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.

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.

Click following link to see our filter recommendation: Mavic Air ND filter set

So if you want to have that professional and cinematic looking footage, click the image and learn how to do it!

NOTE: Check out our article if you would like to know When and How to use ND 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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13 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.

  3. Hi Marko,
    I have problems with recording videos in 4K. The screen shows me the following error message:
    Download Failed
    Only 1080P or 720P videos and JPEG
    Photos can be downloaded. Use a USB
    cable or SD Card Reader to download
    4K videos and RAW Photos

    Is this message normal, what is wrong with this?

    Thanks in advance

    • Are you by any chance trying to download 4k videos and RAW images via Wi-Fi directly to your phone/tablet?
      If so, it’s completely normal to receive that message.
      Use your PC to handle those files.

  4. Hi.

    I have a DJI Mavic Air and I’ve been filming in 4K30fps, ISO 100, Shutter speed 1/60. Lots of times even with the ND16 filter the image is too bright (overexposed). I wanted to use a ND32 filter when this happens but in the DJI’s ND filter set there is only the ND4/8/16. Do you have any tips to solve this problem?

    Thank you in advance

    • Hey there!

      There are a few options for your problem:

      1. Shoot 2.7k at 60fps with shutter at 1/120. You don’t lose much picture quality but you cut light in half. You can always convert it to 30fps footage in post, and as a plus, you are able to get some nice slo-mo as well.

      2. You can buy an ND32 filter alone. On the Amazon search page, I only found this one as a single ND32 filter: https://amzn.to/2XLc9Mj
      It’s a bit pricy for a single filter, I know, but it’s the best quality filter out there.

      3. Sell your DJI set, and get a full set from some other manufacturer. I have a set from PGY Tech, and it was great for me! high quality and great packaging with a magnetic lid.

      Check out the comparison here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuQDRw4lOVI

      PGY Tech ND filters: https://www.gearbest.com/rc-quadcopter-parts/pp_1670800.html?lkid=19997745

      I hope to hear from you soon and to see what you decided to do!

      Have a nice day!

  5. Hey,

    Thanks for the great advice! My image quality is so much better now!

    Just one question. If I set the shutter speed as advised, do I need to manually adjust the ISO also or is there a way to manually adjust the shutter speed and leave the ISO in auto?

    Cheers!

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