September 27, 2016

DJI’s New Mavic Pro Aims to Take Down GoPro’s Karma

DJI Mavic Pro
Released today, DJI’s drone folds into the size of a water bottle—and has some decided advantages over the would-be competition.

Hot on the heels of GoPro’s release of their first drone, DJI is fighting to keep its dominance of the aerial imaging market. DJI’s Mavic Pro emphasizes a small and highly portable form factor (approximately the size of a water bottle when folded), along with autonomous flight control, making it convenient and easy to create high quality aerial videos wherever you go.

DJI’s newly re-designed Vision Positioning System uses five cameras to continuously monitor surroundings.

Priced similarly to the Karma, the Mavic Pro also features a fold-away design and game-system inspired remote control, but its autonomous flight control and advanced sensory systems give the Mavic Pro a decided edge over the GoPro model.

For instance, the Mavic Pro utilizes multiple and redundant GPS and GLONASS sensors to give it incredible stability in flight and greatly increase safety. In addition to its advanced GPS positioning system, the Mavic Pro also features their newly re-designed Vision Positioning System that uses five cameras to continuously monitor surroundings, avoid obstacles, and return to its takeoff point to land with centimeter accuracy.

With a simple wave of the arms, or positioning of the hands, a user can get the Mavic Pro to do things like follow them, or take a selfie, without needing to handle the remote.

The Mavic Pro boasts a 4.3 mile range and offers sophisticated autonomous flight capabilities, allowing you to follow your subject while keeping the shot properly framed, even when changing altitude. That means you should be able to smoothly track a subject hiking up a hill or skiing down a mountain.

Gesture control is another feature that puts distance between the Mavic Pro and GoPro’s Karma. With a simple wave of the arms, or positioning of the hands, a user can get the Mavic Pro to do things like follow them, or take a selfie, without needing to handle the remote.

DJI Mavic Pro
DJI Mavic Pro's Gesture Control lets you use hand motions to send remote instructions to your drone.

What’s more, DJI has introduced a pair of FPV goggles to accompany the Mavic Pro that feature 1080p streaming video directly from the drone, very low latency, and an 85 degree field of view allowing users to experience the flight as if they were in the cockpit of the drone.

Sometimes, it’s more important to be able to easily keep your camera with you than it is to have the biggest sensor or interchangeable lenses, and that’s where the Mavic Pro shines. I currently own and fly an Inspire Pro and while the Mavic Pro can’t compete with the visual quality of the micro four-thirds sensor and advanced gimbal control of the Inspire Pro, its ease of use and portability make it a must-have kit addition in my book.

Pre-orders are available online today, and shipping will begin in mid-October. Pricing for the unit alone is $749, and you can get professional bundles—with a remote for $999, and the whole kit and caboodle including extra batteries and a carrying case for $1299.

DJI Mavic
When folded, the Mavic's dimensions are H83mm x W83mm x L198mm.

Tech Specs:

  • 4K Ultra HD Video at 30fps
  • 12MP Still Camera on 3-Axis Gimbal
  • Sensor: 1/2.3” (CMOS), Effective pixels:12.35 M (Total pixels:12.71M)
  • Lens: FOV 78.8° 28 mm (35 mm format equivalent) f/2.2 Distortion < 1.5% Focus from 0.5 m to ∞
  • Image Max Size: 4000×3000
  • 4.3 mile range, up to 27 minutes of flight
  • Remote control operating frequency: 2.4 GHz to 2.483 GHz

Key Features:

  • 24 high-performance computing cores
  • Dual-satellite connectivity
  • Small Size & Portability
  • Obstacle Sensing System
  • Vision Positioning
  • Autonomous Subject Tracking
  • Gesture Control

Your Comment

24 Comments

Just me or is the quality on that video uhmmm... shitty. I want this to be good but the quality on the new GoPro drone seems to look much better.

September 27, 2016 at 12:53PM

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Ryan Sauve
@sauvedp
156

I thought the same thing. That video isn't uploaded by DJI. This one is, with much better quality:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p1d_ptE6yrc

September 27, 2016 at 1:40PM, Edited September 27, 1:40PM

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Michael R. Garcia
Director / Editor / Cinematographer
86

Much better thanks. Wonder if that bubble is going to cause some headaches with the glare.

September 27, 2016 at 2:27PM

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Ryan Sauve
@sauvedp
156

The bubble is removable.

September 28, 2016 at 10:28AM

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Thanks, all! DJI hadn't uploaded their version of the video when we went live, but now that it's out there, we've replaced the one in our post.

September 27, 2016 at 3:07PM

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Liz Nord
Editor-in-Chief & Lead Producer
Documentary Filmmaker/Multi-platform Producer

The youtube video in this article is 720p. The video player on the DJI website can be set to 1080p and that looks quite a bit better.

September 27, 2016 at 1:45PM

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I remember when I picked up my first drone, the phantom 1. I thought it was so cool, I took it everywhere. I even attached neon lights to the bottom that changed color! One day I was flying my drone under a bridge in LA when I was approached by a gang. They said they were a drone street racing gang and they liked the way I flew. I asked why it wasn't sky racing and they threaten to break my arm. I took up the name Tiny Rocket. Our first race was with the Latin Wings. That's when I realized I was racing against the most beautiful woman I had ever seen! She smiled at me. Could she like me back? A gun shot went off and the drones took off, my drone felt heavy for some reason. I noticed a trigger was attached to my controller. My gang boss leaned over my shoulder and whispered"You got problem Tiny Rocket? That's a mini gun mount attached to your drone. You gotta take that little Latina out!" I asked "Wait her or the drone?" He just sat there smiling.
I quickly maneuvered through the race, I was winning! Sirens!
Police!
Quickly I drove the drone behind the cops and pulled the trigger! Sparks flew out from the drone. I hit the rear tires forcing the vehicle to flip in the air. I screamed "Yes!!!" I turned around. Everyone was in shock! I looked around, the woman I liked, looked deeply disturbed. The gang boss was crying. "What's wrong with you man? He coulda had kids." Frightened I ran off. I swore never to touch another drone. This new DJI drone sounds promising. Hoping to see more footage!

September 27, 2016 at 1:50PM, Edited September 27, 1:50PM

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Filmbaker
Writer/Director
482

woah that story SPUN out of control! I'm glad you didn't DRONE on and on! .....I'll leave.

September 27, 2016 at 7:32PM, Edited September 27, 7:32PM

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Logan
360

Would this drone be better than the new Phantom 5 Pro?

September 27, 2016 at 2:33PM

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Chris Stanley
Cinematographer
8

Anyone else feel like the Karma is much more appealing than the Mavic? We're talking actual use for video production.

September 27, 2016 at 2:42PM

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Josh Perrault
Director/Editor/DoP
1

The Karma has a better system overall that gives you a GoPro 5 that can be used in a million different ways as well as the removable gimbal - to me that seems like possibly a better value. However, the Mavic has better usability and functionality in the air since it can pretty much be set to fly itself - which might mean better quality shots since many of the tracking shots are very difficult as a single operator. In the end though, I feel like you can't go wrong with either of them and nobody will ever know if you used a Mavic or a Karma.

September 27, 2016 at 3:23PM

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Well the fisheye on the gopro rules it out of most proffessional projects. Even if you use a de-fisheye effect and a narrower Fov. And you have to get really close to everything. Basically the problems of the old phantoms with Gopro's are still there. Karma is a cool kit with the detachable gimbal tho. But Im not sold on the mavic to replace my phantom 3 yet either, even if the form factor is very convenient. I need to be able to attach ND's or atleast control the aperture to avoid that jaggy motion high shutterspeeds give.

September 27, 2016 at 3:32PM, Edited September 27, 3:34PM

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Jesse Ekholm
Director of Photography / Cinematographer
91

The newest GoPro has a mode that will correct (de-fish) the fisheye effect associated with GoPro footage. Supposedly it's an in-camera correction, but it sounds like it's a software feature. So nothing is changing with the lens. If you're shooting in 4k and delivering in HD it may be useable on a professional level. Hard to judge it without seeing it for ourselves, but it could be a good option.

September 27, 2016 at 3:52PM, Edited September 27, 3:53PM

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Ty
Cinematographer, Editor, Director
516

I think "de-fish" is only available when shooting 1080p (=

September 29, 2016 at 3:39AM

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Interesting they changed fov to 28mm fullframe equivalent. P3 P4 is 20mm. 28mm will give a more cinematic feel I think! Hope the P5 will have that too or zoom built in.

Also wonder about NDs on mavic.. The new Gopro has software stabilization built in, no real ibis, which if turned on and used with ND would cause jitter I guess. I am a bit skeptical about video quality of such small drones.

September 27, 2016 at 5:31PM

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Mose Agestam
Videographer / Aerial photographer
74

This wipes the floor with the gopro.

Its going to be better quality than the fisheye gopro. DJI have proved that since the phantom 3.

DJI 40 mph vs gopro 35 mph

DJI 27 min vs gopro 20 min DEALBREAKER

DJI range 7 km vs gopro 1 km DEALBREAKER

Gopro fisheye DEALBREAKER

Plus DJI has its obstacle sensing system and vision positioning system, and now gestures. All that and the mavic looks a lot smaller.

September 27, 2016 at 8:54PM

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Don't trust so much DJI with announcement features.

It will takes months to get all these actually working.
For example, the press release says:
flight times of approximately 27 minutes
but on DJI website:
In regular use, you can expect flight times of approximately 21 minutes.
NOT A DEALBREAKER" calm down,

DJI is well known for letting their first customers as beta tester, and downgrade with countless update their product month after months.

September 28, 2016 at 4:37AM

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www.visionrouge.com
Managing director, DOP, Photographer, nothing
262

Completely disagree.

Your misunderstanding the 21 minute spec. All that means is thats what you can expect on an average flight till the battery gets down to about 30% (you never fly to the very end of the battery). So to DJIs credit its good that they put that spec there along side the 27 min full battery time.

GoPro on the other hand have only listed the full battery time as 20 min (up to 20 min) so expect an average flight time of maybe 15 min. Absolute deal breaker.

The Phantom 4 rollout was great and customers were not beta testers.

September 28, 2016 at 5:14AM

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Both the Karma and the Mavic look fantastic. That being said, I sure wish DJI or GoPro would move beyond their measly 60mbps bitrate for the 4k footage they shoot. Both the GoPro 5 and the DJI Phantom/Mavic cameras shoot 60mbps max and frankly, that is not enough for really great 4k. And they've been shooting that bitrate for years now. Being able to shoot at least 100mbps would sure make a world of difference. Right now it's either spend $1k for 4k at 60mbps or $5.5k for the DJI Inspire Zenmuse Raw and shoot 4k at 1.6Gbps. There is no in-between. Perhaps a Phantom 5 could fill this gap? How about it DJI?

September 27, 2016 at 10:18PM

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Derek Doublin
Director, Cinematographer, Large Scale Artist
264

I think the attitude is that if you NEED that higher bitrate for anything "professional" you're getting paid and if you're getting paid, you're flying a "real" production drone, not an expensive toy. And that's what these are, hobbyist toys. Their website even says it in B&W..."Consumer" NOT Professional. Go rent or hire someone with an Inspire or better if you're getting paid. Not to say Phantoms aren't professional, but you get the jist.

September 28, 2016 at 8:44AM

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Josh.R
Motion Designer/Predator
855

This is good for the consumer... so that's why i'm happy.

September 27, 2016 at 11:05PM, Edited September 27, 11:05PM

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Wentworth Kelly
Director/DP/Colorist/Drone Op
2131

I like the Karma with a hero5 because its more Versatile for my needs, I like to do Ground work as well as diving, also does the Mavic have voice control? ,I also have just read the the Karma will have a update to Avoid items mode,but I will also say the Mavis is a awesome item but it does not have the versitilty of the Karma ..In my opinion..

September 28, 2016 at 4:40PM, Edited September 28, 4:40PM

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Ivor Harrison
retired
1

I'm waiting to hear if the Mavic and Karma have 'fly away' stories. I'm still bitter at DJI for this. The Mavic's redundant satellite tracking and several ground sensing cameras make this sound more reliable. But I love the removable gimbal on the Karma.

September 29, 2016 at 3:09PM

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The Mavic will win this round - I'm almost sure of it.

The technology they've managed to pack into that case is pretty incredible.

The P4 might actually have a better camera looking at the early shots, but the Mavic's camera is no slouch either.

The Karma will do well, especially thanks to the removable gimbal, but I don't think it'll be enough to stop people being drawn to the size and flying capabilities of the Mavic.

Good comparison between the P4, Karma and Mavic here - https://www.heliguy.com/blog/2016/09/26/dji-mavic-pro-vs-phantom-4-vs-go...

September 30, 2016 at 4:09AM

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