Originally unveiled during its launch event in September, DJI introduced the Mavic 2 series - their latest premium drone line-up with a foldable design. The series consisted of two models: the Mavic 2 Pro, and the Mavic 2 Zoom. As much as we’d love to review both drones, we were still excited to test out the Zoom variant of the Mavic 2.
The Zoom sports the same design and flight features as the Pro, but with the obvious difference being its main camera. While the Pro is equipped with a 20 MP Hasselblad camera, the Zoom sports a 12 MP camera with 2x optical zoom capabilities - a first for drone-kind. Well for consumer ones at least, I can’t speak for military/spy grade ones.
The drone is designed to be compact and with its rotor arms folded; it’s no bigger than a thermos flask, and could fit in most backpacks with no problems. An impressive size considering the amount of features its packing, especially with the three-axis gimbal mount for its camera. Its controller also features a foldable design with the ability to store the thumbsticks within itself for a low-profile look. Unfolded, the bottom half of the controllers become arms to mount smartphones as an extended display for the drone’s camera. Also included in the package are Lightning, USB-C, and micro-USB cables to connect the controller and your phone. Oddly enough, the cable length seemed a bit too short for our liking.
In flight, the Mavic 2 Zoom has a battery life of half an hour, which is pretty much a norm for most drones in the market. The drone also features a number of safety features that could help it navigate around or over obstacles, and even returning the drone home automatically in the event of a weak signal or low battery percentage. Despite connected wirelessly, video transmission between controller/phone and the Mavic 2 Zoom was pretty smooth. Controls were also responsive without worrying of the drone drifting.
Despite a smaller sensor than the Mavic 2 Pro, its video quality is fairly great and footage can shoot up to 4K. The ability to use h.265 codec brings the quality even further than its predecessor. One of the highlight of the drone is the ability to use the Dolly Zoom effect - a method popularised by Alfred Hitchcock where you zoom out while moving backwards, you’ll also have a distortion of perspective while maintaining the foreground size. The only drawback of the drone’s 2x optical zoom is that its zoom speed seemed quite slow, so don’t expect Bruce Lee-styled dramatic zooms with the Mavic 2 Zoom. Other video shooting features include hyper-lapse video creation and the ability to auto-track a moving subject as you fly.
The ability to zoom optically and a lower price point actually feels like a plus point compared to the Pro, which has a higher MP count and price. In the end, the choice of whether to pick a Pro or Zoom is up to personal preference in what you’re looking for in camera features. For all that it offers, the Mavic 2 Zoom is a solid drone for professional use.