In the world of drone technology, you used to have to trade off between portability and picture/video quality. Typically it would be that the more portable the drone, the lower the quality would be. The Mavic Air, from DJI, changed this.
Choosing the Mavic Air
I bought the DJI Mavic Air in black. It comes in red and white as well and if I was going to get a new one now, I’d go for the white.
When I was looking to buy a drone, I didn’t shop around and look at other drones. Having some friends with drones, I asked what drones they have and what their views were. Overwhelmingly, I was recommended DJI. After looking into their products, So I went for the Mavic Air since I was a beginner.
The Mavic Air is a great drone for beginners. It is priced well for people entering into drone photography for the first time and the picture quality is great.
Beginners could also look at the DJI Spark, as it is cheaper, but I thought the Spark would be too small for taking photos in mountains and on beaches.
The Mavic Air fits perfectly into what I need it for.
I am a traveller. You can tell so just by looking from my Instagram. My aim is to travel the world. Not just countries but cities, villages, neighbourhoods. Not just the really Instagrammable places either.
This is my goal in life.
My Instagram account features all the things I love. Travelling. Sunsets, Flying. Food. I want to inspire people to travel more and show them all things can do, see and eat there.
My drone fits in with this perfect.
Personally, I think that a lot of sights look more beautiful from above. Having a portable drone with great quality helps me capture this whilst still not being heavy.
Mavic Air Specs
Is the Mavic Air as portable as DJI says it is?
You bet it is! It’s small size is very convenient for me. At 168×83×49 mm whilst folded, it is small enough to fit in a pocket or small backpack.
Luckily, the controller is just as portable as the drone. The controller unfolds for you to plug your phone into. Your phone is the screen that lets you see through the Air’s camera.
You can also use the Mavic Air independent of the controller. Due to its WiFi transmission, you can just use your phone if you want. The main drawback of this is with the controller you get less interference and can fly further.
Talking about distance, the Mavic Air can fly a maximum of around 10km but I keep it within my line of sight.
With a 12 megapixel camera that can record video in 4k Ultra HD, the photo and video quality is excellent! I expected great quality but when you see the photos or videos are actually perfect! So I can say its better than I expected. Here are some photos that I took so you can judge the quality yourself.
The Air also has several still photography modes. These include:
- Single shot,
- Burst mode,
- Auto Exposure Bracketing,
- Interval shots, and
- Panoramic photos. The panoramic mode includes 3×1, 3×3, sphere and 180 degrees.
DJI Go 4
The Mavic Air is controlled by the DJI Go 4 app.
The app provides advanced flight controls, allows you to fine-tuned camera controls and get a live video stream from the camera on the drone. The app also allows you to download firmware updates and have a video editor built in.
I think that DJI have done a great job with the DJI Go 4 app.
The Mavic Air is so easy to fly, you can even take off from and land it in your hand. Personally, I have never tried it but my boyfriend has done so a few times.
Mavic Air Flight time
The main disadvantage of Mavic Air is the flight time. Per battery charge, you only get 20 minutes. This really is not a lot because by the time you set it up and take off you already consume 10% of the battery.
To be safe, I always land it at around 30% as well. Anything lower than this and it starts alerting me that I have a low battery.
Realistically, I tend to get 13-14 minute of flight time. This means you really do need a second or even a third battery to prolong flight time.
Mavic Air Quickshots
Like previous DJI drones, the Mavic Air includes quick shots.
Quickshots are really useful, auto flight presets that get your drone to take professional looking video clips easily. After you select your target, the drone’s on-board computer will track your target whilst undertaking the manoeuvre.
The Mavic Air includes the following Quickshots:
- Boomerang, and
I have used all of the Quickshots but I always prefer to fly it manually.
Along with the Quickshots, the Mavic Air allows you to track moving targets with Active Track. Personally, I have not used Active Track but I do intend to try it when I get a moment to.
Mavic Air Accessories
DJI has a decent amount of official accessories for the Mavic Air. I do not have many accessories for my drone but, the ones I do have are really useful.
To carry the drone, I use the bag that came with the Air in the packaging. The main issue with this bag is it does not have room for the controller. You can get official DJI Mavic Air bags that can fit the controller as well as other accessories but there are lots of bags from other companies as well.
The Mavic Air allows you to use external microSD cards but I tend to stick with the 8gb of internal memory only for the moment.
Like all its products, DJI offers the DJI Care Refresh service for the Mavic Air. I have not bought it but will for my next drone.
The only other accessory I own is a landing mat. At the beginning I couldn’t always find smooth surfaces to take off from or land on. With a landing mat you can landing anywhere you want without fear
I am happy with my purchase. As a beginner, the Mavic Air has been a perfect travel companion.
If I were to get a new drone, I would probably go for a bigger one next time. My reasoning behind this is, sometimes when I fly the Air, we get some interference. I am told, due to the transmission being different with the Mavic Pro and Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom, they do not have the same interference problems.
My near misses
Unfortunately, I crashed my drone in the sea on the fourth flight, during the second week after I bought it.
Boy, that was the one of the worst days.
As I can be a little naive., I took the drone on a boat with me, I set it up and started the take off.
I pushed in and down on the controls and saw my drone taking off. It then started veering towards the right, going dangerously close towards the boat’s railings.
I didn’t have time to react. In 2 second the drone hits the railings and fell into the sea.
I dived in the water and got the drone back on the boat only to realise that there was nothing I can do to fixed it. Sea water destroys electrical.
Even though I didn’t have DJI’s Care Refresh, I thought I would try take it back to the shop I got it from.
I explained to them what happened and luckily they send it back to the manufacturer. After filling a lot of forms, they manage to talked them into replacing my drone. Since that day though I am extremely careful where I fly my drone and have never taken it on a boat again.
Editing my work
I edit my photos on Lightroom so I can have similar colours and effects for all my photos. It is good to keep a signature style and consistency.
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