DJI Mavic Pro Review – Quality Compared to Phantom 4 & Inspire 1

Two weeks ago we were impressed when the new ultra-compact DJI Mavic Pro was announced. As a drone enthusiast of course I had to get my hands on this new tech and compare it to the DJI Phantom 4 and Inspire 1. Here is our DJI Mavic Pro review where we look at image quality in particular.

DJI Mavic Pro Review - Camera

If you are interested in our free DJI Mavic Pro LUTs, you can download those here.

DJI Mavic Pro Review – Image Quality

Several early Mavic Pro review videos currently circle the web, where testers claim that the Mavic Pro image is much softer than previous drone generations. In light of the already limited 4K quality of drones like the Phantom 4 or Inspire 1, this claim made little sense, so we set out to get our hands on our own early DJI Mavic Pro review sample to check and here is our observation.

It seems like most reviewers out there were not aware that the DJI Mavic has a built-in “tap autofocus” system, like the Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R cameras for DJI Osmo and DJI Inspire 1. If you forget to autofocus, your image will eventually be out of focus. And if you compare this out of focus image to other drone footage, of course it will be softer.

So after a tap autofocus and after aligning the image of the DJI Mavic Pro, DJI Phantom 4 and DJI Inspire 1 (Zenmuse X3) I concluded that the image of all three cameras is very similar in quality.

DJI Mavic Pro Review - Camera Quality Comparison: Mavic, DJI Phantom 4, DJI Inspire 1

600% crops of 4K images

For HD productions the image quality of the DJI Mavic is acceptable. If you use a LUT, like our free cinema5D instaLUT for Mavic, or any other grading process, it is possible to get a nice image from the DJI Mavic Pro, just like I showed you in my Mastering Drone Footage series. On the other hand, the image of all these drones is far inferior to other cameras or the DJI Inspire 1 RAW for that matter. (Check out our detailed comparison here: LINK)

Unfortunately the data rate on the DJI Mavic is still 60 Mbps, just like on the Phantom 4 and Inspire 1 and for anyone who is a bit more serious about filmmaking 60 Mbps is hardly enough. Again, for HD productions the image will be mostly fine, but if you aim higher or would like to crop into an image the quality could be better.

Considering the small size and intelligent sensor technology built into the Mavic (read all about Mavic’s high tech here), this drone is still an impressive piece of technology that will be very useful on any smaller documentary style production where weight and size is an issue.

DJI Mavic Pro Review - top

DJI Mavic Pro Review – Pro’s & Con’s

Here is my summary of pro’s and con’s for the DJI Mavic Pro:

PRO’s

  • ultra-compact and lightweight
  • ergonomic and foldable remote
  • 27 minute flight time
  • stability, easy to fly
  • intelligent flight modes and sensors
  • 4K image comparable to Phantom 4 & Inspire 1
  • 65 km / h, fast speed

CON’s

  • Same low bitrate as previous drones
  • Low dynamic range as previous drones
  • Vertical angle of camera is limited
  • Tap Autofocus is a source for errors

In conclusion this is the best compact drone money can buy right now. If you want higher quality get a DJI Inspire 1 RAW. Otherwise, the DJI Mavic Pro is highly recommended.

If you are interested in our free DJI Mavic Pro LUTs, you can download those here.

We hope you liked our DJI Mavic Pro Review and comparison to Phantom 4 and Inspire 1. If you have any thoughts on the matter let us know in the comments.

Song by: Art-List.io

$999 exc. VATNew Item - Released In Limited Qty.
 
BUY IT
€1,090.30 exc. VATAvailable to Pre-Order
 
BUY IT

Leave a Comment

You are not subscribed to this post. Follow new comments

Login to comment

Reply
Brice Faldi October 10, 2016

Hi ! Thanks for this review ! What do you mean by “Vertical angle of camera is limited” . Are you saying that we cannot do any top shot with the Mavic ?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 10, 2016

You cannot tilt up past the horizon. You can see this in the video when I show the different angles of view, that is as high as the Mavic can go up.

Reply
Brice Faldi October 10, 2016

Many thanks for your answer !

Reply
Richard Z October 10, 2016

Hi, are you sure that Mavic has more limited vertical pitch than Phantom 4? DJI’s website specs for both drones list both as having +30 degrees to -90 degrees pitch?

Thanks.

Reply
Robert Lawton October 11, 2016

The Mavic has a narrower field of view. Because they have the same pitch, you don’t get to see as high up.

Reply
Richard Z October 11, 2016

Yes, but even with the difference in FOV, surely tilting at +30 degrees would allow for the camera to tilt “past the horizon”?

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 11, 2016

I will recheck this when I get a chance. But during my test I was not able to tilt up.

Reply
Hannu Yli-Karjanmaa October 10, 2016

Is a smartphone needed to tap the focus? It seems that it’s not full auto if you need to tap to make it focus…

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 11, 2016

No, it’s not full auto. And you always need a smartphone to fly the drone.

Reply
Ben Reese October 14, 2016

You can fly with just the controller; no smartphone is needed.

David Hepburn Reply
David Hepburn October 10, 2016

I saw this. So it’s as expected. The portability alone is what makes it worth it.

Fabian Willi Simon Reply
Fabian Willi Simon October 10, 2016

Don’t call it “review”, it’s a first look, nothing more.

Gerbert Floor Reply
Gerbert Floor October 10, 2016

I dont think it’s possible to add nd filters? That is a huge minus. The rest is awesome though.

 Frank McKeown Reply
Frank McKeown October 10, 2016

Great question. Hope someone looks into this.

Reply
Richard Z October 10, 2016

I’ve read that there will be aftermarket ND filters for the Mavic, so they should be compatible, e.g., here: https://www.polarprofilters.com/products/dji-mavic-filter-3-pack?variant=25474597257

Reply
Kevin Marshall October 11, 2016

Polar Pro has a 3 Filter kit specifically for Mavic. Available 10/20.

Reply
OD Hunte October 18, 2016

Yes you can buy ND filters. Just Google it because I have personally seen them…

Reply
Robert Lawton October 10, 2016

You should have compared DJI’s Mavic to GoPro’s Karma. Karma’s video quality runs circles around Mavic’s. The Mavic may fly great, but it doesn’t get me there.

Reply
Richard Z October 11, 2016

Considering only the Hero 5 Black is out, and the Karma has yet to be released, it’s asking a bit much to compare Mavic and Karma.

It will be interesting to see how the Hero 5 Black compares with Mavic’s camera, but one of the big issues with even the Hero 5 Black is the fisheye look, and even with linear FOV setting, the Hero 5 Black is only able to shoot up to 2.7K while Mavic can get the natural rectilinear look at full 4K.

Then compare Mavic’s better flight performance, range, safety features, and far superior compact form factor… well let’s just say Nick Woodman’s claim that Karma is “more than a drone” is only half accurate; it’s probably more accurate to say Karma is an “accessory package for Gopro cameras”.

Reply
Robert Lawton October 11, 2016

I’ve already seen a head to head comparison of the Mavic and the Karma. Karma also has 4K – and like I said, the video quality is moocho better.

Reply
Richard Z October 11, 2016

Which head to head comparison was that? I do not know any reviewers who have been able to compare Mavic and Karma head on. Unless you’re talking about Casey Neistat comparing Mavic with his Gopro Hero 5 Session, but he didn’t know Mavic’s camera had variable focus which makes his entire comparison invalid.

And yes, Karma’s Gopro cameras does have 4K, but only with fisheye distortion which is a poor setting for aerial photography. For a linear FOV setting on the Hero 5 Black, it can only record at 2.7K as far as I know.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 11, 2016

We will do a valid comparison between the two cameras.

Gerbert Floor Reply
Gerbert Floor October 11, 2016

I thought there was a less distorted way of filming now available with the new gopro, but that is only 2.7k?

There is always correction in post, although I really hate to add another step in post. I’d only be interested if the difference is really huge.

It’s hard to beat this drone spec wise, it’s so compact. Im travelling a lot, and although the phantom 3 pro is not that huge, it’s still a pain to take with me, since it takes up another bag. The mavic is the only one that really fits in with my other gear (i’d have to sacrifice a lens). Besides that, I know DJI makes quality stuff that just works, even at a great distance, there software is pretty good as well. With DJI I never liked the usuability, it will probably be a lot better now, but It’s not tested in the field that much. The range is far more limited and it still requires its own bag (even if its a lot smaller). But I gotta admit, the option to remove the gimbal and put it on a stick, and the option to upgrade to a newer camera after a year or so is very attractive.

Reply
Richard Z October 11, 2016

GoPro’s website says Linear FOV can still be taken “without compromising image quality,” https://gopro.com/help/articles/Question_Answer/What-is-Linear-Field-Of-View-FOV
However, I’m not sure is just shifty marketing talk, as reviewers and some users have said that Linear FOV is only available at 2.7K, https://havecamerawilltravel.com/photographer/gopro-fov-linear and https://www.reddit.com/r/gopro/comments/5560ti/gopro_hero5_black_linear_fov/d8822e6

So it does seem like Linear FOV for the Hero 5 is only available at 2.7K.
As for Mavic — I think its portability is one of the biggest draws for it. Mavic’s relative size to Karma (folded) is like comparing a Karma to Matrice 600.
The Karma stabilizer seems nice, but there are a lot of GoPro stabilizers out on the market already.

Reply
Michael Sacci October 11, 2016

Does the dome around the camera cause any bad lens flare or distortion?

Reply
Leif Nilsson October 12, 2016

You dont want to film with the dome on.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 13, 2016

Just to confirm what Leif said. For best image quality the dome should be taken off.

Reply
Ben Reese October 14, 2016

They probably should have just made that dome black :) I’ll bet half the people who get the drone will leave it on all the time.

Christian Moreton Reply
Christian Moreton October 12, 2016

Have one on order. Can’t wait.

Jon Rawlinson Reply
Jon Rawlinson October 12, 2016

good choice! me too!

Christian Moreton Reply
Christian Moreton October 13, 2016

Just heard that DJI is not shipping till 4th week October.

Reply
Leif Nilsson October 12, 2016

How can tap focus be a con? Its like saying that focus on your ordinary camera is a con, its not, its vital. Fixed focus is a con since you are not able to set focus. If users cant use an ordianry focus, they theyr are the con.

Otherwise good comparision.

Sebastian Wöber Reply
Sebastian Wöber October 13, 2016

Thanks for the Comment Leif. Let me explain: Most comparisons of video quality on YouTube were all out of focus and thus invalid. You cannot see wether the camera is in focus or not, on your small smartphone display. It is a con from my perspective as several respected YouTubers can now throw their comparisons to the trash. I think DJI has to come up with a solution to this problem. I’m not saying tap autofocus is a con per se, but maybe the implementation in the Mavic needs improvement.

Reply
Stuart Mottershead October 16, 2016

Solution rtfm

Reply
Marga Kelly October 17, 2016

I first thought that this drone will never crash because it says that it avoids obstacles but after doing detail searches that came to my mind by searching YouTube “dji mavic crash” and “Phantom 4 crash” I was shocked and I had cancelled my order on time before it shipped Thank God when I found out.