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The new Parrot Anafi is now available. Will you buy one? Or are you leaning towards the Mavic Air? Maybe you own the Mavic Air and are wondering if you should buy the Anafi too. We’ll try to give you the facts, and a little bit of our opinion too to help you decide.
Parrot claims that the Anafi camera performs better in low light because of the HDR feature. I wouldn’t buy it for this reason alone since it’s not been tested to prove this theory yet. I can only assume that it’s just as good as the Mavic Air, not necessarily better.
This is the first drone Parrot has come out with that can shoot 4k video. The BeBop maxed out at only 1080P, and the stabilization was completely digital. Their new drone, the Anafi uses a gimbal with 3 axis stabilization. Although it has 3 axis total, the 3rd is still digital for yaw. In contrast, the Mavic Air has 3 axis stabilization including yaw, which makes it much better at stabilizing the drone. This will make a big difference in the professional quality level of your videos.
Here’s where we see the biggest selling point of the Anafi. It has the ability to tilt the camera upward or downward by 90 degrees without the propellers or the frame being in the shot. That’s a full 180 degrees! Think of the shots you could get with that. Let’s say you’re flying underneath something. You can point the camera straight up and get a new perspective that’s not possible with the Mavic Air.
Although both of these drones can shoot 4K video at 30 fps, there’s a lot of other specifications that make them different. For instance, the Anafi has a 1/2.4’’ 21MP CMOS Sony® Sensor compared to Mavic Air which has a 1/2.3” 12-megapixel CMOS sensor. Also the Anafi has a slightly faster shutter speed at 10,000 fps, while the Mavic Air is 8000 fps. This makes it a little better for getting some good action photos.
If you’re going to be shooting slow motion video, the Mavic Air is capable of shooting at much higher frame rates. For example the Anafi can shoot 1080p at 60 fps. Whereas the Mavic Air can shoot 2.7K at 60 fps and 1080p at 120 fps. This gives you a lot of flexibility when you want to slow down action shots.
The Anafi has the ability to zoom in and out while you're recording video. It can zoom 1.4X in 4K and 2.8X in full HD (1080p) The Mavic Air does not have a zoom feature so if this is important to you, well, that’s one more box to tick for the Anafi.
The Anafi is made of carbon fiber filled with empty glass beads. Will this make it strong enough to resist a crack upon a crash though? That remains to be seen. It’s lightweight coming in at only 320 grams compared to the Mavic Air at 430.
The Anafi controller actually weighs more than the Anafi drone. I don’t know if that matters but I can say that I usually like a controller with a little bit of weight to it so I don’t feel like I’m holding a cheap toy. The Mavic Air controller is physically smaller than the Anafi controller when it folds up. This makes it more compact for traveling.
The Anafi remote has a gimbal slider, zoom slider, and shutter button on the remote. The Mavic Air doesn’t have zoom so you don’t have a slider but you would not want to zoom anyway because their would be too much of a loss in quality with the smaller megapixel count of the sensor.
Both drones fold up for easier storage and transport. The Mavic Air folds into a nice compact size that can pretty much literally fit in your pocket. This is Parrot’s first foldable drone, and although it does become smaller, the Anafi has a longer shaped design.
Even when folded, it wouldn’t really fit into the average sized pocket. Think of a water bottle. Would you really want that in your pocket?
The Anafi’s biggest flaw is that there are no sensors for obstacle avoidance. The Mavic Air has 6 obstacle avoidance cameras—two in the front, two in the back and two facing downward. So although the Anafi is going to have a lot of the same smart features like follow me and tracking, the Anafi is not going to avoid obstacles while it’s tracking subjects.
Or if you tell it to return to home and you are not high enough in the air, it could crash into things on the way back. Many people are saying this is not that big of deal as they don’t use it most of the time anyway.
Another argument is that it fails a good percentage of the time. But for less than pro operators, I feel this is a must. This drone is not targeted at the pro. It is targeted at the consumer that may not have that much experience flying. An inexperienced person could get into situations where they lose connection with their drones, and it will automatically return to home. This is where the obstacle avoidance feature is a really big must have.
The rumor is that some of the inflight features on the Anafi may require an in-app purchase. They did that in the past with the BeBop. Let’s hope this is untrue. I think people would be very unhappy when they expect to use the advertised features right out of the box and then find out they have to pay more money after just spending $700.
A few other minor things are that the Anafi uses wi-fi between the controller and the drone which could reduce its range. To be fair, the Mavic Air does too, and it does just fine in most situations. Neither of these drones will have a super strong signal like Ocusync on the Mavic Pro.
I’m not sure how well the Anafi gimbal will be protected during storage. If it’s in the case, I think it will be fine but if you do try to stuff it in your pocket, then maybe not so much. During flight, it should be fine due to the design of the frame protecting it on both sides.
As I mentioned earlier, the Anafi has a full 180 degree gimbal. Although the Mavic Air can go faster in Sport Mode than the Anafi (Mavic Air about 40mph and the Anafi about 30mph) with the Anafi, you should be able to go full speed while keeping the camera looking straight ahead or even slightly upward. You can’t do this with the Mavic Air. As you accelerate, the front of the Mavic will tilt downward. The faster you go, the more downward it will point. Eventually the gimbal will not be able to compensate for that angle so straight ahead shots at full speed are impossible.
Parrot has implemented many of the same features and characteristics on their Freeflight 6 app as DJI has on the DJI Go 4 app. They have improved or added to the tap to fly by adding Flight Plan. You can basically look at the map and tap points where you want the drone to fly. You can even tell it to do something when it gets there such as POI, which flies a 360 around an object.
It’s basically being able to make a pre programmed flight plan so all you have to do is sit back and wait for it to return home. This is a great feature for filming a video tour of a city. Hopefully this is all included with the initial purchase. I should point out that the Mavic Air has the ability to use 3rd party apps that can do the same thing and even more.
A few last things are that the Anafi seems really easy to unfold. The Mavic Air was a bit awkward to unfold at first, although I quickly got used to it. The Anafi controller has a USB-c port so you could actually charge and fly at the same time. The controller has no power button because it turns on automatically when you open it up. I’m not sure how it turns off. I can only assume it goes off automatically when the drone turns off, or after some predetermined time of no usage.
So who should be looking at purchasing the Anafi? This drone is perfect for people going on vacation that want something light, quiet, with an excellent camera. Because it has such great zoom capability, it’s great for people who need to film a subject close up but can’t physically get super close.
If you need to be able to take shots at a 90° angle up or down, then the Anafi is the only drone in this price range that can do that. If you want to save a little bit of money and are willing to sacrifice a few features such as obstacle avoidance, but get really great camera quality, then the Anafi might be for you. Lastly if you really just want something different than DJI, then here’s an option for you.
Some people seem to have an issue with the price of the Anafi. I think the price is fine for what you’re getting. True it doesn’t have the obstacle avoidance or any other extra sensors, but it does have a few features that the Mavic Air does not have.
And it’s still priced less than the Mavic Air by about $100. It’s possible it may come down to $499 or so by the holiday shopping season depending on what DJI has up its sleeve. According to the Parrot website, it should be available to ship July 2nd. So what do you think? Which one would you go with, the new Parrot Anafi, or the Mavic Air?
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