The Camera in the New DJI Mavic Air 2 Shoots RAW, and More to Know

The DJI Mavic Air 2 is being announced today and has several improvements over its predecessor for the mid-level consumer.

“…the newly added SmartPhoto mode, includes three technologies: Scene Recognition, Hyperlight and HDR photos, which can intelligently identify five types of scenes and optimize algorithms to capture the best photo,” says the Product Manager of the DJI Mavic Air 2 in an interview. Indeed, the company has brought a couple of new features to the drone’s camera, which will interest photographers. Aimed at the consumer, the DJI Mavic Air 2 also weighs only 570 grams. This is around the weight of a bottle of water, according to the press release. But the drone also features a bunch of new smart systems beyond just the camera.

From above, the DJI Mavic Air 2 looks like most any other drone the company has made. One of the most prominent features is the more chiseled look rather than the rounder look of its predecessor. If anything, I’d liken this to something one would see out of Half-Life: Alyx. Part of this design is probably intended to keeping the weight down: shaving off anything that isn’t necessary was a priority here. Of course, you also have the characteristic folding legs that DJI drones around this price point boast. The DJI Mavic Air 2 can come with one battery for $799 while the shoulder bag, cleaning hub, ND filter, and three battery package will be $988.

On the side of the DJI Mavic Air 2, we won’t see very much. Of course, the camera unit juts out quite a bit vs. the folded in legs. The camera extends out a lot, perhaps due to the design and all that’s going on here. In real-life use, we’re not expecting it to get in the way once you put it into a camera bag or anything else like that.

The DJI Mavic Air 2 will use the latest variant of the remote controller. And as always, there’s a spot for your cell phone. You’ll get the best performance when these two are working together. It will mainly come in handy when you’re flying in strong winds. The new OcuSync 2.0 is probably going to help a lot with this. OcuSync 2.0 transmission technology has been upgraded to deliver what DJI says is, “extremely reliable and stable HD video feed from the drone at a maximum distance of 10km.” Further, the new OcuSync 2.0 supports both 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz frequency bands and uses an auto-switching feature to move between the two based on signal strength, while anti-interference technology blocks unwanted signals to keep the video feed clear. I’m just hoping it will really keep things smooth because I can see that being a potential problem.

DJI Mavic Air 2 Camera Specs

  • Quad Bayer 1/2″ inch sensor. This is smaller than the 1-inch sensor in some of their higher-end products.
  • 4K 60P video
  • 12MP photos
  • 48MP high res shot mode
  • 5 Aspherical element lens with glass and plastic
  • f2.8 aperture
  • FocusTrack: which keeps the subject in focus
  • HDR video and HDR panorama
  • 3-axis mechanical gimbal and electronic image stabilization
  • Hyperlight takes a bunch of photos at once in low light to create the single best one.
  • RAW and JPEG shooting.

For all intents and purposes, this is a glorified cell phone camera with a lens that isn’t as bright. That’s because, with a drone, you don’t shoot for the depth of field, so f2.8 is perfectly fine in this case. Even better, the camera shoots RAWs. So you can edit the images on your phone, in Lightroom or Capture One to get even better photos, you’re just doing it with a smaller sensor. What’s happening is that the drone is basically catching up to what cellphone cameras can do, but giving smartphone photographers the essential functions only a drone has.

DJI Mavic Air 2 Specs

  • 570 grams
  • 34 minute battery life/flight time
  • 10-kilometer image transfer claims
  • ActiveTrack 3.0: Select a subject for Mavic Air 2 to automatically follow. The third iteration of ActiveTrack uses state-of-the-art mapping technology and new flight path algorithms to offer improved subject tracking and obstacle avoidance, along with the ability to quickly re-engage the subject if it temporarily moves behind an object.
  • Point of Interest 3.0: Set an automated flight path around a specific subject. The updated iteration improves surface recognition to better dynamically track subjects.
  • Spotlight 2.0: Found in professional DJI drones, Spotlight locks a subject in the frame while the user has free operation of the drone’s movement. 
  • Hyperlapse can be shot in a max resolution of 8K while pilots can choose four flight modes including Free movement, Circle, CourseLock and WayPoints
  • DJI’s first consumer drone designed to include AirSense technology, which provides enhanced safety by warning drone pilots of other aircraft nearby.

DJI Mavic Air 2 Sample Images