Drone Review for Freelance Creators - DJI Mavic 2 Pro & Mavic 2 Zoom
Ever since buying my first drone back in 2014, aerial photos and videos have been a large part of my creative work. I’ve now owned six different DJI drones, with each one providing a better experience. Every year, new drones come out with cool new features and I have to decide whether or not it’s worth the upgrade for my business.
DJI just released two new drone models, the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom. So, is it worth upgrading if you already have a drone? If you don’t have one yet, would it be better to buy the cheaper, previous generation? Let’s go over some of the pros and cons for the new Mavic drones for freelancers.
First, a little background
DJI released the original “Mavic Pro” about 2 years ago as the first foldable consumer drone. It was a game changer for freelancers, being able to bring a drone anywhere while recording 4k video from the sky. This has been the drone that is always with me in my gear bag alongside my laptop and DSLR. Now, there are two new models to choose from, with the main differentiator being the camera each one includes.
Mavic 2 Zoom
This is the first drone with a zoom lens. The 24-48mm zooming camera allows aerial videographers to get closer to their subject, while remaining at a safe and quiet distance. Also included is the ability to create video with the Dolly Zoom effect, which is hard to explain without just showing you.
Why I like it?
There have been a few times when I’ve needed to get close to a subject while flying my drone, but had to be extra careful because of it’s fast-spinning, potentially dangerous blades. This drone allows me the option to zoom all the way in, calming my and everyone else’s nerves.
Unfortunately this new model has the same camera sensor size as the original Mavic Pro that was released two years ago. This means the quality of your photos are the same at 12 megapixels. The quality is still amazing for the sensor size, but it would have been nice to see a little bump in the specs there.
Mavic 2 Pro
A bigger camera up front means a bigger sensor that is almost twice the size of the original Mavic Pro. This allows more image data to be captured by the sensor, giving you 20 megapixel photos. It also has an adjustable aperture, allowing you to customize the amount of light coming into your footage.
Why I like it?
The video from this camera looks amazing! If you use long drone shots in your videos, or need to color match footage to a higher-end camera, the Mavic 2 Pro’s larger sensor really comes in handy during post-production editing.
A disappointment is the lack of the built-in dolly zoom video feature like the other model has. It would be amazing to have both the one-inch sensor and the zoom lens in one package, but for now DJI has forced us to choose.
Which is best for your freelance business?
Mavic 2 Pro is what I would suggest all freelance creatives who are looking to buy today. Both models have amazing obstacle avoidance sensors, better flight times, automatic flight modes, and stronger gimbals on their cameras. But if you have to choose, go with the better image quality to impress your clients.
Having a zoom lens on your drone is cool, but I so rarely need to be close to my subjects. When I fly, the drone is so high in the air, a zoom lens isn’t going to do much anyway. However tempting the dolly zoom feature is, you actually don’t need the Mavic 2 Zoom to achieve the effect. You can also do it with any drone, or even your cell phone, if it shoots 4k video. There are tons of tutorials on how to get the dolly zoom effect in post production, including an old guide published by DJI. I even used my Mavic 2 Pro for the dolly zoom effect example above.