If a first-person view drone is a little much for you, DJI has another new drone on the market that might be a little more friendly to beginners—minus the cost. The $999 DJI Air 2S is a follow-up to the DJI Mavic Air 2 and houses a better camera and upgraded sensors.
Last year’s Mavic Air 2 started at $799 before bundle options, and while an increased price isn’t fun to see, the newly upgrade sensors and camera help justify the cost. The Air 2S steps up to a 1-inch 20-megapixel camera and no longer relies on pixel binning to produce high-quality still photos. It can record video at 5K 30fps, or 4K 60fps, though that latter option does employ a crop.
Speaking of the crop, the new drone also comes with more digital zoom options, though the more you zoom, the less resolution you get. But now, you can go all the way up to an 8X zoom if you don’t mind reverting to 1080p 30fps video.
The drone’s sensors all got an upgrade, too, and DJI added a pair of new obstacle cameras. The obstacle cameras enable “binocular zooming” to spot objects farther away at faster speeds. But that led to a weight increase, 595 grams to the older drone’s 570 grams, and a flight time decrease to 31 minutes from 33 minutes.
A new “MasterShots” feature promises to get the video video in any location. You select the subject and then the drone flies through a set of prerecorded flight patterns while recording. It’ll keep the subject at the center of the frame to produce a “short cinematic video.”
But in theory, the new DJI Air 2S should take better photos and avoid more crashes, which can save you money in the long run. You can purchase the DJI Air 2S today for $999 from the company’s site. Or you can spend $1,300 on the “Fly More” combo to net the drone, three batteries, a charging dock, ND filters, and a shoulder bag.