DJI Air 2S Evaluate: Nice Outcomes With No Work

“When quality and performance are paramount, there is nothing like the DJI Air 2S.”

  • Takes sharp pictures

  • Strong details from the 5.4K video

  • Pro level clips with mastershots

  • Fun and safe to fly

  • The camera can sometimes search for focus

One leisurely activity that kept me sane during last year’s lockdown was flying the DJI Mavic Air 2. It had everything you’d expect from a drone, whether you were a first-time flyer or a seasoned pilot. Now, however, it looks like DJI is removing a page from Apple’s playbook by releasing an updated version of its drone a year after it was released.

I had very few concerns about the Mavic Air 2 when I tried it out last year. He was near perfect in every way. Step inside the DJI Air 2S, a slightly upgraded version that mostly stands out for the upgraded camera sensor it brings for the ride and that clearly brings it very close to the Mavic Pro territory – the company’s top-notch consumer drones . How much better is it getting? Read on to find out.

Bigger 1-inch sensor is no joke

In the camera world, one way to improve performance is to introduce a larger sensor. That’s exactly what DJI brings to the Air 2S, and it’s without question the drone’s most notable new quality. The new 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor with 2.4 μm pixels is no joke and improves the half-inch sensor of its predecessor. With the larger sensor on board, more light can be drawn in to reveal more details – especially in the shadows, where noise is traditionally most evident.

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Photos from the camera are crisp and sharp, which is what you would expect from a larger sensor. Capturing pictures around sunset time has proven difficult at times as small sensors (like the one in the DJI Mini 2) aren’t designed for low light, but that’s not a problem here. In fact, I’ve used my photo editing software to enhance the shadows on some of my sunset shots – and I’m happy to announce that there are no significant signs of noise.

Of course, the best results are achieved when it’s sunny, but what makes the DJI Air 2S helpful is that it can definitely capture stunning photos without having to edit them later. There is still a “SMART” photo mode, which essentially functions as the drone’s HDR mode. It takes a picture and automatically adjusts the shadows and highlights to bring out the best details, so you get a high quality shot the first time.

The quality is what you would expect: it’s superb.

There are some new additions to the video page that are pushing the threshold in a direction that will add even more usefulness to the creators in the post. In addition to your traditional 4K recording at 60 frames per second (fps), the DJI Air 2S up the ante by offering 5.4K recording at up to 30 fps. This of course offers a few useful tricks – like the ability to use the digital zoom 6x when recording in 1080p or to trim the post-pans for pans and zooms.

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The quality is what you would expect: it’s superb. There is a lot of detail, colors have a subtle saturated tone, and there is reasonable dynamic range to bring out details in highlights and shadows that are otherwise lost. However, I’ve found that the camera tends to seek out focus at times. Therefore, it may sometimes be necessary to switch to manual mode. What was missing from my test was an option for HDR video mode, which I happily used with the Mavic Air 2. I’m assuming this is a future update, but what that would mean is a properly exposed video that looks great at first.

Moving to a larger sensor is exactly what this iterative update needs to stand out in the DJI lineup. The problem presented here, however, is that the Air 2S is diminishing the Mavic Pro line’s reputation as a professional drone.

Fly even safer

Whether you are just starting out or a seasoned professional with numerous flying lessons, the DJI Air 2S is even safer to fly than its predecessor. The most notable feature here is the addition of upward-facing sensors on the drone itself, complementing the other three (forward, backward, and downward) that are in place to make the flight safer overall. The new upward-facing sensors are useful when using the drone’s improved APAS 4.0 technology to avoid obstacles in its flight path. This is best shown when using the new ActiveTrack 4.0 tracking feature, which allows the drone to intelligently track a subject / object while avoiding obstacles.

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Thanks to these new safety features, you get great footage, especially because you can control the Air 2S to follow a subject without worrying about it hitting anything. Now I’ve tried this with someone who was walking very calmly through a field, safely navigating around poles and signs.

In my years as a drone pilot, I’ve never really encountered a close call. First off, the DJI Air 2S is greeted with the same OcuSync 3.0 technology introduced with the recent DJI FPV drone. That said, the drone’s video feed feed now extends 12 km – an increase over the Mavic Air 2’s range of 10 km. In one case, however, the transfer was briefly interrupted, so I just had to restart the app. However, after a firmware update, the video feed was no longer interrupted.

A beginner can look like a pro with the Air 2S.

During another test flight, one of my worst fears about flying a drone came up. Somehow the connection between the remote control and the drone was broken and the drone hovered high in the air for about a minute. In my panic, I tried restarting the app hoping it would connect, but it didn’t. Fortunately, the Air 2S’s safety protocol was introduced, with the drone automatically flying near the maximum altitude of 400 feet and then returning home on its own. Eventually it landed all by itself and locked, averting the crisis. This experience is precisely why it is one of the safest drones to fly.

Pro creation without being a professional

Through years of flying, I have had the experience of taking breathtaking photos and videos, all of which were achieved with manual operation. What is special about the DJI Air 2S, however, is that, similar to the other drones in its portfolio, you don’t have to be a professional to get high quality footage. Thanks to the various Quickshot modes, all you have to do is select your subject in the frame and the drone will do the rest. All previous Quickshot modes are available again, e.g. B. Circle, Dronie and Asteroid, with which the Air 2S flies away from a subject and then captures a tiny planet.

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The latest addition is MasterShots, a new mode that uses some of DJI’s popular Quickshot modes and automatically creates professionally composed clips – all with no physical interaction controlling the drone. Once you have selected your subject / location, the DJI Air 2S automatically sets predefined flight paths to record all the clips you need. The end result is a short clip that looks like a professional who piloted and edited the video. This new automation shows exactly why the Air 2S can make a beginner look like a pro.

Minimal compromise

Unsurprisingly, DJI recycled the design of its popular drone, so there aren’t any major differences between the Air 2S and the Mavic Air 2. It still folds up to make travel easier, but what’s even better is the fact that it uses the same batteries as the Mavic Air 2. For anyone upgrading, it’s nice to know they’re getting their old ones Batteries can continue to use.

John Velasco / Digital Trends

Speaking of batteries: The total flight time with the DJI Air 2S has been reduced to 31 minutes – compared to 34 minutes with the Mavic Air 2. To be honest, this is not a problem, but the compromise was made to take into account the larger camera sensor and the slightly heavier weight of the Drone weighing 595 grams. In sport mode, a top speed of around 42.5 miles per hour can be achieved.

Our opinion

Who knows if this will be the trend for DJI, but the Air 2S has all the improvements to make it a meaningful upgrade over the Mavic Air 2. Prices for the Air 2S start at $ 999, but I recommend paying the extra cash to get the $ 1,299 Fly More Combo version that comes with ND filters, a carry case, two extra batteries, and supplied with a multi charger.

The DJI Air 2S is still proving to be the best all-round drone. From its crisp video performance to all of its security features, it’s the drone to beat. Beginners will enjoy how easy it is to produce high quality footage with minimal interaction, while seasoned professionals will enjoy the improved performance of its larger sensor.

Should you upgrade?

This is difficult to answer. DJI will continue to sell this Mavic Air 2 so besides the Air 2S, the difference between the two is only $ 100. There are certainly good reasons why the Air 2S is the superior drone, but it’s still difficult to justify another purchase for existing Mavic Air 2 owners. If image quality is paramount, the upgrade is clearly worth it. If you don’t mind editing footage, you can still get stunning photos and videos with the Mavic Air 2.

On the other hand, if you are thinking of one DJI Mini For example, there is no comparison as the extra money you would spend buying the DJI Air 2S is justified by the difference between day and night in terms of performance, quality and safety.

How long it will take?

The DJI Air 2S is solidly built all around and has a one-year limited warranty that covers defects. Additionally, you can purchase DJI Care Refresh’s extended warranty for the Air 2S, which covers it for accidental damage. Taking into account the cost of the drone, it’s worth getting.

Is there a better alternative?

Usually the next logical alternative is something in the DJI Mavic Pro series – like the Mavic 2 Pro. That’s not the case, as the DJI Air 2S’s new upgrades place it in exactly the same category as the flagship in the company’s portfolio.

Should you buy it?

Yes, you won’t find a better drone for the money. All upgrades make it a standout model in the world of drones by balancing performance, safety features, ease of use and price.

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