This latest announcement by DJI is aimed at revolutionising drone photography and is timed a week after GoPro announced the Karma. Both are fold down drowns offering power and portability.
Mavic v Karma
The Karma is designed to carry various GoPro cameras and Mavic has an all-new 4K camera on the front, The Mavic has a huge range 4.3miles (7km) and a sophisticated visual navigation system, with a claimed 27-minute flight time. The Karma range is a more modest 0.62 miles (1km) and a shorter flight time of 20 minutes.
Testing the Mavic v Karma will be interesting but from first appearances the DJI Mavic steals the show.
The other question is what effect the Mavic will have on the sales of their best selling DJI Phantom 4 and 3 Pro.
Here is a comparison of the size of the two DJI drones. The Mavic looks larger in all the publicity photos but in reality it is really small, about the size of a standard water bottle.
Despite the Mavic size it has a really impressive array of features and performance.
Mavic has a flight control system, which uses 5 cameras, GPS and GLONASS navigation, 2 ultrasonic rangefinders, redundant sensors, and 24 computing cores to serve as the drone’s “intelligence”. It also has obstacle avoidance like it’s big brother the Phantom 4.
There is a track mode so the Mavic can fix on a subject person or object while flying at a constant height. Like big brother Phantom 4, Mavic has a sports mode and can travel at speeds up to 40mph.
The camera on the Mavic Pro features the company’s smallest-ever 3-axis stabilisation gimbal. This is much smaller than the Phantom 4 camera. The 12-megapixel, 4K autofocus camera can take DNG RAW images has a minimum focusing distance of 19 inches (0.5m).
The Mavic camera has narrower field of view compared to the Phantom 4, so shots look like they were taken with a 28mm lens on a full frame camera. The Phantom 4 is equivalent to a 20mm lens.
The Mavic camera does not have a fixed focus like the Phantom 4 so you need to tap on the part of the image on the controller to set the focus point. This is an extra thing to remember if you don’t want a blurred image.
On our Phantoms we always ND Filters of 90% of our shoots. Currently there are no ND filters available for the Mavic.
The price of the Mavic is £999 compared to £1,169 for the DJI Phantom 4 and £949 for the Phantom 3 Pro. That is £170 chealer than the Phantom 4 for a similar technical spec.
Here is the launch video for the Mavic:
We think the DJI Mavic will have a major impact on the GoPro Karma sales in the coming months especially over the Christmas buying spree. It could also have a major impact on DJI phantom range, because the Mavic is bristling with the latest technology and features.
The drive by the manufacturers to make drones more portable, easier to fly, with longer battery life giving them a much wider public appeal is in stark contrast the most of the first world countries, who are trying to introduce legislation to restrict the public use of drones.
Interesting times ahead.
Roy Horton is a director of Drone Photography Services