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DJI Mini 2 Australian review: Extra zoom, amazing in wind

News Corp Australia

WHEN DJI launched its Mavic Mini drone packed with so many features in a device weighing less than 249 grams, the tech world was suitably amazed.

Version two is even more stunning with the capability to take incredible 4K stabilised video and 12 megapixel photos that you could easily use professionally.

Upgraded motors have given it a flight time of up to 30 minutes, faster acceleration and overall speed and the ability to withstand winds of up to 38 km/h.

We tested it on a mountainside, as a storm was just about to roll past.

The wind was gusting, at times prompting high wind warnings on our display.

But despite its small size and very light weight, DJI Mini 2 held its own beautifully.

We kept it pretty close by but still didn't have a sense that it was going to fall out of the sky any time.

One of our first flights was in much calmer conditions over a beautiful boat-dotted river on the Sunshine Coast.

The colours below were captured beautifully without the need for any fancy editing.

And that's the beauty of the DJI drones. While video enthusiasts can spend hour colour grading and editing your production, you don't need to.

The DJI Mini 2 put to the test.
The DJI Mini 2 put to the test.



We simply grabbed the scenes we liked, sped up some of the footage, cropped in a little tighter on some shots, added some music and we had a package we were happy to post to social media.

Of course, there are a myriad of settings you can change while you are shooting if you are trying to achieve a certain look.

The drone interface is easy to use and there are some extra new features to play with, including being able to zoom into your subjects more.



Shooting at 1080 or in HD, you are able to zoom in up to 4x times (digital) or two times in real optical terms.

That means you can get shots with more impact, without breaking the rules about how close you might be flying above objects or people.

The DJI Mini 2 takes some great panoramic images.
The DJI Mini 2 takes some great panoramic images.



The DJI Mini 2 has vastly improved transmission  technology which means in theory you could fly it a lot further while still getting video back of what you are shooting.

But the drone is super small, so it's easy to lose in the sky.

We found ourselves using the return to home function quite a few times after losing the drone in the sun during shoots in the middle of the day.

DJI has done a really good job in providing tutorials and YouTube videos to help beginner pilots get safely in the sky.

There is a strong emphasis on following local regulations, as well as lots of practical tips to avoid trouble.

Given its small size, it is ideal for beginners but you should start in an open field well away from people to get a feel for how it works.

DJI Mini 2 captures plenty of colour and you can ramp it up in quick editing modes.
DJI Mini 2 captures plenty of colour and you can ramp it up in quick editing modes.



One of the first things that will surprise you is how fast it can fly - and how quickly it can turn.

What many love about it is how easy it is to carry around with you.

It folds into an incredibly compact design while a new rubber harness ensures the propellers are tucked away safely while you are on the move.

Compared to the original model, the remote is much larger but is very comfortable to hold and operate.

Once you plug in your phone, you are presented with a very easy to use interface to control everything from launching the drone, to changing from video to photo mode.

You also have easy access to an array of different shooting modes.

The DJI Mini 2 did a good job in fading light to pick up this scene of friends playing basketball.
The DJI Mini 2 did a good job in fading light to pick up this scene of friends playing basketball.



On the screen, you can easily see how far away your drone is, how high you are flying, how much battery life you have left and you are given a warning when you should return your drone.

GPS is used to track the position of your drone while when it's time to land, sensors on the bottom map out the ground below and assist in landing.

The DJI Mini 2 put to the test.
The DJI Mini 2 put to the test.



There are no obstacle sensors at the front or back of the drone so collision with a tree or other objects is more likely than with higher end models which have better obstacle avoidance systems to help you avoid a disaster.

That said, if you fly conservatively and keep well above water and other hazards, you shouldn't have too many problems.

Safety features include GEO fencing, which keeps drones out of sensitive areas  like airport zones. There is also AltitudeLock, an adjustable limit on how high the drone can fly. 

The 1/2.3-inch sensor is capable of recording 12- megapixel images and a maximum video resolution of 4K/30fps @100 Mbps.

The DJI Mini 2 drone takes some stunning video and photos.
The DJI Mini 2 drone takes some stunning video and photos.



For those who are into editing their images, you can not only save in JPEG but also in RAW format, providing more options in post production.

The footage is super smooth thanks to a 3-axis gimbal, which compensates for drone movement.

A word of warning, though, it's always a good idea to check your horizon in your first shoots. If it looks crooked, you might need to calibrate the gimbal, which can you do either on the ground or during the flight itself.

As well as the extra zoom in functionality, the Mini 2 has the usual array of QuickShot modes which allow even novices to capture beautiful footage with set movements.

DJI Mini 2 captured some stunning photos and video in the late afternoon over this dam.
DJI Mini 2 captured some stunning photos and video in the late afternoon over this dam.



They include

  • Dronie: DJI Mini 2 flies backward and upward, with the camera tracking your subject. Set  a height limit of 40, 60, 80, 100, or 120 ft.
  • Helix:  Drone flies upward and away, spiraling around your subject. Set a height limit  of 40, 60, 80, 100, or 120 ft.
  • Rocket: Drone flies straight up into the air with the camera pointing downward  following your subject. Set a height limit of 40, 60, 80, 100, or 120 ft.
  • Circle: DJI Mini 2 will circle around your subject at a constant altitude and distance. o Boomerang: DJI Mini 2 flies a boomerang-like oval flight path around your subject,  starting and stopping video in the same place.
  • Panoramas: Capture a wider perspective with select pano modes.
  • Sphere: Drone automatically captures twenty-six images and stitches them together  for a crystal-clear image.
  • 180°: Captures seven photos for sweeping landscape images.
  • Wide-Angle: Captures a wide 3x3 image consisting of nine images.
  • AEB Triple Shot: Auto Exposure Bracketing (AEB) takes three images of varying exposure  and merges them for a vivid image. This can be edited further to bring out a High Dynamic  Range (HDR) image in post-processing. 

The DJI Fly app and DJI Mini 2 have many enhancements that make sharing  immediately on social media easy.

Now, your cell phone can connect directly to the drone  without the remote controller, and after capturing the footage, download images at a high speed rate of 20 MB/s once landed safely.

Once the images are downloaded to your phone, you can apply your  own edits with the dedicated editing tools in the DJI Fly app or use the new Enhanced Photo option.

DJI Mini 2 can be purchased in two options. The standard package includes DJI Mini 2 aircraft,  remote controller and one battery for the retail price of $A749.

The better value Fly More Combo includes three batteries, charging hub, DJI Mini 2 aircraft, a carrying case and remote controller for  the retail price of $A949.