DJI has once again revolutionized the consumer drone market with the Mavic 2 Pro. In our opinion, the only reason not to get this drone is if you can't stomach the $1500 price tag. Otherwise it is near perfect, providing top quality video, a maximum flight time of 31 minutes, a maximum speed of 45mph, and does all this while weighing just 2 pounds and folding down into a sleek package that easily fits into a backpack. It even offers some advanced features that tailor to professional filmmakers, like being able to film in a 10-bit Dlog-M color profile. Bottom line, this is the first consumer drone that is both portable and creates incredibly rich footage, without making any sacrifices in either category. And if $1500 is a bit steep, you can always check out the DJI Mavic Air. It is a clear step down in video quality and flight performance, but it can still produce stellar results and costs a comparatively reasonable $800.
DJI Mavic 2 Pro Review
Pros: Excellent video quality, Great flight performance, relatively portbale
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Our Analysis and Test Results
The DJI Mavic 2 Pro is the new industry leader when it comes to consumer camera drones. DJI has somehow stuffed all of the video quality and flight performance of the larger Phantom line into a tiny, foldable, 2-pound model.
Does the Mavic 2 Pro Make the Phantom 4 Pro Obsolete?
The short answer to this question is yes, pretty much, but there are still a few niche areas where the Phantom 4 Pro is better. We think that out of the box, the Mavic 2 Pro produces slightly better colors than the Phantom 4 Pro, and that difference gets even bigger if you dive into the extra post-processing abilities afforded by the 10-bit Dlog-M color profile. The Mavic 2 Pro is also much more portable than the Phantom 4 Pro, while still be able to fly as long and as fast. Therefore, the Mavic 2 Pro is the better choice for the vast majority of people. However, the Phantom 4 Pro's camera does have a mechanical shutter and a higher frame rate when filming in 4K, 2 things the Mavic 2 Pro lacks. The mechanical shutter cuts down on the rolling shutter effect that can be seen when filming at high speeds, and the higher framerate lets you create slow-motion video without losing quality. So if you often film fast moving subjects (like motorcycles) or constantly find yourself shooting slow-mo, the Phantom 4 Pro may be a slightly better tool.
The Mavic 2 Pro was the highest scoring drone we tested, impressing us in almost every aspect.
This is where the Mavic 2 Pro's Hasselblad camera and 1-inch sensor really shine. It produced the best video in our testing.
In general, the Mavic 2 Pro footage we captured brought out more detail than any of the other models we tested. This was particularly true in very bright or dark areas. For example, most cameras turned shaded valleys into a somewhat muddled mess of green, while the Mavic 2 Pro was able to bring out the details of individual tree branches. On the flip side, brightly lit mountain slopes generally got somewhat washed out by most cameras, but the Mavic 2 Pro showed specific contours of snow and rock. The overall picture was also a bit sharper and contained more contrast than what we got from other models.
The only legitimate competitor to the Mavic 2 Pro's video quality is the Phantom 4 Pro, which also creates a very nuanced color range with good detail no matter the lighting conditions. However, we think the Mavic 2 Pro is able to pull out a bit more vibrancy and color depth in its video, making it look slightly better overall. The Phantom 4 Pro does have somewhat lesser issues with rolling shutter effects thanks to its mechanical shutter, but the Mavic 2 Pro barely suffers from this issue, so the difference is relatively minor. The Phantom 4 Pro can also shoot in 4K at a frame rate of 60fps, as opposed to the Mavic 2 Pro's rate of 30fps. This means you can get better quality slow-motion video from the Phantom 4 Pro. However, 30fps still lets you slow down the video a decent amount without losing too much quality, so it's not a significant difference unless slow-mo videos are your bread and butter.
The next step down in video quality form the Mavic 2 Pro are the Mavic Air and Mavic 2 Zoom, both of which lose some of that detail in particularly dark or bright areas. However, both of these models still produce quite vibrant images, so that slight sacrifice in contrast and detail is most likely worth it if you want the much lower price of the Mavic Air, or the optical zoom capability of the Mavic 2 Zoom.
The Mavic 2 Pro and the Phantom 4 Pro are the only DJI drones that allow for full adjustment of the aperture from f/2.8 to f/11. This helps deal with lens flare when filming into the sun, and lets you get better quality lowlight images.
10-bit Dlog-M Color Profile
The Mavic 2 Pro is the first of DJI's consumer-level drones to offer 10-bit Dlog-M recording. We don't need to get into the nitty-gritty, but this format essentially makes it easier to edit the footage in post processing to bring out better color and dynamic range without losing any quality or clarity. If you're familiar with photography, it's analogous to shooting in RAW, but for video. Harnessing the power of 10-bit requires some advanced video editing software and some know-how, so it's not exactly a beginner-friendly feature, but it does bring the Mavic 2 Pro's video capabilities more in line with professional level drones. It also gives you some room to grow and experiment if you're looking to make this filmmaking thing more than a hobby.
Being DJI's new flagship model, the Mavic 2 Pro offers field leading flight performance.
In general the Mavic 2 Pro is a pleasure to fly. It is incredibly stable during takeoff and landing, stops on a dime, responds quickly, and accelerates like a cheetah. We think even first-time pilots will find the Mavic 2 Pro to be intuitive and easy to zoom around. It sports a maximum flight time of 31 minutes, which bests the competing Phantom 4 Pro by 1 minute and the Mavic Air by 10 minutes. The top speed of 45mph is also filed leading, matching that of the Phantom 4 Pro and slightly beating the Mavic Air.
Autonomous Flight Modes
The Mavic 2 Pro has pretty much the same bevy of autonomous flight modes that previous models have had, including cable cam, orbit, and return to home. We found all of these modes to function quite well, just as well as previous iterations. The one place where the Mavic 2 Pro makes an improvement is in its automatic follow function, which can identify a subject and then have the drone autonomously follow it. We found that the Mavic 2 Pro was better at automatically keeping a moving subject in the frame than its predecessors. For a fast-moving subject, like someone on a bike, you'll probably still get better footage by using an actual pilot, but solo adventurers who want to film themselves will probably get better results from the Mavic 2 Pro than they did previously. In fact, the only model that does this better is the Skydio R1, which costs a whopping $2500 and is only good for use as an autonomous follow drone.
This is one area where the Mavic 2 Pro isn't a field leader, with the full-time 5-direction obstacle avoidance of the Phantom 4 Pro being slightly better. While the Mavic 2 Pro can technically sense obstacles in all 6 directions, the left/right obstacle avoidance only works when in certain autonomous flight modes, so you don't get quite as much crash protection. Still, this is better than the vast majority of products out there today, and gave us quite a bit of peace of mind.
The Mavic 2 Pro's small form factor is largely what makes it such a revolutionary drone. Weighing just 2 pounds and folding up into a package that is about the size of a 40oz water bottle, you can easily take this drone pretty much anywhere you go.
The Mavic 2 Pro keeps the portability going with the controller. Its antennas fold down and the joysticks unscrew and store in internal slots, resulting in a streamlined package that has about the footprint of a standard smartphone with just a bit more thickness. We had no problem fitting both the controller and drone into even small daypacks, making this by far the most portable option for capturing high-quality video. The only drone that creates comparable footage is the Phantom 4 Pro, which weighs over 3 pounds and doesn't fold down at all, requiring its own carrying case if you want to bring it anywhere.
The only model that is more portable than the Mavic 2 Pro is the Mavic Air, which has basically the same controller, folds down even smaller, and weighs just barely under a pound. It also comes with its own small padded case, so you don't have to worry about tossing it in a loaded pack. If portability is at the top of your wishlist the Mavic Air is likely a better choice, even though it's a slight step down in video quality and flight performance.
Ease of Use
Like all DJI models, the Mavic 2 Pro offers a fairly easy setup process, intuitive controls, and a clear user interface. We highly doubt anyone will have difficulty getting the 2 Pro in the air and recording great footage.
The controller of the Mavic 2 Pro follows the design of DJI's latest controllers, maintaining a slim profile while still offering long joysticks with textured tips. The slot below the controller easily clamps down on most phones and holds them securely, and the short phone connection wires keep tangles to a minimum.
The only small area where the user experience of the Mavic 2 Pro could really be improved is in its video screen. Like the vast majority of drones out there, the 2 Pro requires that you hook a phone or tablet to its controller in order to see its video feed and access some touchscreen controls. This is completely fine, but we do slightly prefer the built-in screen found on the Phantom 4 Pro+'s controller, which allows you to leave your phone in your pocket while filming. However, this version of the Phantom 4 costs $1800, and we don't think this minor upgrade is worth the extra $300.
At $ 1500, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is one of the most expensive consumer drones around. However, if you're looking for top quality video in a portable package, it is worth every single penny, as it delivers on all of its promises. If you're looking for a more economical option the $800 Mavic Air still produces quite good, if not exceptional, footage, and is slightly more portable.
The Mavic 2 Pro is the new gold standard in consumer drones, offering field leading video quality and flight performance in a package that can easily be toted along in a backpack.
— Max Mutter and Steven Tata