DJI introduced the Mavic Pro about 2 years ago, which was considered the most popular drone within the drone community, not least because of its compactness and good flight characteristics. A few days ago DJI introduced two new models, the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic 2 Zoom.
With a price of 1.249€ 200€, the Mavic 2 Zoom is cheaper than its big brother. A 2x optical zoom as well as high quality 48MP photos will convince the pilots of this new drone. We have taken a closer look at the Zoom model and in our Mavic 2 Zoom practical test, we present you all the advantages and disadvantages of the quadrocopter.
Here you can watch our detailed video review:
Mavic 2 Zoom: this new technology is inside the drone
The zoom version differs only slightly from the Pro version, mainly due to a slightly weaker camera and the ability to zoom 2x optically.
The Mavic 2 Zoom has a 1 2/3-inch image sensor, but with a 2x zoom, a focal length of 24-48mm and an aperture from f2.8 to f11. For a Full-HD recording (1920×1080), it can be zoomed four times without loss and thus corresponds to a telephoto focal length of 96mm.
Videos can be recorded at a resolution of up to 4k (3840×2160 px) at 30 frames per second at 100 Mbps in H.265 codec (HEVC). The following video resolutions are supported:
- 4k with 30 FPS (frames per second)
- 2,7k 60fps
- Full-HD up to 120 frames per second, so cool slow-motion shots can be produced
The range of the adjustable ISO value is 100-3200 due to the smaller image sensor, and the image profile is 16 million colors.
Images can be shot at 12MP and saved either in space-saving JPG format or in RAW format for extensive post-processing. Furthermore photos can be taken with extended HDR (dHDR). Here the zoom version comes up to 13 EV, whereas the Pro version with the Hasselblad camera comes up to 14 EV and thus offers a higher dynamic range and greater image sharpness.
In simple terms, this means that each camera can record a lot of data bits in the overexposed and underexposed areas of the photo being taken. This means that the wealth of detail can be fully exploited for post-processing.
DJI has also provided the drone with omidirectional obstacle detection in all directions, so that the sensors can detect and fly around any trees or other obstructions that may be present forwards, backwards, up and down, as well as sideways.
Up to now, the lateral obstacle sensors have only been working in ActiveTrack mode, but DJI may well release additional flight modes for this purpose via firmware update. The Mavic 2 Zoom is still relatively young, so further upgrades will definitely follow.
In terms of flight safety, the Mavic 2 range is currently unsurpassed on the market and therefore also suitable for beginners, although both models are definitely not among the cheapest drones on the market.
Regardless of all the technical refinements that have been incorporated into the new flagship, the Zoom is convincing due to its compactness, which is achieved by the retractable rotor arms. If your budget allows it, it is highly recommended to buy the Fly-More-Package, because here the drone can be transported in an incredibly small space.
Also included in the set are 2 additional batteries, rotor blades and a car charger. When folded, the drone measures 214 mm × 91 mm × 84 mm (L x W x H) and therefore fits in every travel bag or rucksack, no matter how small. When folded out the drone is slightly larger and measures 322 mm × 242 mm × 84 mm (L x W x H).
Like Mavic Air, DJI has given the Zoom Edition 8GB of internal memory. On the one hand, this is pleasing, as we can take photos and videos, despite having forgotten our SD card. On the other hand, the memory could have been a bit larger for this price.
Of course, microSD cards up to 128GB in size can be inserted into the drone. SanDisk V30 cards are recommended by DJI itself. We use this SD card.
The remote control has been given a display again and the control sticks can be removed so that everything can be transported more easily when folded.
Handling, range and flight time
As usual from DJI, the behaviour of the quadrocopter in the air is world class. Despite strong winds, the Mavic 2 stands as if chiseled into the air and immediately puts into practice all the commands that are sent to it via remote control.
The video signal is transferred to the mobile phone in HD (720x480p) and has never been shaken or plagued by dropouts during our tests. The app also works flawlessly after the last update and never crashes. The improved DJI AcuSync 2.0 signal transmission system does an excellent job.
The obstacle detection sensors work perfectly, even thin branches are detected by the system, so you can fly in the forest, although we don’t recommend it. We also wanted to push it to the limit and had ourselves followed by ActiveTrack on our bikes in a densely overgrown piece of forest road. The drone didn’t crash despite numerous obstacles but stopped before and avoided worse.
When you fly in the dark, which is forbidden by law in Germany, and you are about to land, an underbody light switches on. This will prevent any unforeseen surprises during landing.
The manufacturer states a range of 7 km under ideal conditions. We drove to another country and made a range test to the limit until the drone forced us to return to our home point due to low battery. We were able to cover a distance of almost 5.5 km and did the range test in another country outside Europe.
The top speed of the Mavic 2 Zoom is 72 km/h, which is 7 km/h faster than its predecessor which reached a maximum speed of 65 km/h.
In the middle of it there was the occasional message that the signal is weak and we have to be careful, but we just kept flying. So in this category the zoom reaches absoulte best values. At this point, however, it should be pointed out that we flew over open sea and there were no disturbing factors that could have reduced this value.
During another test we flew over a river and, behind a small mountain, circled around an old ruin with the drone. In order to take a great picture, we had to go a little lower so that the quadrocopter practically disappeared behind the mountain. The distance was 1.500m and the connection was perfect.
Nevertheless, the motto still applies: Caution is better than indulgence. In Germany it is legally allowed to fly within sight, in practice this is usually about 300m and no further. Within this range the zoom has never shown any problems so far.
The flight time should be 31 minutes under perfect conditions. In practice, we were able to stay in the air for a maximum of 28.5 minutes under full load (sports mode, films over the entire period and sometimes headwinds). The 3.950 mAh battery is fully charged again after a charging time of just under 45 minutes.
Because we bought the Fly-More-Combo-Package we can fly almost 90 minutes (3 batteries). This is absolutely sufficient for hobby use, even professional pilots should be satisfied with it.
Dolly zoom, hyperlaps and photos with “Super Resolution
Thanks to the possibility of 2x optical zoom, Mavic 2 Zoom offers a new flight mode that allows spectacular video shots without the need for the pilot to have in-depth flight knowledge.
With the quickshot mode “Dolly Zoom”, also known as “Vertigo Effect”, the drone pilot can use an optical effect where the distance to a central obkejt remains the same, but the background detail either increases or decreases. The following video shows this really spectacular application, which I was very enthusiastic about.
The new “Super Resolution” function allows you to take high-resolution photos at 48MP. This is done by taking a shot with a 24mm equivalent field of view 5, in which the camera with its telephoto lens processes nine individual photos to create a high-resolution image with 48 megapixels.
The photos are really breathtaking and are suitable for particularly great locations that are later printed on a large canvas. This function is only available for the zoom model.
Other intelligent flight modes include the Asteroid mode, already known since Mavic Air, in which the drone creates an all-round shot and from it creates a spectacular short video recording in Full HD. This looks like this:
Even relatively “boring” environments can be spectacularly staged. Furthermore, the Mavic II Zoom has a hybrid autofocus consisting of phase and contrast autofocus, which is much faster than its predecessor.
Among the new flight modes is also a revised ActiveTrack 2.0, which can track objects even better and more precisely through the cooperation of the main camera and the built-in 3D sensors. The system works very reliably and can now exploit its full speed, namely 72 km/h, and even film fast moving cars in a chase.
The point-of-interest mode has also been revised. The object to be filmed no longer needs to be flown around and marked, instead it is sufficient to surround the subject with your finger. The drone then immediately starts to circle the subject and the pilot can fully focus on the camera setting.
Very cool is that the drone can use the built-in optical zoom during the flight around the object to get closer to it. This opens up completely new possibilities for producing spectacular film shots.
Completely new is the flight mode Hyperlapse. In this flight mode, the drone takes photos at short intervals and thus creates a shortened video recording, which greatly increases the speed. This creates short spectacular scenes that show your city or nature pulsating as never before.
There are 4 different sub-modes with which hyperlapse recordings can be produced:
- Free Hyperlapse: In this mode, we can control the drone independently, changing both the direction of flight and the altitude.
- Waypoint Hyperlapse: In this mode you can set waypoints, which are then flown by the drone and the recording is produced.
- Course Lock Hyperlapse: The drone will fly straight ahead in its assigned direction and produce the hyperlapse.
- Circle Hyperlapse: As the name suggests, the drone circles an object and records the hyperlapse. The length and the direction can be determined.
This new feature is one of the best that DJI has ever put into a drone. It allows even beginners to produce cinema-quality recordings. There are no limits to creativity.
Overall, however, the number of available flight modes has been significantly reduced. I don’t quite understand why DJI took this step, but it can still happen that DJI delivers new software updates.
Conclusion on the Mavic 2 Zoom
The quadrocopter offers a fantastic flying experience and is equipped to the teeth with the latest technology. The omni-directional obstacle detection system offers complete safety and protects the pilot from (almost) every crash.
The photo and video quality is very good, although not comparable to the Pro version. The lossless zoom function as well as the possibility to create photos with a resolution of 48MP can be decisive purchase arguments.
The Mavic Zoom is ideal for the hobby pilot and semi-professional film maker. The Mavic 2 Zoom is the best folding drone on the market after the Pro version.
However, it must be said that demanding photographers or film producers should choose either the Mavic 2 Pro, Phantom 4 Pro or the DJI Inspire 2 (for the most demanding).
P.S.: The Mavic 2 Zoom video review will follow shortly.