Update : DJI have released this video teasing the (now leaked) new craft
Update : Following the recent leak in the Argos catalogue and the recent rumours from DroningON, we have updated parts of this article to reflect the new information.
Mavic 2 Launch event Postponed
DJI’s ‘See the big picture’ event was penned to reveal all at 10am ET in New York/3pm UK time on the 18th July 2018 but this was cancelled. A source on twitter suggested the ‘event postponed due to shortage of mass-production capacity’, perhaps to avoid a repeat of the Mavic Pro launch where customers were left waiting for months for their new drone.
Mavic 2 Pro Launch : 23rd August 2018
Since then it has been suggested by youtube user ‘Droning On’ that the new launch has been rescheduled for Thursday the 23rd of August 2018.
DJI Mavic 2 specifications leaked
UK ‘catalogue store’ Argos released their latest catalogue at the end of July and inadvertently leaked official photos and basic specification for the Mavic 2. It confirms (as we suspected) that two models are to be released, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom.
The Pro version is introduced with ‘1-inch CMOS sensor Hasselblad camera’ as the lead feature, whilst the Zoom version offers a 2x optical zoom (24mm – 48mm). The tagline ‘see the bigger picture’ confirms to us that the event was intended to launch the Mavic 2.
The listing reads as follows “DJI Mavic 2 : The Mavic 2 is a small yet powerful drone with 1080p video transmission and up to 8km transmission distance and a max speed of 20m/s, it will turn the sky into your creative canvas. Its compact size and 31 minute max flight time makes this one of DJI’s most sophisticated flying cameras ever. Omnidirectional obstacle sensing with APAS and Active Track 2.0 give you the confidence to take to sky and capture your moment. Dolly Zoom (Zoom Version only).”
Confirmed : Mavic 2 Pro
Professional drone operators are looking for performance across the board, but we find that image quality is often the most important. The original Mavic Pro was criticised for it’s camera performance, even at launch and this will need to be addressed to encourage professional customers.
A large one inch+ sensor, most likely an evolution of the one found in the Phantom 4 Pro V2.0) features in nearly every other rumour specification article around and we would agree. This lower density sensor would sport improved signal to noise ratios and perform in low light better than any DJI integrated camera system to date.
DJI have been a majority shareholder in Hasselblad since early 2017, yet little has come forward from this relationship with the Swedish camera maker bar the H6D-100c/M600 combo last year. With other manufacturers linking up with Leica on mobile phones, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the Hasselblad moniker on the side of a pro-series drone. A revised larger lens with high-end glass (that supports more standardised filter ring sizes) would also be welcome.
A soft/global shutter is a possibility, the mechanical shutter adding complexity to what will have to be a very small camera. This will of course be hung from a class-leading 3-axis active brushless gimbal, a technology that DJI have long mastered.
Confirmed: Mavic 2 Zoom
DJI have limited experience with zoom cameras on the X3 sensor. With the Osmo+ a 3.5x optical zoom was built into an evolution of the X3 camera system and it enjoyed some success on the ground. A miniaturised version of this would be a big departure from the fixed focus lengths of their current range.
Such a system would offer pilots the ‘camera flexibility’, allowing them to use longer focal lengths to move the drone away from the subject, working around UK flight restrictions. We would expect either a larger image sensor upgrade OR a zoom lens as the two would be difficult to build into the smaller form factor of a Mavic drone.
Much like some smartphone releases, It’s easy to forget that there is more to it all than the camera. Let’s take a look at some of our other expectations of the potential Mavic Pro 2
Brand new folding chassis
Portability has been core with every Mavic release from the Pro to the more recent air and we are certain that the Mavic 2 Pro will be no different. We expect to see a similar folding design as to that of the recent Mavic Air but with extensive use of flexible composite materials to improve crash-worthiness and reduce flex during high-performance flight.
Claiming a specific IP rating is difficult on devices where cooling high-output electronics is so important, but an ingress protection level of say 65 would take advantage this latest ‘must have’ feature wave in the world of portable electronics.
Confirmed : All-new Mavic 2 powertrain
It is difficult for a drone to superceed its predecessors without extending its flight time. Thankfully revised ECU components and a brand new brushless motor designs make beating the current 27 minutes of the original Mavic Pro straightforward for a manufacturer like DJI. The recent Argos leak has confirmed that the drone will have a maximum flight time of 31 minutes.
As per previous releases, a new bespoke slimline 3-cell intelligent battery with visual charge indicator will doubtless debut but there are rumours that a ‘fast charge‘ option with a high output transformer would be available to minimise drone downtime in.
At 40 mph the current Mavic Pro is no slouch but well behind the 58mph of its big brother the Inspire 2. We’d like to see DJI split the difference and improve on the sport mode max velocity of 42mph from the Mavic Air, allowing for some epic one-man-operator tracking shots!
Alongside these power improvements, moves to increase efficiency will doubtless mean an evolution of the quieter propellers found on the current model Mavic Pro Platinum.
Confirmed : Intelligent Flight – Obstacle avoidance
Every new DJI drone release seems to take a progressive step closer to protected, fully-autonomous flight. The most recent object avoidance system on the Mavic Air is capable of 20m plus detection front and rear with 30m of downward range.
The Mavic 2 could will likely feature 360° surround protection coupled with downward facing sensors for omni-directional obstacle avoidance.
This updated vision positioning hardware will be paired with dual IMU’s and an array of satellite positioning antennas for GPS to ensure a new level of position accuracy.
DJI have developed a host of products that join together to create an ecosystem of advanced filming technology. At a bare minimum the Mavic 2 will include Occusync to ensure continued compatibility with the DJI Goggles and DJI Goggles Racing Edition.
Whilst it would encroach into the realms of the Inspire X5S system, we wouldn’t be surprised if DJI also make it compatible their remote Focus pulling system.
How much will the Mavic 2 cost?
As ever this is the million dollar question. The recent Argos leak sadly did not include pricing but did confirm that A Mavic 2 would be available in two flavours. We would estimate that the Mavic 2 Pro would likely retail around £1000, whilst the technical complexities of the Mavic 2 Zoom model will likely place it nearer £1300 at launch.
DJI have handled recent launches more professionally than the original Mavic Pro. Manufacturing has had a suitable head start to meet the expected fierce demand for a new drone and despite the recent setback we guesstimate the Mavic 2 flavours will be available early Q3 2018.