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ARCHIE ADAMSEditor-in-Chief of the Handy Home Master
In this article, I’m taking a look at the Mavic 2 Pro, and I’m going to see how that stacks up against the DJI Inspire 2 (metal rattling). So last week I received my DJI Mavic 2 Pro. This is just the 2 Pro, not the Zoom model. I’ve been doing a bunch of testing with it, brought it on a bunch of different shoots. And I really wanted to see, is this gonna be a replacement or something that I’m going to use, that I need to sell my DJI Inspire 2?
Am I going to use this more than my DJI Inspire 2? That’s my big drone, the one that I use for getting those high-quality images. Is this gonna stack up? And I want to compare and see what the differences are through the photos. I’ve been hearing from some people, and they want to know, is it worth me spending the extra money to get the Inspire 2 or should I be getting a Mavic 2 Pro? And I’m just gonna take a look at this and see how some of the images compare and the differences between these two drones. So just to give you a little bit of background, I’ve had my Inspire 2 for only over two years, and this is an amazing drone.
Why I Love the Inspire 2
This can capture fantastic quality. It has dual batteries in case one battery fails. I can do two controllers, I can have dual controllers so I can have myself flying and somebody else controlling the camera and the camera can move 360 degrees independently of the drone. If I want to do some really cool tracking shots and wrapping around, which you can do with a drone that’s limited to, your camera’s always going in the same direction. However, it becomes much more comfortable with a drone such as the Inspire 2, and also you can change lenses on the Inspire 2. I can change my lenses, a Micro Four Thirds mount, it’s a Micro Four Thirds sensor in there.
It comes stocked with a 15-millimeter lens which is equivalent to about a 30 millimeter on a drone, and I have a couple of different lenses that I can change out on using this for some different focal lengths. And the Inspire 2 shoots to one of these SSDs. This is one of the DJI’s proprietary SSDs, super overpriced for what they are. This is 256 GB, but I can shoot RAW, DNG RAW through this, I can shoot a 5K at 60 frames per second, it does crop-in on the sensor, but it’s fantastic to be able to shoot 60 frames per second at 5K and it also does 4K at 24 or 30 frames per second in RAW DNG as well, or I can do it in ProRes. So I can get a lot of recording time in here in very high-quality ProRes straight to these as SSDs.
DJI Inspire 2 vs. DJI Mavic 2 Pro
If I wanted to, I could also shoot straight to the SD card, and when it shoots photos, you’re shooting directly to the SD card. Okay, so this is one of the significant factors on this as well over the Mavic 2 Pro. The media it’s recording it on is allowing it to do a much higher bit rate and a much better quality. And so those are some of the significant differences over this and to the Mavic 2 Pro. Now with that being said, the Inspire 2 has a Micro Four Thirds sensor. Okay so the actual sensor that’s on the new Mavic 2 Pro is a one-inch sensor, and the Mavic 2 Pro now show shoots 100 megabytes per second, 10-bit video. This is what everyone’s been talking about, it’s been the reason why it’s getting tons of hype, is because of the size of the sensor and the bit rate that this camera and this, sorry this drone with the camera on it, can shoot at. But what are some of the downsides and the limitations over a drone-like the Inspire 2?
It’s pretty clear when you look at them side by side, here one in front of the other. I mean, the Mavic 2 can pretty much fit underneath my Inspire 2. So the main difference over what this camera can shoot and be able to change lenses and have a dual controller is really the size. The size is a massive, massive difference. And for me, when I’m going out to shoot a lot of things, sometimes I’m being hired, and we’re doing shooting drone with a dual operator, and we’re doing stuff with different focal lenses, and people have precise deliveries.
They want stuff that is delivered in ProRes, and they want stuff delivered in RAW. One of those two, some people don’t care if the stuff is coming in as an H264 file or an H265. However, I do a lot of the work when I’m being hired just as a drone operator. People want me to use a bigger drone like this. Now for a lot of my other work, and I say about 80% of my work, where I’m going in as a single shooter or maybe myself and a PA, or myself and a camera assist, a lot of times, especially if we’re mountain biking into location, if we’re hiking into an area, if we’re on a ski hill, the Inspire 2 is a big, big drone.
Ease Of Use
The case that I use to carry around my Inspire 2 is a big, bulky case. Now, you can strip it down, you can put it into the fact that it comes with, people will argue that’s a much smaller case. But you have to take off the camera, you have to collapse the drone, you have to take off both propellers. It’s significant pain in the butt. I think this thing for me is quicker to have it in its Pelican case that it came with. But if you look at the Mavic 2 Pro or the Mavic 2 Zoom, they’re both the same size, I mean it’s the same as the Mavic, the first Mavic basically. It is so easy to fold up, I can fit into a bag that I’m already using, that I already have some other camera accessories in. And I can pull it out and use it so quickly.
I had the Mavic one, I guess I’ve had it close to two years. I got it, yeah, about this time two years ago. I used it on some trips, or to Africa, I used it on some excursions into the US for some filming things, and it was terrific. Again because of the size, of how well you could travel with it. How you could go to places where maybe drones are not really allowed or perhaps you don’t want people to know that you’re flying a drone around. And you can come into a country and come into a place with this tiny thing in your bag, most people don’t even know what it is. When it goes up and flies, it flies super well. But the problem I always had with my Mavic Pro was that the quality of it. In some situations it worked out great, in some positions where you used it for broadcast stuff, it was used for some film projects, but a lot of cases the quality, especially compared to the other cameras we’re using, did not hold up.
Okay, in a lot of ranges, it would really break up. It wasn’t a super robust image coming out of the thing. Again, I have shot beautiful stuff with it. I’ve shot stuff, amazing photos with it as well. But that was really my only reason why I would really prefer to use my Inspire 2 over my original Mavic, just really came down to image quality. Okay, and being able to change lenses and do stuff like that. However, for a lot of my work, it just came down to image quality. Therefore, when I heard about Mavic 2, like so many other people, I got so excited about having this better image quality.
I’ve done some side by side testing. Not really clinical tests, it’s not a very strict test, but I did some stuff where I was trying to fly with these drones in the same areas to see how they were working and how they were handling some of the images. The good things, the things I like, and I think out better of the Mavic 2 Pro drone over my Inspire 2. One of the things is this drone is so fast. It is crazy fast, you know. You put it into sport mode, it is ridiculously fast. But in regular flying mode, it is definitely faster than my Inspire 2.
You can track vehicles more comfortable with it, it gets up to speed very quickly, it flies super well, I would argue that it flies better and feels better when I’m controlling it in the air than my Inspire 2. I don’t know if just because of how small it is and how nimble it is but it just flies super well. The Mavic 2 Pro also has a longer flight time per battery than the Inspire 2. And I can charge these batteries really easily and really quickly. I have a car charger for them. The batteries that are used on the Inspire 2 take a longer time to charge, they take a lot more power to load because the drone takes a lot more power, and I need two of them in here to fly.
Next, the time turnaround for charging batteries, to put them back into the drone to get up and flying again, is quite a bit longer, I would say. It is more cumbersome, with the Inspire 2. When I’m getting hired out just to do drone work, I doubt I’ll be getting calls for my Mavic 2 Pro over the Inspire 2. Being able to change out lenses and have different focal lengths and having dual controllers is still a significant advantage in some situations.
Image wise, the tests that I’ve done, the Inspire 2 in ProRes is still a better image, and the DNG RAW for video is much better. In some situations on my Inspire 2, I will choose to shoot 4K or 5K RAW only for the reason that I can then after, for one have more flexibility with the DNG RAW video file in post-production, but I also can go through that, I can load that into Lightroom and I can choose a frame, I can select a frame of any of the 24, or the 30, or the 60 frames per second that I’ve shot, and I can use that as a photo and it’s still a perfect image photo. Remember, when it’s doing a DNG RAW, it’s doing a DNG RAW image sequence.
Every single frame of video is a separate DNG RAW file. Now the downside of this is that it eats up tons of space on your SSD. On the SSD, if I’m shooting 5K 60 RAW, I have about 8 minutes of recording time if I’m continuously rolling to a 256 GB card. So the process I usually do when I’m doing RAW to my SSDs is that I will only record when I want to get that shot. I’m not rolling on everything when I’m flying the drone. I’m also gonna bring that image in after I’ve brought stuff into Lightroom and I’m gonna process out what stills I want. I’m also gonna bring the files into Davinci Resolve, and I’m gonna change them over to ProRes, convert them into ProRes, I’m gonna use the BlackMagic camera profile, and I’m gonna do some tweaks to the images if I need to. The same goes if I need to bring down my highlights if my sky’s still a little blown out or I need to bring up my mids. And I’ll do that, then I’ll save that file as a ProRess file over at DNG RAW because its gonna be a lot easier for me to work within post-production within Premier or within Final Cut.
In some other comparisons that I’ve been doing with these two drones, what I’ve noticed on the Mavic 2 Pro is that the lens on the front from the camera gets an amusing flair. This is especially when you’re shooting into the sun, or you’re having some sun flairs on the camera. It’s kinda giving a streak down this image I have it in photos and video. And I’m not a huge fan of it. It’s an extraordinary-looking flair. It’s not cinematic, whatever that kind of word means. Plus, it’s not looking nearly as cinematic as the flairs I’ll be getting off of a proper lens, a decent Micro Four Thirds lens on my Inspire 2. You can see these two examples of basically the same shot with some kind of focal length and the flares are looking quite different.
Bottom Line: Two Different Drones
In Inspire 2, in my opinion, the flaring on the lens looks much better. So the long and the short of this is, do I think the Inspire 2 is better than the Mavic 2 Pro? Well, it’s so hard to compare these two things, like all these things in the camera world, they’re entirely different drones. I do think in my own opinion that this Mavic 2 Pro is probably the best drone that has ever come on the market. I’ve been flying the DJI drones since the Phantom 1. When you didn’t even have the gimbal on the front, where you just mount a GoPro in this clear plastic thing on it when you couldn’t see at all what your images, and you put your own gimbals on it and just kept progressing from there.
This got so much better, there are so many features on this. Things that I don’t really use that often but things that I’m gonna start playing with a bit more. Like the Active Track and the hyper-lapse is super interesting for me. I wanna try out some stuff with the hyper-lapse but as a straight kinda drone to drone test over these two. I’m still gonna hold on to both of them, I’m probably as they say gonna be using the Mavic 2 Pro for about 80% of my work. The Inspire 2 will be coming out on jobs when it’s called for on the jobs when I’m being asked to bring this out on those jobs. I’m going to be using it where I need a dual operator, or when I’m being asked for a ProRes delivery when it’s required on specific jobs, but I think for the significant majority of the time I’m gonna be using the Mavic 2 Pro.
If you’re a travel filmmaker if you’re a vlogger, and you’re doing stuff more that way, you’ve probably already made up your mind, you’re probably not even looking at the Inspire 2. It doesn’t make any sense size-wise for a lot of people. The image quality, in my opinion, is better still off the Inspire 2 but not worlds apart different. It’s not the same as it was with just the Mavic Pro. They are very close, and you can shoot some amazing images, I’ve captured of the Mavic 2 Pro. Bottom line, I’m going to be holding on to both of these, but you guys make up your mind.
I think, again, the Mavic 2 Pro is a fantastic buy, it’s a tremendous deal this one drone, Canadian for me. With the batteries and my, SSDs is around $10000. This one with 3 batteries and everything, Canadian, was close to $2000. So colossal price difference, but very close in image quality difference or no difference. There’s not too much difference that way. The price says a lot, it does for the cost, it is an amazing drone. Thank you for reading, I hope this was helpful!