The DJI FPV2 ‘hybrid’ drone can race as well as take aerial photos with its Hasselblad camera system

After years of developing some of the world’s leading aerial drones, DJI debuted the Avata last year, their first-ever ‘FPV’ racing drone… and that got designer Kim Seung-cheol asking – Why must there be separate drones for aerial photography and first-person racing? Why can’t one drone successfully do both? To that end, the DJI FPV2 does the unthinkable by being the world’s first ‘hybrid’ drone capable of FPV racing as well as stabilized aerial photo and videography, thanks to its clever design that borrows the best from both worlds.

Designer: Kim Seung-cheol

The FPV2 drone doesn’t have a radically different design, but rather relies on a few tweaks to its appearance and control system to give it the power of rapid directional flight as well as controlled hovering for stable videography. It relies on a leaning propeller format that’s ideal for FPV-style racing drones. The propellers are located at a slant and positioned diagonally, making the drone look like it’s bending forward. This is perfect for allowing the drone to lunge ahead as it takes off, giving it a significant advantage when racing with other drones or when trying to reach high speeds. However, for aerial photography and videography, the drone simply leans backwards, allowing the propellers to now be parallel to the ground. The gimbal-mounted camera makes up for this while in aerial photography mode.

As an obvious upgrade to its Avata and Mini lines, the FPV2 has a new dual-lens camera system powered by Hasselblad (a partnership continuing from their collaboration on the Mavic 3). Quite similar to the Air 3 drone, the FPV2 has a dual-lens gimbal-mounted camera that can look in all directions for filming sceneries, focusing on subjects, and racing. This doesn’t include the multiple cameras located around its periphery for tracking its environment, avoiding objects, and navigating routes.

A large, easily replaceable battery powers the FPV2, allowing you to quickly hot-swap modules to keep your FPV2 running without downtime for charging. The battery’s mass and its rear location help it counterbalance the drone’s forward-leaning stance, or rather the inverse. The drone races forward with a raised back, preventing the battery pack from dragging it down or influencing its course.

To accompany the drone, Kim Seung Cheol also designed a new set of MR goggles and a controller handle. The compact goggles come with their own pass-through cameras, and sport flip-out antennas for better signal during flight (especially FPV racing). A cushioned headrest with a built-in battery keeps the equilibrium of the headset while also ensuring you can wear it for longer hours without feeling any strain.

Given the immersive nature of the MR headset, the FPV2 also comes with its own RC Motion 2-inspired handheld control that you can intuitively use to maneuver your drone while in flight. The single handheld controller has a gyroscope that detects when it’s being tilted forward or backward, translating that into instructions for the drone to follow. A trigger lets you accelerate, while a joystick gives you more precise control. A large button on the front marked M lets you alternate between racing and aerial modes.

What really gives the FPV2 its edge is the case it comes in, which doubles as a massive battery pack for the drone, controller, and MR headset. Think TWS earbud charging case but bigger and better. Designed to hold your gear when not in use, the carrying case also juices your device batteries while giving you a battery status indicator in the bottom right corner, so you know which particular gizmo needs a recharge.

What the DJI FPV2 proposes isn’t too radical. Some drones are built for racing, others for stabilized content creation… so why not build a drone that can do both? It’s not like the hardware is massively different between the two drone types, and as far as the overall design goes, I’m sure both functions can be achieved within a specially tuned form factor. Maybe DJI is working on something like this, it’s difficult to tell. The company hasn’t debuted a Gen-2 of its Avata FPV drone, so we’re due for an updated racing drone from the consumer/professional-grade UAV manufacturer.

DJI Mini 4 Pro drone packs Mavic-style flagship features into a mini-package with a $759 price tag

Dubbed by DJI as the “ultimate mini drone”, the DJI Mini 4 Pro gives you the greatest specs in the smallest package yet, with a compact folding design that weighs under 250 grams, making it narrowly avoid FAA guidelines that require you to register drones above 250 grams in weight. That small size, however, doesn’t take away from this drone’s mammoth capabilities – it packs a main camera with a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor capable of 4K/60fps HDR, a bunch of other cameras that give it situational awareness and advanced object avoidance, and the ability to record in both landscape as well as portrait modes. Borrowing from its flagship counterpart, the Mavic series, the Mini 4 Pro now also supports shooting in 10-bit D-Log M and HLG color profiles, and lets you set waypoints and activate cruise control while flying. With a starting price of $759, the Mini 4 Pro gives you flagship-grade features for less than half of the price.

Designer: DJI

Even by today’s standards, the Mini 3 Pro is quite a banger of a drone, but with the Mini 4 Pro, DJI just checks all the boxes to make sure there’s really no more room for improvement. The Mini 4 Pro arrives with a slew of upgrades, with a particular focus on its camera and processing capabilities. Notably, it now supports slow-motion recording at up to 4K@100fps, a substantial leap from the previous generation’s 1080p@120fps. If you’re looking for a higher dynamic range, the camera outputs HDR videos at 4k/60fps, giving your footage stunning crisp details with balanced yet vibrant colors. Want to switch from cinematic to social content? The camera flips 90° to record in true portrait mode, utilizing every pixel on its 1/1.3″ sensor instead of cropping the sides like most drones would.

“The Mini 4 Pro perfectly marries professional-grade capabilities while keeping its hallmark lightweight design, offering unmatched freedom and adaptability,” says Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director at DJI. “This drone emerges as the ultimate all-rounder, designed to elevate your creative toolkit.”

Low-light performance takes a significant step forward thanks to a new sensor equipped with dual native ISO, permitting the use of a secondary (higher) ISO setting to minimize noise. DJI has also incorporated an upgraded noise reduction algorithm within a Night Shots video mode, further enhancing the quality of footage captured in low-light conditions. Additionally, DJI has even introduced a wide-angle accessory lens, offering an expansive 100° field of view, available for separate purchase. This lens seamlessly attaches to the camera, akin to how Moment lenses enhance smartphone photography.

Range enthusiasts will appreciate the enhanced capabilities of the Mini 4 Pro, courtesy of the new O4 video transmission system, which now supports up to 1080p/60fps FHD at distances of a whopping 20 km. While keeping the drone within visual range remains essential, this upgrade fortifies signal strength against radio interference and unforeseen obstacles. On the software front, DJI has also introduced the Waypoints and Cruise Control features to the Mini 4 Pro, a welcome addition previously exclusive to the professional-grade Mavic line. This empowers users to program their drones to follow predefined paths or maintain a direct flight trajectory without constant manual input. You can save camera paths for later, or even draw camera paths with your finger directly on the app or the controller display, guiding the camera in the most intuitive way possible – with your fingertips.

The one area where the Mini 4 Pro somehow holds back is in the battery department. The drone ships with a standard battery that delivers 34 minutes of flight time, which can be upgraded to 45 minutes with the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus. This new battery, unfortunately, pushes the drone above the 250g mark, forcing you to register the drone with the FAA if you want to operate it legally. The Intelligent Flight Battery Plus also delivers 2 less minutes of flying on the Mini 4 Pro than the Mini 3 Pro, which could output 47 minutes.

For those considering the Mini 4 Pro, the base package retails at $759, which includes the DJI RC-N2 Remote Controller (requiring a smartphone), Intelligent Flight Battery, a pair of propellers, and the usual assortment of cables and accessories. An alternative package with the RC 2 controller is available for $959, offering the same contents. For the ultimate flight experience, the Fly More Combo (featuring the RC 2 controller) is priced at $1,099 and encompasses three batteries, three pairs of propellers, a DJI Mini Shoulder Bag, and a Two-Way Charging Hub. Enthusiasts seeking extended flight times can opt for the Fly More Combo Plus, which includes the upgraded batteries, priced at $1,159.