DJI Air 2S modes | Easy reference guide

With each iteration of drone technology comes a dizzying array of new flight modes, intelligent flight modes, advancing shooting modes, and Gimbal and camera modes. Determining which modes are best suited for your desired effect cannot be very clear. In this article, we will go through everything you need to know about DJI Air 2S modes and give you a quick reference guide for each one.

DJI’s new DJI Air 2S modes include active track 4.0, Spotlight 2.0, point of interest 3.0, and advanced pilot assistance 4.0. The flight modes include normal, sport and cine modes, and there are a huge variety of advanced shooting modes to capture every scene.

The DJI Air 2S is a fantastic drone with many potential use cases. The camera is amazing and incredibly good at capturing photos and videos in low light situations.

To get the most out of your drone, you will need to be familiar with every type of mode that comes with your DJI Air 2S.

Flight modes

The DJI air 2S has three flight modes. It also has a fourth flight mode that the aircraft switches to in certain scenarios. The flight modes can be controlled by toggling the physical switch on the remote control.

Here is a rundown of every mode you need to know about.

Normal

You will almost certainly be using normal flight mode for most of your flying. The aircraft utilises all of its vision systems and global positioning systems to locate its position and allow it to stabilise its flight. When the GPS is weak, the drone can use vision systems to locate itself.

The maximum flight speed in this mode is 15 m/s.

Sport mode

In sports mode, all of the systems are optimised for agility and speed.

The drone is much more sensitive to joystick movements and has a maximum flight speed of 19 m/s.

It is important to note that all vision systems are disabled in the sports mode. The disabled vision system means the aircraft cannot sense obstacles on its route and will not give you warnings if you are too close to obstacles.

Another important aspect to remember is that the aircraft’s braking distance is significantly increased in sports mode. It would be best to leave a distance of 30 m when breaking in windless conditions.

Overall, this mode makes the drone much more sensitive, and the drone will move much larger distances with smaller stick movements. You must leave adequate space for manoeuvring during your flight.

Cinemode

This mode is similar to normal mode; however, the flight speed is limited. This mode is perfect for those seeking much more stable and smooth flights for capturing cinematic footage.

ATTI mode

The drone will automatically change to ATTI mode when the vision systems are unavailable, or the GPS signal becomes weak.

Attitude mode is abbreviated as ATTI. GPS sensors, global navigation satellite systems (which means the drone will wander with the wind), and object avoidance sensors are deactivated in this mode. An onboard barometer keeps the plane level and maintains its altitude.

This mode can be turned on manually and is designed to capture smoother footage, fly indoors, or prevent flyaways in the event of a lost GPS connection or compass issues.

To find out more about ATTI mode, check out my other article, where I go through everything you need to know in full detail.

Intelligent flight modes (FocusTrack)

The DJI Air 2 also has several different intelligent flight modes. These intelligent flight modes include Spotlight 2.0, active track 4.0, and point of interest 3.0.

These intelligent flight modes make it perfect for pilots seeking to follow or highlight a particular subject by keeping it in the centre of the frame. It enables you to focus on flying the drone with the help of the onboard software.

Utilising all of these modes follows a similar process:

  1. takeoff and of at least 1 m above the ground
  2. drag a box around the subject in the camera view using your smartphone or smart device
  3. this process enables Focus Track
  4. the default mode in this setting is Spotlight, but you can change between Spotlight, active track, and point of interest
  5. tap the record button to take photos.

To stop the aircraft at any moment during focus track, can rest the flight pause button on the remote control or tap the stop button in the DJI fly App.

The intelligent flight modes can struggle if the subject is not moving on a level playing or it drastically changes shape while moving. If the tract subject is on a snowy surface or has a very similar colour or pattern to the surrounding environment it may lose track of where the subject is.

Active Track 4.0

Active track has two modes:

  1. Trace. In this mode, aircraft tracks the scene’s subject at a constant distance. The maximum flight speed in normal and cine modes is limited to 12 m/s. The aircraft can use all its sensing abilities in pitch stick movements but cannot sense obstacles on the side. In sports mode the maximum speed is 19 m/s, and the aircraft cannot sense any obstacles since the visual positioning system and the sensors have been switched off.
  2. Parallel. In this mode, the drone tracks the subject of the scene at a constant angle and distance from the subject’s side. In normal and cine mode, the maximum speed is 12 m/s; in sports mode, the maximum flight speed is 19 m/s. A word of warning, the aircraft cannot sense obstacles while in parallel mode.

Spotlight 2.0

Spotlight mode allows you to manually control the aircraft while the camera remains locked on the scene’s subject.

You can move the roll stick to circle around the subject, move the pitch stick to alter the distance from the subject and move the throttle stick to change the altitude. You can also pan using the pan stick movement to adjust the shot’s framing.

It is a very useful mode and is something that I have used a lot to focus on flying the drone safely whilst maintaining a great shot.

Point of interest 3.0

The point of interest tracks the subject in a circle based on the radius and flight speed set. I love this mode because it can support static and moving objects such as vehicles, boats, and people.

The drone’s altitude will not change if the altitude of the subject changes, and if the subject moves too fast, the lock on the subject may be lost.

Advanced shooting modes

The DJI air 2S also comes with various advanced shooting modes to make your photography and cinematography fun to capture. These include master shots, hyper-lapse, and quick shots.

Master shots

Master shots is a fantastic new initiative in the drone market. The drone keeps the subject in the centre of the frame while executing several popular manoeuvres to generate a short cinematic video automatically.

It would help if you did not use master shots when the subject is blocked or outside the line of sight for extended periods, when the subject is in the air when the subject is moving very fast, or if the subject is very similar in colour or pattern to the surroundings.

The master shot settings will also not work well in incredibly high or low light.

Hyperlapse

Hyperlapse is a relatively new addition to the DJI ecosystem and comes in varying modes.

Free

The aircraft automatically takes photos in free mode and generates a time-lapse video. The free mode can be used while the aircraft is on the ground and after takeoff. If you are generating a hyperlapse shot in free mode, you can control the movement of the gimbal angle of the aircraft using the remote control. Here is how you use free mode:

  1. In the app, set the interval time, video duration as well as the maximum speed of the drone. The screen will show you how many photos will be taken and how long the shooting will take.
  2. Tap the shutter and record button to begin.

This mode also has cruise control where you can set the programmable button to trigger a mode where the aircraft will fly at the same speed resulting in a much better hyperlapse video.

Circle

In circle mode the aircraft will automatically take photos while flying around a selected subject.

Courselock

Course lock mode can be used in two ways. The first way sets the aircraft’s orientation, but a subject cannot be selected. And secondly, the orientation of the aircraft can be fixed, and the aircraft flies around a subject.

Waypoint

Using the waypoint mode, the drone will automatically take photos on a flight path between two and five waypoints preselected and set by the pilot. You can tell the drone to fly from waypoint 1 to 5 or do the reverse – 5 to 1.

 

Quickshots

Quickshots have been a fun addition to the DJI ecosystem of drones for a long period. I have used them repeatedly to capture some very simple but effective drone shots that have helped improve the quality of my videos.

Using these modes is very simple and automatically generates a short video that can be viewed, shared, or edited from the playback area of the app.

Dronie

Fly backward and upward, with the camera locked on your subject. I use this one all of the time and it results in a brilliant shot for almost anything.

Rocket

Ascend with the camera pointing downward, keeping the subject in view.

Circle

The drone circles around the subject keeping a fixed distance away (does not move with the subject)

Helix

Fly upward, increasing heigh while spiralling around the subject.

Boomerang

The drone flies backwards around the subject in an oval path, rising as it flies away from its starting point. It then descends as it flies back in. For this shot, allow at least 30 m around the aircraft and at least 10 m above the aircraft.

Asteroid

The drone flies backwards and upward. It takes several photos and then flies to its starting point. This mode creates a “little planet” type of shot. The video generated starts with a panorama of the highest position of the drone and then shows the descent to the focal point. For this shot you should allow at least 40 m behind and 50 m above the drone.

Gimbal operation modes

The drone is also able to operate with two gimbal modes. It can have follow me mode as well as FPV mode.

Follow mode

Follow mode means that the angle between the Gimbal’s operations and the aircraft front remains constant. This mode is perfect for steady shots and keeping subjects in the frame as you are flying toward them.

FPV mode

This mode synchronises the Gimbal with the movement of the aircraft to provide a first-person flying experience. Perfectly suited for when you want a little bit more excitement for your drone flying experience and the excitement of seeing what the drone is doing at all times.

This mode puts you in the pilot seat and can be a fantastic way to test your drone abilities.

Summary

In this article, we have discussed all of the important DJI air 2S modes you need to know about.

There are so many different modes that it can be very confusing to navigate. However, knowing exactly what modes are available to you as a drone pilot and regularly training yourself in their use will make your flights much more rewarding.

I don’t always use every single mode that comes with my drone but knowing that they are there means that I can quickly execute various manoeuvres and capture various shots easily.

When the drone battery is draining quickly, some of these modes may save you from wasting time framing and manoeuvring your drone for the optimum shots.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones. His favourite is still the DJI Mavic Air for the portability and functionality packed into a small and portable drone!