The DJI Air 2S is still our favourite all-around drone, even with the introduction of the DJI Mini 3 Pro. Although the name implies that it is an incremental upgrade of the Mavic Air 2 model, there are many upgrades for all types of drone pilots, including a 1-inch sensor, which has been compacted into an extremely small drone.
The 20MP 1-inch sensor on the DJI Air 2S is its main feature. This improves image quality and gives a better high ISO response than the Mavic Air 2. You can also capture up to 5.5K video at 30fps and up to 60fps. There are also 4K and 1080p video captures at up to 120fps. This opens up a lot of creative possibilities for videography. The drone’s weight has been increased by only 25g compared to its Mavic Air 2 counterpart.
Release date and price
Design and controller
Image and video quality
Do I need to buy it?
- DJI Air 2S on Amazon for US$999
DJI’s Air 2S digital zoom is another feature that has been hyped. It starts at 4x and 4K at 30fps video, and then goes up to 8x zoom at 1080p at 30fps. Although this feature might not seem all that exciting at first, it is possible to fly close and still keep within the safe limits of drones. This feature could prove to be extremely helpful for professional drone pilots. For enthusiasts, it opens the doors to more creative stills or videos.
The image quality is outstanding and noise levels at higher ISO settings are better than those of the Mavic Pro 2. Images are slightly softer around the edges, and the aperture is set at f/2.8. ND filters can be used to control exposure while video recording.
The Air 2S Fly More Bundle still includes four ND filters. It is similar to the Mavic Air 2 Fly More Bundle. The combination of a 1in sensor and small, portable dimensions makes the Air 2S the best drone. Although it isn’t as small as the DJI Mini 3 Pro which is a fantastic drone, we believe it is close. If you are interested in aerial footage, this is one of the best video cameras that you can purchase now. For our complete DJI Air 2S review, please read on.
DJI Air 2S release date and price
- Announced 15/04/2021
- Standard Kits are priced at PS899/$999/AU $1699
- Fly more Bundle cost PS1,169 / $1.299 / Australian $2,099
The DJI Air 2S can be purchased now at DJI’s official shop and other retailers.
The Air 2S can be purchased in either a standard kit, or a Fly More Bundle, as is the case with DJI drones. The standard kit includes the drone, controller and one battery. It costs $999 / PS899 / AU 1,699.
Fly More Bundle is a great deal at PS1,169/ $1,299/ AU$2,099 because you get everything in the standard kit plus two extra batteries, a 3-battery charging hub, and a shoulder bag. You also get a set of four Nd filters.
Fly More Bundle is the best value because you can get all the extras separately. The bundle includes everything you need, as one battery is not enough. If you want to shoot video, ND filters will be required to keep your shutter speed under control. The shoulder bag is essential for carrying your accessories and drone.
Review of DJI Air 2S: Design and Controller
- The Air 2S weighs only 595g
- It is compact and foldable
- Has the same controllers as the Mavic Air 2
The Air 2S is very similar to the Mavic Air 2 from the outside. There are only a few differences. It features the same folding design as Mavic drones, even though DJI has dropped the Mavic name. The drone’s front arms swing out while the rear arms turn down and out to allow for easy transport.
The Air 2S measures just 180x97x80mm folded and 183x253x77mm unfolded. Although it is almost identical to its predecessor, the folded length of the Air 2S is 4mm less than that of the Mavic Air 2. The Air 2S weighs in at 595g and is only 25g lighter than the Air 2. This is impressive, considering the larger camera.
It is identical to the Mavic Air 2 controller. It is not foldable like the Mavic 2 Pro’s controller and weighs 393g. It connects faster to the aircraft than the Mavic 2 Pro controller, but it doesn’t have a screen that displays basic flight and camera information.
The phone can be attached to the top of controller by using a Telescopic Grip. The control sticks are kept in rubberized sections at its bottom. Although it is comfortable to use, it is heavier and larger than the Mavic 2 Pro or Mavic 2 Zoom controllers.
The controller’s additional size isn’t a problem. The drone and controller are still small and lightweight. Although a basic screen would be helpful, there are not many functions.
DJI AIR 2S SPECS
Lens: 22mm f/2.8 (35mm equivalent)
Max video resolution: 5.4K/30p
Transmission system: Ocusync 3
Dimensions: 180x97x77mm (folded)
Flight time: 31 minutes
This controller is quite basic and all camera controls, except for releasing the shutter, switching between video and stills, or anything you program to FN, must be done through DJI Fly.
This is the exact same setup as the Mavic Air 2. The only difference is that Tripod Mode, which is now called “Cine mode”, is labeled on the flight mode switch. It also offers Normal and Sport modes.
Review of DJI Air 2S: Features and Flight
- Added safety features
- A new MasterShots flight type
- Flight times in real-world around 20 minutes
The DJI Air 2S can be flown with ease and safety thanks to the Mavic series flight features. The flight modes, automated videos modes, collision avoidance, manual flight control and flight modes provide all the assistance you need, no matter how advanced you are.
All of the functions that you would expect from an Air 2S camera include Single Shot, Timed, Auto Exposure Bracketing, HDR, Panoramas, and Hyperlapses. SmartPhoto, a new mode, records high-resolution photos by using scene analysis and deep-learning to automatically select the best option – HDR Hyperlight, Scene Recognition, or both – for your photo.
This is great for beginners in photography who want to create high-quality images with minimal effort. However, it may not be so useful for advanced users. If you are capturing stills using raw+JPEG mode the JPEG will automatically be converted to a SmartPhoto. The Raw file will remain unprocessed so that you can make any changes you like.
Video users get the standard QuickShots. These are DJI’s automated camera moves. For example, you can choose “Boomerang” and the drone will circle around you. These modes have been apparently upgraded to the Air 2S. However, we didn’t notice any difference in our testing. Everything just worked. Rocket, Circle and Dronie are all available modes. They’re a great bonus for beginners who want to quickly create professional-looking videos.
The Air 2S has an upgraded FocusTrack mode. This allows you to draw a box around your subject and the drone will track it. Spotlight 2.0 allows the drone to be controlled by the pilot while the camera tracks and locks the subject within the frame.
MasterShots looks great on paper, and the results are quite interesting. It’s more of an example of all QuickShots in one video than something that you should use regularly. It’s likely you will try it once or twice, and then move on to QuickShots and manual flight control to capture unique movements.
MasterShots allows you to select a subject by drawing a rectangle around it. Then, press the start button. The drone will perform several maneuvers, with a countdown clock showing its progress. After selecting a capture mode, the drone will create a video that you can share.
The Mavic Air 2S has safety features such as front, rear, top, and bottom obstacle sensors. These sensors use binocular zooming technology that can recognize objects further away while traveling at high speed. Advanced Pilot Assistance System 4.0 (APAS 4.0) can be enabled to allow you to set it up to either stop the drone or fly it autonomously around obstacles, under, or over them. This will help to maintain continuous flight.
AirSense is another safety feature that was introduced to drones by Mavic Air 2. AirSense uses ADS-B technology to detect signals from nearby aircraft and helicopters. The DJI Fly app displays these locations on an on-screen map. GEO 2.0 geofencing helps keep the drone from dangerous locations like airports. DJI’s Air 2S is a great safety option. However, you will need to follow the drone laws.
Although the Air 2S’s maximum flight time is respectable at 31 minutes, it’s three minutes shorter than the Air 2. This is for conditions where there’s no wind. We found that the Air 2S can fly for around 20 minutes, depending on the conditions.
Review of DJI Air 2S: Video and Image Quality
- 1 inch 20MP sensor
- Up to 5.4K video
- Clear images even with high ISO settings
No matter how many bells or whistles you have on your drone, the most important thing is the image quality. The DJI Air 2S delivers on this.
The camera features a 20MP, 1-inch sensor. It has an 88 degree field of view and a full frame equivalent focal length of 22mm. The Air 2S, like the Mavic Air 2, has a fixed aperture of f/2.8 (more details later), with a focus range from 60cm to infinite.
Even though the Pro’s aperture was set to f/2.8, still images seem slightly softer at the edges than the Mavic 2 Pro. This difference is noticeable when comparing the drones side-by-side, but it is not enough to make a decision on which drone you prefer. The image is sharp throughout the frame in video.
The Air 2S’s high ISO noise handling is the most important improvement to image quality over the Mavic 2 Pro. Even though the sensor is only 1 inch, images shot at ISO 3200 are remarkable clean for a drone. Noise becomes more apparent at ISO 6400.
The Mavic 2 Pro’s ISO handling is much better than that of the Air 2S, making it possible to shoot higher ISO settings in low-light situations. The Air 2S actually outperforms the Mavic 2 Pro in this regard.
But there’s a reason. DJI explained that the Air 2S’ raw files are clean because they have been processed with ‘temporal denoising technology’ to reduce high ISO noise. These results are amazing, but it raises an important question: Is a raw data file really a raw data file?
If we try to correct any alleged negative issues in raw files with in-camera processing, it could lead us down a dangerous road where consumers might lose faith in cameras and drones if the results are not fair and true.
You can shoot video at up-to 30fps, full HD at up-to 120fps and 4K at 60fps. The 8x digital zoom is also available. It starts at 4x for 4K at 30fps and increases to 8x for 1080p at 30fps. Zoom recording is not available when shooting 10 bit videos or 120fps video, unfortunately.
You can see that the zoom zoom works well if you zoom in at 2x any resolution. The huge drop in image quality makes it look like you have used a digital zoom.
Digital zooms have a reputation for being extremely poor. They reduce image resolution by cropping images to achieve zoom. The Air 2S’s camera records at up to 5.4K. This explains why the Air 2S has a sliding scale for zoom at different resolutions. In any case, 2x zoom will take you as far as possible at any resolution.
Video can be recorded in H.264 and H.265 formats. You also have the option to choose from one of three video color profiles: Normal (8-bit), HLG (10-bit), or D-Log (10 bit). Both professionals and amateurs have the same options. Hobbyists and professionals can combine their aerial footage with a color grading workflow, while amateurs can use Standard more to capture footage that looks amazing straight from the camera.