zoom
There are no differences in flight characteristics or physical characteristics of the drone itself. All of the differences lie between the cameras – and the price. The Mavic Zoom is $200 less than the Mavic 2 Pro.
Mavic 2 Pro Camera Advantages
The Mavic 2 Pro’s gimbal features a Hasselblad camera in front of a 20 megapixel Sony 1” CMOS sensor. What does this mean to the layperson? Much better image quality when compared to the original Mavic Pro, which used a smaller sensor. A larger sensor means more light-gathering capability and clarity. The focal length is fixed at 28mm, and the aperture is adjustable from f/2.8 to f/11. The Mavic Zoom’s camera uses the smaller 1/2.3” sensor found in the first Mavic Pro, at a resolution of 12MP. The aperture varies depending on the zoom length, from f/2.8 to f/3.8.
The Mavic 2 Pro has an impressive ISO limit of 6400 for video and 12800 for a photo. The Mavic Zoom, however, is limited to an ISO limit of 3200 for both photo and video.
When it comes to color rendition, the Mavic 2 Pro blows the Mavic Zoom out of the water. The Mavic 2 Pro records a color depth of 10 bits while the Mavic Zoom, like the original Mavic Pro, records 8 bits. In plain English, the Mavic Zoom can record 16 million different shades of colors while the Mavic 2 Pro can record over a billion.
Mavic Zoom Camera Advantages
The Mavic Zoom’s camera, as the name implies, has zoom capability from a focal length of 24mm to 48mm. This is an optical zoom, meaning the glass moves, instead of digitally zooming by blowing up the image. This results in much better clarity while zooming.
The Mavic Zoom’s camera does have some other unique advantages over the Mavic 2 Pro. The first is a 48MP “super-resolution” mode, where the camera zooms in to 48mm and stitches multiple photos together for one large photo with amazing resolution.
Videographers will have a lot of fun with the Mavic Zoom’s Dolly Zoom feature. If you don’t know what this is, you’ve likely seen it in movies. The drone flies away or towards the subject while the camera zooms in the opposite direction, creating a very dramatic effect.
The Mavic Zoom is also capable of zooming in as much as four times when recording Full HD video without losing any quality.
Both the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic Zoom have a new feature called Hyperlapse, where the drone will record a time-lapse video while flying any number of flight paths.
Which Mavic 2 is Right for You?
It would be nice if DJI allowed you to swap out gimbals, given that the drone bodies and controllers are the same. This can only be done by sending the Mavic back into DJI. So this means that you’re faced with the decision of which one to get, assuming you only have the budget for one.
Content creators who shoot a lot of video will definitely want to consider the Mavic Zoom for its impressive zoom capabilities. The ability to zoom the camera while recording video will change everything for anyone who has shot video with a Mavic or Phantom. Video quality is the same to slightly better as the original Mavic, which many professionals were already using for video.
Photographers and videographers who meddle mostly in landscape video should consider the Mavic 2 Pro. The color depth, resolution, and larger sensor will yield results that were previously only possible with larger drones like the Phantom 4 Pro and Inspire. But now you have those capabilities in a drone that you can truly take anywhere.
Regardless of which Mavic 2 model you choose to go with, you’ll appreciate the longer flight time, quieter noise, increased sensor capability, and enhanced image quality.