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DJI Mavic 2 Zoom Review

DJI Mavic 2 Zoom Review

There are a few words that come to mind when I associate DJI’s brand of high-tech drones. Amoungst them include sophistication, thoughtful detail and above all else, revolutionary. It hasn’t taken long for the Asian based technology juggernaut to surpass my expectations with the release of their new flagship line of Mavic series drones-the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic 2 Zoom. 

Introduced on the 24th of August, the Mavic series, for quite some time, has been DJI’s best selling drone and such, I recently had the opportunity to take to the helms of the Mavic 2 Zoom and what I experienced was nothing short of spectacular. 



Design 

It has to be said that in order for you to break one of these drones, it would certainly take some doing on your part because DJI included an obstacle avoidance system that is absolutely impeccable. I tested this system when I was told to deliberately fly into Grant's face( DJI technical specialist from OdieArt) when the drone immediately stopped as if the force from Star Wars suddenly compelled it… it was truly amazing. Much like its predecessor, the Mavic 2 Zoom is designed like a brick house. Sturdy from all angles, this aesthetic drone could( but it won't) fly into a window, brick wall, tree, bush, pavement and still be good to come back home.

The Mavic 2 Zoom does weigh in heavier at 905g with bigger dimensions at 32.2 x 24.2 x 8.4 cm but thankfully for us, DJI designed it to be foldable so it’s still an extremely portable drone. Upon closer inspection, not only will you notice its polished finish but additional omnidirectional obstacle sensors( more on these later) that make this drone, next to the Mavic 2 Pro, the smartest drone on the market. 

The propellers are made from rigid carbon nylon to give the drone an optimal balance of flexibility and durability. They include an efficiency technology that reduces noise during propulsion making the Mavic 2 Zoom quieter during flight. DJI also modified the design to make them more aerodynamic as to reduce drag by 19%.

Probably the most distinctive feature when comparing the Mavic 2 Zoom to the Mavic 2 Pro is the absence of a Hasselblad L1D-20c Camera. Featured on the Mavic 2 Pro, the Hasselblad Camera is a state-of-the-art aerial camera that allows drone pilots to capture a higher standard of aerial imagery. Nonetheless, both drones exhibit equal competencies in video transmission, flight time, flight speed, intelligent flight modes and of course, 3 axis gimbal. 

Much like every high-end drone released by DJI, the Mavic 2 Zoom includes a controller that sports 2 joysticks with unscrewable modules. I would imagine they did this to give the controller a smaller profile for storage purposes. The controller is ergonomically designed as I found it to be extremely comfortable when flying the drone. In terms of functionality, every button has been placed just where it needs to be without adding clutter. The clamp for smartphones and tablets is also extremely accommodating to most models in the market and really hugs the device. The display is LCD and is used to monitor factors such as battery level and so fourth. 



Features

The drones obstacle sensing technology really is something to behold. Capable of sensing objects in 6 directions, its omnidirectional functionality can sense forward, backward, right, left, backward and forward. It must be noted however that the sensory functions for the leftward and rightward direction only work while in Active Track or Tripod Mode. 

Being the first commercial drone with optical zoom, the Mavic 2 Zoom has been given the ability to zoom in on a subject with lossless mechanical 2X zoom for photos and 4K video when recording in 1080p. Now for me, this has to be its best selling point and here’s why. Because the drone has optical zoom is 24-48mm and 2X digital zoom, it can stimulate 96mm telephoto lens that captures lossless video. Essentially this feature allows you to get closer to a subject without losing picture quality and the need to fly closer. 

The Mavic 2 Zoom includes 3 main flight modes. The first is P-mode( positioning mode) which works by harnessing vision systems and GPS to locate, navigate and stabilize between obstacles. The second flight mode is S-mode which you might have guessed is the sports mode. This mode allows you to really engage it with full throttle as its features are maximised for increased agility and responsiveness. Last but not least is T-mode(Tripod mode). In this mode, the drone is at its most stable for shooting. 

If you’re a budding filmmaker or a studio professional, you’ll really appreciate the intelligent functions this drone has. But first I thought I’d lead into that by mentioning its 48-megapixel imagery. The drone achieves this high-quality resolution by essentially stitching 9 high-resolution photos together to create an equivalent 24mm high-resolution photograph.

Now to the fun stuff. Most drones coming out in the market are starting to include ActiveTrack which is a function that allows the drone to follow moving subjects. With Active Track, now you don’t have to worry about your subject moving out of the frame. DJI took this feature up a notch by giving it high-speed tracking of up to 72 km/hr with increased trajectory prediction. So you’ll be shooting those high-speed car chases in no time.

DJI also bolstered functionality with the latest OcuSync 2.0 so as a drone pilot, you’ll be able to see what the drone sees in real time. With Hyperlapse, you’ll be able to shoot motion shots in 4 different modes: Free, course lock, waypoint and circle. Another starlight feature worth mentioning is Dolly Zoom. Dolly Zoom a couple of years ago was considered by filmmakers to be one of the hardest shots to achieve. This is because the subject being shot remains still while its background morphs. Now the Mavic 2 Zoom automatically captures this shot effortlessly to give you Golden Globe worthy frames.

The drone also comes with Return-to-Home feature which automatically flies your drone back to the last recorded home destination. The Return-to-Home function works in congruence with obstacle avoidance as the drone slows down in the presence of obstacles. So much so that it will fly backwards and ascends until the obstacle sensors don’t detect anything. From there onwards, the drone will fly back home at the new altitude.

As a film fanatic myself, I cannot overstate enough just how amazing the Points of Interest feature is. To paint a picture of this feature, just imagine a frame with the Empire State Building being the fixed point from which the drone rotates. This feature basically does just that. By selecting a subject as your ‘point of interest’, the Mavic 2 Zoom flies around the subject with the predetermined settings you entered. Just imagine the scenic shots of mountain ranges and rivers you could capture with this. 

In terms of standard features, the Mavic 2 Zoom will give you on average anywhere from 29 to 31 minutes of flight time depending on factors such as sea level and altitude. As stated above, the quadcopter can reach speeds of up to 72 km/hr in sports mode and will generally require about an hour and a half to recharge its 3850 mAh battery. The camera of the drone is 12 megapixels and is powered by a 1/2.3 inch CMOS sensor.



Drawbacks

In terms of drawbacks, there aren’t too many with this drone. However, the Mavic 2 Zoom doesn't exhibit a greater battery life than the Mavic Pro as both have very similar flight times of about 30 minutes. Another not so great feature is the lack of a bigger internal storage as it only has 8GB.



Overall

The Mavic 2 Zoom is a highly responsive drone that gives you complete creative control with dynamic functionality and user-friendly interface. A true flagship in the drone industry.

























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