Is the DJI Mavic Air a Good Drone?

A stand of colorful trees in Autumn near Collingwood Ontario, captured with the DJI Mavic Air Drone

The DJI Mavic Air - Good and Bad?

This is the drone I've been flying the most lately so I've felt particularly well equipped to make a blog post on it at this time. I see a lot of conversation floating about the topic of of what drone should I buy for real estate photography? 

To me, the DJI Mavic air is a perfectly suited candidate for real estate photo and video especially.  It has just enough in the areas that you need it, which is a key element of efficiency. I made a video to highlight some of the footage and describe what I thought it's strengths and weaknesses are. 

Here's the video;

Here's a quick overview of what's good and bad, in my opinion of course.

The Good Things about DJI Mavic Air Drone

  1. It's compact
  2. It's quiet
  3. It has 4k video recording
  4. It saves raw photos / DNG files. 
  5. Two way vision sensors
  6. Doesn't cast a lot of prop shadows

The Bad Things about DJI Mavic Air

  1. It doesn't have 4k60fps 
  2. The battery life is short (compared to what I was used to) - work faster!
  3. The lens flare isn't very pretty
  4. You have to screw on the tiny little sticks for controller every flight. 
  5. Range of sizes of devices you can use with it are limited. 
  6. The picture can be quite noisy even in near-optimal lighting.
  7. Not four way vision sensors
  8. You don't look as pro to clients (maybe that matters to some people) when you roll up with a smaller drone vs a phantom / inspire / matrice sized unit.
Overall, I'd say the DJI Mavic Air is actually an overwhelmingly great drone for the package. I wouldn't hesitate to suggest it to anyone looking in the price range.  It has everything you need to capture beautiful images in high quality, and all it lacks are the extra little fancy bits which usually rarely get used even when I do have them.

I fly this drone on the regular, and really it 95% of it's flights have been totally 'uneventful' which is exactly the way you want it as a successful and safe drone operator.  Notably, one time the gimbal got all janky during a shoot, but that is more or less cleared up with all recent flights. It was a frustrating situation on site, to have clients standing side by side, as often happens when flying at construction sites. 

Other than that, it had a swarm of bees attack it once. I flew a large farm property for real estate (over 100 acre type place) and a neighbour happened to be a bee farm. Well a swarm of bees must have taken offense to my drone and it came down with a sound of spontaneous clicking in the rotors. I was getting worried that I was about to have an equipment failure, but as I came in closer to landing, I noticed it was bees going kamikaze at the thing.  Then I stepped further away from LZ in case the swarm had some level of consciousness that identified me as the drone's operator. haha.

There is a Mavic Mini on the way and I'm looking forward to sharing some of my findings from that as well.

Happy droning, fly safe!

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