Well, 2020 is off to a good start in terms of drone technology becoming available. Autel now has on its website the announced Evo II Series, with several options including the first 8K camera on a drone, and DJI is rumored to be announcing its latest update of the Mavic series, the Mavic 3, also likely to have several options. And with Skydio 2’s production working hard to catch up with preorders, 2020 looks promising. Maybe we will even see an update to the DJI Inspire series, such as an 8K version DJI Inspire 3?
Autel EVO Series
Autel is building on its successful EVO platform, which is very similar in style and shape as the DJI Mavic series. Autel, however, is first to get its coming updated models in production already, but pricing and availability yet to be determined. The EVO II will come in many variations, and some of the drone specifications are impressive. All of the lineups are stated to have up to 40 minutes flight time, fly up to 44 mph, and have a range of up to 9km.
Autel EVO II
The EVO II will be the world’s first 8K folding drone and can capture content up to 8000×6000 resolution. Using a 1/2″ CMOS sensor, it can capture 48 MP stills on top of the 8K video using a 10-bit processor. Its bitrate of 120mbps and an ISO range of 100-3200 offers some decent flexibility in your imagery, but may not be enough. If it isn’t, then step up to the EVO II Pro.
Autel EVO II Pro
The EVO II Pro will increase the sensor size to a 1″ CMOS sensor. While it will only be a 20MP still camera, and its max resolution will be 5472×3648 (which is 6K), the imagery will arguably be better quality, albeit smaller. Additionally, while maintaining a 10-bit processor and 120mps bitrate, the ISO range is increased to 100-12800, which should offer better night imagery, and other low-light scenarios. You will also have an adjustable aperture from f/2.8 down to f/11. While the imagery may be smaller, the quality and features for certain scenarios may drive you to purchase the EVO II Pro over the EVO II. But then there will be another choice…
Autel EVO II Dual
The EVO II Dual features exactly what you are thinking, somewhat. While you don’t get a combo of the EVO II and EVO II Pro, you do get two sensors. The EVO II Dual will come with the 8K 1/2″ CMOS sensor and its related features, but it will also have a 640×512 FLIR LWR camera for thermal imagery. This is clearly targeted for first responders, contractors and other business owners who need, or just want, thermal imaging on top of the 8K system.
DJI Mavic 3 Series
DJI has yet to formally announce its updated Mavic series drone lineup. DJI is expected to make its Mavic 3 announcement in Q1 2020 and likely will have some similar options to what Autel EVO IIs offer, but maybe not. The Mavic 3 will likely have a Hasselblad sensor (which is generally better quality) but we have yet to see exact specs on MP, etc. The Mavic series has been lagging in video specs, not even capable of 4K60, so we expect that to be improved, but likely not to 6K, and almost guaranteed not 8K options. Some good rumors regarding the Mavic 3 are the addition of ADS-B receivers to increase safety (can see most manned aircraft in the area), which we are big proponents for, and ActiveTrack 3.0, which will allow better autonomous tracking similar to the Skydio 2.
Drone Mastery™ Conclusion
While we cannot formulate a formal conclusion without seeing DJI’s Mavic 3 announcement, we have cancelled our Skydio 2 order and look forward to playing with at least one variation of the Autel EVO II, maybe even both the EVO II Pro and EVO II Dual. We do like DJI products, but with the Mavic series seemingly lagging behind competition and the Mavic 3 likely trying to beat out Skydio 2 for vloggers and soccer moms versus the more professional markets, we are certainly leaning towards an Autel EVO II as the choice to buy for our needs, and likely a lot of you.
Have a different opinion? Let us know in the comments below…