Until now it hasn’t exactly been easy to film yourself doing anything. Sure you can snap a selfie with your phone or hand it off to a stranger for a quick pic, but what if that doesn’t tell the story? Today we all use social media to share a message or a story. Photos and videos let us remember and share these moments forever. As a pro photographer I never get to be the one in the photo that’s having the time of my life and selfies are if nothing else, extremely limiting. Its not easy to take a video of yourself jogging a marathon, jetskiing or walking down the beach at sunset. Sure you strap a Gopro to your head and run through the woods to make the Blair Witch Project returns, but there has to be a better way.
During a live web presentation today, DJI unveiled the compact yet brilliant Mavic Pro. Despite being about the size of a water bottle when folded, DJI claims it’s the most sophisticated flying camera they’ve ever produced. Quote me when I say the Mavic will obliterate all DJI sales records as it becomes the next device you can’t live without. Under its clean and elegant lines is a culmination of every desirable feature imaginable. Unlock its folding arms and be airborne in under 15 seconds. During flight, optical and sonar sensors allow it to accurately hold its position without GPS, track your motion and navigate around obstacles. There are even backup sensors in case of a failure. While nothing is crash proof, this is as close as you can get for now. Mavic can even fly circles around you while you are moving, a monumental feat for even seasoned pro pilot and camera operators.
Positioned up front in a protective clear enclosure is a miniaturized 4k capable, 12MP camera that is fully stabilized on all three axis for ultra smooth video perfectly level images. DJI’s new OcuSync HD video transmission system supports up to 720 / 1080p and up to 4.3 miles of range. If the Mavic flew 10 minutes on a charge I would buy it tomorrow. Most FPV racers fly less than 5 minutes before we slap a new pack in. DJI has far exceeded my expectations with its new propulsion system and claims Mavic can fly for up to 27 minutes or 8 miles. Tripod mode allows precision flight indoors with slow controlled movements.
Looking for more of an adrenaline rush? Throw on the new DJI wireless FPV goggles, enable sport mode and strap yourself in with speeds up to 40mph. Obstacle avoidance sensors have 50 feet of range to allow plenty of time for the 24 processing cores to make a decision to stop or route around. They even work if you fly out of range while Mavic automatically returns to home.
While the DJI remote control provides you with the maximum functionality and range, you can fly Mavic with just your phone over wi-fi if you want to grab a quick photo or close range flight. The cameras even recognize hand gestures. You have to admit, this is very cool. Retail price is $999 and DJI is taking online pre-orders now. A $300 additional option bundle gets you extra props, shoulder case, extra charger, a car charger and some other accessories.
You might imagine that there has to be something about Mavic I’m not terribly excited about. So far I haven’t unearthed it. Do I expect the camera to outperform the X5 or other professional cameras Im accustomed to? Absolutely not however I can’t fit a heavy lift rig in the same bag as my shaving cream. When you’re driving down the road and see the sun beaming down through backlit clouds the best camera is always the one you have with you. Newcomers to the FPV experience will be hard pressed to buy anything else. Lets face it, this is what we’ve all been waiting for. GPS, HD video feed, and obstacle avoidance is finally here. I do feel sorry for the companies and retailers who specialize in the older FPV technology as this product could literally divert much of the future business. On the other hand you can’t fault DJI for their ground-breaking innovation. If DJI can meet the demand and roll out the Mavic Pro with stable firmware on the initial shipment it could be the hottest holiday item since the Ipad. Is it the magic bullet destined to dominate the everyday consumer and the FPV addict?
Check back with us soon for our unbiased review on the Mavic Pro to find out!