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DJI FPV vs. Air 2S (Here’s My Choice)

Hi, and thank you for checking this comparison article.

In the grand journey of searching for the perfect drone, we want to share an unlikely comparison between two similarly priced drones, the DJI FPV and DJI Air 2S.

Coming from different worlds but sharing the same manufacturer, these drones are remarkable in different ways for what they’re designed to do.

I love flying FPVs, but I also fly GPS drones often. If you’re weighing between these two drones, I can help you choose between the DJI FPV and Air 2S. 

Which drone is better?

If you’re looking for a drone for professional photography and videomaking that offers many safety features and intelligent modes, look no further than the 1-inch CMOS DJI Air 2S.

However, if you’re looking for a challenge and a thrill while capturing the most outstanding videos, then the DJI FPV should be your target.

Let’s break down this topic and compare these drones to help you choose the right one without spending your hard-earned money on the wrong one.

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Brief Overview

DJI FPV

FPV drones are the thing of the future. But DJI didn’t join the big leagues of manufacturing FPV drones until January 2021, with their first FPV drone, the DJI FPV.

Although DJI is known to be the cutting edge in technological advancement where they introduced digital transmission, DJI FPV was a pleasant surprise for many pilots. This is the drone to look for if you’re seeking simplicity to get into FPV.

By now, we’re approaching the drone’s 3rd birthday. And yet, it’s here for us to compare because, even today, it’s the kind of drone that made this hobby more accessible to many.

Of course, as I have mentioned in other articles, I use the DJI FPV regularly and fly it at medium to long range to create cinematic content. I simply love it; it’s a great drone with both good and bad points.

So, what kind of features does the DJI FPV have?

  • It’s the first FPV drone to feature flights in manual (acro mode) as well as in normal and sport modes like standard GPS drones. DJI Avata also shares the same feature.
  • It’s meant for fast and long-range flights with the possibility to freestyle and even race.
  • This drone offers an unparalleled flying experience when using the FPV headset. It provides an adrenaline boost and an immersive dopamine release as users see what the drone sees in VR. 
  • It’s the first FPV drone to share a feature called “Emergency Brake.” With a push of a button, the drone will come to an instant stop, switch to normal mode, and hover – best to use when you lose control of the drone.
  • The DJI FPV has strong motors and can carry a GoPro or similar action camera for creating better cinematic content.
  • It offers an easy way to get into FPV without dealing with complex setups, connection protocols, firmware incompatibilities, Betaflight configurations, and dangerous LiPo charging. It’s a simple turn-on-and-fly FPV drone.

» MORE: DJI FPV – How to Take Off and Land (Step-by-Step Guide)

DJI Air 2S

In terms of camera quality and price, the DJI Air 2S was the king of the “best bang for your buck drone.”

It’s not the latest “Air” drone and was surpassed by the DJI Air 3 in many scenarios, but not camera-related (except that the Air 3 has two cameras).

Nowadays, many drone pilots like me choose to fly the Air 2S just because of the large 1-inch CMOS sensor, which is made for low-light and night photography with great dynamic range. The Air 3 cameras have the 1/1.3-inch CMOS.

But the DJI Air 2S has more to offer.

Here are some of the top perks of this drone.

  • The large 1-inch CMOS is not found on similarly priced drones, not from DJI or other manufacturers. It’s the cheapest option for getting into professional filming and photography, even at night.
  • The Air 2S features OcuSync 3.0, which is excellent for flying long-range with decent interference penetration. This drone can also fly for up to 31 minutes.
  • As a beginner, you will love the 4-way obstacle avoidance system. It may not be as good as the omnidirectional one found in Air 3 or DJI Mini 4 Pro in the price range, but we need to make a compromise for the camera quality.
  • The DJI Air 2S has many intelligent flight modes, from Active Track with follow-me mode to QuickShots and Waypoints

» MORE: DJI Air 2S – A Complete Real-World Review

Quick Verdict

Let me get straight to the answer you’ve come for if you’re in a rush.

Here at Droneblog, we write reviews and comparisons based on personal experience, expertise, and knowledge; we have nearly all the big-brand drones, so you can rely on our recommendations.

If you’re a beginner or professional photographer, want a drone for commercial work, or simply want to take the less-risky approach, the DJI Air 2S is the drone for you.

But if you’re looking for challenges to fly something fast and capture some unique cinematic videos, and you already have at least basic knowledge of flying drones, then the DJI FPV is what you’re looking for.

Just a warning: The DJI FPV has a steep learning curve if you want to fly in manual (acro) mode, and you’ll have to undergo training for many hours behind an FPV simulator in order to fly it.

» MORE: DJI Avata vs. DJI Air 2S (Here’s my Choice)

What are the main differences?

Because these drones are designed for different types of pilots and objectives, we should expect quite a few differences between them.

Here’s how these drones stand out from each other:

  • Flight Difficulty: The DJI FPV is an FPV drone with a different flight style in manual (acro) mode than the DJI Air 2S, which shares the standard GPS flight style. Flying DJI FPV is more complex than the Air 2S, but not in normal or sport modes.
  • Camera: The DJI Air 2S 1-inch CMOS is more than twice as large as the one found in the DJI FPV, 1/2.3 inch CMOS. And not to mention, the DJI Air 2S can film in 5.4k at 30fps, while the DJI FPV films in 4k at 60fps.
  • Features: The Air 2S boosts many intelligent functions and safety features that the DJI FPV lacks. In terms of features found in FPV drones, the DJI FPV has some advantages, but not over the Air 2S.
  • Transportation: When we’re looking to carry these drones around, remember that the DJI Air 2S is foldable and takes up less space than the DJI FPV drone, which does not fold. You also need extra space for the DJI Goggles.
  • Flight Experience: While the DJI Air 2S flies like a standard drone (DJI Mini 3 Pro, Mavic 3 Pro, etc.) and you’ll see the image via the phone screen or RC screen, the DJI FPV gives you an immersive experience where you see the live view at low latency, good resolution, and high framerate via the compatible goggles.

» MORE: Autel EVO Lite Plus vs DJI FPV (Here’s My Favorite)

DJI FPV

I love my DJI FPV drone. I simply love it, but that’s because I’m an FPV kind of person who loves flying such drones.

If you get into FPV, expect to develop an obsession and rarely look back at flying standard drones. FPV has so much to offer, just like this drone.

My DJI FPV drone stands on the desk just to remind me to pick it up and go outdoors to fly it. It’s not stored in long-term storage like some other drones I have. It’s one I often use, and I take advantage of it.

But I’ve been lucky because I’ve never crashed it so far. 

» MORE: Update DJI FPV Drone (Step by Step Guide)

Flying FPV, especially with the DJI FPV, comes at a higher risk of crashing your drone because you won’t take advantage of any kind of safety features (except for the emergency brake). 

If you consider freestyle with the DJI FPV, then you almost guarantee crashing the drone if you don’t have a rich FPV background.

And yes, you will basically control the drone in the most “manual” way possible (of course, we’re still talking about flying it in acro mode) without relying on any sensors to level the drone, hover, stabilize it, or use the anti-collision sensors.

But the adrenaline it gives me when I fly this drone – I cannot share this with you because there are no words to describe it. Sometimes, you forget you’re flying the drone, and your brain thinks you’re up there. 

Do you have motion or height sickness? Then I guess this drone may not be for you. 

When I gave my partner a pair of goggles to watch what I saw when I was flying the drone, after a big dive with my DJI FPV, I heard her scream at me and take the goggles off.

She has never tried them since and remained just an observer of me having fun!

Yes, I have a lot of fun.

But I also measure risks and put the drone’s and others’ safety first. While I sometimes try to beat my own records, I have to think: What if I crash this drone? Not even a puzzle expert can put it back together.

DJI FPV Combo
$999.00

Enjoy crystal-clear real-time and HD Low-Latency Transmission video, even at distances of up to 6.2 miles.

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03/07/2024 09:22 am GMT

DJI Air 2S

As to sharing my personal experience, the Air 2S doesn’t give me the same tunnel vision as the DJI FPV. But as a professional photographer, I often want to capture the best photographs I can.

Right now, while I’m writing this article at 07:00 AM and I look out of the window on the hill nearby and see the low-level clouds and the late autumn tree colors, all I’m thinking of is to grab it and take some incredible shots, because this drone is capable of doing just that.

And no, I’m not considering any other drone because not many have the camera quality to compare with that of the Air 2S (unless you’re going for the Mavic 3 series).

» MORE: Can You Fly DJI Air 2s at Night? (Explained)

But overall, the DJI Air 2S is a much better drone than the DJI FPV for beginners, even if you don’t consider flying manually.

From obstacle avoidance to the many other things I can do with the intelligent modes, they sometimes help more than a lot to get the footage I’m looking for. 

Here at Droneblog, many of us are commercial drone pilots. We’re pretty picky about which drones find a spot in the commercial fleet.

But somehow, the Air 2S is there because it’s more than a fantastic drone.

It may not be the lightest (under 250 grams), but the camera sensor makes the distinction in getting the shots we need in places where we can’t fly other drones or they’re unavailable to be used.

DJI Air 2S Fly More Combo
$1,249.00

Drone with 3-Axis Gimbal Camera, 5.4K Video, 1-Inch CMOS Sensor, 4 Directions of Obstacle Sensing, 31-Min Flight Time, Max 7.5-Mile Video Transmission, MasterShots, Gray

Buy from Amazon
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03/07/2024 05:16 pm GMT

Head-to-Head Comparison

Camera System

Winner: DJI Air 2S

Once or twice I’ve mentioned how good the DJI Air 2S camera is. Is it really that good?

Absolutely. And no, I’m not trying to convince you of anything, but the sensor size is even larger than the one found in the newest DJI Air 3. 

Of course, the Air 3 has two cameras, so they sacrifice the sensor size to maintain the price. However, in terms of image and video quality, dynamic range, resolution, and capabilities, the DJI Air 2S camera stands out.

So, with the 1-inch CMOS, not many drones have such sensors. Maybe the Mavic 3 line with their 4/3 Hasselblad, which is more than double the price, or the Autel EVO Lite Plus, which does share a similar sensor.

But I always felt the Air 2S was more than I needed, at least for now.

Do I actually have to mention the DJI FPV camera? I’m not ashamed of it, but it is far below today’s standards.

It has a 1/2.3-inch CMOS. It is not that great with the dynamic range, and I always struggled a bit to post-process my videos, even if they’re filmed in D-Cinelike.

But in this case, we have to remember that the DJI FPV camera should be used mainly for live feed.

This comes from an FPV pilot: Please use a GoPro or similar action camera on top of the DJI FPV drone because it works fantastically, and you can capture the best shots you can in manual mode. But it’s ineffective if you’re going to fly in normal or sport modes only.

So, if you’re going to have or already have the DJI FPV drone, I can’t say the camera is the worst of all.

In fact, it’s not. It’s okay, and I love that I can film in 4k at 60 frames per second and then post-process or slow down parts for some bit of slow-motion effects. 

But if you’re looking for more framerate, then you’ll have to drop to full HD for 120FPS, while the Avata has 120FPS at 2.7k and the DJI Air 2S… well, at the same FHD resolution.

» MORE: Camera Technology in Drones (Explained)

Performance

Winner: DJI FPV

In the past couple of years, DJI drones have continued to improve, and now they are stable and can be used without issues, even by beginners.

We can rely on their high performance and features. 

But if we have to choose between these two drones, I do consider that the DJI FPV has better flight performance than the DJI Air 2S.

Here’s why.

Regarding wind resistance, flying an FPV drone in acro mode depends not on the drone’s stability but on its weight, aerodynamics, and motor strength.

As I have said in another article, I would be brave enough to fly the DJI FPV drone in manual mode in some extreme weather, even in winds beyond 60mph. The DJI FPV’s wind resistance is advertised as a maximum of 31 mph when flying in normal mode.

Here’s another big win for the DJI FPV drone.

The DJI FPV can reach speeds up to 87 miles per hour and accelerate to 60mph in less than two seconds. The DJI Air 2S can’t fly faster than 42 mph in sport mode.

The DJI Air 2S is very stable when flying the drone, and the footage is smooth because of its 3-axis mechanical gimbal. However, the DJI FPV is also very stable when flying in normal mode, although it only has a single-axis gimbal. 

Moreover, the DJI FPV has a unique aerodynamic shape (“potato”) that is advantageous for flying smoothly and steadily at any speed without issues.

» MORE: DJI Air 2S in Extreme Weather (Explained)

Smart Features

DJI RC and Air 2S Compatibility (Explained)

Winner: DJI Air 2S

The DJI Air 2S has a great follow-me mode with Active Track and APAS 4.0. 

Although I’m not the kind of person who often uses automated functions when flying drones (I love to be in control of the drone and not let a computer make the decisions for me), they’re there to be used at any time with ease and great accuracy.

On the safety features side, the Air 2S has 4-way obstacle avoidance sensors that work seamlessly with the follow-me mode when flying in normal mode.

Note: The DJI FPV is the first and only FPV drone in the world to offer frontal anti-collision sensors. They’re not useful when flying in manual mode, but if you’re a beginner flying in normal mode, you can take advantage of these sensors.

The only two smart features we can think of on the DJI FPV are the emergency brake we spoke about earlier and the automatic return-to-home feature.

Having an RTH module in an FPV drone is a big win. And considering that DJI produces excellent return-to-home modules that work with great accuracy (as compared to custom modules), there’s yet another win for DJI FPV, especially if you fly long-range.

Of course, the DJI Air 2S also has a return-to-home function. But it has more. So much more in terms of intelligent processes, quick flight modes, and automated operations. 

DJI FPV lacks any of those.

» MORE: DJI Air 2S Intelligent Flight Modes (Step-By-Step Guide)

Flight time and range

Winner: DJI Air 2S

We have to give this point to the DJI Air 2S. Not because the DJI FPV cannot fly long-range – in fact, it’s made for this kind of flight, and I love to do so.

But the DJI Air 2S can also fly long-range because of the OcuSync 3.0 transmission system, and the battery will last a lot longer.

Although it’s not comparable with 45+ minute batteries found in the DJI Air 3 or Mavic 3 drones, DJI advertises the Air 2S to be able to fly for up to 31 minutes.

In reality, to return the drone safely and land at a decent percentage without the risk of this drone falling out of the sky, we should expect to fly for about 24-25 minutes.

On the other side, the DJI FPV can fly for up to 20 minutes, and that’s it. In manual mode, expect to fly for 12-13 minutes at most. 

That’s a little bit low, isn’t it?

No, it’s not. 

In FPV, we usually fly these drones for 3 to 7 minutes and rarely more. That’s because the Lipo batteries are smaller, the drones are much faster, drain a lot of amps, and are really snappy when we accelerate.

Now, the 12-13 minutes in manual mode is a big win for DJI FPV, but it’s less than ideal if you’re looking to enjoy having the drone in the sky for as long as you can.

» MORE: Long Range Drones: Ultimate Guide

RC Compatibility

Winner: DJI FPV

This section should be a tie, but I would be inclined to give it to DJI FPV. And here’s why.

I have the DJI FPV with the DJI FPV Remote Controller 2 and the DJI FPV Goggles V2.

Sadly, the DJI FPV Remote Controller 2 is the only ‘normal’ RC compatible with this drone. But you can also use the DJI Motion Controller and DJI RC Motion 2.

On top of that, we have the original DJI FPV Goggles V2, which are absolutely fantastic. But the DJI FPV is also compatible with the DJI Goggles 2 from Avata and the newest DJI Integra.

So, the DJI Air 2S is compatible with the DJI RC-N1, DJI RC, and DJI RC Pro remote controllers.

If we’re looking only for controller compatibility, the Air 2S could be a winner without considering the DJI FPV’s motion controllers.

But because the DJI FPV drone is widely compatible to be used with multiple goggles and, of course, motion controllers, this counts as more than what the DJI Air 2S offers.

DJI Air 2S’s compatibility with the DJI RC Pro surprised us all because that professional remote controller “should be” compatible only with the Mavic 3 series.

Some of us at Droneblog have the DJI RC Pro, which is fantastic to use with the DJI Air 2S. However, this controller costs as much as the drone itself.

Now, with the new DJI RC 2 and RC-N2 featuring the OcuSync 4.0, we may never expect compatibility with the Air 2S. But lately, DJI has released accessories and parts for the DJI FPV and Avata like hotcakes that, surprisingly, are all compatible with DJI FPV.

So, seeing another pair of goggles or a remote controller that works just fine with the DJI FPV shouldn’t be a surprise. 

» MORE: DJI Goggles 2 vs DJI FPV Goggles V2 (Explained)

Flight Experience

Winner: DJI FPV

Without any doubt, even if I’m always inclined to promote the FPV experience or not, this point goes to the DJI FPV.

It’s simply incredible what you see through the goggles when you fly the DJI FPV in manual mode at over 60 miles per hour, cruising at a few feet above the ground and inches from a significant impact. 

The adventure of flying DJI FPV and any FPV drone simply cannot be compared with flying standard drones, not now, not ever.

As a side fact, I keep in touch with many FPV pilots on social media and groups. All of them, like me, have a background in flying standard drones.

But all of them share the same opinion: once they got into FPV and learned the mechanics of flying such drones, whether we’re talking about DJI FPV or any other FPV drone, they could fly standard drones only as a necessity but not for fun anymore.

FPVs are more fun and pleasant to fly than standard drones at a factor of 10, and this is not only my opinion. Ask any FPV pilots, and you’ll find out for yourself.

So, if you’re looking for the best flight experience, adrenaline, and pleasure when flying a drone, go FPV and pick the DJI FPV so you have the controller and goggles that are also fully compatible with Avata.

If you further want to get Avata as your first cinewhoop drone, you can use the same goggles and controller with it – you’ll only need to buy the drone and nothing else.

» MORE: FPV Acro Freestyle (Ultimate Guide)

Conclusion

Two different class drones, similar in price but targeting a different category of pilots. 

I love both of them and have used these drones many times. But I’m going to leave my excitement for FPV and give you a clear answer based on facts, knowledge, and experience.

The DJI Air 2S is an overall winner. It will be more beneficial to you, especially if you’re just getting into the drone hobby or you’re looking for a professional drone for photography, filming, vlogging, commercial work, or a thousand other uses.

Alternatively, and not far off the price, you can look into DJI Air 3.

» MORE: DJI Air 3 Review – Is This the Drone for You?

The DJI FPV drone is only a small step up from standard drones, and you should get it if you’re looking for adrenaline and a unique experience or to capture some remarkable FPV video content.

But you should not get it as a first-time drone pilot without considering all the risks of flying FPV and the high chances of crashing the drone if you don’t fly it exceptionally well.

And remember, FPV (with DJI FPV in manual mode) has a steep learning curve with many hours behind a simulator.

As an alternative to DJI FPV, you can also have a look at the DJI Avata.

» MORE: DJI Avata – Hands-on Review (From an FPV Beginner)