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New DJI Air 2S Drone Vs Mavic Air 2

If you’re into drones in any way you’ll have heard about the Air 2S from DJI. With this new release we thought we'd compare specifications between the new DJI Air 2S Drone Vs Mavic Air 2, so you can decide which is the one is for you.

Let's go with the new DJI Air 2S drone comparison

Introduction

DJI is on a roll having released the DJI FPV Drone Combo just back in March. A mere two months later and we’re rolling out the virtual carpet again for the new Air 2S and what a piece of tech it is. The reason we can draw comparisons between the new Air 2S vs the Mavic Air 2 is because they come under the same ‘Air’ line of drones. These are designed with consumer features including an on-board camera, folding propellers and compact size and weight for portability. These two models also share a number of accessories, in particular the intelligent flight battery, chargers and overall size and shape.

Aircraft Specifications comparison

Aircraft

Air 2S

Mavic Air 2

Takeoff Weight

595 g

570 g

Dimensions

Folded: 180×97×77 mm Unfolded: 183×253×77 mm

Folded: 180×97×74 mm

Unfolded: 183×253×77 mm

Diagonal Length

302 mm

302 mm

Max Ascent Speed

6 m/s (S Mode)

6 m/s (N Mode)

4 m/s (S Mode)

4 m/s (N Mode)

Max Descent Speed

6 m/s (S Mode)

6 m/s (N Mode)

3 m/s (S Mode)

3 m/s (N Mode)

Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level

5000 m

5000 m

Max Flight Time (no wind)

31 minutes

34 minutes

Max Hovering Time (no wind)

30 minutes

33 minutes

Max Flight Distance (no wind)

18.5 km

18.5 km

Max Flight Speed (near sea level, no wind)

19 m/s (S Mode)

15 m/s (N Mode)

5 m/s (T Mode)

19 m/s (S Mode)
12 m/s (N Mode)
5 m/s (T Mode)

Max Wind Speed Resistance

8.5 to 10.5 m/s

8.5-10.5 m/s (Level 5)

Propellers

Quick release, low noise, folding

Quick release, low noise, folding

GNSS Satellite Systems

GPS+GLONASS

GPS+GLONASS

Internal Storage

8 GB

8 GB

We can see from these specs there nothing in it regarding size and weight, they’re almost identical. However the newer Air 2S is considerably faster ascending and descending, whilst everything else remaining largely the same between the two. Now let’s compare the sensor in the on-board camera to start seeing how the Air 2S draws ahead.

Folded props for compact size

Camera Capabilities Comparison

Camera capabilities

Air 2S

Mavic Air 2

Sensor

1” CMOS

1/2" CMOS

Resolution

20MP; 2.4μm Pixel Size

Effective Pixels: 12MP and 48MP

Lens

FOV: 88°

35 mm Format Equivalent: 22 mm

Aperture: f/2.8

Shooting Range: 0.6 m to ∞

FOV: 84°

Equivalent Focal Length: 24 mm

Aperture: f/2.8

Focus Range: 1 m to ∞

ISO Range

Video:

100-6400 (Auto)

100-12800 (Manual)

10-Bit Dlog-M Video:

100-1600 (Auto)

100-3200 (Manual)

Photo:

100-6400 (Auto)

100-12800 (Manual)

Video:

100-6400

 

Photo (12 MP):

100-3200 (Auto)

100-6400 (Manual)

Photo (48 MP):

100-1600 (Auto)

100-3200 (Manual)

Still Image Size

20 MP

5472x3648 (3:2)

5472x3078 (16:9)

48 MP 8000×6000 pixel

Still Photography Modes

Single shot: 20 MP

Burst shooting: 20 MP

SmartPhoto (including HDR and HyperLight): 20 MP

HDR Panorama:

Vertical (3×1): 3328×8000

Wide (3×3): 8000×6144

180° (3×7): 8192×3500

Sphere (3×8+1): 8192×4096

JPEG/DNG (RAW)

Single: 12 MP and 48 MP

Burst: 12 MP, 3/5/7 frames

SmartPhoto: Scene Recognition, HyperLight, and HDR

HDR Panorama:

Vertical (3×1): 3328×8000

Wide-angle (3×3): 8000×6144

180° Panorama (3×7): 8192×3500

Sphere (3×8+1): 8192×4096

Video Resolution

5.4K: 5472×3078 @ 24/25/30 fps

4K Ultra HD: 3840×2160 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps

2.7K: 2688x1512 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps

FHD: 1920×1080 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60/120 fps

MP4/MOV (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.265/HEVC)

4K Ultra HD: 3840×2160 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps

2.7K: 2688×1512 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps

FHD: 1920×1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120/240 fps

4K Ultra HD HDR: 3840×2160 24/25/30 fps

2.7K HDR: 2688×1512 24/25/30 fps

FHD HDR: 1920×1080 24/25/30 fps

Max Video Bitrate

150 Mbps

120 Mbps

Supported File System

FAT32/exFAT

Supports a microSD card with a capacity of up to 256 GB.

FAT32/exFAT

Supports a microSD card with a capacity of up to 256 GB.

Here we can see that the larger sensor (double size) is going to impact the quality of images and video which the new Air 2S can achieve. DJI did include a 48MP combined image feature on the Mavic Air 2, however these are made by combining 1/2-inch 12MP sensor images, rather than a single image from larger sized pixels on a larger 20MP file sizes. I wouldn’t hesitate to take the 20 megapixel single files (available in RAW and Jpg) from the Air 2S over the Mavic Air 2. Dynamic range from the new sensor is a whopping 12.6 stops, which is extremely capable for a consumer drone and comparable to many digital cameras. If you shoot in low light including sunsets and sunrises, this will be incredibly useful providing ample ability to capture a scene in one shot without the HDR feature.

Drone on ice sir? No, in the Air please

Aside from stills we also get a considerable bump in video quality thanks to this larger sensor. Up to 5.4K/30fps which captures plenty of detail and offers cropping possibilities in post. The inclusion of 10-Bit Dlog-M Video also provides scope for colour grading in post, with one billion colours being recorded.

Other specs we haven’t compared here include the gimbal, which produces identical results with both drones and the battery as they both use the same Intelligent Flight Battery. Flight time is up to three minutes longer with the Mavic Air 2, however 31 minutes from the Air 2S is plenty for most purposes. Grab extra batteries and return to base for a top-up!

Software features comparison

Piloting over snowy tundra

Drones rely on their software and autonomous functions to allow pilots to fly safely and capture suitably epic footage. DJI continually develops their drone software and newer versions will tend to come with updates. The Air 2S continues on this trend with several enhancements and additions.

Software

Air 2S

Mavic Air 2

Safety and Obstacle Sensing

APAS 4.0

APAS 3.0

 

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B)

AirSense

Autonomous functions

ActiveTrack 4.0

Active Track 3.0

 

Spotlight 2.0

Spotlight 2.0

 

Point of Interest 3.0

Point of Interest 3.0

 

MasterShots

QuickShots

 

OcuSync 3.0 video transmission

OcuSync 2.0 video transmission

DJI flying over ice

Key Air 2S software updates

  1. APAS 4.0 has improved map-building algorithms with a newly added upward sensor to deliver smoother and more reliable obstacle avoidance over the previous version.
  2. Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) The Air 2S provides an added layer of safety with industry-leading AirSense safety system. This receives Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast flight location information from airplanes and helicopters in the area that transmit ADS-B signals. These are displayed on a map and provide audio and visual alerts through the DJI Fly app to help you keep the drone out of the way of those aircraft.
  3. ActiveTrack 4.0 features more advanced flight route planning algorithms that plan a route in advance when an obstacle is detected, resulting in optimal tracking.
  4. MasterShots supports automatic aerial photography and post-editing. According to the type and distance of the target, the new DJI Air 2S automatically selects from Proximity, Landscape, and Portrait templates and creates a cinematic sequence of shots. After shooting is complete, the drone automatically edits the footage for you. A diverse number of templates are available for impressive videos with a single tap.
  5. O3 (OcuSync 3.0) video transmission has x4 antennas and supports two frequency bands. It features stronger interference resistance, delivers full HD video transmission feeds at up to 12 km (when unobstructed, free of interference, and FCC-compliant), and enables more reliable transmission in cities and other complex environments.

Improved obstacle avoidence systems

Compare the latest release from DJI which have been reviewed in our blog:

Should you get one?

For newcomers and existing DJI pilots the Air 2S provides enough enhancements over the Mavic Air 2 to be an excellent choice from their range of consumer drones. It’s been designed to deliver better image and video quality, which it does with top marks. Shooting over 5K movies isn’t for everyone, but if you have a Youtube channel or produce content for any following then 5K+ gives you better quality with wider dynamic range that you can crop into. Images will also be improved with 20MP RAW and Jpg straight out of camera. Wider dynamic range, faster ascents and descents along with improved safety features make this a worthy upgrade for drone enthusiasts or content creators and an excellent choice for newcomers to piloting.

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By Nick Dautlich on 15/04/2021

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