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Ready to upgrade: Mavic Air or Mavic Pro
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KurtVD
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I've been flying with my Spark several times a week for about six months, and I'm ready to upgrade now. It's mainly the transmission range that is too short for me (I live in a CEE country): It's ok if I fly in an area with no obstacles, but there are times when I can't go further away than 50 meters before the image transmission starts getting choppy.
I've checked the prices, and to my amazement, the Mavic Air and the Pro are almost the same price; I had thought that the Air was positioned somewhere between the Pro and the Spark, but right now, it seems it's between the Pro and the Platinum edition.
Maybe some of you Air and Pro owners can give me your opinion on a couple of points I'm not sure about:

1) The Mavic has a better battery than the Spark, but the Pro still has a significantly better battery range. What's the real world flying time, if you want to land it with about 30% left?

2) The Air seems more solid, like the Spark, whereas the Pro seems a little fragile, especially its arms and gimbal. But is the Pro more fragile, or does it just look like it, i.e. are there reports of arms broken off and broken gimbals?

3) At the same price for the fly-more bundle, what would you recommend? The camera and quality is good enough for me, even the Spark's was sufficient for what I'm doing. I'm interested in how they behave in the air, length of flying time, distance you can cover and practicality: which one is better in the real world?

4) The Spark can be quite sensitive to magnetic interference, do the Air or the Pro have the same problem?

Thanks in advance if you can answer to some of these questions
2018-5-8
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Bob Brown
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Go pro or go home. (if you have the $$)
2018-5-8
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Far_North
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Going by the requirements you have stated, IMO the Mavic Pro or Mavic Pro Platinum would suit your needs.  These have the extra flying time and distance you want.
2018-5-8
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Lamplighter55
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I can only say if I was to choose again I would still go for the basic Mavic Pro Platinum. I need the quieter operation and the longer flight times - once properly setup it works a treat with and iPhone on the RC. The only thing that would push me towards the Air is the higher data rate on the Air camera - but even this can be mitigated with a full knowledge and careful setup of the camera on the Pro's. And I use Neat Video a lot on my footage in post.
2018-5-8
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KurtVD
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Lamplighter55 Posted at 2018-5-8 04:30
I can only say if I was to choose again I would still go for the basic Mavic Pro Platinum. I need the quieter operation and the longer flight times - once properly setup it works a treat with and iPhone on the RC. The only thing that would push me towards the Air is the higher data rate on the Air camera - but even this can be mitigated with a full knowledge and careful setup of the camera on the Pro's. And I use Neat Video a lot on my footage in post.

Will I still need the USB/OTG cable to connect the RC to my iPhone? I'm using one with my Spark (although it's not officially supported, it works); good to know that I shouldn't accidentally leave it in the bag when I'm going to sell the Spark...
2018-5-8
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KurtVD
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Thank you for your answers, I did a little more reading and it will be one of the Pro's, no doubt. I still don't understand why the Air is priced so expensively (who buys the Air if he can have the Pro for the same money??), but I guess DJI knows the answer.

Unfortunately, I also read that DJI is working on a new Mavic Pro, and for this reason, I'm not going to buy anything just now. If there's gonna be a new model within the next 6 months, there will probably be substantial discounts on the 'old' Mavic Pros, or the new model is gonna be so much better that I'll want the new one.
2018-5-8
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MavicFit91
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Take it from somebody who has both of them. Go Air.
2018-5-8
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Lamplighter55
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KurtVD Posted at 2018-5-8 09:29
Thank you for your answers, I did a little more reading and it will be one of the Pro's, no doubt. I still don't understand why the Air is priced so expensively (who buys the Air if he can have the Pro for the same money??), but I guess DJI knows the answer.

Unfortunately, I also read that DJI is working on a new Mavic Pro, and for this reason, I'm not going to buy anything just now. If there's gonna be a new model within the next 6 months, there will probably be substantial discounts on the 'old' Mavic Pros, or the new model is gonna be so much better that I'll want the new one.

I'd say September.
2018-5-8
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KurtVD
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MavicFit91 Posted at 2018-5-8 10:06
Take it from somebody who has both of them. Go Air.

Why do you prefer the Air? It seems to have the shorter transmission range and flight autonomy, so where is it better?
2018-5-8
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davidmartingraf
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I was a first time long time with the Spark and went for it again with the Mavic Pro, I have both now and have not second guessed my decision. The main reason for my decision has been I wanted to experience both the technologies being Enhanced WiFi and the OcuSync.
2018-5-8
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MavicFit91
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KurtVD Posted at 2018-5-8 20:08
Why do you prefer the Air? It seems to have the shorter transmission range and flight autonomy, so where is it better?

Over all flight stability, I live in the city and signal transmission is basically equal. Flying over a lake they both get over 4 kilometers. Mavic air has better software supporting its camera function, so video is crisp and photo's are as well. The flight time is 4 minutes less but is worth it for the improved flight performance and portability of the drone. You guys do realize occurrence is basically wifi right? The main benefit of occusync is being able to connect with multiple devices wirelessly  ex(2 pairs of goggles, and RC at same time). When using one RC it really has no advantage over WIFI. Please research it if you do not believe me.
2018-5-9
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MavicFit91
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MavicFit91 Posted at 2018-5-9 05:14
Over all flight stability, I live in the city and signal transmission is basically equal. Flying over a lake they both get over 4 kilometers. Mavic air has better software supporting its camera function, so video is crisp and photo's are as well. The flight time is 4 minutes less but is worth it for the improved flight performance and portability of the drone. You guys do realize occurrence is basically wifi right? The main benefit of occusync is being able to connect with multiple devices wirelessly  ex(2 pairs of goggles, and RC at same time). When using one RC it really has no advantage over WIFI. Please research it if you do not believe me.

Oh we can forget the spherical. And 1080 panoramad at 3w mp, the 1080p dlow motion at 120fps, smart gestures which work oh so sm0othly and the smart captures, such as astro.
2018-5-9
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KurtVD
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MavicFit91 Posted at 2018-5-9 05:14
Over all flight stability, I live in the city and signal transmission is basically equal. Flying over a lake they both get over 4 kilometers. Mavic air has better software supporting its camera function, so video is crisp and photo's are as well. The flight time is 4 minutes less but is worth it for the improved flight performance and portability of the drone. You guys do realize occurrence is basically wifi right? The main benefit of occusync is being able to connect with multiple devices wirelessly  ex(2 pairs of goggles, and RC at same time). When using one RC it really has no advantage over WIFI. Please research it if you do not believe me.

Interesting. But since there are these rumours about a new Mavic Pro coming out, I will definitely wait a few months to make a decision.

As for the signal transmission range, I suspect what you say is true for the US (and other FCC compliant countries), but since I live in Europe, it will be a whole other story. Under CE regulations, transmission output is significantly less on both bands (2.4 and 5. GHz), so that for example the Spark has a maximum range of about 500m in CE countries, and apparently up to 2km in FCC countries. The Pro seems to do fine, but this is why the Mavic Air's range might still be a problem, under certain circumstances. It's a pity, because otherwise, I would probably get it.

2018-5-9
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Optimus Prime-Mavic Air
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Wait for several more months to get the latest, stable Mavic Pro. I will defenitely buy other one because my MA got blurry image, non official repair center here.
2018-5-9
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Wellsi
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KurtVD Posted at 2018-5-9 23:21
Interesting. But since there are these rumours about a new Mavic Pro coming out, I will definitely wait a few months to make a decision.

As for the signal transmission range, I suspect what you say is true for the US (and other FCC compliant countries), but since I live in Europe, it will be a whole other story. Under CE regulations, transmission output is significantly less on both bands (2.4 and 5. GHz), so that for example the Spark has a maximum range of about 500m in CE countries, and apparently up to 2km in FCC countries. The Pro seems to do fine, but this is why the Mavic Air's range might still be a problem, under certain circumstances. It's a pity, because otherwise, I would probably get it.

Just some thoughts...
A: rumours about the Pro 2 have been around for ages. You might be waiting a week or 6 months
B: Both the Air and the Pro have the geographic CE power restirctions. The Pro does have rock solid signal and longer distance, but I did a range test with the Air and got up to 2Kms.

I own both; I love both; the more protected gimbal, smaller size and weight and the better handling of wind when not in Sports Mode are great things about the Air;
The rock solid signal and longer battery life are great things about the Pro. The exposed gimbal can easily be damaged in a crash though.

I did a comparison.... and I also have a video on the long range flight test for CE, and also a comparison on flying in strong winds. So a fair bit of info for you if you want...   

Don't wait until the end of summer

Cheers
Ian






2018-5-10
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KurtVD
Second Officer
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Wellsi Posted at 2018-5-10 00:04
Just some thoughts...
A: rumours about the Pro 2 have been around for ages. You might be waiting a week or 6 months
B: Both the Air and the Pro have the geographic CE power restirctions. The Pro does have rock solid signal and longer distance, but I did a range test with the Air and got up to 2Kms.

Great comparison, you've covered everything I needed to know. As far as the range goes, you've confirmed my skepticism toward the Air: It's not so much how much range you can achieve at best, but how much I will have in real world conditions. Unfortunately, in the area where I live, there seems to be a lot of "bad" conditions at many places where I like to fly, and very few places where I can achieve a decent range, and I fear this will be the same with the Air. Switzerland is a very crowded place... I'll have to opt for the Ocusync technology, I guess.
2018-5-10
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Wellsi
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KurtVD Posted at 2018-5-10 02:03
Great comparison, you've covered everything I needed to know. As far as the range goes, you've confirmed my skepticism toward the Air: It's not so much how much range you can achieve at best, but how much I will have in real world conditions. Unfortunately, in the area where I live, there seems to be a lot of "bad" conditions at many places where I like to fly, and very few places where I can achieve a decent range, and I fear this will be the same with the Air. Switzerland is a very crowded place... I'll have to opt for the Ocusync technology, I guess.

Yes; can't argue with that.  The Pro's Ocusync is rock solid; interesting that the P4 v2.0 released this week has moved from Lightbridge to Ocusync. Hopefully this is an indication that DJI will stick to Ocusync for all new models and versions of their drones....
Cheers
Ian
2018-5-10
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R&L Aerial photography
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Mavic air? It’s ok but not as capable as the mavic Pro....
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MavicFit91
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R&L Aerial photography Posted at 2018-5-10 02:34
Mavic air? It’s ok but not as capable as the mavic Pro....

Do you have a mavic air??
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MavicFit91
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R&L Aerial photography Posted at 2018-5-10 02:34
Mavic air? It’s ok but not as capable as the mavic Pro....

Do you have a mavic air?
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MavicFit91
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KurtVD Posted at 2018-5-9 23:21
Interesting. But since there are these rumours about a new Mavic Pro coming out, I will definitely wait a few months to make a decision.

As for the signal transmission range, I suspect what you say is true for the US (and other FCC compliant countries), but since I live in Europe, it will be a whole other story. Under CE regulations, transmission output is significantly less on both bands (2.4 and 5. GHz), so that for example the Spark has a maximum range of about 500m in CE countries, and apparently up to 2km in FCC countries. The Pro seems to do fine, but this is why the Mavic Air's range might still be a problem, under certain circumstances. It's a pity, because otherwise, I would probably get it.

Yeah, Hear you. I am definetly getting the pro 2. But if it came between the air and the pro1, I would definetly choose the air. Just keep in mind there will be a steep price curve between your spark and the new mavic pro
2018-5-10
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MavicFit91
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Wellsi Posted at 2018-5-10 02:29
Yes; can't argue with that.  The Pro's Ocusync is rock solid; interesting that the P4 v2.0 released this week has moved from Lightbridge to Ocusync. Hopefully this is an indication that DJI will stick to Ocusync for all new models and versions of their drones....
Cheers
Ian

The only reason The new phantom has occusync is for wireless connection of the goggles. They will definitely not get rid of light bridge. That is the main benefit of light bridge. "multiple devices being able to connect to the drone wireless"
2018-5-10
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Oracle Miata
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I have both, I grasp the Air more often...
2018-5-10
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MavicFit91 Posted at 2018-5-10 04:55
Do you have a mavic air?

No, but I borrowed one from a friend of mine to try it out to see if I liked it and while I did like it, the range compared to the mavic Pro was horrible. Keep in mind that my results were at the spot where I normally fly with lots of trees but the mavic air’s range was pitiful compared to the Pro....
2018-5-10
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Bill B
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I have them both, if I had to choose, it would be the Pro, no doubt about it.
2018-5-10
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A CW
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1) The Mavic has a better battery than the Spark, but the Pro still has a significantly better battery range. What's the real world flying time, if you want to land it with about 30% left?

MP gives me 21-23 minutes in real time and on the standard charging hub will take 1 hour, 10 minutes to recharge from 15-100%. The Air will give you 17-19 minutes on average and takes 50 minutes to charge at the same percentages. 4 Air batteries will give a little more flight time than 3 Pro batteries and will take the same time to recharge. An increase for sure on the pro but over an hour is good enough to capture everything. Pro batteries are also more expensive and take longer to discharge on cancelled flights.

2) The Air seems more solid, like the Spark, whereas the Pro seems a little fragile, especially its arms and gimbal. But is the Pro more fragile, or does it just look like it, i.e. are there reports of arms broken off and broken gimbals?

The Air is very robust, more compact and less likely to have to be returned in the event of a minor crash. The gimbal on the Air is superior to the Pro in every way though the frame and arms on the Pro are not as fragile as it's gimbal - which is very exposed and causes issues with horizon tilts during flight - sometimes ruining footage.

3) At the same price for the fly-more bundle, what would you recommend? The camera and quality is good enough for me, even the Spark's was sufficient for what I'm doing. I'm interested in how they behave in the air, length of flying time, distance you can cover and practicality: which one is better in the real world?

Being lighter, smaller and more compact the Air is more practical - especially for travel and hikes etc. As stated, the Pro has longer flight times but after flying the Air I don't feel like I've been up for just a few minutes, put it that way. It's flight time is good enough. Both drones are very reliable though having OcuSync, the Pro has the superior radio transmission. That said, the Air's transmission is 4 times more powerful than the Spark - I flew out 1.06 miles with the Air in a CE area on Monday this week and flew back of my own accord having not lost signal once or experienced any glitches - that is more than far enough for any responsible pilot. The motors on the Pro are quieter than the Air but the Air gives out better image quality IMO and has more FPS options and MBPS.

4) The Spark can be quite sensitive to magnetic interference, do the Air or the Pro have the same problem?

The Air has dual IMU and one compass. The Pro has dual IMU and dual compass. The compass on the Air is quite sensitive and compass calibrations have failed before having to do it again whereas they never fail on the Pro. That said, I am yet to experience any compass errors in flight and RTH is flawless on both. I experience less drift in forward flight with the Air than the Pro.

I obviously own both but I prefer the Mavic Air. It's solid, easy to travel with and set up, has a much better gimbal, more advanced tech and when I get home the images and footage are better quality with less compressed artefact due to the higher bit rate. The Mavic Platinum is excellent though and if you want a quiet drone to fly miles away from you and stay in the air for longer then that will be better suited to your needs - though it is surprisingly much more expensive. I think the Mavic Air is the best bang-for-buck consumer grade 4K camera drone on the market today and I don't say that lightly!
2018-5-10
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3-D
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-10 09:18
1) The Mavic has a better battery than the Spark, but the Pro still has a significantly better battery range. What's the real world flying time, if you want to land it with about 30% left?

MP gives me 21-23 minutes in real time and on the standard charging hub will take 1 hour, 10 minutes to recharge from 15-100%. The Air will give you 17-19 minutes on average and takes 50 minutes to charge at the same percentages. 4 Air batteries will give a little more flight time than 3 Pro batteries and will take the same time to recharge. An increase for sure on the pro but over an hour is good enough to capture everything. Pro batteries are also more expensive and take longer to discharge on cancelled flights.

very well put A CW!    I pondered between the Spark, Air and Pro for a while before I decided to go with the Air.  For my purposes, the Air is PLENTY of drone.  If you're planning to keep it within VLOS, the range doesn't matter.  Even if you're not planning to keep it VLOS, the AIR range is enough for any first time pilot.  After flying a Mavic Pro this weekend, i see the allure of the extended range, but i'll never fly mine that far away from me.  you know... laws and all that...

Again, this is laid out well, and i agree with everything in it.  Great job!
2018-5-10
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Wellsi
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A CW Posted at 2018-5-10 09:18
1) The Mavic has a better battery than the Spark, but the Pro still has a significantly better battery range. What's the real world flying time, if you want to land it with about 30% left?

MP gives me 21-23 minutes in real time and on the standard charging hub will take 1 hour, 10 minutes to recharge from 15-100%. The Air will give you 17-19 minutes on average and takes 50 minutes to charge at the same percentages. 4 Air batteries will give a little more flight time than 3 Pro batteries and will take the same time to recharge. An increase for sure on the pro but over an hour is good enough to capture everything. Pro batteries are also more expensive and take longer to discharge on cancelled flights.

Oustanding technical comparisons!


All you can do is outline the technical, objective differences and let people decide on what's important to them.

Ian
2018-5-10
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A CW
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3-D Posted at 2018-5-10 09:28
very well put A CW!    I pondered between the Spark, Air and Pro for a while before I decided to go with the Air.  For my purposes, the Air is PLENTY of drone.  If you're planning to keep it within VLOS, the range doesn't matter.  Even if you're not planning to keep it VLOS, the AIR range is enough for any first time pilot.  After flying a Mavic Pro this weekend, i see the allure of the extended range, but i'll never fly mine that far away from me.  you know... laws and all that...

Again, this is laid out well, and i agree with everything in it.  Great job!

You made a wise choice
2018-5-10
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A CW
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Wellsi Posted at 2018-5-10 10:40
Oustanding technical comparisons!

Thanks Ian - spot on!
2018-5-10
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