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Inside Mavic 2's Hidden Bag of Tricks

By Jonathan Jacobs

The Mavic 2 was released and reports are starting to come in from those who were luck enough to get in on the first wave of shipments.  It seems for the first time, DJI actually underpromised on what it’s new aircraft was capable of.  As we begin to find out exactly what the Mavic 2 is capable of, we are finding some nice secrets.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the newly discovered features of the Mavic 2.

The Gimbal

One feature that differentiated the Inspire series of aircraft was their ability to tilt and pan the gimbal. This was great for dual pilot operations where one person flew the aircraft and another controlled the payload.


The Mavic Pro (sort of) had this capability but only when using the DJI Goggles in gimbal tracking mode.  Even then, the range of motion was extremely limited due to the gimbal design.


The Mavic 2, however, allows full gimbal movement by holding a finger on the screen and moving it around.  Some have (understandably) asked what the real benefit of this feature is.  A lesser known fact about the Mavic (Series 1 and 2) is that you can actually have 2 controllers attached.  One acts as Primary (responsible for controlling the aircraft) and the other as Secondary (controlling the gimbal.)  So, having this fully articulating gimbal allows for additional flexibility and creativity for payload operators.  This is especially true with the Zoom model where they now have full control over the framing, exposure, and zoom of a shot!  

The Swap

Since DJI announced the Mavic 2 there has been quite a debate as to which aircraft is better.  Do you prefer the 20MP Hasselblad sensor on the Pro or the 4x Zoom capabilities of the Mavic 2 Zoom?  Since most drone enthusiasts can’t afford to purchase both, a decision has to be made.  The airframe and flight capabilities are identical, so it really comes down to the camera.  Luckily for buyers remorse sufferers everywhere, DJI has announced a gimbal swap/replacement program that allows users to send in their aircraft to have it converted from a Pro to a Zoom or vice-versa.  While we don’t have a price for that yet, I imagine that it won’t be cheap and will leave you without an aircraft for a bit.  However, it does appear that the gimbals are technically user swappable, although I’m sure it might have some impact on your warranty if you venture into those waters.

The Pro Zoom

Much has been said about the zoom functionality on the aptly named Mavic Zoom.  The ability to go from 24mm-48mm opens up a wide array of creative possibilities.  But did you know that the Mavic 2 Pro also has ‘zoom’ capabilities?


With such a large sensor to work with, the Mavic 2 Pro actually uses digital trickery to downsample the full image to 4k and in doing so has some flexibility in how it displays the image.  If you look closely at the video settings in the Go4 app, you see that the Mavic 2 Pro offers two types of 4k: 4k HQ and 4k Full FOV.  This is where the ‘zoom’ comes in.


The 4k HQ mode actually offers a 1.4x crop of the ‘5k’ sensor with a 55° FOV (39mm equivalent) and provides the best quality 4k image.  This means that when changing to the HQ mode from the Full FOV mode, you are essentially getting a 1.4x ‘zoom’ with your Mavic 2 Pro camera.  If you use the Full FOV mode, you are getting the standard 28mm equivalent shot with a ‘zoomed out’ look compared to the HQ mode.  While this isn’t adjustable in the same way the Zoom is, it does provide extra flexibility while inflight.  


Whichever version you choose, the Mavic 2 Series is amazing and it seems that DJI has undersold the capabilities of these devices.  To see a more comprehensive review of the Mavic 2 Pro, check out our YouTube page

The Giveaway

Don’t forget!!!  We are giving away a Mavic 2 Pro!  If you haven’t registered yet, you only have a few days left.  The contest ends on September 14th!

At Drone Academy, we try to bring you training, news, and reviews for all things drone (and we try to do it without bombarding you with popup or video ads.)  If you’re thinking about buying a drone and want to help us out, it would be awesome if you could do it through our store or though our affiliate links with DJI, Parrot, or Amazon .  Thanks!

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