Beyond its foldable design (more on that
below), the Mavic Pro boasts a ½.3-inch
CMOS sensor with a native ISO of 100-
3200 for video and 100-1600 for stills. It
can record 4K (4096 x 2160) at 24p or 30p
video at 3840 x 2160. For faster moving
subjects you can bump frame rates to 96p
when shooting in full HD or up to 120p
when shooting at 1280 x 720 resolution.
The camera sports a 28mm f/2.2
equivalent lens and sits on a 3-axis gimbal.
The Mavic can snap 12-megapixel RAW
still images in the DNG format. You’ll have
some basic control over exposure settings
through the DJI Go app (iOS and Android).
Beyond its imaging features, the Mavic
Pro is the beneficiary of a number of DJI’s
automated flying modes. Those modes
include TapFly, which sends the drone off
smoothly in the direction you tap on the DJI
Go app, freeing you to focus on adjusting
the camera. A Gesture Mode enables you
to take aerial selfies (which we’re calling
“dronies” now, apparently) by waving at
the camera to trigger the shutter. There’s
also a Tripod Mode to slow the drone’s
movements to give you greater control.
It boasts five sensors (two forward
facing and three aimed to the ground)
to create 3D obstacle maps during
takeoff and flight. These sensors ensure
that the Mavic Pro will automatically
“It’s really built quite nice,” Patiño tells us.
The focus markings are large and easy to
read at a quick glance. The focus ring has a
nice, slow long pull which makes it easier to
dial in a precise manual focus.
Patiño did say he wished the lens offered
the ability to de-click the aperture.
Patino used the Laowa 12mm to shoot several
architectural exteriors. The lens is able to keep
images sharp at the center but at apertures
below f/11 we spotted some noticeable softening
of sharpness on his 5DS files out toward the
edges of the frame. Out at the edges, the image
degraded enough in some of our test shots that
it almost looked like camera shake (the camera
was on a tripod and triggered remotely).
Even at around f/5.6, near the center of the
lens there was some loss of sharpness at 100
percent. We compared the lens to images Patiño
had taken with his Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8
and found the Tamron did a much better job
resolving details out to the corners of the frame.
That said, there was very little chromatic
aberration, and what we did find was quickly
removed in Lightroom. The Laowa also
delivers on its promise to deliver a mostly
distortion-free image. What wide-angle
warping you will inevitably experience is
quickly flattened in Lightroom. For one
assignment, Patiño had to shoot an exterior
angle of a commercial property on a major
road, but the lens’ wide angle of view enabled
him to stand close to the building (and out of
traffic) and still capture the entire exterior.
The Laowa 12mm lens is less than half the
cost of Canon’s EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM
and Nikon’s AF Nikkor 14mm f/2.8D ED.
However, Canon’s lens supports autofocusing.
The closest competitor would be Rokinon’s
12mm which is slightly less expensive (list
price of $500) but delivers a more pronounced
fisheye effect. Given that Patiño’s wide angle
needs are pretty well covered with his Tamron
SP 15-30mm and the Laowa’s difficulty
resolving all the pixels of the 5DS, he says he
would pass on this particular lens. But for
architectural and real estate shooters in the
market for a wide-angle prime that won’t
break the bank, it could be worth considering.
GEAR & TECHNIQUES PRODUCT REVIEWS
Venus Optics Laowa 12mm f/2.8
PROS: Well built; low cost; smooth
CONS: Not super sharp for high res
DSLRs; no autofocus.
DJI MAVIC PRO
The arc of technological
progress bends toward
DJI wasn’t the first
company to glimpse
the potential of foldable
drones, they’ve had the good
fortune to be among the first to
market with one that didn’t
have to be recalled.
We turned the tiny Mavic Pro over
to N.J. photographer and director
David Patiño ( www.davidpatino.com)
to see if size really does matter.
Despite its lightweight construction, the manual Laowa 12mm isn’t shoddily built.
The Mavic Pro’s size is an absolute
game changer, allowing you to easily
transport a drone to any location
with minimal fuss.