Every time DJI releases a drone, accessories and aftermarket components flood the market, claiming to be the secret to perfect aerial photography and videography. When you’re deciding which drone to buy, it can be a bit daunting to determine which items are worth buying and which aren’t. Drone accessories are important to monitor, since each new drone comes with a different form factor and different challenges and limitations.
We’ve had a Mavic 2 Pro in the office for a few months now (and are completely infatuated with it), so we’ve been doing a lot of research on the best accessories for it — many of which we’ve been fortunate enough to try.
These are my picks for the most interesting and useful accessories for the DJI Mavic 2.
1. PolarPro Neutral Density Filters / Polarizers — $149
If you want to perfectly expose your drone shots (especially in the full light of day), you’re going to need some Neutral Density (ND) filters. The Mavic 2 is one of the first drones to allow you to control the aperture — the minimum aperture is f11. This means in that bright environments you’ll need to alter your shutter speed to something that looks more unnatural to get the proper exposure. This is where the ND filters come in.
Why? Well, at the bare minimum, you want to fully control the look of your image. With these drones, you want to shoot at the right shutter speed (1/50th of a second) to get a smooth, cinematic look. If you’re not sure what an ND filter does, or why you would need one, check out this video.
PolarPro makes the best ND filters for these drones. They were kind enough to send us a set, and they are absolutely perfect. They fit perfectly on the front of the camera, and they offer filters for both the Pro and Zoom drone models.
Beyond the perfect color neutrality (no color cast) and overall quality of the build of these filters, I also love the options available from each set they offer. We have the 6-pack cinema series, and I love the variety of filters it includes — there’s something for every occasion. I particularly like the hybrid Pola/ND filters, bringing out crisp, blue skies and cool, clear water. Just make sure you rotate the filter to the correct polarization for your scene.
2. F/Stop Labs Mavic 2 Battery Charger — $45
Batteries are probably my biggest problem with drone flying. I mean, I get it — these are little cinematic flying machines that need lots of power. I’m not knocking it, it’s just a significant limitation when you’re out in the field. It takes one battery to survey the area, one battery to do some shooting, and another battery to get that last shot you forgot. So, you end up charging lots of batteries.
Most of the chargers offered by DJI will only charge one battery at a time. This charger from F/Stop labs will charge 3 batteries at the same time, as well as the controller and your smart device (phone/tablet). This means that you can have your entire drone rig and all the batteries you’ll need fully charged within an hour or two.
3. DJI Smart Controller — $649
Now, I’ll admit, I haven’t used this one yet. It was just announced earlier this week, and I want one, and I feel like you should too.
Another complaint that I have about drone piloting is that you need to use your phone. Now hold on — before you roll your eyes too hard, It’s amazing that you can use your phone. It’s such a fantastic use of technology, and it’s impressive, and all of that stuff. However, flying drones drains my phone battery faster than a 12 pack of La Croix on a film set.
This release from DJI addresses that and more. This controller boasts expanded flight range, a 2x brighter display than most phone screens, and it’s more reliable than a phone in harsher environments. It charges up in an a hour or so and lasts for a couple hours. And once it does run out of battery power, you can just use your phone like the good ol’ days.
This controller isn’t compatible with the original mavic, but it has OcuSync 2.0 technology, which should make it compatible with more drones in the future.
4. Lume Cube Mavic 2 Lighting Kit — $189
This is another product that I haven’t gotten to use myself; however, I’ve used other Lume Cube lighting units. Lume Cubes are very bright and very compact lighting fixtures that you can throw in your bag and use for various purposes — even if you just need a small work light in a remote environment. They are reliable, cheap, and very bright.
Lume Cube has now released a light kit for the Mavic 2. This kit includes two lights that are light enough to install on your drone (using two lightweight and compact arms). Why would you want to do this? There are many reasons: long exposures, interesting lighting setups, and illuminating completely dark areas for safety or cinematic reasons.
Image via Lume Cube.
Personally, I’m most interested in using them in conjunction with a drone for interesting photography and long exposures. There are many ways to experiment with these little lights — not to mention that they don’t only function on a drone. You can use them as handheld lights for other purposes as well.
5. Polar Pro Katana – $50
Another great product from Polar Pro, the Katana adds handheld functionality to your drone. This is a great tool in no-fly zones, or when you want to pick up some quick-and-easy B-roll while your main camera stays in your bag.
This essentially turns your drone into something like a DJI Osmo without requiring an entirely different camera system. It’s small and light, it packs up nicely, and it lets you still use your controller. This product is one of those simple-yet-awesome ideas, and you have no reason not to add it to your travel pack. You never know when you’re going to want to snap off a few quick shots, so why not use your drone handheld if you can?