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Friday, October 7, 2022

DJI Air 2S Review: The mid-size prosumer drone is here

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DJI drones are one of the most well-known consumer drones ever since the Mavic series was launched. This year though, DJI removed the Mavic name from their lineup. The DJI Air 2S is a mid-tier drone but comes with several innovative features usually available on DJI’s top-end drone models.

The DJI Air 2S is the successor of the Mavic Air 2, and while the name suggests a slight difference among the drones, there are some important upgrades. One of the most vital is the huge 1” sensor that comes with DJI Air 2S.

The sleek bag that comes with the fly-more combo.
The sleek bag comes with the fly-more combo.

Design

The DJI Air 2S design has been upgraded from the Mavic Air 2 in many ways. The front of the new drone is sleeker and rounder. DJI added two upward-facing sensors on the front section for collision avoidance.

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The specification has been bumped up from the previous model in almost every way. The upgrade includes a new sensor that captures 20mp stills and 5.4k UHD video at 30fps, or 4k video at 60fps and 120fps. The DJI Air 2S has the new DJI Occusync 3.0, the new version for wireless transmission that works up to 12km.

The new DJI Air 2S in comparison to the Mini 2.
The new DJI Air 2S in comparison to the Mini 2.

Like the Mavic Air 2, the DJI Air 2S weighs 595g and can fly for up to 30 minutes. The original Mavic Air has a sleek design, but the drone takes advantage of a broader layout that makes it more stable and efficient.

It fits in most camera bags with the controller, including a well-made, simple, and compact bag for travel with sufficient space for neutral density filters and spare batteries.

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The Air 2S includes 8 GB of internal space in case you fill up your SD card while flying. The controller is a little bit bulky but is super comfortable. The battery performance of the remote will outlast all the three batteries of your drone.

We like the design because it holds the mobile phone above the controls, where it is easier to see the screen. The controller also does a wonderful job of holding the mobile phone firmly, without much space for it to shift, like a few of the older model controllers.

Camera Performance and Features

The significant change in the Air 2S is its image sensor which has doubled in size from the previous generation. This new 1” sensor can take 20mp photos and videos at up to 5.4k 30fps. In addition, the pixel size is 2.4mm, three times bigger than that of the Mavic Air 2.

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Apart from the physical changes to the camera, DJI also tweaked the internal system. The main addition is a feature called MasterShots, which tries to make it simple for beginner drone pilots to take superb movies. When active it analyzes what the drone camera is looking at, and automatically examine the best flight path.

Inside the Air 2S fly-more combo are some extra propellers, an ND filter set, a shoulder bag, a battery charging hub, and two extra batteries.
Inside the Air 2S fly-more combo are some extra propellers, an ND filter set, a shoulder bag, a battery charging hub, and two extra batteries.
DJI Air 2S has a fixed aperture, but the fly-more combo includes several ND filters for shooting in various daylight conditions.
DJI Air 2S has a fixed aperture, but the fly-more combo includes several ND filters for shooting in various daylight conditions.
The battery charging hub charges the batteries in sequence.
The battery charging hub charges the batteries in sequence.

It will then set off and make a 2-minute video and return, and set the video to music. In the DJI fly application, you can then pick music and themes. It is made to take much of the guesswork out of creating a compelling video.

In some ways, it is the same as what you will find on the best action cameras, such as Go Pro Hero 9 or the Insta360 One X, which will take your content and use algorithms in their applications to put together TikTok worthy footage.

Though MasterShots only works with stationary objects, you cannot use the drone’s object tracking with this feature enabled.

Focus Track allows you to pick a subject that will then follow in a circular or linear pattern. Also, the new Smart HDR Photo feature automatically selects the best image setting based on what the camera sees.

Here is a sample 4K footage taken with the Mavic Air 2S –

Battery Life

One thing that has not changed is the flight time, as both drones use the same battery. The Mavic Air 2S can stay in the air for up to 30 minutes, essentially similar to the Mavic Air 2. As drone technology slowly matures, it remains to be seen if the next-gen of DJI drone models can break this half-hour threshold.

ProsCons
High dynamic range
Great camera that shoots 5.4K
Lighter and smaller than the Mavic 2 Pro, which is quite aging in terms of technology
No adjustable aperture
The image on edge is slightly soft
Limitations when shooting in 5.4K
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REVIEW OVERVIEW

DJI Air 2S

SUMMARY

The Mavic Air 2S impressed us in all the ways we put the drone to use in our shooting. Getting up in the air has been created very simply, and the joy of floating around giving a new perspective never ceases to amaze. The new sensor makes all the difference. Seemingly complex shooting maneuvers can either be automated with the DJI Fly application or done on my own without much learning curve.

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DJI Air 2S Review: The mid-size prosumer drone is hereThe Mavic Air 2S impressed us in all the ways we put the drone to use in our shooting. Getting up in the air has been created very simply, and the joy of floating around giving a new perspective never ceases to amaze. The new sensor makes all the difference. Seemingly complex shooting maneuvers can either be automated with the DJI Fly application or done on my own without much learning curve.