Which Mavic 2 is best for my needs?

by 7 Apr 2019

The DJI Mavic 2 series is rapidly replacing DJI Phantoms and other larger drones in some areas of the drone industry; but are they right for you and, if so, which one should you buy?

There are a couple of obvious areas where none of the Mavic 2 drones are really appropriate. Mapping and surveying, for example, is an area where the Mavic 2 Pro struggles as it doesn’t have a mechanical shutter. The Phantom 4 Advanced or Pro is much better suited to this role and the Phantom 4 RTK is an amazing step forward in precision.

The best uses for the DJI Mavic 2 range are creative video and photography, general inspection and potentially thermal work with the Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual. They are all designed as portable, single-operator drones.

Below I have tried to address the main pros, cons and uses of the Mavic 2 range. Detailed reviews are available elsewhere so this is more of a quick comparison. The links to the full specs of the drones are at the end of the article. RRPs are correct as of 15 April 2019.

School of Drones members can access Quick Reference Handbooks for most common DJI drones.

Common features:

The main features of the DJI Mavic 2 range as a whole are:

  • Great portability
  • Foldable design
  • 360 collision avoidance
  • Roughly 30-minute flight time
  • Smart controller option with built in screen
  • Optional DJI Fly More Kit with extra batteries, car charger, multi-charger, spare propellers and battery powerbank adaptor.

DJI Mavic 2 Professional – RRP £1,349

The Mavic 2 professional (M2P) is geared up as a still photography drone. DJI’s deal with Hasselblad means the camera is Hasselblad branded. With a 20MP 1-inch sensor capable of acquiring both JPG and raw photos, this will keep most photographers happy. Still photography will certainly be good enough for web use and printing up to around A3 at photographic quality. The video is great too, no zoom facility but really holds its own well for such a tiny camera.

Duncan at Granite Ocean Film uses the M2P almost exclusively to obtain his amazing images of the Cornish coastline.

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom –  RRP £1,099

The Mavic 2 Zoom (M2Z) has a similar sensor to the original Mavic series, providing 12MP stills and 4K video. The big feature of the Mavic 2 Zoom, surprisingly enough, is the optical zoom facility. This allows some funky dolly zoom effects once you get to grips with it. The stills are never going to match the quality of the M2P but will be good enough for web work.

The zoom capability is reasonable with a 2x optical zoom (24-48mm) and then the ability to use digital zoom when filming 1080p (24-96mm). As a result, the M2Z is also useful for inspections where you need to get good images without getting too close to your subject.

Here are a couple of videos showing the zoom capability:

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise – RRP £2,175

The Mavic 2 Enterprise (M2E) is designed for search and rescue and potentially inspection. The camera is basically identical to the Mavic 2 Zoom, with the same optical and digital zoom capability. As a result, if it is just the camera capabilities you are after, go for that.

So, why the extra price point? The M2E has self-heating batteries for use in extreme environments. It also has the multifunctional port on top to allow you to add one of three bolt-on accessories (included). The first is the speaker on which you can record sound in the app. It can play both pre-recorded and near-live sound and play it back pretty loudly from the drone.
Secondly, a pair of relatively powerful LED headlights that can be angled manually. Finally, a top-mounted strobe that I haven’t found much use for.

DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual – RRP £2,805

The Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual (M2ED) has all the features of the M2E in terms of bolt-ons and self-heating batteries. However, it does not have the zoom capability. Instead it has a dual sensor visual and thermal camera, featuring a FLIR core. It is a pretty low resolution thermal, but uses some clever FLIR tech to overlay the outlines of the visual camera on the thermal to help provide context for the thermal. This is not designed as a detailed thermal rig but more for search and rescue and large scale thermal monitoring such as fire-fighting hot spots and insulation issues. That said, it is one of the the lowest priced thermal imaging drones out there. The stills are a similar quality to the Mavic 2 Zoom. This machine is not designed for creative video, so the options are limited so that it ties in well with the thermal. There is no zoom on the visual camera.