Wow. We’ve come a long way.
I was halfway through the expensive and frustrating process of building a scratch built RC hexacopter for aerial photograpy when DJI first announced the first Phantom drone. I was skeptical, and that drone wasn’t very good. But it was still easier, cheaper, and safer to fly than the flying lawn-mower contraption I was tinkering with in my shop.
Version two added a gimbal for stabilizing a gopro camera. Finally, smooth, professional looking aerial video was within reach. Several updates and innovations later and it feels like DJI has traveled to the future and returned with the best drone ever made.
With each model, you can see the innovations and refinements that have lead up to this point. The Mavic Pro is a result of the a company that is clearly learning from it’s mistakes and listening to the end user. This form factor is just brilliant. Sturdy, yet foldable arms make it possible to condense this platform so that it’s about the size of a water bottle.
It’s hard to explain, but if you’ve seen pictures or video online, it still does not really do it justice. It wasn’t until I held it in my hand that I could really understand just how tiny this thing is.
The controller is also well thought out and comfortable to use. Range and stability of the HD video downlink has been improved. Signal was strong and solid in the flight path I tested that would regularly make the Inspire 1 downlink freeze up.
I’m not sure if it’s because of it’s size or the improved sensors and software, but this thing is incredibly stable. There is zero drift when the unit is left in a stationary hover. It’s more agile and responsive than other units, including the Inspire 1, which now seems ridiculously oversized compared to the Mavic.
One thing that I appreciate about DJI is that they don’t seem to be worried about cannibalizing sales of their other products in favor of releasing new designs. Take the fairly recently released Phantom 4 for example. The Mavic Pro has all of it’s features plus is a fraction of the size and much more portable. I can’t think of one compelling reason why you would buy the Phantom 4 over the Mavic!
Many photographers/videographers are being asked to do it all now days. Anything I can do to reduce the load of gear I have to haul around the world is a huge bonus. The Mavic Pro is a home run in this regard.
Image quality is on par with the imagery we are used to getting from the Phantom drones and Inspire 1. It seem DJI has continued to use the same or similar camera sensor. Is there room for improvement? Always. But it’s hard to complain when this unit has so many awesome pros and so few cons.
As of this writing, the DJI has delayed their shipping dates but some units have started to arrive. If you preordered and you are upset about not receiving your unit yet, your anger will melt away the moment you get this thing in the air.
If you’re interested in downloading some sample video or photos from the DJI Mavic Pro, leave me a comment and I’ll update this post.