DJI Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom add Hasselblad quality and optical zoom to folding drones

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Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
4 min read
DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom
Joshua Goldman/CNET

DJI's bringing the Mavic Pro back, and it has a friend.

The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom, accidentally revealed in July, are now official. While they don't look too different from the original that launched two years ago, they are full updates including two first-of-their-kind cameras for DJI. 

The $1,449 Pro is the world's first drone with an integrated Hasselblad camera. Known for its high-end medium-format cameras, Hasselblad co-engineered the Pro's shooter, which uses a large 20-megapixel 1-inch sensor like the one in DJI's Phantom 4 Pro. Hasselblad helped with lens definition, image optimization and processing as well as implementing its Natural Colour Solution for JPEG and raw images for more accurate color details. DJI's 10-bit D-log as well as hybrid log gamma for high dynamic range 4K video is also part of the feature set. 

DJI Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom redesigned for faster, longer flights

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The $1,249 Mavic 2 Zoom features a smaller 1/2.3-inch 12-megapixel sensor, which is the size typically found in consumer camera drones. What's different is the 24-48mm optical zoom lens, which DJI says makes it the world's first foldable consumer drone with optical zoom capability. Add to that a 2x digital zoom that's lossless when recording video at 1080p and you can go from 49mm to 96mm (35mm equivalent). It does shoot 4K video, too, at 30fps with a bit rate of 100Mbps. 

The Zoom comes with its own fun shooting features, too, such as a Dolly Zoom option where the lens zooms in on a subject while the drone flies backward. There's also a new Super Resolution mode that zooms to 48mm, shoots nine photos and stitches them together to create a 48-megapixel landscape photo. 

Watch this: DJI Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom up the ante on folding drones

Both models will have a new Hyperlapse option for creating a motion timelapse video with with either a preprogrammed flight path or one you create on the fly. And like all of DJI's other intelligent flight options, all of these complex actions are done automatically with just a couple taps on your phone. 

The Mavic 2 Zoom's Dolly Zoom takes a complex camera move down to a couple touchscreen taps. 


Different cameras, same bodies

The cameras are what set the Mavic 2 drones apart. The Pro and Zoom bodies are the same in design and weight, and the cameras are mounted on the same three-axis motorized gimbals. They are slightly larger than the original Mavic Pro, but DJI said they're more aerodynamic, and with new electronic speed controllers and motors they're much quieter, which I can confirm. Though they're certainly not silent, the new Mavics don't sound like a squadron of bees about to descend on you from above. 

The redesign, updated components and a big new battery pack help keep the Mavic 2 in the air for up to 31 minutes. It can also hit a top speed of 44 mph (72 kph).

The first thing you do notice about the body is how it's absolutely covered with cameras for the omnidirectional sensing system that helps prevent collisions from the front, rear, bottom and even the sides when used with its intelligent shot modes like Helix and Dronie. 

DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom

Along with the sensors on the bottom, DJI added landing lights to help the Mavic land in low-light conditions. 

Joshua Goldman/CNET

The better to see you with

All those extra cameras are key to the Mavic 2's updated ActiveTrack system for automatically following subjects, as is the drones' higher computational power. For example, if you're following a biker and they go behind a tree, the Mavic's algorithms can now predict where they will come out on the other end. It creates a 3D map using the front cameras, including the main one for recording, and creates a flight path around, over and under objects instead of just stopping. 

DJI updated the remote control for the Mavic 2 as well, giving it the removable/stowable sticks found on the Mavic Air's controller and a side switch for quickly changing to Sport or Tripod modes. More importantly is its greater video transmission range, sending 1080p video feeds at a distance of up to 8 km (5 mi). That's roughly twice the distance of the Mavic Air's Wi-Fi transmission of lower-resolution 720p video. 

Again, regardless of the camera you go with, you get the same body and the same flying capabilities. If you can't decide which camera to go with, DJI plans to offer a gimbal replacement service. That way, if you start out with the Zoom's camera and decide you want the higher-quality shots of the Pro, you can get it without paying for an entirely new drone. You just won't be able to swap them out on your own.

The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are available now from store.dji.com and the four DJI flagship stores in Hong Kong, Seoul, Korea and Shenzhen and Shanghai, China.