If the first impression counts - the DJI Quadrocopter Mavic Pro
Having already gained our first experience with the Phillips Quadrant Phantom 4 from DJI at the end of last year, we were now extremely excited about the new Mavic Pro model, which is about the same price, but much smaller and more manageable. When we first hold our review sample in its original packaging, we can not believe it: this little box should contain everything?
In our minds we see the large packaging of the Inspire or Phantom 4 paired with the understanding that such an aircraft and this technology presuppose certain dimensions. And now the power supply, controller and the drone should be in this box, in which one would probably rather suspect a pair of children's shoes ....
Mavic against karma?
After the manufacturer of Actioncams, the American company GoPro, had announced its first drone with the quadrocopter Karma in 2016 and wanted to occupy the niche in this market segment with a particularly small design as well as some equipment details, the answer came from the market leader DJI promptly : With the Mavic Pro he promptly set a sign in terms of size and characteristics. (Our comparative test Karma vs. Mavic will follow shortly)
Will this small design bring disadvantages, the quality and the fun factor of the Phantom 4 - which has delighted us completely - come up? We are extremely excited and decide before the trip to Norway to unpack the Mavic Pro, to assess and to prepare for its deployment in the north of Europe.
In our standard package, which was kindly provided for testing purposes, the drone, a battery, the charger, the controller, a 16 GB SD card and a USB cable are included.
Once again, we are impressed when opening the original packaging, what DJI has done in terms of design: The exact dimensions with folded rotors are only 19.8 cm x 8.3 cm x 8.3 cm with a weight of only 743 grams. The rotors can be set up and collapsed without tools and within seconds, so that you can take this drone with you almost anywhere. Really impressive!!
Compared to the nearly six times bigger Phantom 4, there are hardly any compromises in performance. The Mavic Pro can fly with its strong lithium battery up to 27 minutes and returns, as usual with the other DJI models usual, automatically back to its starting place, as long as the remaining charge is still sufficient. Due to its aerodynamic design, the quadrocopter flies in sports mode up to 64 km / h - unimaginable.
In addition to the high speed, this design also ensures extremely stable flight behavior, which even exceeds that of the Phantom 4. So the drone is even in wind speeds of up to 38.5km / h still stable in the air. That the range with the specified seven kilometers is also as good as unique in this class, appears almost exclusively as a side note.
Apparently, the Chinese have outdone themselves with this drone of superlatives ......
The first commissioning is as expected and in the meantime also almost common: firmware updates for the drone and the app, before ever doing anything. So if you want to pull him into the wilderness for the first shots, you should update all systems in the environment of an available Internet connection, otherwise it may not be possible to start.
Now we are ready for our test flights - to Norway ....
The first flight attempt with the DJI Magic Pro
The conditions on the Norwegian south coast are excellent and we can fulfill another dream with the Mavic Pro: Finally, pick up the lighthouses on the archipelago islands, which we would never otherwise reach ....
We choose a remote and at this time still unused campsite for our first test flights and settings - and off you go.
An amazing flight feeling
What is (immediately) noticeable to us? The flight characteristics are terrific - otherwise it can not be called. This small quadrocopter responds instantly and very pleasantly to any control command from the joystick on the controller, which is also pleasant and pleasing in the hand. Even more we are amazed at how calm the Mavic Pro is in the air despite the fresh wind here on the coast.
In comparison to the Phantom 4, we expected some disadvantages in terms of design - but no, on the contrary: The Mavic's new Flight Autonomy system uses two GPS streams, ultrasound systems and 5 cameras to keep the drone stable in the air To hold the air and that has really succeeded the Chinese. The obstacle detection has also been developed and is to detect obstacles at a distance of 15 m at a speed of up to 36 km / h - we will test this point later ....
Completely new and getting used to in the first place is the factory-set manual autofocus, which you always have to readjust to get sharp shots. This is not a problem in itself, but we were not familiar with this setting from the Phantom 4 so far. That would be us on the - at least for us - most important field, the camera properties ....
The picture quality (still picture / photography)
For photos, as with the Phantom 4 from DJI, we choose the DNG format and leave all factory settings unchanged so that we get as unadulterated and extensive data as possible for later development in Lightroom. In our experience, the best recordings can actually be made in this way, because this way you can still correct the dynamic range and some other points. In any case, we are completely thrilled by the first shots of this small, almost inconspicuous camera.
Obviously, in the future, you will only have to drag yourself around for extreme situations, the planned printing of large-format images and professional applications with other, larger drones ....
Capture video with the Mavic Pro (filming)
Not so in video mode: Here we have to say that the factory settings are not really useful. One has for a first superficial impression all parameters, especially the sharpness, so exhausted that it comes to a dreadful edge flicker (see also our clip to). Only after we set the sharpness in the style to -1, the results are acceptable. But see for yourself:
Admittedly, we still have not found our ideal setting until now: In FullHD mode with 1080P, where we still often and happily work, it can be seen that the encoding process has been optimized for speed in order to achieve better FPV (FlightPerView) properties ,
The idea is to process the image signal of the camera as quickly as possible and without any delay for flying via the display, in particular with DJI's own FPV GOGGLES glasses. That would be in and of itself fine, if then in 4K mode at least 60 fps (pictures per second) would be available - but that is currently not the case and thus from our point of view, the only real drawback.
You have to decide with the current firmware (as of May 2017) so between video recording with FULL HD 1080p and 60fps but with a not so good quality encoding (artifacts and other quality restrictions) or just in the original resolution of the SONY processor used, in 4K though lean, but sufficient 60Mbit / s data rate and just 30fps (frames per second), which is not quite up to date in our view.
The technical data of the DJI Mavic Pro
FOLLOW US WITH OUR FIRST TEST SAMPLES WITH THE MAVIC PRO TO THE NORTH COAST OF THE SOUTH COAST, WITH A UNIQUE COASTAL LANDSCAPE AND THE FASCINATING LIGHTHOUSES
Music: Dexter Britain - Walking up Instrumental (Source: freemusicarchive.com ) License: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0 US
Although the small design with the foldable wings suggests the idea: The Mavic Pro is far more than just a toy and holds its own in the league and price range around 1000 euros. Especially for mobile applications, if the way to the place of work is only a few kilometers to walk back, this ultralight, yet powerful drone is recommended.
The flight characteristics and also the specified parameters in terms of range, speed and altitude also speak for themselves. The photos taken with the small camera are similar to the quality of leading smartphones, which often enough - at least under normal conditions - deliver surprisingly good results.
Recorded in DNG format and developed in Lightroom, the results are often remarkably good and, due to the special perspectives, a highlight. In the video area, however, one must live with some compromises, although it can be stated that here too the Mavic Pro is superior to many other quadrocopters in this price segment.
If you are looking for a much better quality, you can not help but deal with the Phantom 4 Pro, which brings a much better camera with a 1 inch sensor. But then there are still a few hundred Euro bills to spend more. So, if you want to have fun, want to capture your holiday experiences from other perspectives, take a drone in your backpack with you on tour and even get into this fascinating world - who should be serious about the Mavic.
Especially the planned new and for the first time clear regulations for the handling of drones offer the private user for the future more legal security, so that nothing stands in the way of a purchase of this great device.
We have the full score and therefore our five stars:
In the following overview from the current flyer of the Federal Ministry of Transport, you can see in a well-structured form the planned new regulations from autumn 2017 and thus the general regulations for the operation of drones in Germany. Further details and information are available via the link below directly to the homepage of the BMVI. Deviating and currently very different regulations and regulations apply in the Scandinavian countries.
For the experiences and assessments described here, a DJI Mavic Pro was loaned to us for testing purposes. Regardless, this blog reflects our independent, critical and always objective opinion.