Fstoppers Reviews the DJI Mavic Mini Drone

Fstoppers Reviews the DJI Mavic Mini Drone

The Mavic Mini is one of the smallest HD drones on the market right now, and it actually performs well. If you are looking to get into drones, but don't want to break the bank, this could be what you are looking for.

A few weeks ago, DJI announced their Mavic Mini, a 249-gram drone that can shoot 2.7K at 30 fps and take 12-megapixel stills. This drone was more than likely designed for people who want to get into drones. However, it is also another consideration for professional pilots as a drone they can travel with or try risky shots with without damaging more expensive equipment. After seeing plenty of videos and reviews on this drone, I think it's safe to say that for $400, you may not get anything better.

Controller and Performance

The Mavic Mini controller is very similar to the Mavic Air controller, just minus a few buttons in the middle. The drone does still have sport and cinema mode, but it must be switched in the app. As far as controllers go, these are fairly small and pack down well. The knobs come off and tuck inside the controller so that it can sit flush in your pocket or bag without breaking the sticks. Once you are familiar with the DJI controllers, they get more and more comfortable, and this controller is very comparable to the whole Mavic line of controllers.

When it comes to handling and shooting with Mavic Mini, I have to say that I was shocked it performs as well as it does. The battery life was also really great compared to other drones like this, with flight times around 15-20 minutes, easily. If you wanted to fly another drone this small, it would probably be an FPV drone and you would be lucky to get 5-10 minutes flight time.

I was able to achieve smooth pans, long shots, and complicated camera moves just as I can on Mavic 2 or even Inspire 2. Where I started to see a little trouble was when wind kicked into play, and the little motors on Mavic Mini began to struggle. Therefore, this may be a great travel drone because of its size and weight, but keep an eye on this thing if you are flying in bad weather conditions, because it may take a little more effort to execute your shot. I will share some footage from this drone below.

Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Air, Mavic Mini

Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Air, Mavic Mini

Weight and Size

This was the biggest deal for DJI: a small drone that anyone can buy and fly without registering with the FAA. I am a little against the idea of that for one reason: I think it is super important for people looking to invest in drones to also invest their time in understanding the rules and regulations of their country/state. 

Being so light, DJI had to remove features such as obstacle avoidance and Active Track modes. They did leave a few options on there for quick shots, but nothing as extravagant as what the Mavic Air or Mavic 2 can do. I personally don't think this should be an issue for anyone, because if you want to fly a drone, you should know how to control it too.

Mavic Mini Battery, Mavic Air Battery, Mavic 2 Battery and Mavic Mini

Mavic Mini Battery, Mavic Air Battery, Mavic 2 Battery, and Mavic Mini

The size of Mavic Mini is small, like Mavic 2 battery small or smartphone small. This drone is really not that big or heavy. As a pilot myself, size and weight can be an issue depending on what I am looking to do. In many cases, I have no problem carrying around a bigger drone like the Mavic 2 that will get me better quality, range, and performance off the bat versus making up a reason to carry around a Mavic Mini. For me, Mavic Mini is more of a toy drone that I can try stupid things with or even better put, it is a stable FPV drone that I can fly inside and in tight spaces.

Photo/Video Quality

Compared to Mavic Air, the Mavic Mini does not shoot raw photos in the classic DNG format, and it also cannot shoot 4K. The Mavic Air is bigger, heavier, and has a bit more tech packed inside to allow it to do what it does. For people looking to shoot during the day, Mavic Mini will serve you just fine, but if you are looking for more push and pull when it comes to editing, the Mavic Mini is only okay. I will show some footage below so you can get an idea of the quality.

Pros

  • Small and lightweight
  • Good battery life
  • Quiet when flying

Cons

  • 12-megapixel JPEG (no DNG)
  • Cannot adjust settings much
  • Feels more like a toy than a drone
Mavic Sandwich

Mavic Sandwich

Conclusion

Mavic Mini is a drone for anyone who wants something small and light. If you are a beginner, this drone can be good for you, and if you are a professional who sees value in this, it can also be good for you. If you are, however, looking to invest in a drone to take photos and video with in the long term, I would recommend something more like a Mavic 2. 

I had a fair share of fun with this new Mavic and am glad I could share some knowledge on it. It is something to look into if you have been interested in drones for a while, but I do not think that this is a top DJI product. Come 2020, I hope to see more professional-level products/updates versus consumer products. What do you think about Mavic Mini and what else do you want to see from DJI next year?

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11 Comments

"Feels more like a toy than a drone"
I see this con in every review but I don't get it, it's 249gr and has a 20min battery life, thye really can't make it that light with that battery life for that price and not make it out of thin plastic. Maybe they could make it out of carbon but it would easly be €500-600!

Dave Nunez-Delgado's picture

The spec says 30min battery and I've been averaging about 22-25 in the cold before I return to home at 10%.

I agree that those complaining about how cheap it feels, while also praising its sub-250g weight, are failing to make the connection there.

Deleted Account's picture

It's bloody good value for money.

Rk K's picture

Am I the only one who wants a photography focused drone? Something like this, but with a high res phone sensor, Google Pixel tech (even if you have to process later, on a PC), RAW and a couple of fov options, kind of like modern smartphones, just with more pro options.

Jeff McCollough's picture

Useless to me here in Bolivia. It can't fly above 3000 meters.

David Love's picture

When they get to 4k at this size without me needing a pilot license to use it anywhere, sign me up.

gregurbano's picture

is there any type of obstacle avoidance or follow me modes?

Ty Poland's picture

not on this drone! it can do simple orbits and stuff but no obstacle avoidance or tracking

Spy Black's picture

Not that I personally concern myself with these things, but I find it surprising that Americans have issues with Chinese companies like Huawei, but don't bat an eye at using products from a another Chinese company that stands to far better serve the Chinese government on all the suspicions people have about Huawei...

Bob Bell's picture

He says, concerning himself

Spy Black's picture

I rest my case.