The Best Camera Settings for DJI Mavic Air

Why should others have better video quality than you?

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The Mavic Air is the smallest foldable drone that DJI has built to this date. It has some awesome features when compared to DJI Mavic Pro (Mavic Pro vs. Mavic Air comparison), but even though the camera is very similar the best settings are not.

In this article, we are going to cover each segment of those settings, and after reading this you will hopefully understand everything.

So let’s begin.


There are Photo and Video settings in the DJI GO 4 app, but we are going to focus on best camera video settings for the Mavic Air.

Optimal Camera Settings Mavic Air

There are 5 categories:

  1. Video Size
  2. Video Format
  3. White Balance
  4. Style
  5. Color

 

 

 


Video Size


Mavic Air Settings VideoFor video size we recommend using the highest possible settings. Why? Well simply because that way the sensor of the camera is fully utilized and the camera receives the most visual information that way.
So our suggestion is 4k at 25fps (Frames Per Second).

NOTE: We use 25fps because it is easy to calculate the framerate and the shutter speed with different ND filters. Article about that is coming in future and will be linked HERE.
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That being said if the situation requires a bit of a slow-mo, feel free to go with 2.7k at 50fps. 2x slower when converted to 25fps footage. You will get smooth slow-motion with still crisp high-quality footage.


Video Format


Best Video Settings DJIThere are only two options in Video Format settings and basically, those options are pretty useless.

Quality-wise MOV and MP4 are the same. They are only containers for the AVC/H.264 image compression.

MOV was initially developed by Apple as a file format for QuickTime, and thus it lives mostly in the Apple ecosystem.
MP4 was later developed from the MOV, and it is the industry standard nowadays and has more widespread support than MOV.

So basically if you really want to choose: if you are using Apple devices only, go with the MOV, otherwise go with the MP4.


best accessories for the dji mavic airDon’t miss our article on the best accessories for your Mavic Air

 


White Balance


NOTE: Never set this to Auto. You don’t want it changing in the middle of the video.

Cinematic footage DJi Mavic AirWhite balance should be set by current weather conditions. So pick one of the presets (they work really good), or make a custom WB profile with your preferences.

Let’s quickly go through each of the presets:

Sunny – When it’s sunny outside
Cloudy – When there are a lot of clouds and no direct sunlight
Incandescent – When there is candlelight or bulb light in the scene (flying indoors)
Fluorescent – When there are neon lights in the scene

 


Style


Best Camera Settings DJI Mavic AirSo, basically, forget these presets. You want to set this to custom with following preferences:

1. For easy workflow, and nice straight-from-the-camera raw footage:

Sharpness: 0  |  Contrast: 0  |  Saturation: -1 

2. For a bit more professional look and with post-processing, we suggest:

 Sharpness: 0  |  Contrast: -3  |  Saturation: -2 

NOTE: Don’t forget to put the contrast back on later, because we chose -3 to shoot with.


Color


Style Color SettingThis is something new with the Mavic Air, because we only have 2 options: Normal and D-Cinelike.

Always go with D-Cinelike.

The footage has a much more dynamic range and you have much more freedom in post-production.

In post, you would first do the color correction as desired. Then you can use any professional video or image editing software for more details like Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere Pro or can use any Plug-in Color Finale for advanced color settings and grading.

So whether you just want a quick shot or you are a pro, D-Cinelike is the way to go.


Shutter Speed


The Shutter speed should be set so the shutter is the inverse double of your frame rate. For example, if you are having a frame rate of 25fps at 4k, your shutter should be 1/50s.

But there is one problem… At most light conditions the image will be overexposed at these settings. This is solved with ND Filters.

NOTE: If you would like to know When and How to use ND Filters, check out our article.

ND Filter Mavic Air
PolarPro filters for DJI Mavic Air

These filters limit the amount of light that enters the camera thus allowing you to set a lower shutter speed while maintaining good exposure.

They are really a must-have accessory.

So if you want to have that professional and cinematic looking footage, click the image and learn how to do it!
Don’t misuse the filters.

Compares ND Filter on Drone Footage ISO

BONUS: Choose the right time!


Choose the right time for shooting with appropriate light.
Very cloudy and extra bright days are not recommended. Too dark scenery or too high-contrast shadows don’t look good at all on the video.

The recommended time for shooting is mornings at sunrise and time during and after sunset. The well known “Golden Hour“.

So even though using the right ND filter can produce good effects even when you are shooting on extra sunny days, it is better to choose the right time.
Professional settings and approaches should be taken if you want your footage to look great.

NOTE: Lightly lit mornings and evenings produce a certain magical effect!


So there you go. Our take on Best settings for your DJI Mavic Air.

We hope this helped you. If you have any opinions on this, please leave a comment.
And if you would like to be notified when we publish useful articles like this one, please join the Newsletter below.

Fly Safe.


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8 COMMENTS

  1. I recommend you add something about recommendations that physically slow and smooth the craft’s movement, such as tripod mode, cinematic mode and/or setting the gimbal gain very low.

  2. You can have a lot of fun with the Mavic Air out of the box. However, if you bought it for taking pictures and video then you ll definitely want to use the settings above. They will make a big difference. After I changed my settings in Iceland and saw the first video afterwards I had a big smile on my face. I was finally happy with the camera on the Mavic Air.

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