DJI introduces compact-but-capable Mavic Air drone
DJI has announced its latest consumer drone, the Mavic Air. Like its predecessor (the Mavic Pro) the Air has a compact design, folding propeller arms, and a 4K/30fps-shooting camera – although it has some new features, too.
The Mavic Air weighs 430 grams, and has a footprint that's "nearly the size of a modern smartphone" when its arms are folded into its sides. The joysticks detach from its remote control unit, for added portability.
Along with 4K regular-motion video, its camera can also capture 1080p/120fps slow-motion footage, along with 12-megapixel HDR stills. That camera has a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor and the equivalent of a 24-mm F2.8 lens, and is mounted on a recessed 3-axis mechanical gimbal that is itself suspended from dampers to minimize vibrations.
Footage is stored on 8 GB of onboard internal memory, although there's also a slot for a removable microSD card, to provide additional capacity.
Still images can be stitched together into a variety of types of panoramic shots, plus there are some interesting new methods of shooting video. The latter includes Boomerang mode, in which the drone automatically flies in an oval around the subject, tracking them with its camera the whole time.
There's also a SmartCapture mode, in which the drone and its camera can be controlled with hand gestures up to a range of 20 ft (6 m). The Air's maximum range using the radio remote control is 2.5 miles (4 km), from which video is streamed at 1080p.
Users can reportedly expect more precise hovering and better flight performance, thanks to the new FlightAutonomy 2.0 system. This processes data gathered from seven onboard cameras and infrared sensors to construct a 3D map of the drone's environment, alerting it to obstacles up to 20 m (66 ft) away.
Flight time is a claimed 21 minutes.
The Mavic Air is available now for preorder in color choices of black, white or red, priced at US$799. Shipping should begin on Jan. 28th.
You can see footage shot with the drone, in the following video.