DJI rolled out their new DJI Mavic Pro drone a few months ago and it’s currently one of the hottest new drones on the market, so I wanted to give you my initial review. There are way too many features for me to cover here and there are many that I am still learning about, but I’ll cover the basics in hopes that this will help any of you who are considering a Mavic Pro as your first or next drone.
If you’d like to get a DJI Mavic Pro of your own, here’s a link: http://amzn.to/2l6Ck0s
- Camera Bag (This is what Mark uses for his Mavic!) http://amzn.to/2mESzhn
- Landing Gear Extensions http://amzn.to/2l6Ag8p
- Controller Stick Protector http://amzn.to/2liuP1F
- Landing Pad http://amzn.to/2myCBGj
- Extra Propellers http://amzn.to/2mENtBZ
- Extra Battery http://amzn.to/2l6KIgt
// SIZE & SPECS
Let’s talk about the “biggest feature” first – the size!
- The DJI Mavic Pro is less than 8” long and 3 1/4” wide and 3 1/4” tall when folded up
- When unfold it’s just over 13” diagonally
- It weighs in at just over 1 1/2 pounds with the props on and battery in
The Mavic can fly up to 40 miles per hour, fly for up to 27 minutes and has a range of up to 4 miles – and of course it shoots video in up to 4K and still photos in both JPG and RAW formats and at 4000×3000 pixels. With all of that packed into a form this small and portable, you can see why I’ve really been enjoying it!
The battery is a 3830mAh smart battery that can give you anywhere from 20 to 27 minutes of flight time depending on wind and other factors – and you can tell how much charge you have left on the screen of the controller and by pressing the button on the top of the battery itself.
The propellers are a really cool design because you really don’t ever have to mess with them. When the Mavic is folded up, they fold up with it and when you fire it up, gravity automatically opens them. If you ever want to remove or replace them, they come off with a simple push and twist.
I really love the way the controller is made. It looks and feels a lot like a gaming controller and is very comfortable to hold. The sticks feel quite natural and are very responsive.
First thing to know is that it connects to your phone or tablet and you use the DJI Go app to see what the camera sees as well as to change all kinds of settings on the Mavic. You don’t have to use your phone if you don’t want to because it has a wifi mode that allows you to fly without the controller – but to be honest, since I can get set up and in the air in 60 seconds using my phone connected to the controller, I have never wanted to fly without it.
You can use your iPhone or Android phone to connect to the controller using the included cables. If you have a slim case on your phone, you can leave it on, but thicker cases will have to be removed to allow your phone to fit.
To connect the controller to your phone, all you do is open up the two bottom arms, plug the cable into your phone, and squeeze the two arms together, allowing your phone to fit snugly into the slots in the arms. It took me a little practice, but now I can connect in just a few seconds.
// BUTTONS ON THE CONTROLLER
- At the top left of the controller is a “Return to Home” button.
- Next to the left stick is a pause button that you can press when in certain modes to have it stop and hover.
- At the bottom right of the controller screen is a 5 direction button that you can customize to do things like zoom in and out, change to the map view, and more.
- Then there are two shoulder buttons with the left one used to start/stop recording and the right to take a photo.
- Below each of those are dials that allow you to move the gimbal up and down and to control the exposure settings of the camera.
- Finally, lower down on the back side are two buttons called C1 and C2. These can be customized to do things like center auto focus, playback video, and more.
// DJI GO APP
The DJI Go app allows you to see what the camera sees while you’re flying and provides all kinds of other useful data and controls. You can see how much battery you have left, how high you are, how far away from your launch point you are, how many more minutes of flight you have, how many satellites you’re connected to, how much space you have left on your SD card, camera settings, and much, much more.
// MY FAVORITE FLIGHT MODES
From the app you can access the 12 different flight modes the Mavic has available including my current favorites: Active Track, Tripod, and Point of Interest.
- Active Track allows you to tap on a person or vehicle on the screen and then the Magic will try to follow it and keep it in the shot while moving. It can even rotate that person or thing while active tracking. I’ve found that it does a fairly good job on slower moving items, but can lose tracking if it’s fairly close or if the thing moves too fast. Having said that, it’s really fun to use when you’ve got an open area and the right subject.
- Tripod is excellent whenever you are trying to keep the drone really steady and you need very slow movements. When in tripod mode, all movements are extremely slow and it really does look like the camera is just sitting on a tripod. It’s pretty impressive.
- Point of Interest mode allows you to fly directly above something like a statue, a building or a person, mark that point as the point of interest, and then move away from it a certain distance and tell it to go. Once activated, the Mavic will automatically circle that items, keeping it in the shot, at whatever speed you choose. While it’s orbiting, you can change the speed and control the gimbal angle as well. It’s a really great feature that I really enjoy using.
// QUICK TOUR AROUND THE MAVIC
- The front has a pair of LEDs on the end of each arm and a pair of obstacle avoidance sensors in the middle nose area.
- Of course below that we have the camera and the gimbal.
- On one side we have a USB out and on the other side we have the SD card slot and a wifi or controller toggle switch.
- On top we have the battery that pops in and out by squeezing the buttons on either side.
- And on the bottom we have 4 more sensors that help the DJI Mavic Pro avoid obstacles and also to locate it’s takeoff location for a more accurate return to home.
// GETTING INTO THE AIR
It only takes me an average of 60-90 seconds to go from having my Mavic in my bag to being in the air. All you do is take it out, unfold the legs and place it on the ground, turn on the battery and the controller and start the DJI Go app. It usually only takes a few seconds for the app to open and begin to initialize and, once it has connected via GPS to enough satellites, it will let you know that it is ready to go. Next, you can either start the propellers yourself by holding both sticks in toward the bottom middle or simply use the launch icon on the screen and it will automatically launch and hover at about 4 feet high and wait for your next instruction.
// RANDOM INFO
Return to Home
Now I have to mention the Return to Home feature. My experience with this has been amazing. I’ve probably flown at least 50 flights so far in many different locations around my area and I use the Return to Home feature almost every time – and each time it has returned and landed within a foot or less of where it took off. The sensors on the bottom of the Mavic take video of where it takes off from and works with the GPS to locate that same place again on the way down and I’ve found it to be amazingly accurate.
When it returns to home, it will first go to a predetermined height that you set in the app and then fly back to a space above the takeoff point and desend. When it reaches about 4 feet high, it will scan the ground again and, if it thinks that it’s clear, it will ask if you want it to land. If it’s clear and you don’t do anything, it will start to land automatically. Personally, I LOVE the Return to Home feature. If you get a Mavic, I’d love to hear about your experiences with it.
The DJI Mavic Pro has 4 different main video formats. They are 720, 1080, 2.7K and 4K and there are different frame rates available for each. 1080 has the most available with 24, 30, 48, 60, and 96 frames per second to choose from. 2.7K has 24 and 30 and then there are two different pixel dimensions of 4K with one having 24 and 30 available and the other only with only 24.
I’ll be honest. There are so many settings for the various video modes that I am still experimenting and learning how they work and what works best for me – but I will say that I’ve been able to get some really nice video from this drone. There are many YouTube channels out there from professional photographers who dive deep into the settings to get the best results, so rather than talking out of my butt on this topic, I’ll point you to some folks who really know.