Almost exactly a year ago DJI introduced the Mavic Air 2 drone, now the successor Air 2s (DJI has dropped the Mavic designation from the name) has been launched. The new model brings many improvements but also a deterioration.
Camera with 1" sensor.
First and foremost among the new features is probably the increase in the size of the camera sensor from 1/2 inch (quad-bayer) to 1" (CMOS) with 10-bit color depth, which is now capable of 20 megapixel photos without pixel binning as well as shooting 5.4K at 30p and 4K at 60p video. The larger sensors due to the larger image sensor give hope for better image quality - especially in low-light situations. The Air 2s is now DJI&s smallest drone with a large 1" sensor.
DJI Air 2s
The maximum bit rate for recording video has been increased from 120 Mbps to 150 Mbps - recording is in MP4 or MOV formats and compressed using either H.264/MPEG-4 AVC or H.265/HEVC. Photos are recorded as JPG or DNG (RAW) with a maximum of 5,472 x 3,648 pixels.
The camera with 35mm lens (equiv.), fixed F2.8 aperture and 88° field of view is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal and stabilized by RockSteady EIS. Videos and photos are recorded on up to a 256GB microSD card (or the 8GB internal memory).
Not much has changed in terms of format, the Air 2s is foldable and similar in size to its predecessor, the Mavic Air 2 - though 25g heavier than it at 595 grams takeoff weight.
Intelligent video capture modes: MasterShots, Spotlight, ActiveTrack and Point of Interest.
A further development of the previous QuickShots are the MasterShots, an intelligent function for easier interesting shots of an object: after selecting a film subject, the drone performs ten different flight maneuvers in succession during which the subject remains in focus and automatically creates a short film from it.
The other intelligent FocusTrack flight and recording functions include (as with the Air 2) the Spotlight 2.0 mode, already known from DJI&s professional drones, which allows the pilot to point the camera at an object, which then automatically remains in the picture, giving him freedom over the flight maneuvers without having to worry about the camera far.
DJI Air 2s
Per ActiveTrack 4.0 mode, the Mavic Air 2 can follow an object while avoiding obstacles - even briefly losing line-of-sight, tracking can resume afterwards.
In Point of Interest 3.0 mode, flight paths can be set around a selected (and automatically trackable) subject, and QuickShots can be used to quickly capture interesting pre-programmed shots.
SmartPhoto features include Scene Detection, which automatically detects different scene components such as sunrises, blue skies, snow, trees, and grass, and adjusts camera color settings accordingly; HyperLight mode, which is designed to provide less image noise in low-light shots; and HDR Photo mode, which automatically combines (as already known from smartphones) 7 shots with different apertures into a single image with high contrast/color dynamics.
OcuSync 3.0 and APAS 4.0.
Like the recently introduced FPV drone, the Air 2s uses the new OcuSync 3.0 image transmission system for 1080p live video feed at 30 fps to the pilot using 4 antennas up to a range of 12 kilometers, which is however limited to 8 km in Europe. The "FPV Goggles V2" already known from the new DJI FPV drone for flying from the first-person perspective including motion controller are to be supported by the Air 2s via future firmware update.
The obstacle detection and avoidance system APAS (Advanced Pilot Assistance System) has been upgraded to version 4.0 and now detects obstacles in all four directions in more complex scenarios thanks to sensors mounted all around and automatically avoids them even at high speed. In addition, Airsense technology warns and prompts the pilot to reduce the altitude of his drone if an aircraft is detected nearby via ADS-B.
The Air 2s maximum climb and descent rate is 6 m/s (in S or N mode), its maximum altitude 5,000 meters and speed 19 m/s (about 70 km/h). However, the maximum flight time of 31 minutes (under optimal conditions) is somewhat shrunk compared to its predecessor with its 34 minutes.
Price and availability.
The DJI Air 2s costs around 1,000 euros with DJI RC-N1 remote control and one battery, or 1,300 euros in the Fly More Combo with two additional batteries, 3 pairs of propellers as well as ND filters, a battery charging station and shoulder bag.