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When it comes to drones, one of the best you can get your hands on is the DJI Mavic 2 Pro. Launched in 2023 along with the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom, the two are the same airframe, just with different cameras. DJI called them iterative updates to the original DJI Mavic Pro, but they offer significant improvements in almost every way. Let’s explore some of the best features of the DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
The Mavic 2 Pro exemplifies the best that DJI has to offer.
As a folding drone, you get the best of a medium-size flying machine, with the portability of a large water bottle. DJI has mastered a number of flight features that we should all be able to take for granted, including self-piloted flight modes and a reliable RTH (Return to Home) failsafe. These features are exemplified in the Mavic 2 Pro.
To express our true feelings on the Mavic 2 Pro, we must discuss the camera. Equipped with a 1-inch Hasselblad sensor, attached to a 3-axis stabilized gimbal, the camera on this drone is hard to beat. We venture to call this the best camera drone under $2000, a crown previously held by the DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0. These two machines are similarly priced, and produce similar camera results, but the portability of the Mavic 2 Pro makes it an obvious choice for many pilots, as long as they do not need the payload capacity of the larger drone.
Mavic 2 Pro camera
Getting specific, the Mavic 2 Pro has a 1-inch CMOS sensor that shoots at 20MP with 4K video recording. The lens is a 28mm focal length with 77 degree field of view and variable f/2.8 – f/11 aperture.
Video capture offers up 4K resolution at 24, 25 and 30 frames per second (fps), 2.7K resolution at 24, 25, 30, 48, 50 and 60 fps, then 1080p resolution at 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, 60 and 120 fps. Video is recorded at 100Mbps data rate and saved in either mp4 or mov formats with H.264 or H.265 codecs. Further, you can choose Dlog-M or HLG 10-bit HDR mode.
How are smartphone cameras becoming so good in low light?
Capturing photos is done at that 20MP resolution, that’s 5472 x 3648 pixels. You’ll be saving files in jpg, the DNG raw format, or both. The available modes tell more of the story than the hard specs. You can shoot in single-shot mode, which is the default, or choose from HDR, Burst shot, AEB mode, which takes 3 or 5 bracket frames or there is Interval shooting at two up to sixty seconds.
With all that data being captured, it’s fantastic that the Mavic series has both internal storage and a microSD card slot.
Photo and video samples over at Drone Rush.
Do we like the Mavic 2 Pro?
Oh yes, we certainly do. It is just as important to look at the series than anything. The Mavic 2 Pro may be our favorite, but the Mavic 2 Zoom and Mavic 2 Enterprise are compelling offerings as well. Only the Pro is equipped with the larger Hasselblad camera, but the zoom functionality, as well as the optional infrared camera on the Enterprise model, offer a set of tools and options that anyone can use. We do wish the consumer grade machines offered the same data encryption as the Enterprise model, but that is truly a niche need for many.
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No drone is perfect, at least not without bumping the price sky high, and the Phantom 3 Pro, despite all the things going for it, is no exception. That might be a tragedy in some aspect, but it also leaves room for third party accessories and tools to grow and flourish. There are literally dozens of add-ons and extras for the Phantom 3 out there that again, you have the problem of picking out the right ones. Luckily, Drone World has already done that for us with its Phantom 3 Executive Kit bundle.
Extending your coverage with Remote Long Range System
One of the problems with many remote controlled drones is just how far you can send out your flying robot before your connection drops out. Although the Phantom 3 Pro out of the box boasts of a decent 5 km or 3.1 mile range, at least with line-of-sight and in FCC compliance mode, you can never really predict how far the action will take you. And sometimes, even when you’re only just approaching those limits, the wireless connection between remote and drone starts to substantially degrade, leading to a loss in quality even before the loss in connection takes place.
Drone World’s Long Range System takes care of those problems. It nearly doubles the flying range of the Phantom 3 Pro to 5 miles, roughly 8 km. And the 180-degree panoramic panel antenna makes sure you don’t lose signal, whatever the position, whatever the location. Since you’re more than likely to be relying on the video feed for navigation at that point, thankfully the stronger connection delivers a better quality live video feed, too.
Extra Batteries, Charger
The first is to throw in two additional Phantom 3 Pro batteries. That makes a total of three batteries right out of the kit box, which in turn means around 75 minutes of flight. Of course, that won’t be 75 minutes of continuous, non-stop flying, but it sure beats the hell out of giving up and rushing to the nearest outlet.
When the time does come for you to recharge the batteries, Drone World includes the THOR SuperCharging station. Not only does it charge your batteries four times faster, it can charge all three batteries at the same time. Meanwhile, you can still charge the controller at the same time as the batteries.
Props and Guards
A drone that cannot fly is, in essence, a dead drone. That is why the drone’s propellers are just as critical as the camera it uses. While DJI has its own propellers, two sets of which ship with the Phantom 3 Professional normally, Drone World has its own improvements: the drone industry’s first carbon fiber propellers. Carbon fiber is a material famous for its durability, but here it does more than that. It allows the drone to gain better thrust and speed, up to an additional 40 mph or even more.
And to keep those propellers safe, in the event of bumps and crashes, accidental or otherwise, Drone World also includes quick release propeller guards for added peace of mind.
Santa’s loot Bag
Of course, those are not the only things included in this kit, which is starting to look like Santa’s bag. For example, you will also get adjustable ND and polarized lens filters and two high-speed microSD cards, 16 and 64 GB in capacity. There’s also a variety of accessories, like a sunshade for your smartphone or tablet monitor, a remote lanyard as well as a remote collar for preventing shaking, a gimbal protector, a camera lens cap, and even a 7-inch metal iPhone cable for connecting to the controller.
Nanuk 950 Hard Case
With all these bits and pieces, it might be a stressful experience trying to figure out where to stash them all. By now, however, you might have figured out that Drone World, once again, is coming to the rescue. All of these, the drone, the controller, the batteries, propellers, and more, can fit inside the Nanuk 950 hard case, with custom cut-outs inside for the Phantom and all the accessories. Wheels on the bottom make it portable, and there’s even a shoulder strap, though it’s a fairly heavy rig all-in.
Right now, though, Drone World is including a backpack, in case you prefer to carry the Phantom 3 Pro and its buddies on your back instead. That should make paring down the kit to just the core essentials – and taking them with you – out in the field a little less bulky.
Skydio 2 first impressions: Autopilot drone is a clear high-flier
Drones are fun, but learning how to fly drones effectively is generally a lot less fun, and that’s where Skydio 2 comes in. The second-generation of the autopilot drone, it’s smaller, faster, and smarter than its predecessor, not to mention considerably cheaper. I’ve been testing it out, and already I’m impressed.
One huge improvement is size. The original Skydio R1 was clever but big: each motor was enclosed in a fixed frame, which made sure the numerous cameras didn’t shift around in flight. That was important for the autopilot system, but meant that the drone was considerably larger than its folding counterparts.
Skydio 2 has fewer cameras, each with much higher resolution, and so the drone can be much smaller. It still doesn’t fold, but the carrying case now fits far easier into a backpack (and has a shoulder strap of its own). There’s space inside for a spare battery, spare propellers, and the charger, though not the new Beacon or Controller.
Despite the onboard smarts, Skydio 2 still needs clear visibility and dry skies in which to successfully fly. They’ve been in short supply in Northern California lately, so with a limited number of flights under my belt my full review will have to wait a little longer. Still, trying to fit as much flight time in as possible, in-between bad weather, has actually highlighted one of the reasons Skydio’s new drone is so appealing.
Being able to get up and running, quickly and with minimal focus on “piloting” and more on just capturing what you want to capture, is a rare pleasure in the quadcopter world. There are plenty of affordable drones out there, small enough to fit into a backpack and with 20+ minutes of flight time on a charge. The problem with them is having to pilot manually.
Skydio 2 offers a manual flight mode, sure. In fact, as well as controlling it through the app with onscreen buttons and joysticks, as per the original drone, you can now connect your phone to a dedicated controller with the expected joysticks. Skydio uses Parrot’s design for that, with a flip-up holder for your iPhone or Android, and it’s easy to use with dedicated camera angle and zoom toggles. However you can just as easily bypass manual flight altogether.
With the new Skydio Beacon, the core controls are pared down to the essentials. It connects directly to the drone – and can also pair with your smartphone, so that you get the full functionality of the app but also the extra range of the Beacon – and has a small dissolution, a few buttons, and onboard GPS. Skydio 2 usually relies on visual tracking, but with a Beacon connected it can fall back to GPS if it loses sight of you.
What’s impressive is how rapidly you can be flying and filming. Turn the drone on, launch it with the Beacon, and then it automatically switches into follow mode. You can then use the arrow buttons to change the direction from which it follows: all the way around from directly behind you or trailing at an angle, to directly ahead of you or leading from off to one side. Other buttons control the distance from you, with three settings, and everything is shown on the monochrome display.
Within about a minute I had Skydio 2 in the air, set to follow from a mid-range and alongside, and tracking my car. If you don’t like how the autopilot positions itself, you can double-tap and hold a button and use the Beacon as a magic wand to drag the drone around the sky. Releasing it leaves it to hover in place. Maximum speed has increased with this second-generation, to 36 mph, and the Beacon’s controls are easy enough to adjust while you’re on the move and have the drone swing around you for the sort of tracking shots that would usually demand a reasonably-skilled pilot.
The Beacon also has the ability to trigger different trick shots, though if you want the full range of those you’ll need to head back into the app. You can do the usual array of dronies: swinging around you in a tightening or broadening loop; zooming out into the sky from you or vice-versa; and others. You can choose which one can be triggered from the Beacon, too.
Manual piloting is more forgiving than with non-smart drones. I’m not the best drone operator out there: it just requires more investment in time than I have spare to give it. Skydio’s obstacle avoidance stays active even when you’re in charge of the sticks yourself, though. Try to fly Skydio 2 into a wall or tree and it will swerve around.
Skydio’s autopilot isn’t infallible, and flying the drone isn’t entirely panic-free. During one car-tracking shot, for example, it collided with a thin branch too small for the cameras to identify, spinning briefly in the air before it settled. Then I had to get my phone out to pilot it back over.
Sometimes, the autopilot seems too smart for its own good. With a traditionally piloted drone you can be pretty confident that it will stay hovering where you leave it. Skydio 2, though, sometimes repositions itself without explanation, which can be disconcerting when they means it flying up into the tree canopy. You can trigger a return to home and landing from any of the three control options – app, Beacon, or Controller – but Skydio 2 won’t take into account potential obstacles when it’s landing so you do have to be pretty confident about the surface it’s descending to and the airspace it’s passing through to get there.
Then there are a few everyday usability annoyances I’ve run into. I like how Skydio’s batteries attach magnetically and have a proportional LED gage to show current charge, but I wish you could recharge them outside of the drone. Instead you can only charge one at a time, using a USB-C charger plugged into Skydio 2. The little clip used to keep the camera locked into place when not in use is fiddly, too, and doesn’t protect the actual lens; some sort of plastic cover that slipped over the whole gimbal would be preferable.
I do feel like I’m nit-picking, however. I’ve no shortage of drones that I could be flying, but generally the knowledge that I’ll spend the majority getting to grips with piloting and still probably end up underwhelmed by the footage that comes from it is pretty discouraging. Skydio 2 feels very different to that.
We’re still not at the point where you can turn a camera-drone on, have it leap into life and start filming, and leave it completely to its own devices. Skydio’s software is clever, but it’s not that clever. Yet the convenience of using Skydio 2 without having to worry about mastering traditional drone controls is a huge step forward. Anybody who has wanted to add drone video to their outdoor activities, but been put off because of the headaches that usually come with that, may find that the autopilot on offer here is enough to lower that barrier to the point where it’s really worth considering.
Improved selfie camera
Only supports old Apple Pencil
Slow chargingOur Verdict
The iPad Air is a powerful and easy-to-use tablet with a large and well-specced screen, long battery life and attractive design, all at a sensible price. There are some compromises here, but as an all-round package this is vastly appealing.Best Prices Today: Apple iPad Air (2024)
The Air is back! Apple unexpectedly revived its old iPad Air branding (formally discontinued in March 2023) in a surprise announcement in March 2023, unveiling a powerful, mid-priced, mid-sized tablet with an A12 processor and support for the Apple Pencil.
But will the Air float your boat? In this review we put it through our rigorous speed, graphics and battery tests, and evaluate design, specs and pricing, to find out if Apple has hit the sweet spot.
iPad buying guide.Design & build quality
The Air features an improved design compared to the 2023 iPad 9.7in, with among other improvements a larger screen and thinner body, but stops short of the radical changes seen in the Pro models.
So the bezels around the edge have shrunk slightly, enabling a higher screen-to-body ratio and allowing Apple to squeeze in a noticeably larger display without bulking out the chassis too much. But the Home button remains – whereas the 2023 Pro models ditched the Home button (and Touch ID, replaced by Face ID), which made possible an almost all-screen design. In other words, this is a compromise between the triple ideals of low price, familiarity, and optimum design.
A bezel tweak can only achieve so much, and to accommodate the bigger screen the Air has been made taller and a little wider than the prior 2023 iPad, although the far slimmer profile (6.1mm, down from 7.5mm) means it’s actually 13-14g lighter. Note that the 11in iPad Pro is 5.9mm, so this isn’t the slimmest mid-size tablet on Apple’s books – although it is the lightest.
iPad Air (2024): 250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm; 456g/464g (Wi-Fi/cellular)
iPad 10.2in (2024): 250.6 x 174.1 x 7.5mm; 483g/493g
iPad Pro 11in (2024): 247.6 x 178.5 x 5.9mm; 471g/473g
A less immediately obvious change – but one I’m very happy to report – is the restoration of the laminated screen. For cost reasons the 2023 and 2023 iPad 9.7in models both have unlaminated screens, which bend inwards very slightly when pressed and feel a bit cheap. That isn’t an issue here.
The antenna unit on the cellular model now matches the colour of the rest of the back, rather than being a cheap-looking matt black as on the 2023 iPad. And Apple has included a Pro-style Smart Connector for the Smart Keyboard.
I find the Smart Keyboard quite hard to type on at this size (the 12.9in version is much more comfortable) but it’s still a quantum leap forward from onscreen typing and a big benefit for business types on the go – especially considering how much cheaper this device is than the Pro models you previously had to buy to get a Smart Connector.
But other than the changes outlined above, and a couple of seemingly inconsequential tweaks to the position of ports and buttons, the Air follows the same design as the iPad 9.7in. To be clear, that’s not a bad thing! It’s a beautiful and practical design that looks brilliant and feels great in the hand (and, because you get the curved under-edges rather than the newer squared-off design, it’s actually easier to pick up than the Pro).
And you get a headphone port, which is something Pro owners have to manage without.Specs & features
So much for the iPad Air’s aesthetics. Let’s take a look at how well it performs.Speed & graphics testing
The A12 is complemented by 3GB of RAM, an increase from 2GB in 2023. (The Pros are available with either 4GB or 6GB.)
The Air, which scored 11,369 in the multi-core section of the Geekbench 4 CPU test, wasn’t far off doubling the performance of the previous year’s 9.7in model (6,056). It was in turn fairly easily beaten by the iPad Pro 11in (18,381), but was noticeably faster than the Pro from one generation previously (9,300).
To evaluate graphical processing power we use the GFXBench Metal app, and here again I saw a huge step up in performance from the iPad 9.7in and playable frame rates right up to the hardest benchmarks. Performance was admittedly not comparable to the iPad Pro 11in, which was streets ahead throughout, but in most of the tests the Air was able to beat the 2023 Pro convincingly.Battery testing
The Air has a 30.2Wh rechargeable battery, and Apple reckons this is good for around 10 hours of Wi-Fi browsing. This was borne out in testing: it lasted 9 hours 24 mins in Geekbench 4’s battery benchmark, which is considerably more demanding than real-world use.
That’s almost identical performance to the iPad Pro 11in (9 hours 32 mins), and much better than the iPad 9.7in, which lasted 6 hours 1 min.
My Air was bundled with a 10W charger, with which it went from empty to 13% power in 30 minutes – pretty slow going. I’ve heard that in some areas the Air is supplied with a 12W charger, which will yield slightly better speeds.Screen
Despite the continuing presence of fairly large bezels around the edge, the iPad Air’s screen is a pleasure and a triumph, with numerous improvements from the iPad 9.7in.
Resolution is up, albeit only by enough to maintain Retina-standard pixel density (264ppi) across a larger area. It looks fantastic: sharp, bright, colourful. Thanks to the new inclusion of True Tone it provides a consistent output in varied conditions, and the anti-reflective coating means you have less to fear from bright overhead lighting.
Interacting with the screen feels great, thanks to the lamination already mentioned and the virtually instant response. It would be easy for Apple fans to take this for granted, but not all tablets give such a convincing illusion that you are physically moving around the onscreen elements.Cameras
The Air has an 8Mp rear camera, same as on the iPad 9.7in – a respectable inclusion that provides reliably decent images rather than anything spectacular. (I asked Apple if the A12’s neural engine would provide any of the same algorithmic photographic benefits as on the iPhone XS, but the company played this down.)
The front camera, on the other hand, is vastly improved: 7Mp and 1080p video, up from 1.2Mp and 720p video in the iPad 9.7in. This makes sense; few people use a mid-size tablet to take pictures of nice views, but most iPad owners will enjoy the benefit of an improved front camera for FaceTime and selfies.Apple Pencil support
Good news/bad news: the Air is Pencil-compatible, but only with the less good first-gen model, which charges awkwardly via the Lightning port. I prefer the Apple Pencil (2024), which attaches magnetically and charges wirelessly, but that remains exclusive to the iPad Pro models.Other specs
Touch ID is now second-gen, which is faster and more reliable than the first-gen version used previously; eSIM is supported; Bluetooth has been bumped from 4.2 to 5.0; and you now get gigabit LTE. All of these changes are from the iPad 9.7in (2024), and are matched by the iPad Pro 11in.Software & apps
Unless you’re willing to jailbreak your device, you’ll only be able to download software from the official App Store; still, there’s more than a million vetted, iPad-optimised apps on there. Premium and big-name apps are likely to come to iPadOS before Android because iPad owners are more willing to spend money.Price & availability
The iPad Air is pitched a little higher than the regular iPad, while remaining markedly more affordable than the iPad Pro models further up the scale.
iPad Air (2024, 64GB, Wi-Fi): £479/$499
iPad Air (2024, 256GB, Wi-Fi): £629/$649
iPad Air (2024, 64GB, cellular): £599/$629
iPad Air (2024, 256GB, cellular): £749/$779
The iPad Air is available to buy now, direct from Apple and from the usual resellers (such as Amazon and Best Buy). For the lowest prices out there, see our roundup of the best tablet deals.Verdict
The iPad Air is a collection of compromises, and in almost every area there’s another tablet out there that’s better: the iPad 10.2in is cheaper, the iPad mini more portable, the iPad Pro more future-proofed for very demanding apps. But as an all-round package this is vastly appealing and quite possibly the best (or at least best-value) Apple has to offer.
It’s a fast machine with a large and well-specced screen, long battery life and attractive (if old-fashioned) design – the old familiar Home button and particularly the headphone port will be seen as plus points by many. The front-facing camera provides high-quality FaceTime video and selfies, and while the rear camera is less impressive this is a sensible area for a mid-size tablet to cut costs.
Talking of which, £479/$499 (for the perfectly adequate base storage allocation) is good value for all the goodies just mentioned. Those on a tight budget should choose the iPad 10.2in, and a Pro model is probably better for a creative professional, but for most people this is the iPad to pick.
This review originally appeared on Macworld UK.Specs Apple iPad Air (2024): Specs
A12 Bionic chip with Neural Engine and M12 coprocessor
10.5in laminated ‘Retina’ screen, 2224 x 1668 resolution at 264ppi, 500 nits brightness, True Tone, supports Apple Pencil
8Mp rear camera, f/2.4, 1080p HD video, Slo-mo (120 fps), Live Photos
7Mp front camera, f/2.2, 1080p HD video at 30 fps, Retina Flash
30.2Wh rechargeable battery: claimed battery life 10 hours on Wi-Fi
Stereo speakers, dual microphones, 3.5mm headphone jack, Lightning port
Wi?Fi (802.11a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit-class LTE, Nano-Sim and eSIM
250.6 x 174.1 x 6.1mm
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
Solid cameras sell smartphones and iPhones have built a reputation for snapping great pictures — a reputation bolstered by its top-of-the-line 2023 device, the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Meanwhile, OnePlus has partnered with Hasselblad for this generation’s flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 9 Pro, to boost its own credentials and take on the best in the business.
These two handsets are on the more reserved end of the flagship camera spectrum. You won’t find any crazy periscope zoom cameras or gimmick lenses here. Both aim to perfect the tried and tested main, wide, and telephoto zoom formula. The aim of the game is great-looking pictures, first and foremost.
But which does it best? Let’s dive right on into our OnePlus 9 Pro vs Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max camera shootout. Oh, and feel free to check out the full-res image samples here.
OnePlus 9 Pro vs iPhone 12 Pro Max camera specs
With large main sensors onboard, both smartphones take very good pictures in daylight. Few will have any complaints here, which is what we’ve come to expect from flagship-tier smartphones in the past couple of years. Although that isn’t to say that there aren’t noticeable differences between these two cameras. For starters, the shorter focal length means you’ll get a slightly wider field of view from the OnePlus 9 Pro’s main camera.
Despite its reputation for high-quality imaging, Apple applies a slight yellow tint to its photos. This is particularly noticeable on green grass and with indoor lighting, resulting in a more oversaturated look that’s not as nice as OnePlus’ realistic approach to colors. Otherwise, the iPhone continues to set a high bar for color accuracy and general imaging performance.
Both phones do a decent job when it comes to exposure and white balance. However, the iPhone 12 Pro Max regularly slightly underexposes compared to the OnePlus 9 Pro. You can see in the shadows of most of the images above where the iPhone has much darker shadows. It’s almost like a fake high-contrast HDR effect, but it detracts from the camera’s realism.
Detail and noise have historically let OnePlus down, but there are again noticeable improvements this generation. Despite the sensor resolution differences, the two phones capture 12MP images. So differences in detail will come down to how well the sensors capture light and how the software processes this detail.
Photography terms explained: ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and more
There’s a much more noticeable difference between the OnePlus 9 Pro and Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max when it comes to more difficult HDR scenes. To cut to the chase, HDR is a major weakness for the iPhone while OnePlus has one of the more powerful implementations in the business.
The examples above showcase a typical compromise with the iPhone when shooting against a strong backlight. You either end up with an underexposed foreground or overexposed background highlights and a loss of detail. The OnePlus 9 Pro is by far the superior phone here and can capture much more from its HDR images.
HDR isn’t just about shadows and highlights, though. The iPhone’s comparatively poor HDR implementation also leaves colors looking washed out, as the above example showcases perfectly. The phone warmer tint doesn’t help here either.
There’s no arguing here, OnePlus provides a far superior HDR implementation
OnePlus’ HDR implementation isn’t completely free from clipping, but it does a mostly excellent job of making the most tricky lighting conditions. There’s really no contest between the two, so chalk this up as a major win for OnePlus over Apple.
Turning down the lights reveals yet more key differences between the two smartphones. Although the OnePlus 9 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max both support night mode shooting options, the results are quite different.
Before we get to Night modes though, let’s look at some lower light samples. Both hand it reasonable results with decent levels of detail, white balance, and colors. In the first example, Apple’s phone pumps up the exposure and saturation. However, turning the lights down lower in the second image below sees the iPhone 12 Pro Max struggle with exposure and colors much more noticeable than the OnePlus.
Turning to a very low light shot reveals the length that the OnePlus 9 Pro will go to to obtain decent exposure. There’s a high amount of grain, partly from a very high ISO figure, but Bender is far better illuminated than the iPhone with more noticeable detail. That said, the highlight clipping isn’t great and Apple’s handset definitely has a cleaner appearance and is the more realistic, giving the lighting conditions.
Overall, both phones are a mixed bag in low light. Apple definitely underperforms without Night mode, with colors becoming washed out in lower lighting. However, OnePlus’ Nightscape shots often end up very noisy compared to better lowlight phones like the Pixel 5 and Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Related: 6 tips for improving smartphone low light photographyZooming in on details
The first example really showcases the strengths and weaknesses of OnePlus’ latest zoom arrangement. At 2x and 3x, the 9 Pro looks good at full-frame but showcases noticeable processing artifacts on closer inspection. It looks like the shots are taken straight from the main image sensor, pre-binning.
The OnePlus 9 Pro boasts vastly improved detail over the iPhone 12 Pro Max at longer zoom levels. However, the level of chromatic aberration is pretty unacceptable for such typical daylight conditions. It’s an indicator of another poor quality lens. The iPhone 12 Pro Max has no such issues, but this first batch of zoom images all lean far too heavily on denoise and sharpening to look good.
Despite shooting in almost perfect outdoor conditions, both phones also struggle with this zoomed-in landscape shot. Apple’s handset lacks virtually any detail in the distant tree textures even when zooming in at 2x and 3x. The 5x and 7x shots are basically unusable.
It’s the same story as before for the OnePlus 9 Pro. It retains superior details to the iPhone at all zoom levels, which becomes more noticeable at longer ranges. However, once the telephoto camera kicks in beyond 3.3x, light capture and colors take a nosedive. The underexposed purple hue is very poor but sadly a common theme for OnePlus latest zoom camera. Again the 5x and 7x shots are throwaways.
Neither offers particularly compelling zoom capabilities for flagship-tier phones
In summary, neither smartphone offers particularly compelling zoom capabilities for flagship-tier handsets. The OnePlus 9 Pro nudges ahead in terms of detail at longer zoom levels, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max fairs better with color balance consistency.
With the OnePlus 9 Pro boasting a 14mm wide-angle lens and the Apple iPhone 12 Pro a 13mm focal length, the two offer a major step back from their main sensors. Apple’s version is technically a fraction wide than OnePlus’ and provides a bigger step back from its main sensor. But in reality, you end up with an essentially identical field of view between the two.
Both phones take on a slightly more yellow hue in the image above. Although the iPhone 12 Pro Max does a better job matching the color profile between its main and wide-angle lenses. Wide-angle pictures come out much warmer on the OnePlus 9 Pro versus its main sensor.
If you love a good selfie, you’ll be pleased to note that the OnePlus 9 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max offer a selection of filter and bokeh blur options with their front-facing camera. The two offer wide field of view capabilities to fit more in. However, Apple defaults to a slightly narrower lens by default, as you can see below.
Apple’s bokeh blur certainly looks good but its edge detection leaves a lot to be desired. The hair example above is perhaps the best example of the subtle but important differences between the OnePlus 9 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max when it comes to accuracy.
These two take solid selfies and portraits. I’ll give Apple the nudge on detail, but OnePlus offers superior edge detection and tone accuracy.Which phone takes the better pictures?
If it weren’t for the purple tint, the OnePlus 9 Pro would come out ahead for color accuracy, despite the lack of consistency across lenses. The phone scores a clearer win when it comes to bokeh accuracy and, more importantly, HDR environments. The latter really is the bread and butter of modern smartphone photography. OnePlus’ latest camera setup is far from flawless, though. Zoom quality is a hot mess, and even general images can look a little oversharp.
Check out more camera shootouts:
OnePlus 9 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra camera shootout
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max
Apple clearly scores a couple of its own wins, capturing better selfie textures and more natural-looking details. But the phone’s tendency to apply warm and yellow hues undoes much of the good work on color accuracy. Both the iPhone and OnePlus are also subpar in the zoom and low light departments. That said, these are two top-tier camera phones that can happily hang with the very best.
Got a new drone? You’re not alone. Some estimates say hundreds of thousands of the craft will be sold before the end of 2024. But drones aren’t like other gadgets that you can figure out without reading the instruction manual.
You’ll get most out of your drone if you take it easy and conduct a few low test flights as you practice the possible controls and maneuvers. You should consider flying lessons and joining a local flying club, where you can learn more about flight and model aircraft.
But you probably can’t wait to get it into the air, so remember there are a few important safety, privacy and legal guidelines you need to follow to keep you and your drone out of trouble.Maximum altitude: Steer clear of real aircraft
Drones are limited to no higher than 400 feet. That provides a small buffer between your drone and controlled airspace, which begins at 500 feet.
Drones aren’t cleared to enter that part of the sky. Doing so would put them in danger of colliding with aircraft and helicopters, potentially causing a deadly crash. If for some reason an aircraft or helicopter comes close to your drone, you’re obligated to move out of the way.
In general, it’s good practice to fly below the top of any surrounding obstacles, like trees or buildings.Know your area: Fly only in safe locales
Fly in an open area away from people and obstacles that could block your view of your drone. You’re obligated to keep in it sight at all times.
Drones are also banned from flying in all national parks.
The Hivemapper app warns a drone pilot of a nearby building roof during a demonstration in San Francisco on Oct. 30, 2024.Check flying conditions
Avoid flying during bad weather and strong winds. Your drone is small and lightweight and can’t stand up to bad weather the same way a regular aircraft can.
Watch your own conditions too. Don’t fly when you’ve been drinking or are under the influence of drugs.Register your drone
The FAA requires that anyone flying a drone be registered. The online process should only take about five minutes, and its $5 cost covers any number of drones you own for three years. Once registered, write or affix your registration number to your drone, and carry a physical or digital version of your registration card when you fly. Dan Masaoka
The Snap drone takes flight in San Francisco during a demonstration on August 24, 2024.No, you can’t suddenly start a drone business
Don’t use your drone for business. You might have a great idea for a lucrative new drone photography business, but commercial use of drones requires a special permit from the FAA and brings a whole new level of restrictions and requirements. Hobbyists have much more freedom to fly, so embrace it.Be a good drone citizen
The drone industry has a comprehensive website with all the rules and recommendations called “Know Before You Fly.” The Academy of Model Aeronautics will point you to your local flying club and help you find the local model aircraft enthusiast community. The full rules and regulations can be found on the FAA’s drone website.
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