DJI’s Mavic Pro: The End of GoPro?
That was the universal sentiment, when DJI announced their latest personal camera drone, the Mavic Pro.
You almost feel sorry for GoPro. The GoPro Karma was their first attempt to expand beyond their ailing action camera business – but they botched it, big time.
While GoPro corrected the worst of their mistakes, there is just no way they can compete against DJI’s new Mavic Pro.
The Mavic Pro is just too good, too nimble and too intelligent for anyone to choose the Karma over it. Especially considering they both cost about the same.
If you are looking for a serious camera drone for professional photography and cinematography, the Mavic Pro probably isn’t your best choice. I’d go for the Phantom 4 Pro.
But if you’re looking for an easy-to-us 4K camera drone for family use or even serious aerial photography – the Mavic Pro is your best choice, right now.
The DJI Mavic Pro is the best compact camera drone today.
Unlike its smaller sibling, the DJI Spark, the Mavic Pro doesn’t sacrifice anything in its quest for a trimmer size.
In fact, the Mavic Pro is almost as powerful as the Phantom 4 but much smaller.
What’s amazing is how they packed so many features into such a small body.
The Mavic Pro has a 4K camera, a 3-axis gimbal, obstacle detection sensors, dual satellite tracking, a high-capacity LiPo battery, a low-latency transmission system and many other features. The GoPro Karma doesn’t even come close.
Flying the Mavic Pro couldn’t be more fun or easy. It comes with several intelligent fly-and-shoot modes that make it super easy to capture stunning shots and videos.
With some editing in the DJI GO 4 app, everyone will think you hired a professional photographer.
Who is it for?
As good as it is, the Mavic Pro is still not a true professional-level photography drone, and DJI doesn’t advertise it as such.
That said, I think it’s a great choice for entry-level pro photographers and cinematographers.
I have a feeling that a LOT of experienced pros just getting into UAV photography will buy this one, especially those looking for a lower priced alternative to $1,500+ professional camera drones.
Compact and Foldable
Considering all the impressive features, the small size of the drone is an engineering first.
The arms, the biggest challenge in designing a pocket drone, fold neatly against the main body of the drone. The bulky ends of the arms settle perfectly into groves at the rear of the drone.
When folded, the drone transforms into a smooth shape with nothing awkwardly protruding from the sides or ends. This makes it easier and safer to carry the drone in a soft case or backpack. Its folded dimensions are 3.2in (83mm) height x 3.2in (83mm) width x 7.8in (198mm) length.
Folding and unfolding the arms are both easy and fast. It takes less than 10 seconds to unfold the drone for flying or fold it back down when you are done.
Both the GoPro Hero 5 and the Mavic Pro cameras capture high-quality images good enough even for pros.
The Mavic Pro comes with a non-removable camera, so it’s the only option you have.
But it’s a powerful camera that shoots 4K video, captures images in 12.7 MP and is supported by a 3-axis gimbal.
A note on the gimbal: a few customers have complained that it’s a bit fragile. It can pop out of place if you land the drone too hard or clip something. Sometimes it even jiggles out of place when you are flying, and you have to use the DJI app to correct it.
Other than that, the camera on the Mavic Pro is awesome.
It’s more than enough for photography enthusiasts, outdoor lovers, and adventurers. It’s also good enough as an entry-level pro camera drone.
The Mavic Pro is a pleasure to steer in the sky. Then again, DJI has always been king when it comes to making easy-to-fly drones thanks to their superior GPS tracking, vision system, obstacle detection sensors and intelligent flight automation.
The Mavic Pro is fast, too. The safest flying speed for obstacle avoidance is 22mph.
On paper, DJI says the max speed is 40mph. In real life, some pilots have recorded speeds as high as 50mph in perfect weather conditions and an open area.
Battery performance is equally impressive. The LiPo battery powers a max flight time of 27 minutes in calm weather and constant speed of 15.5mph. In actual flight, you’ll get around 21 minutes with a minimum battery level of 15%.
The flight time will be shorter when you fly faster and when flying in windy conditions.
Regardless of the weather or terrain, the Mavic Pro is easy to fly and even easier to capture shots with.
Here are all the useful features that make this drone perfect for all situations.
- Sensors with built-in redundancy – The Mavic Pro uses some sensors to ‘see’ the world around it. It can detect obstacles up to 15 meters (49 feet) in front of it. Each sensor comes in a pair so that if one fails, the other takes over. So you don’t have to worry about the drone suddenly going haywire and hitting a tree or wall.
- Precision flying and landing – these sensors, a vision system and accurate satellite tracking enable the Mavic Pro to fly with precision. You can fly it inside your house without hitting anything. It can hover precisely where you want it to (even without satellite support) and fly safely through tight spaces. It also uses the sensor and camera for precision landing (landing correctly from where it took off).
- TapToFly – Want to focus more on the camera and less on flying? Just tap where you want to go, and the Mavic Pro automatically flies there while you focus on getting the best shots. This feature is especially beneficial for beginners who find it hard to fly straight, resulting in shaky videos.
- Constant height flying – if you are moving on uneven terrain, you can set the Mavic Pro to maintain a constant height. You don’t have to bother lifting it and lowering it every time the terrain changes. And don’t worry, it will still keep an ‘eye’ out for obstacles.
- Fly by phone – you don’t always need the controller to fly the drone. If you just want a quick fly-around or a few shots, just use your phone. You can use a virtual joystick to control the flight and get access to the same intelligent features that the controller provides.
- Return to Home – Like most other DJI drones, the Mavic Pro has a Return-to-Home failsafe system that autonomously flies the drone to a preset point in case you lose sight of it, or the battery gets too low.
For Serious Aerial Photographers
DJI has integrated several features that make it easy for amateur photographers to capture beautiful shots.
First, here are the technical specs for the Mavic Pro’s camera:
- 4K video at 30fps (1080p at 96fps)
- 12mp images with Adobe DNG RAW support
- 3-axis mechanical gimbal
- 79-degree field of view (less than Phantom 4’s 94 degrees).
There are several advanced fly-and-shoot automation modes available to help you shoot like a pro even if you are new at this.
- ActiveTrack – The Mavic Pro has a smart ‘Follow Me’ mode that doesn’t require you wear a bracelet or tracker. Just point the camera at the object or person you want it to track, select the object on screen and the drone will follow it, smoothly. This feature has three tracking modes:
- Trace (stays in front or behind the subject)
- Profile (flies alongside the subject) and
- Spotlight (maintains camera focus on the subject while letting you fly in any direction).
- Selfie mode – You just need to raise your arms or wave at the drone for it to take a selfie. Ideal for family shots and outdoor selfies.
- Tripod Mode – In this mode, the drone flies at 2.2 mph to ensure precision shots. It’s perfect for indoor flying and when you need a perfect shot.
- Edit and share – Using the DJI GO 4 app, you can quickly edit your videos and images and share them directly online.
Controller and Video Transmission
The R/C controller that comes with the Mavic Pro has two grip arms that securely hold any smartphone with a max length of 6.2inches. You view live feed on your smartphone while you control flight and the camera, using the controller.
Thanks to OcuSync transmission technology, the Mavic Pro comes with a long range of 7km (4.3 miles). The range drops to 80m (max height 50m) when using your phone as the controller.
The Mavic Pro transmits a live feed at 720p or 1080p. If you are using WiFi, the only quality possible is 720p. If you are using DJI Goggles, you can opt for 720p or 1080p.
DJI Go 4 App – You can control the drone and camera from the app. It also provides live video feeds, an easy-to-use editor and flight data recording among other features.
DJI Goggles – Strap on the DJI Goggles to enjoy a front seat to the action. Low-latency transmission ensures you receive a crisp 720p/1080p live feed in real time. Up to 4 goggles can be connected to the Mavic Pro, too – so you can let your friends join in on the action.
Dual remote controller – A slave-master connection allows two remote controllers to be used with the same drone. This is handy when you want a friend to have a taste of the fun, when you are doing a collaborative shoot or when you are training someone. The master controller has priority.
Live streaming – Using the DJI GO 4 app; you can let your followers on Facebook or YouTube join in on a live view from the drone’s camera. It’s easy and fast to set up either streaming option.
- 4K video capture, 12mp image capture
- Dimensions when folded: .2in (83mm) height x 3.2in (83mm) width x 7.8in (198mm) length
- Diagonal length without propellers: 13inches (335mm)
- Overall weight (with props and battery) – 1.62lbs & 1.64lbs with gimbal cover
- Max speed: 40mph
- Max flight meti: 27minutes (21minutes in normal flight)
- Satellite tracking: GPS and GLONASS
- Forward and downward vision system
- 49-feet range obstacle avoidance sensors
- Compatible with iOS 9.0 and later, Android 4.1.2 and later
- 7km range
What We Like
- Easy to fly even for beginners.
- High-quality camera.
- Highly portable.
- Can be used indoors without satellite tracking.
- Responds to gestures.
- Easy flight control modes.
- Pro camera modes.
- Precision mechanical gimbal ensures no video quality degradation.