DJI released another version of buzzing flying thing with a camera this April. DJI Mavic Air 2 is a clear step up from previous version – Mavic Air. Camera has changed a lot; new improved features such as 4k 60fps and 4k 30fps HDR-video. For stills drone uses 1/2 inch CMOS-sensor either 12Mpix or 48Mpix with fixed aperture of f/2.8. That fixed aperture is the main reason why we are now talking about Neutral Density and Polarization filters (ND-PL) and why to use them.
What is ND-PL filter and why to use it ?
In short; ND and PL filters are used to manage/limit the light going thru the lens to the sensor. As Mavic Air 2 has fixed aperture this is crucial thing to achive smooth, cinematic videos with lower shutter speeds, usually 1/50 or 1/100 (double the framerate of the video). Polarization helps to reduce glare and reflection. Polarizer also enhances the contrast thus giving some “punch” to the colors. There are some minor drawbacks: Because of the nature, polarizer might create some interesting effects to image, for example darker areas on the sky – but in my opinion this is just matter of taste.
Haida NanoPro ND-PL filters
Haida has once again created nice set of filters on one package. Both filtering features; Neutral density and polarizer are combined to one filter. Built quality is high both on filter mount and rotaring filter. I did compare the Mavic Air 2`s builtin-lens protector to Haida`s filter and didn`t see any extra flares on photos. Yes, there is some but only when you where shooting straight to the setting sun. On daylight I didn`t see any disturbing flares. Another technical feature worth mentioning is that filter does not produce any kind of color cast – tones stays neutral and looks pure! Glass has multicoating so it should protect from dirt and moisture.
Mounting is easy; just twist and turn the drone`s protecing filter and it will pop out. Put the filter mounting holes and twist it back. Unless you didn`t catch my words – Haida`s package includes mounting instructions.
Package includes ND8-PL, ND16-PL and ND32-PL. ND8-PL reduces light three stops, for example 1/500 shutter speed reduces to 1/60. On my tests i used ND8-PL as I was shooting on late evening near sunset. ND16-PL reduces light by four stops so 1/500 changes to 1/30 and ND32-PL reduces light by five stops so 1/500 changes to 1/15. Both ND16 and ND32 are suitable for brighter daylight.
Filter mounted on DJI Mavic Air 2
Package includes plastic card with exposure information to help out on choosing correct filter for the current lighting conditions.
Plastic case with padding and the filters
Couple of samplephotos with basic editing done: color temperature, contrast, sharpening and minimal denoising. These photos and the video are shot with ND-PL 8.
4k 30fps HDR-video samplefootage: Mavic Air 2 with Haida NanoPro ND-PL8
Haida product page: Haida NanoPro ND-PL Kit
Local dealer in Finland: Digitarvike