Honest opinions on the DJI Air2S

dji 13 Jun 2021

I'll start with defining honest: I've flown 6 DJI aircraft over the years, and paid for them myself.

The Air2S is their latest aircraft, offering the small size of the Air2, with a (the?) 1" sensor from the incredible Mavic 2 Pro. Lose the variable aperture, lose mass, price, and the sideways obstacle avoidance. Video modes have improved (hello, 4k 60), too, however it doesn't have Hasselblad's 'Colour Science' (which I imagine is a software license).

The Bad

Controller connectivity and transmission

This is bad. When at the edge of the controller's range, instead of being cut off from the aircraft, and return to home initiated, the video feed has several seconds of lag introduced, which is a PITA for the RPIC. (Me.). Sure, it has a claimed 2km range increase in the FCC domain over the Air 2, but I don't believe it's a usable 2km: I think it's a best case scenario, dry air, no interference 2km. Whilst one might be tempted to think this is a moot point due to the maximum range being defined by line of sight, this issue presents a lot closer to the controller. I've triggered it following hill lines, which is far from ideal.

In an ideal world, this would be fixed by decreasing the tolerance for RTH initiation, back in line with the Air 2: tacking 2km onto the transmission range, and then having an unreliable connection to the aircraft is unacceptable.

GNSS connectivity bug

More than once, it's been unable to connected to a constellation, despite showing 12-13 satellites connected. A power cycle later, and it behaves as one would expect, so clearly further finessing to be done.

Lenticular clouds forming over an occluded front, over Napa, CA (C) Ze Stuart 2021

The Good

It's a $1000 flying camera with a 1" sensor, incredible stability, wind resistance, and image quality. It's light, too, which makes carrying it on long hikes a lot more comfortable. It was the camera I had on me when I saw some lenticular clouds forming over an occluded front, and it produced this image, which I'm satisfied with.

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