For those not familiar with the DJI Mavic Pro drone, it is a compact aerial photography drone/quadcopter, which offers a good mix of portability and performance. Having owned the drone for a couple of months now, I have had a good chance to get familiar and have flown a variety of different locations in varying conditions. I’m going to cover basic first impressions first. Further down the page, you can read what it’s really like to own long term, going beyond the specification and marketing blurb!
If you have already decided that the Mavic is for you, check out the cheapest DJI Mavic Pro price here. There are lots of DJI Mavic deals around, so please let me know if you find it cheaper elsewhere and I’ll update this page. You can also find the Mavic on Amazon and direct from DJI.
Thanks to @mikesweeting_89 for the awesome shot!
DJI Mavic Pro Initial Impressions
My initial impressions of the DJI Mavic are very positive and the drone has exceeded my fairly high expectations. The DJI Mavic Pro Fly More Combo comes with everything you need to go out for a decent flying session. My primary use of the Mavic will be landscape photography, while out hiking. Being familiar with the specifications, the Mavic appealed to me because it was very compact and quick to get into the air, without compromising image quality. Portability when hiking was key, I needed something that would fit nicely in my pack. With all the other gear, space is limited!
When the box arrives, you will notice just how small the Mavic is, “how could all the gear possibly fit in that box” I thought. The folding arms twinned with folding props, mean that the folded down quadcopter is extremely compact. The bag that comes with the Mavic Fly More combo is smaller than most DSLR camera bags, but somehow provides room for everything (except the charger). You can fit the drone (with one battery installed), the controller as well as the two spare batteries easily inside the bag.
Thanks to @mikesweeting_89 for the awesome shot!
After portability, ease of use and confidence in the product was next on my priority list. The last thing you want to be doing half way up a mountain is searching for a crashed drone. Coming from FPV racing drones, I’m used to spending time searching after a crash and this just isn’t possible when on a long hike. Having a drone that will hover on the spot even in a reasonable wind, avoid obstacles and will return to home if something goes wrong, helps reduce the anxiety involved when launching $$$ into the air! The Mavic certainly ticks all the boxes in this respect.
My third consideration was the Mavic’s image quality and stability. Seeing smooth videos online is one thing and does demonstrate the quality achievable, but witnessing this first hand is truly impressive. Whether in wind or at speed/changing direction, the stability and smoothness of the camera truly impressed me. I have grown familiar to a racing drone with a camera bolted down, where the image quality is often compromised either by small vibrations or jerky flight, but the Mavic has none of this.
Thanks to @mikesweeting_89 for the awesome shot!
DJI Mavic Pro Usability
The Mavic is very easy to use and even a complete beginner will find themselves quickly capturing great photos and video. Thanks to the intuitive controls and multiple sensors on the quadcopter, it is very hard to unintentionally crash the Mavic when flying forward. Unlike most basic drones, the Mavic doesn’t rely on the user to maintain height, instead it manages the throttle when hovering or moving forward. With basic drones, you are constantly balancing the throttle with the pitch of the drone, to stop it from rising or falling. With the Mavic, this is one less thing to think about. Once at the desired height, the right stick can be used to move around, and the left stick can be used to change direction.
Looking directly down is possible thanks to the range of motion provided by the 3-axis stabilised gimbal. Gimbal control is possible through a scroll wheel, or by pressing and holding on screen. You then simply drag to change the angle.
The ease of use is increased by the variety of flight modes, which also help to capture more professional looking footage. My personal favourite is the active track mode. This keeps your subject in shot at all times allowing you to control the location of the drone, or ignoring it completely while getting a great shot of yourself.
Living with the DJI Mavic
The great thing with the Mavic is that I find myself using it more and more, much more than I would use any other drone. The portability means it’s easy to take absolutely anywhere and the ease of use and advanced automation mean that I’m not afraid of using it in potentially risky locations.
A great example of this was when out hiking recently. We came across some paragliders getting ready to fly, luckily I had the Mavic with me! There is a lot of trust involved when flying near other people, even when you have their permission (as I did) because so much can go wrong, even more so when those people are flying! If my bag had contained a racing drone that day, the chances are I would have been told no (custom built racing drones are reliable, but don’t always look it!) and would have been too worried about causing an accident to have asked in the first place. You can check out a short clip from the day below.
During a great hike yesterday I had the chance to film these guys paragliding! What's the coolest thing you've captured with a drone? Full edit coming soon 😀 Follow @InsanityDrones for more and tag for a repost 👍 . . . #wales #countryside #paragliding #mountains #extreme #drone #uav #fun #dji #mavic #mavicpro #summer #fpv #droneoftheday #dronephotography #dronelife #dronestagram #aerialphotography #aerial #quadcopter #photography #video #quad #copter #fly #professional #camera #follow #insanity #InsanityDrones
As well as being portable and reliable, the Mavic is versatile. Whether taking landscape shots or aerial photos of a group, you have full control over the camera, in the same way that you could use a DSLR in manual mode. Shooting in RAW mode will appeal to any photographers or graphic designers, who will appreciate the posisbilities this provides in editing. Below are a couple examples of different shots from the Mavic.
Sunny day, flat colour profile, no editing.
Dusk, post editing.
Both of these shots were possible within just a few minutes of taking the drone out of the bag, thanks to how quickly you can get into the air.
DJI Mavic Pro Accessories
There are lots of them out there. For the most part I wouldn’t recommend them, as they are low quality or purely superficial (such as skins). The few exceptions for me personally are:
- This awesome charger – it lets you charge three flight batteries, the controller and your phone/tablet, simultaneously. The standard Mavic battery charger charges each battery individually, whereas this charges all three at the same time. Great if you want to get going quickly and can’t wait 2-3 hours for everything to be ready.
- ND filters – basically sunglasses for your drone, reducing the chance of getting overexposed shots in bright lighting conditions. There are a lot of videos about these, but in essence they allow you to use a slower shutter speed, without overexposing in sunlight. When capturing videos, this means that you can get smoother more cinematic footage.
DJI Mavic Pro – Cons
- Firmware updates. These can be a real pain if you want to just get out and fly. They can take 30 minutes and use up a fair bit of battery. Additionally, each battery needs to go through its own update, which can delay you when you are out and about. You can get around this by switching off data/WiFi so that the app doesn’t know about the update. More in the tips at the bottom of the page.
- Battery life isn’t quite what it’s advertised as, but this is to be expected. You can still get a decent 20+ minutes flying.
- Price, but this is now the lowest it has been.
DJI Mavic Pro – Pros
- Video quality/image stabilisation
- Flight time
- Ease of use
DJI Mavic Pro – Verdict
The pros all combine to leave you with a high quality, versatile drone, which you are more likely to take out and use regularly. I have thoroughly enjoyed using the Mavic and will be taking it with me wherever I go for the time being, you never know when the opportunity to fly a unique spot will present itself!
I can strongly recommend the Mavic. If it’s something you have been considering for some time, you definitely won’t be disappointed.
You can get the Mavic cheapest from Banggood, but it’s also available at from Amazon and direct from DJI. Wherever you buy from, make sure you get DJI Care Refresh, which will cover accidental damage and up to two replacements within a year!
DJI Mavic Pro – Tips
Finally, a few tips for those who go ahead with the purchase. I will add to these as/when I think of more, so make sure you check back. If you find these useful, please share the page on Facebook, as it helps more people benefit and grows the audience.
- Check for updates to firmware regularly. This will avoid annoying waits when you want to be in the air. I recommend checking for updates and then updating once your first battery is fully charged. You can then recharge it a small amount after the update if required. While the update is in progress, your other batteries can still be charging. Once the firmware update is complete, make sure to plug each battery into the drone and switch everything on, so that the battery can be updated too. If the drone has been updated, but not the battery, this can cost you around 5-10 minutes updating in the field. Having had this happen during a beautiful sunset, I can tell you that even the short update time for a battery can seem agonisingly long!
- Switch off the data/WiFi connection on your phone/tablet before getting started. If DJI Go cannot connect to the internet, it won’t know there is an update and you can fly right away. Unfortunately this doesn’t appear to get around battery updates.
- Pre-load maps. In order to make the use of maps while not connected to the internet, you can pre-load maps through the DJI Go app. Just click the three lines in the top right of the screen and click “Offline Map”. You can then download the map for your region, country or county. As well as letting you avoid inconvenient updates, this also saves you mobile data.
- Understand the return to home (RTH) feature on the Mavic. DJI wrote a good article about this here. In short, make sure your RTH height is set higher than anything in the surrounding area and that your home point is set correctly. If RTH is initiated within 20m of the home point, the quadcopter will simply land, rather than fly back to home. Worth keeping in mind if you are flying behind obstacles or hit the RTH button when the Mavic is nearby. Remember, you can cancel RTH by pressing the RTH button again and taking manual control. So if it looks like your drone is about to crash or land somewhere you don’t want it to, just hit the button.
- Turn your screen brightness right up. It can be difficult to clearly see what is on screen to perfectly frame that shot, as most tablet and phone screens are highly reflective. You will be able to manually set the screen brightness to maximum in the settings on your device. Even if flying from a shaded location, I find that turning the brightness up to full really helps.
- If you don’t get the fly more combo, make sure you pick up at least one extra DJI Mavic battery. You can get them separately here. The one battery never quite seems enough when you’re having fun.
- Most importantly, but hopefully obvious to anyone reading this far, is check your drone and surroundings before taking off. Before each flight, I recommend:
- A thorough visual inspection of each part of the drone.
- Physically check that the props are securely attached.
- Make sure there are no people, animals, vehicles or buildings not within your control nearby.
- Check the weather conditions. If it is calm and dry then you are good to go, but if not you are asking for an accident.
DJI Mavic Pro – Common Questions
1. Will the DJI Mavic Platinum props work on the Pro?
2. What tablet or phone should you use with a DJI Mavic?
A. Doesn’t seem to really matter. Any time it is asked, people end up fighting over IOS/Android, when both work fine.
3. Can I fly here?
A. Google it and check with local area laws. Common sense and personal judgment should be used.
4. Do the DJI Mavic Platinum props really make the pro quieter?
A. Yes, a slight difference can be heard.
5. Do the DJI Mavic Platinum props give the pro extended battery life?
A. As of yet, no one has noticed any change.
Thanks to Craig Perry over at the DJI MAVIC PRO/PLATINUM Owners Group