DJI Mavic Air Snap Verdict
The DJI Mavic air may be small but it has an impressive collection of features. Most importantly for many people, its 12Mp 4k-enabled camera is mounted in a 3-axis gimbal. This means it can compensate for sudden movements and gusts of wind to produce steady footage.
A key part of the appeal of the Mavic Air is that it can be folded down to something that can fit on the palm of your hand. It’s a great little drone and one that has convinced many first-time pilots to take to the air.
For DJI Mavic Air
- Compact, foldable design
- Excellent obstacle avoidance system
- Stable footage and blur-free stills
Against DJI Mavic Air
- Battery life 21 minutes in optimal conditions
- Awkward memory card access
- Routinely requires compass calibration
The Mavic Air has a 12Mp camera with a 1/2.3-inch type CMOS sensor mounted in a 3-axis gimbal.
At the front, there’s a lens with a focal length equivalent to 24mm. At 85 degrees the angle of view is much narrower than action camera users are used to. However, that’s because the Mavic Air is usually flown a little further from the action than an action cam is normally mounted.
Sensitivity can be set to ISO 100-3200, or to adjust automatically between those two values. The shutter speed can be varied between 8-1/8000sec, providing scope for freezing or blurring movement.
However, the aperture is fixed at f/2.8. This is good news for dull days and low-light conditions as plenty of light can reach the sensor. Also, the relatively small sensor, short focal length lens and often distant shooting location mean that there’s plenty of depth of field to get everything sharp.
The downside to a fixed aperture is that you to use an ND filter to reduce the shutter speed for your video if you’re going to follow the 180-degree shutter rule. Thankfully, these are now readily available for the Mavic Air and are easy to fit.
- Camera Jabber Verdict: DJI Mavic Air ND Filters Review
DJI has given the Mavic Air 8GB of internal memory, which is very useful. However, there’s also a microSD UHS-I card slot. Video is saved in MP4/MOV (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC) format while stills are recorded as DNG raw and/or jpegs.
There’s a range of video resolutions and frame rates available. The maximum is 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) at 24/25/30p while Full HD (1920×1080) can be shot at up to 120p.
In addition to the primary camera, the Mavic Air has a collection of forward-, backward- and downward-facing cameras that are used for obstacle avoidance. There’s nothing on the side or top of the drone, which means you need to keep your eyes peeled if you’re launching through trees.
The Mavic Air transmits 720p video to your smartphone to guide image and video composition. When you hit the record button, this video is also saved to your phone and can be edited using the DJI Go 4 app.
Key Camera Features
- 12Mp 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor
- 24mm equivalent focal length
- 85-degree field of view
- Fixed f/2.8 aperture
- Sensitivity ISO 100-3200 (stills or video)
- Shutter speed 8 – 1/8000sec
- Still Image Size 4:3: 4056×3040 or 16:9: 4056×2280
- Stills shooting modes: Single shot, HDR, Burst shooting (3/5/7 frames), Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB), Pano
- Video Resolution: 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160 24/25/30p), 2.7K (2720×1530 24/25/30/48/50/60p), Full HD (1920×1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p), HD (1280×720 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p)
- Max Video Bitrate 100Mbps
- Still photo format jpeg/DNG (raw)
- Video format MP4/MOV (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC）