DJI Mavic Pro is perfect for anyone who needs a small, light, highly portable 4K camera drone that’s super-simple to fly and shoot. Its arms fold in so you can easily place it in a backpack, making it ultra convenient to take it with you anywhere.
Faster and more maneuverable than its Phantom cousins, you can fly the Mavic using the included compact controller or your smart phone.
However, if you’re really serious about aerial photography / videography, the Phantom 4 and specially its Pro / Pro+ version, have superior camera features and a wider field of view perfect for landscape shots, plus superior durability due to its heavier, stronger frame.
The Mavic is smaller, lighter, and easier to carry with you thanks to its foldable design. Its new OcuSync transmission system has a longer transmission range and 1080p resolution. Due to its larger size, the Phantom 4 has a higher maximum speed and can withstand stronger winds.
The two cameras have the same features, but the Mavic’s camera has a smaller FOV, is able to focus as closely as 0.5m and can be rotated 90° for portrait shots and selfies. The Phantom 4’s larger FOV makes it better suited for landscape imaging.
In high winds, the Mavic seems to hold its position better, but the video doesn’t look as stable as the Phantom 4. This is mostly because the Mavic has a narrower field-of-view, so any movements of the drone are more noticeable.
The Phantom has a higher top speed, which allows the aircraft to keep its speed better when going into the wind.
The videos from the Mavic don’t come out with as much digital sharpening as the Phantom 4, but if you add some sharpening in post-production the video looks just as sharp.
The Mavic’s camera doesn’t have a fixed focus like the Phantom 4. This means you need to tap what part of the image you want to be in focus while in the DJI Go App.
The Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro both have obstacle avoidance functionality, Tap Fly, and Active Track, but the Mavic has a few new tricks up its sleeve. It can identify rocks, railings, and other obstacles when landing, which means it won’t land unless it feels that the landing area is safe enough.
The Phantom 4 Pro is on an entirely different level compared to the Phantom 4 and Mavic Pro. It has cameras in the back and infrared sensors on the sides to give it 360-degree obstacle avoidance. With all of these new sensors, you can now fly backward, forwards and even sideways with more confidence that you won’t crash. It can also travel 10MPH faster in than the other two drones with obstacle avoidance turned on.
Besides the safety benefits, the Phantom 4 Pro also has a new intelligent flight mode called Draw. In this mode, you literally draw a line on the screen, and the go app will generate a flight path which it then overlays on the screen. Using the draw mode, the drone will fly on a set path, and you’re free to pan and tilt the camera.
For most of the general population, the cheaper, easier-to-use Mavic is going to be the best bet, but serious hobbyists and professional photographers and filmmakers will find the new features of the Phantom 4, and specially the upgraded Phantom 4 Pro/+ model, hard to match since the camera is so much better and the added sensors can really save you one day.
Check out this great side-by-side comparison of the new Mavic Pro vs. a Phantom, by the guys at FliteTest: