DJI has officially unveiled the Air 2S: the replacement for 2020’s Mavic Air 2. You may well know a lot about it already thanks to a few lucky people finding them for sale a few days before the launch and posting unboxing videos on YouTube.
But there are still a few details that you probably don’t know, including how much the base Air 2S costs and the software features on offer.
DJI Air 2S: What you need to know
DJI’s latest consumer drone
Can record 5.4K video and digitally zoom at lower resolutions
Has an upgraded camera with a large sensor for better quality video & photos
Supports 10-bit D-LOG and HDR video recording
4-way (up from 3-way) obstacle avoidance
Costs from £899 / US$999
Available from 15 April 2021
DJI Air 2S release date
You can buy an Air 2S immediately from DJI and its partners, such a Heliguy in the UK. And, as has been well reported on, you can get a DJI Air 2S from Best Buy in the US.
DJI Air 2S price
The basic kit includes the drone, remote controller, one battery and all the cables and parts needed to get into the air. It costs:
Air 2S – £899 / €999 / US$999 / AUS$1699
The Fly More Combo additionally includes two batteries for a total of 3, ND filters, a charging hub and a shoulder bag. It costs:
Air 2S Fly More Combo – £1169 / €1299 / US$1299 / AUS$2099
It is, then, a fair bit more expensive than the Mavic Air 2 which cost US$799 (£769) and US$999 (£949) for the Fly More Combo when it originally launched. You can still buy one from DJI and other retailers if you don’t want to stretch to the higher price of the Air 2S.
What’s new about the DJI Air 2S?
The camera is the really big news. Previously, you’d have to spend more to get a drone with a 1-inch sensor. The Mavic 2 Pro and Phantom 4 Pro had these sensors, but with the Air 2S, the lens has a slightly wider field of view (the 35mm equivalent of 22mm).
To the casual observer, there won’t be a huge difference between photos taken on this and Mavic Air 2, but enthusiasts will love the ability to shoot RAW photos and 10-bit video in D-LOG or HLG.
What it means in jargon-free speak is that if you’re willing to put in the time with video editing software, you can use the extra information in 10-bit video to produce higher-quality results and they should have much higher dynamic range.
There’s more though: a new digital zoom that supports 4X zoom at 4K 30fps, 6X at 2.7K 30fps, 4X at 2.7K 60fps, 6X at 1080P 60fps and 8X at 1080P 30fps.
Plus, there are extra cameras for sensing obstacles, the Air 2S now has APAS 4.0 which is better at avoiding crashes and can better fly around those obstacles, not simply stop when they’re detected.
DJI has also added a new video mode called MasterShots. Once you’ve selected an object to track, it will automatically decide on a flight path, allowing you to choose the size of the area it’s allowed to fly in. When those moves are complete, it will create a video based on the theme you choose for what DJI calls “an eye-catching video”.
Other changes are slightly more minor: flight time is 31 minutes, a little less than the Mavic Air 2, but transmission distance is up from 10km to 12km thanks to O3 or, to give it its full title, Ocusync 3.0.
In the UK and other countries which go by CE rules and not FCC, that range is curtailed to 8km, but such numbers are largely irrelevant to consumers which must keep the drone in their line of sight.
The same great controller is included as with the Air 2 and Mini 2.
FocusTrack has been improved with modes including Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 4.0 and Point of Interest 3.0. The former lets you control the drone while the camera stays locked onto your subject, whereas ActiveTrack 4.0 automatically follows the subject without your input on the controller, all while avoiding obstacles.
There’s also a new photo mode called SmartPhoto. This analyses the scene and uses “deep learning” to pick one of three options including HDR, Hyperlight and Scene Recognition to automatically produce the best photo. We’re just glad DJI refrained from calling it ‘AI’.
Of course, the Air 2S has all the other modes you’d expect including QuickShots, several panoramic photo modes and Hyperlapse which creates speeded-up video in up to 4K resolution with digital stabilisation.
DJI Air 2S vs Mavic Air 2 vs Mavic 2 Pro
Here’s how the Air 2S compares to the Mavic Air 2 and Mavic 2 Pro:
DJI Air 2S
Mavic Air 2
Mavic 2 Pro
20 MP, 2.4um
48 MP, 0.8um
20 MP, 2.4um
Video Transmission System
O3 (renamed from OcuSync 3.0),
12 km, 1080P
10 km, 1080P
10 km, 1080P
New Functions and Core Intelligent Functions
Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 4.0,
Point of Interest 3.0
Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 3.0,
Point of Interest 3.0
Point of Interest 2.0
Environment Sensing System
Forward, Backward, Upward, Downward
Forward, Backward, Downward
Forward, Backward, Downward,
Left, and Right
Max Video Resolution and Framerate
Max Photo Resolution
Portability and Weight
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