Yesterday, DJI unveiled their new drone, the DJI Mavic Pro (Amazon link). Drone fans are going crazy over it, largely because of how small it is. I’m going to summarize all the specs, and some reactions to it, here.
The other day, I reviewed the news of the GoPro Karma drone (and handheld stabilizer system). I knew that DJI were rumored to be releasing a new drone soon, but the Karma system blew me away, so I didn’t really think any new drone would be anywhere as cool (I’ll compare them in this article). I was wrong – the Mavic Pro looks extremely cool.
At first glance, what really stands out, as I mentioned, is the size. The Mavic is about half the size of the DJI Phantom 4 (widely considered one the best drones around, if not the best). What’s more, the controller for the Mavic Pro is much smaller than the huge controller for the Phantom 4 – which by itself was as big as the entire Mavic Pro drone is!
During the DJI launch event in New York City, the guy who announced the drone did a clever little trick. He brought a backpack onstage, like Nick Woodman had done at the launch of the GoPro Karma drone. When he was about to show the Mavic for the first time, he talked about how it could fit in a backpack, but then made the big reveal that the drone had been in his pants pocket the whole time. It was funny, although he almost must have been wearing somewhat loose pants, because while the drone is small and foldable, it’s not as small as one of those really small micro-drones that you can pick up for $40 on Amazon.
The actual specs on the Mavic Pro are very similar to the Phantom 4. In testing videos, the Mavic Pro seems to be a small amount slower than the Phantom, but still extremely fast (40mph in sport mode).
The DJI Mavic Pro has a 4.3 mile control range and up to 27 minutes flight time per battery. It has a full feature set that seems to be pretty much the same as the Phantom 4. Obstacle detection, ActiveTrack subject tracking and all the features like that are all there.
The DigitalRev TV channel guys have reviewed the Mavic already on Youtube, and they compared it to the Phantom 4, and the one problem was video quality. The 4K video looked fine, but when comparing both cameras, they cropped in to 100% and the Phantom 4’s video was clearly sharper. The Mavic footage still looked fine though, and realistically, anything filmed in 4K will look incredibly sharp when downsized to 1080p.
Casey Neistat has already proclaimed that this is the greatest drone ever. He’s a heavy Phantom 4 user, and had a list of problems with the Phantom that the Mavic solve, so he’s well worth listening to. I have to say though, it did feel like the footage he filmed with the Mavic Pro was quite soft (you can skip to 10:13 in that video to see if you agree). It’s hard to tell whether the softness had to do with the actual optical quality of the camera, but after seeing the footage that DigitalRev TV shot (that was not that soft), it really makes me wonder whether Neistat over-compressed the 4K when he downsampled it to 1080p. I’ve also, quite rarely, seen footage look that bad when it’s filmed at some insanely small aperture like f32, so maybe Neistat didn’t adjust the settings optimally when setting up the Mavic for the first time.
UPDATE: I noticed some Youtube commenters saying that the fuzziness might have been from downsampling from 4K to 1080p, and others saying this is impossible, so let me chime in: Normally, downsampling from 4K to 1080p should definitely give you a much sharper 1080p video than filming natively in 1080p, but you definitely could use a lower quality compression rate, or other settings in your editing rig, and wind up with worse 1080p.
The Mavic Pro will cost $999 with the remote, and $749 without. If you don’t buy the remote, you can of course use your smartphone.
The release date has not been officially announced as of right now, but third party sellers on Amazon have it listed as October 22, so perhaps they know something.
I’ll update this page as new details come in, but for all the nitty gritty right now, you can keep your eye on DJI’s official Mavic Pro page, and if you want to pre-order one, keep an eye on Amazon – there are 3rd party sellers already taking pre-orders.