DJI FPV vs Air 2S: Which one to choose?

DJI has a fantastic array of drones in their current lineup. They are continually pushing the boundaries of what is available and capable with a consumer-level drone. As the technology and electronics become smaller and cheaper to manufacturer, customers see an explosion of new drones at excellent prices.

The DJI FPV is better for those seeking fast flying with their drone and pushing their piloting capabilities. The Air 2S is better suited to those wanting to capture incredible photos and aerial footage of their drone adventure.

DJI has recently released its first first-person view (FPV) racing and photography drone. The DJI FPV combines incredible manoeuvrability and speed with an excellent camera attached. Many drone owners rely on the slow and steady movement of a drone to capture cinema level footage. The FPV drone takes content to a new level by allowing the drones to be much more nimble and speedy.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you want to use your drone for and if you are using it for photography and video or looking to have much more fun with your drone.

Why you are flying

Choosing between the DJI FPV vs Air 2S means that you need to understand exactly what each drone offers and what you want to do with the purchase drones. There is one obvious difference between these two drones in their use cases.

One is better suited to photography and video, whilst the other is suited to more racing and high-speed drone flying.

Photography and video

If you plan on using the drone for photography and video purposes, I recommend buying the DJI Mavic Air 2S.

This drone is an all in one drone that allows you to capture up to 5.4K video and has an impressive 1 inch CMOS sensor. It may be the best option for you with obstacle sensing in four directions and DJI’s famous master shots (where the drone automatically captures some of the most popular cinema-grade shots).

The bigger sensor can go up to 4K video at 60 frames per second. This high level of frame capture means that you’ll get awesomely smooth and awe-inspiring slow-motion footage without any doubled frames.

The large image sensor means that you’ll also be able to capture a depth of colour and detail that will be amazing to look at on the biggest of screens.

If you are flying at night, you can even capture amazing footage in low light situations. The intelligent HDR technology combines multiple shots for greater depth. Revealing details in the darkest and the brightest areas of the shot.

This power, combined with the hyperlapse and panoramic shots, means you’ll never be short of ideas for creative video capture.

Racing and stunts

Due to the advances in drone technology, DJI has created a racing drone that provides an immersive flight experience to capture the flight in stunning detail.

DJI has created an FPV drone with a unique design that is completely streamlined and made for speed and agility.

If you are in the market for a next-level drone that combines incredible and exciting agility with capturing cinematic footage, the DJI FPV may be perfect.

One of the biggest differences between this drone and the DJI Mavic Air 2S. Is that you are completely immersed in the flight by using the DJI FPV goggles V2. It provides a super-wide 150° view and has a high definition video transmission at up to 120 frames per second for an ultra-smooth and real-time monitoring of your flight.

This drone offers a range of flying modes for beginners to experience flying.

  • S mode – is a hybrid flight mode that combines the freedom of flying manually with simplified controls like older models of DJI drones.
  • N mode – offers immersive flight with traditional drone flight control such as obstacle sensing
  • M mode – gives you full manual control, and you can even customize the parameters. The acceleration is from 0 to 100 km/h in only 2.0 seconds.

Should your drone get out of control, it has an emergency brake option and will stop and hover at the push of a single button.

The powerful propulsion of the DJI FPV drone and the awesome camera capabilities make it an incredible option for people who want to take their drone flying to the next level and dominate the manual control of a drone.

If these two rundowns of different use cases have not quite allowed you to make up your mind, here are a few important specifications that you can use to decide between DJI FPV vs Air 2S.

Specifications

Choosing the best run few can sometimes be complicated as there are many specifications and aspects to consider when deciding on the best drone for you.

Here are all of the best and most important features of each drone to work out what is for you.

Form and performance

SpecFPVAir 2STLDR
Take off weightApprox. 795 g595 gThe Mavic Air 2S is much lighter
Dimensions255×312×127 mm (with propellers) 178×232×127 mm (without propellers)Folded: 180×97×77 mm (length×width×height) Unfolded: 183×253×77 mm (length×width×height)The FPV drone is boxy but smaller without propellers but cannot be folded like the Air 2S
Max Flight Time (no wind)Approx. 20 mins (measured while flying at 40 kph in windless conditions)31 minAir 2S has a greater flight time
Max Hovering Time (no wind)Approx. 16 mins (measured when flying in windless conditions)30 minAir 2S has a greater hover time
Max Flight Distance (no wind)16.8 km (measured while flying in windless conditions)18.5 kmMaximum distance is longer with the Air 2S
Max Flight Speed (near sea level, no wind)140 kph; M mode: 39 m/s (27 m/s in Mainland China) S mode: 27 m/s N mode: 15 m/s19 m/s (S Mode) 15 m/s (N Mode) 5 m/s (C Mode)The maximum speed of the FPV drone is much higher in all but N mode.
Max Wind Speed Resistance39-49 kph (25-31 mph)10.7 m/sBecause of the greater motors the FPV drone has a greater wind resistance.

Because DJI has focused on the performance and speed of the FPV drone, it is much more agile and capable of greater top speeds because the extra motor power has a much higher wind speed resistance and can deal with very fast-moving winds.

If you are looking for a small portable drone, the Mavic Air 2S is much better because it can be folded into a smaller form factor. You also don’t have to carry the goggles with the 2S.

I would choose the Mavic air 2S if I were looking for a drone capable of capturing photos and videos without having to worry about running down the battery too quickly. However, if I wanted to add a lot of excitement to my flight, I would go for the FPV drone.

Camera

Many individuals purchase a DJI drone to create incredible images and movies.

The hardware carried by the drone is crucial to capturing the perfect photo. Because, unlike some other DJI drones, the cameras on these drones cannot be hot-swapped, you must ensure that the camera that comes with the drone is suitable for your use.

Here is a comparison of the cameras carried by the DJI FPV and the Air 2S.

SpecFPVAir 2STLDR
Sensor1/2.3” CMOS Effective pixels: 12 million1″ CMOS Effective Pixels: 20 MP; 2.4μm Pixel SizeFPV has a larger sensor.
LensFOV: 150° 35mm Format Equivalent: 14.66 mm Aperture: f/2.8 Focus Mode: Fixed Focus Focus Range: 0.6 m to ∞FOV: 88° 35 mm Format Equivalent: 22 mm Aperture: f/2.8 Shooting Range: 0.6 m to ∞FPV has a much larger field of view
ISO Range100-12800  Video: 100-3200 (Auto) 100-6400 (Manual) 10-Bit Dlog-M Video: 100-800 (Auto) 100-1600 (Manual) Photo: 100-3200 (Auto) 100-12800 (Manual)Better control with the Air 2S
Still Image Size3840×216020 MP 5472×3648 (3:2) 5472×3078 (16:9)Much larger images with the Air 2S
Video Resolution4K: 3840×2160 at 50/60fps FHD: 1920×1080 at 50/60/100/120fps5.4K: 5472×3078 @ 24/25/30 fps 4K Ultra HD: 3840×2160 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps 2.7K: 2688×1512 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps FHD: 1920×1080 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60/120 fps MP4/MOV (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.265/HEVC)Greater option of video resolution and a higher resolution with the Air 2S
Digital ZoomNone4K/30fps: 4x; 2.7K/60fps: 4x; 2.7K/30fps: 6x; 1080p/60fps: 6x; 1080p/30fps: 8xZoom available on the Air 2S.

In pretty much all of the camera settings, the DJI Air 2S wins. If you are buying a drone to take incredible footage and share that online or in other media, the DJI air 2S is perfect for your use.

The wider field of view of the DJI FPV is much better when you are flying your drone and is the standout feature of the camera.

Gimbal

because the two drones are used for different reasons, they have different stabilization. The DJI FPV drone has a single axis Gimbal with electronic stabilization for the roll axis.

Nothing is more frustrating than pressing the capture button and getting a shaky video or photo.

SpecFPVAir 2STLDR
StabilizationSingle-axis (tilt), electronic roll axis3-axis (tilt, roll, pan)Equal
Mechanical RangeTilt: -65° to 70°Tilt: -135° to 45° Roll: -45° to 45° Pan: -100° to 100°DJI Air 2S is better
Max Controllable Speed (tilt)60°/s100°/sDJI Air 2S is better
Controllable RangeTilt: -50° to 58°Tilt: -90° to 0°(default); -90° to 24° (extended)DJI Air 2S is better

The Gimbal of the DJI Mavic air 2S will result in better photos and videos with greater control of framing options and the DJI FPV. However, the electronic roll axis of the FPV drone can give you relatively smooth footage but less control in the direction the camera is pointing.

Once again, if the use case of the drone is for taking photos and videos, I would purchase the Air 2S.

Sensors

It’s critical to keep your drone as safe as possible while it’s in flight, so you should look at the sensing system that comes with it. I’ve flown my drone in various settings, and the detecting system has saved me from crashing into trees, buildings, and people on several occasions.

While looking down at the screen, it’s easy to forget that the drone is flying in 3D, and the detecting system will give you peace of mind by preventing you from colliding with overhanging branches or obstructions.

SpecFPVAir 2STLDR
ForwardPrecision Measurement Range: 0.5-18 m Obstacle Sensing: Available in N mode only FOV: 56° (horizontal), 71° (vertical)Precision Measurement Range: 0.38-23.8 m Effective Sensing Speed: ≤15 m/s Field of View (FOV): 72° (horizontal), 58° (vertical)Both will keep you safe
BackwardnonePrecision Measurement Range: 0.37-23.4 m Effective Sensing Speed: ≤12 m/s Field of View (FOV): 57° (horizontal), 44° (vertical)Mavic air to S is better
DownwardToF Effective Sensing Height: 10 m Hovering Range: 0.5-15 m Vision Sensor Hovering Range: 0.5-30 mToF Measurement Range: 0.1-8 m Hovering Range: 0.5-30 m Vision Sensor Hovering Range: 0.5-60 mBoth will keep you safe
UpwardnonePrecision Measurement Range: 0.34-28.6 m Field of View (FOV): 63° (horizontal), 78° (vertical)Air 2S has better obstacle avoidance
Downward Auxiliary LightSingle LEDSingle LED  Equal axillary light

If you are a beginner drone pilot, it makes complete sense to purchase the Mavic Air 2S. The Mavic Air 2S has a much better obstacle avoidance system which will keep you safe in complex 3D environments with overhanging branches.

Too many sensors would render the DJI FPV less fun to fly because it would stop you from getting too close to obstacles. Getting close to objects and flying past them gives the DJI FPV drone an awesome sense of speed when viewed through the first-person view stream.

However, the FPV drone has a single downward-pointing LED light to help with return home and auto landing. One of the most important safety features that you can get in a drone.

Battery

For the DJI FPV drone to have enough power, the battery must be much heavier and have larger cells to power the motors. However, the DJI Mavic Air 2S has a much larger battery capacity, resulting in a longer flight time.

If you want to take your time and frame shots and get the perfect angles and positioning for aerial photographs having a much larger battery will give you the breathing space to do it properly.

SpecFPVAir 2STLDR
Capacity2000 mAh3750 mAh / 3500 mAhMavic air has a higher battery capacity
Battery TypeLiPo 6SLiPo 3STwice the number of cells in the FPV
Weight295 g198 gFPV drone lettering heavier

Other considerations

There are some other very important considerations you need to make if you decide between the DJI FPV and the DJI Air 2S.

The extra components that come with the DJI FPV also require charging, storage, and transport to the flight area.

Remote control

The DJI FPV remote control features an antenna for communicating efficiently with your fast-moving drone. It does not have an onboard screen. The battery life is approximately nine hours and is one of the longest battery lives of any DJI remote control.

The FPV drone also has an optional DJI motion controller that allows you to manoeuvre the aircraft based on natural hand motions. It is a completely new way to fly a drone and can result in incredible fun.

On the other hand, the Air 2S has an intuitive remote control with the opportunity to add a screen via your smart device. It has a lifetime of approximately six hours which is more than enough to fly multiple battery lifetimes.

Goggles

The remote control of the DJI FPV drone does not have a screen. It relies on using the goggles to view the first-person view video stream. In some locations, you cannot legally use goggles because you need to maintain a visual line of sight. This rule is true in Australia, where I am based.

On the other hand, the Mavic Air 2S has a spot for you to use your smart device (either a smartphone or tablet) to view the first person view video stream.

Summary

Choosing between the DJI FPV drone and the Air 2S can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re looking for in a drone. If you are looking for a standard foldable drone with incredible photography and videography capabilities, the DJI Air 2S is perfect.

For those looking for a little more thrill and adventure with their drone, the DJI FPV drone is fantastic for flying fast and performing stunts. The camera certainly is not lacking in this drone, and you can still capture some great photography, but it is geared towards the flying experience.

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!