DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Zoom: What’s the Difference?

The DJI Mavic 2 Pro and the Zoom drones were released at the same time. Both of them are the next-generation drones with a slight differences. But what are these differences? Let’s find out!

Model Mavic 2 Pro Mavic 2 Zoom
Camera Manufacturer DJI+Hasselblad DJI
Sensor 1″ sensor 1/2.3″ sensor
Lens 28mm lens 24-48mm zoomless
Aperture f/2.8-f/11 (manually adjustable) f/2.8-f/3.8 (24mm-48mm)
Number of Megapixels 20MP 12MP / 48MP Super Res
Image Size 5472×3648 4000×3000
Bit Color Mode 10 Bit 8 Bit
Special Effect Dolly Zoom Effect
HDR EV stops HDR 14 EV stops HDR 13 EV stops

As you can see from this table, the difference between the Mavic 2 Pro and the Zoom lies only in camera specifications and abilities. Down below we talk a little bit more about the differences and similarities between the drones and why you should or shouldn’t buy one of these drones.

1″ CMOS sensor on Mavic 2 Pro vs 1/2.3 sensor on Mavic 2 Zoom

For the first time in history with the second Mavic generation, DJI is offering a foldable drone with a 1-inch CMOS sensor. This sensor was made in a close collaboration with Swedish company Hasselblad that is known for their high-quality cameras. Yet the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom has a conventional 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor. The same sensor installed on the Mavic 1 Pro and Mavic Air.

The number of megapixels also differs: the DJI Mavic 2 Pro shoots higher-quality photos with a resolution of 20 megapixels when the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom has only 12 megapixels. This also results in different image resolutions or image sizes: 5472×3648 for the Pro version and 4000×3000 for the Zoom. For aerial photographers, who strive for the best possible image quality, the higher resolution means more editing possibilities in post-production.

Sensor size comparison

The picture on the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is more detailed and clearer overall. That is a big advantage if you want to print your aerial images that you took before for advertising or home purpose. Furthermore, the higher resolution allows image content to be optimally cropped during post-processing. Cropping makes it possible to select the desired image resolution more freely, since a higher residual resolution remains even after cropping. This is especially useful if you want to change the image composition afterwards or if you want to adapt the image to different standard formats – for example, for printout.

In this regard, the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is suitable for professional aerial photographers and videographers that expect high image and video quality since the larger image sensor brings better image quality and more options for post-processing.

But not only the image sensor is different: field of view (a.k.a. FOV) is also different. While the DJI Mavic 2 Pro has a field of view of 77°, the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom comes with a field of view of 83 degrees. The higher the field of view, the more image content is displayed in the output. Lenses with a high field of view, for example, 180° are also known as fish eye lenses. The most known fish-eye cameras are famous GoPro.

Although the Zoom version drone has a higher FOV it doesn’t mean it captures more image content. If you try shooting the same object placing the drones at the same position you are going to see that the Pro version will capture more image content compared to the Zoom. This is a result of bigger sensor installed on the Mavic 2 Pro camera that means less cropping in the end. Also the Pro version allows for more natural photos – especially landscapes and architectural photography. The last one is going hand in hand with real estate aerial photography.

Adjustable f/2.8-f/11 Aperture vs Fixed f/2.8

Aperture is an opening or hole through which the light hits the camera and the image sensor. By making the aperture bigger (i.e. opening it) or smaller (closing it) you can determine how much light you want to pass to your camera sensor thus controlling the over or underexposure.

There are two type of lens:ones that has variable aperture and ones that has fixed. And here is a difference between the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic 2 Zoom: the first one comes with an adjustable aperture f/2.8 to f/11 whereas Zoom version of the drone has f/2.8 in normal mode and f/3.8 in zoom mode. That’s the first Mavic 2 Pro advantage over its smaller brother: if camera has a fixed aperture the image brightness can only be changed by the exposure time or ISO value. And in a sunny day ISO value should be chosen as low as possible to avoid image noise. And do remember: in post-production you can’t fix overexposure or underexposure that much!

Therefore, when shooting with a drone camera that has a fixed aperture it is necessary to choose the shortest possible exposure time in order to be able to reduce the brightness. ND filters may come in handy as well. However, under certain circumstances even the choice of the shortest possible exposure time can not prevent overexposure. With the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom you only have the option to use an ND filter. With the DJI Mavic 2 Pro you can reduce the incident light by a higher aperture value thanks to the variable aperture and thus avoid overexposure.

Thanks to a larger sensor DJI Mavic 2 Pro has higher light sensitivity. The ISO range of the DJI Mavic 2 Pro is between 100 and 6,400 during video recording, whereas the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom has an lower ISO range of 100 to 3,200. In Manual Photo mode the DJI Mavic 2 Pro offers an ISO range of 100 to 12,800 compared to the ISO range of the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom from 200 to 3,200.

10 Bit Image vs 8 Bit Image

The last crucial difference between the Mavic 2 Pro and the Zoom drones are the bit color depth. What is this?

Basically, bit color depth is the number of bits that used to indicate the color of a single pixel. Nowadays, all TVs, smartphones and LCD-monitors use either True or Deep-colors which are 24-bit or 30/36/48-bit respectively. If you convert this numbers into bits per RGB channel you are going to have 8-bit, 10-bit, 12-bit and 16-bits respectively.

Higher color depth results in richer and more colourful pictures and video taken by the camera. Also this allows professionals to raise or lower the contrast, fine tuning the shadows and RGB curves more freely in post-processing.

8 bit color image vs 10 bit

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs. DJI Mavic 2 Zoom: Similarities

The other specifications between DJI Mavic 2 Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Zoom are almost identical. While the DJI Mavic 2 Pro weights 907 grams (almost 2 pounds), the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom is just 905 grams (same 2 pounds). In terms of take-off weight, the difference is marginal and negligible.

Both DJI Mavic 2 Pro and DJI Mavic 2 Zoom measure 8,4″ x 3,5″ x 3,3″ when folded. Both unfolded drones are 12,6 by 9,5 by 3,3 inches and their diagonal size are 14 inches. There is no difference in terms of speed – both second Mavic generation drones reach a maximum horizontal airspeed of 44 miles per hour. The maximum flight time for both Mavic variants is around 31 minutes (although the real flight time is about 27 minutes) and the range for signal transmission is a maximum of 5 miles.

The remote controller with the integrated DJI OcuSync 2.0 transmission system is the same for both models as well as the live feed video resolution 1920×1080 at 30 frames per second.

Mavic 2 Pro Overall Pros

So what to chose? The Mavic 2 Pro that has a one inch sensor Hasselblad camera capable of fantastic dynamic range thanks to the 10-bit color space that it uses, h.265 codec and all that kind of good stuff or do we go for the added functionality of the Mavic 2 Zoom which gives us a 2 times optical zoom lens? But at face-value the Mavic 2 Zooom camera performance pretty much the same as the existing Mavic 1 Pro. In the end, it all comes down to your requirements and your expectations and your needs.

First let’s talk about picture quality with the Mavic 2 Pro – that is after all its big selling point. It has a one inch sensor Hasselblad camera which at face value is going to give you fantastic performance. what do we mean by fantastic performance? For the last couple of years all these drones have had the 4k resolution – it gives you really nice sharp crispy pictures. The resolution is great on all of these drones – we’re not talking about resolution or crispness of picture. What we’re talking about with great performance is dynamic range and low-light performance.

That nice big sensor of the Mavic 2 Pro drone in theory should give us more dynamic range. Dynamic range is the amount of variation between the blacks and the whites, depth in the color and it should give us a better ability to film in low-light conditions.

If all of that is boring and tedious for you and you couldn’t care less then it really doesn’t matter. In this case, the Mavic 2 Pro is not going to be of any interest to you whatsoever. Where I get excited is the notion that I can expose, a shot like a sunset or a sunrise, some high contrast scene with a bright sky in a dark ground. With the new sensor I can get some kind of decent balanced exposure by raising the shadows or the mid-tones in post-production; stretching out that image a little bit and just working it a little bit harder in post. This gives me more creative opportunities overall.

For example, if I point the camera on subject like a person and the sun is behind them that person isn’t going to come up so silhouette, their skin tones aren’t going to be so washed out and I’m going to get a more professional dynamic image. That kind of performance I would get from a ground camera and that is why I had to buy the Mavic 2 Pro.

So beyond that, the Mavic 2 Pro is absolutely identical to the Mavic 2 Zoom. It just has this fantastic camera.

Mavic 2 Zoom Overall Pros

Now let’s talk about this optical zoom lens on the Mavic 2 Zoom drone. Focal length of a lens is measured in millimeters. This lens runs from 24 to 48 millimeters keeping a wide angle at the mm range and a slightly tighter angle at the 48 mm range. This gives you two added benefits: zoom lens by definition zooms it getting you closer to your subject without you having to move closer. I have to say that I would not make me buy the Mavic 2 Zoom because ultimately if you really just want to get closer to stuff you can just fly closer at the end of the day. And if it’s not appropriate for you to fly closer you probably shouldn’t be flying in the first place.

So that in itself doesn’t get me overly excited. What does get me excited is the notion of lens compression that comes with a zoom lens. When you start zooming in on a telephoto lens a phenomenon of lens compression happens. What that does is it brings the foreground mid-ground and background elements in the image closer together, it compresses the image, it flattens it. Background elements like a mountain or a house or a building or something appear larger in the frame, they appear closer to the subject and it creates quite a cinematic dramatic look.

Where you can take that to the next level is by adding camera movement. If you do a rotation with a zoom lens you get this tremendous sense of motion as those compressed background objects fly around the screen and it just looks unbelievably cinematic. We do this all the time in our work: I use zoom lenses on our gimbals and it gives me this fantastic cinematic look. That’s what gives me chills

Before I start wittering on about lens compression I shall just ask you this question: did you film subjects with your drone? Because if you don’t, there’s no point in buying this drone at all. If all you do is film landscapes – because opportunity doesn’t arise for you to film subjects that involves people, involves cars, involves stuff that requires organization – if you’re just filming landscapes the chances are a wide-angle lens is you’re going to be a go to lens.

So why would you bother with a zoom lens? Generally speaking, from the air at least, I’ve never felt the need to go to a zoom filming a landscape. I want to capture the entirety of the landscape in the way it is possible since I don’t need a zoom lens. So in that basis I don’t need the Mavic 2 Zoom drone for the zoom functionality because I’m a landscape guy and I’m not too bothered about the picture quality of the Mavic 2 2 Pro because I’m getting great results from my older Mavic 1 Pro drone or Mavic Air. So there is no reason to upgrade.

On the other hand if you are in the habit of filming subjects like people, animals, cars whatever you might find value in the creative opportunity that a zoom lens gives you.

So these are two fantastic drones and if you have either of them you’ll be lucky to have them. Hopefully, that gives you some kind of perspective as to what these Mavic 2 Pro and Zoom drones are for as filmmaking tools and you can figure out which one is more useful for you.

If you’re buying a drone for the first time based on all that stuff we’ve discussed you might figure that a cheaper Mavic Pro or Air is a good drone for you. In my hands I would get beautiful results from these older versions as well. I’m not trying to downplay the new drones but at the same time I just want you to understand it’s what you do with it that counts.