Do We Even Need a DJI Mavic 4? – DJI Air 4 Early Rumors

Do we even need a DJI Mavic 4? The obvious answer to this question is, yes. Of course, we want a new drone. Of course, we want new toys to play with. Of course, we want an upgraded professional platform from DJI to make our photos and videos better. But when you look at their current drone lineup – the Pro, the , and the Pro—it's hard to think about what DJI can do differently with these drones to make them any better. Now, I rarely ever cover or speculation here on my channel, but I saw something over on X that sparked my interest in making this video.

YouTube video

Battery Leak Speculation

It was this photograph with the hashtag #A4 that shows a set of Mavic 3 batteries and an unidentified battery that is a little bit bigger. This is also coming from Igor Bogdanov, who is a very credible source for leaked information as new products are developed, especially when it comes to DJI.

As soon as I saw this photograph, my brain went to “Mavic 4”. It just makes sense, right? There's a Mavic 4 battery next to a Mavic 3 battery. They're kind of comparing the size between the two and it tracks, right? We expect the Mavic 4 to be a little bit bigger to accommodate a larger camera as well as longer flight time. So therefore, a larger battery makes sense.

This kind of follows the trend that DJI has been on for the past couple of releases with their intermediate Air drones and their professional Mavic drones. As the size increases to accommodate more technology inside. The Mini, of course, stays small because it needs to be sub-250g.

Air 4 Speculation

Here's the thing though – look at the hashtag #A4. That makes me believe that this is an Air 4 battery. So I'm kind of being pulled in a couple different directions here. Let's just think about that – the Air 3 just came out. The Air 3 is not even a year old yet and we're already talking about leaks about the DJI Air 4.

Think about if an Air 4 came out and how hard it'd be pushing up against the Mavic 3 series. The Air 3 is already a great drone in its own right. When you kind of accommodate the price of both the Air 3 and any of the Mavic 3 drones, you notice that the Air 3 actually turns out to be a better value.

I did a pretty detailed comparison between both of these drones, but to sum it up very quickly – the Air 3 is a baby Mavic 3 that is actually a better aircraft. It has better range, signal strength, performance, flight time – pretty much everything that's important has been improved. The camera system on the Air 3 is also great and is serviceable for most. Even the professional photographer and videographer is going to find great use from the Air 3's camera.

But the Mavic 3 outshines the Air 3 in basically every way when it comes to camera specs and image quality, especially when you're looking at the triple camera setup on the Pro model. This means that for the potential Air 4 to be a worthy upgrade over the Air 3, to constitute a generational upgrade from the older drone, we'd have to see a fairly large improvement to the drone and camera system, which I think could be the nail in the coffin to the Mavic 3, making the Air 4 better than their professional platform.

I mean, look at the size of these batteries in the leak. The Mavic 3 and Air 3 are already a similar size and shape, meaning they have a similarly sized and shaped battery, and this indicates that the Air series might again grow in size. I remember going back to the original Mavic Air – it was so small and has really grown up over the years. But I think adding size is good to make these drones even more capable.

DJI's Release Cadence

Something that is really hanging me up though is the fact that the Air 3 literally just dropped. It's not even a year old. Think about these people that invested into the platform of the Air 3, and now a totally brand new drone comes out just one year later that'll probably dunk on this drone and make it way better.

Now, DJI is not afraid to release mid-cycle refreshes. We've seen this across the board with different drones – the Mavic Pro Platinum, the Phantom 4 Pro, the Air 2S, the Mavic 3 Pro. They've done this with a lot of different drones in the past. In each of those instances, it featured a similar body style to their previous versions respectively, while adding small features to improve the overall flight experience.

The Mavic Pro Platinum changes were as small as a new paint job, new propellers, and upgraded ESCs. The Phantom 4 Pro was a larger step forward with new side and backward obstacle avoidance sensors and a new camera with a 1-inch sensor, which was massive at the time. The Mavic 3 Pro was a smaller mid-cycle refresh as it just introduced the new 70mm medium tele lens.

The Air 2S on the other hand was an even bigger upgrade over the Mavic Air 2, as it changed the name, dropped “Mavic”, gave that tiny drone a 1-inch sensor, added new upward obstacle avoidance sensors, and it was also the first drone to upgrade its transmission system to the new O3 transmission system. To me, this also warranted calling the Air 2S the “Air 3”, making it a generational update because of all of the changes. They upgraded it in all the right areas – the camera, the obstacle avoidance, the transmission system. And if they were to just tweak the design a little bit, they probably could have called this the Air 3 and gotten away with it.

You know, the Air 2S here is still so good and was a mega value when it originally came out at only $999. It was the go-to drone of its time that I couldn't recommend enough. So I guess what I'm trying to say here is that DJI releasing an Air 4 really isn't off the table. It's not all that crazy. They've definitely done worse in the past in terms of cannibalizing their own sales.

But at the end of the day, they were the only game in town when it comes to making usable consumer drones. So why not? Why not come out with a DJI Air 4? What do they have to lose, right? Why not continue to push the ball forward in terms of what they can fit inside of their intermediate drone?

DJI's Drone Lineup

I also think that coming out with an Air 4 kind of makes sense from a naming scheme standpoint and kind of the way that their lineup of drones sit. So for example, you've got Mini 4 Pro, Air 3, Mavic 3 Pro. The Mavic 3 is the oldest drone, the Mini 4 Pro is the second oldest drone, and the Air 3 is the newest drone.

So kind of the way that it goes is Mini 4, Air 3, Mavic 3 in terms of price point and capabilities. But then it's kind of flip-flopped, right? It goes Mavic 3, Mini 4, Air 3 in terms of newness. Now in this regard, I think that if they came out with an Air 4 and make it the second oldest drone, and then if they came out with the Mavic 4 and make it the newest drone, so then both of those kind of lists that I made right there are going to be in line.

So the newest drone is the most expensive, that is also the most capable – the Mavic 4. Then you've got the Air 4 which is kind of just as capable, it's that intermediate drone that slots right in the middle, it's the second oldest. And then the oldest drone, the Mini 4 Pro, is kind of slotted at the bottom. It's the oldest, it's the less expensive, it's kind of the one that you jump into as a beginner. And then, from there, they can kind of start from the bottom and work their way up through every single upgrade cycle. They could go DJI Mini 5, DJI Air 5, DJI Mavic 5, DJI Mini 6, DJI Air 6, DJI Mavic 6. I don't know, just a thought.

DJI Mavic 4 Wishlist

Okay, so let's switch gears here to a successor to the Mavic 3, or the Mavic 4. It's hard to say exactly what I'd want in an Air 4, because I'd be mentally trying to keep it worse than the Mavic 3. So I just want to go all the way to the very top.

Industry Opinions

Billy: Yo, Kenneth. So if you could have one feature in the Mavic 4, what would it be? One feature to change…

Ken: Vertical video.

Billy: Why?

Ken: Well, I think because we're in a different place. Like 12 months ago, nobody would ask me for vertical video. Now I find myself grabbing my Air 3 or the Mini 4 Pro to do vertical video, like literally every day. That's like, I would say it's 70% of my business, which is mind-boggling. Of course, you can crop video, but nothing beats that native vertical when you're trying to film a subject for like a reel or something.

So I feel like, and I know people probably like “Oh, it's not like a professional format”, but I think it really is. It's becoming a professional format and we need to see it.

Billy: I almost hate shooting video horizontally now sometimes, because I'm so used to shooting it vertically.

Ken: I know, I forget – the other day, somebody hired me to do a video and I grabbed the… She's like “What are you doing?” I'm like, “Oh crap, that's right, we're doing a reel”, and I had to go grab my other, you know, my other gimbal. But I think, you know, if you're going to tout it, if it's going to be like the end-all-be-all drone for DJI, it has to be able to do everything the other drones do, right? And it has to do it really well. You've got to have that Starlight feature, so it needs to have vertical video for 100%.

Billy: Yo, what's on man? All right, so one feature in the Mavic 4. What do you want?

Greg: One feature on the DJI Mavic 4? Uh, full-frame sensor. Full frame. Hey, go big or go home, right?

Billy: I think APS-C is probably the way to go, right?

Greg: Probably, but think about it—I mean, full frame—why not?

Billy: Do you want the Mavic to be the size of the Inspire?

Greg: Pretty much, yeah.

Billy: So you just want an overall better camera on the Mavic 4. Do you think that they should do the triple camera setup or do you think that they should leave it to like one single sensor and give us like optical zoom?

Greg: Personally, I think it should be two different sensors instead of three. And then you keep like the 3X and the 1X, as quite frankly, those are what you need most. If you think about it, like when do you ever use the 7X to do anything? The 3X is what you're going to use the most. So give it a better sensor on the 3X, and then you have, I mean, you know I'm being facetious too with the 1-inch. But with the full frame, because as it is right now, the camera is so good, but the 3X and the 7X is really where it lacks a little bit, especially on the 7X. But I don't know that you need all three quite frankly. When the Air 3 came out and you had that 3X in there, it was like, “This is what I needed the whole time.” You know, it was nice to have a zoom on the other one, but now it's like, yeah.

Billy: So yes, the one and only. If you could have one feature on the Mavic 4, what would it be?

Sarah: One feature on the Mavic 4? Yeah, probably I guess like vertical shooting. Vertical, I don't know.

Billy: You're like the second person that said vertical shooting.

Sarah: I don't know

Billy: You fly the Air 3, you fly the Air 3 right now, what do you wish that it did that it doesn't do?

Sarah: Oh, faster.

Billy: Faster, there we go.

Russ: Hey Bill.

Billy: All right, one feature on the Mavic 4, what do you want?

Russ: I can only pick one?

Billy: Yes, one.

Russ: This is like an ultimate dream, dream wish, or just reasonable,

Bill: whatever you want. I already have someone saying that they want a full-frame camera on the Mavic 4. So what do you want?

Russ: A full-frame camera?

Bill: Yeah

Russ: I want better dynamic range. And I want seamless transition between the cameras for sure. That's so frustrating.

Billy: Yeah, look, and dynamic range, especially from a drone standpoint when you're dealing with really harsh sunlight, is always welcome. So I think that's something interesting. That's something I didn't have on my wish list, because I already like the dynamic range, I think it's pretty good.

Russ: It's pretty good, but I think for like for nighttime photography or video, like, and it does look pretty good. Like your stuff is great when I see your…

Billy: Oh, thank you.

Russ: …shots, it's wicked cool.

Billy: By all right, one feature on the Mavic 4, what would you want?

Eddie: Difficult, difficult question. I would say something as simple as USB-C on the actual battery.

Billy: Yes, yes, USB-C on the actual battery. And dual card slots?

Eddie: Yes, dual card slots. All right, well there you locked in your answer. Thank you.

Billy: Hey Sam

Sam: What's going on Bill

Billy: Just wanted to call and ask what would be a great feature to have on the DJI Mavic 4?

Sam: Is the Mavic 4 out yet?

Billy: Haven't you been testing it?

Sam: I only have the Mavic 2, the Mini 2, I think. I think that's what it's called.

Billy: Okay, so from your professional opinion, what would you want added to a Mavic 4?

Sam: Cameras

Billy: A new camera.

Me: All right, that'd be nice. Yeah, cool camera.

Sam: I don't even know how to drive a drone.

Billy: I'm calling people asking what they would want on a Mavic 4. What's your one feature you'd want on a Mavic 4?

Person: I wanted it to come with a tattoo that says “I Heart BK”.

Me: Okay, but now if you had to be serious, if you could choose one feature, what would it be?

Person: Um, eternal friendship with BK? No, let me… I'll need to think about that. I'm on a thing, flying an M30.

Me: Okay, so should I call you back later?

Person: Yeah, let me think about it. Are you recording this right now?

Me: I'm recording right now. You've got to give me an answer within the next three, two, one…

Person: Gosh, what would I want? Longer battery life, like better endurance.

Me: Okay, so you don't like the 46 minutes that it has right now?

Person: Well, I love it, sure. But I think I'd love 90 minutes more.

Me: I would too. Would you be okay with a bigger drone? Would you be okay with the drone being like, let's say, one and a half times as big?

Kyle: You know, it would be nice if it had the capability, like still the same form factor, but then have the ability to plug in a much bigger, better, or much longer battery with a much higher capacity. So the form factor is the same, but why not have a zoom lens so you can get a lot of… I don't know, yeah, why not?

Me: Why not? Cool. Well look, everybody's answer was a quick one sentence. You gave us a full entire paragraph. So I appreciate you, and I'm moving on to the next person. Thank you.

Person: Hey, that “I love BK” tattoo is a…

Me: Okay, fine. It'll come with it. It'll be a little stencil.

Billy: All right, yo. If you could have one feature on the Mavic 4, what would it be?

Brett: Zoom lens. Optical.

Billy: Okay, how much zoom do you want?

Brett: Not a lot. I think the three and the… I think the three is good, but there's times where the three is too much, I would say. And the seven, you know, at least from a business perspective, like if you're in the mountains and doing… I'm sure it's great. But for what I do, having at least like one to four would be great.

Billy: Yeah, like the jump between one, three, and seven is just too big to have that much optical zoom. The digital zoom in between is useless.

Brett: Yeah, useless. Useless.

My Mavic 4 Wishlist

It was pretty interesting to hear from some friends in the industry about what they want from a DJI Mavic 4. It seemed like most people were discussing the fact that they wanted an upgraded camera system in some way, whether it's a new sensor, optical zoom, better dynamic range. It seems like the camera is the one thing that most people want to improve, whereas the drone itself is fine in people's eyes. They're fine with the speed, they're fine with the range, they're fine with the performance, the flight time, all of those things.

Do We Even Need a DJI Mavic 4? - DJI Air 4 Early Rumors
Screenshot

So DJI, if you're watching, it seems like most people want changes made to the camera. Now, I made a list of things that I want changed here, some things I'd like to see in Mavic 4. I've got about maybe 10 or 15 different things. Some of them are very small, nuanced features, and others could be a massive change that really do constitute that generational jump from DJI Mavic 3 to DJI Mavic 4.

  1. Dual micro SD card slots. Most professional cameras, actually no, drones, just professional cameras have dual SD card slots so that you can write your data to both of those cards so that you have a backup just in case one fails or one corrupts. It's also great to expand your storage. You could put like two 1 TB SD cards in there and have 2 TB of total storage if you wanted. So being able to have dual SD card slots would be great for a professional platform.
  2. Give us more than 8 GB of flash storage. Give us 512, 256, it doesn't matter. Anything more than 8 gigs, because I know flash storage is cheap and it'd be very helpful to have more than 8 in a case where I don't have an SD card. So being able to even have 128, it doesn't matter, just having more than 8 GB would definitely be welcomed.
  3. I would also like to see the drone be faster. I'm always looking to fly as fast as possible and sometimes been trying to catch up with boats, trains, trying to reveal the city skyline, I feel like the drone is just a little bit slow. And that's why I'll tend to lean on my Inspire 3 for my faster paced shoots. But if I could get a tiny fast drone like the Mavic 4, that would be awesome.
  4. I'd also like to have better gimbal range. I'd like the drone to be able to look up a little bit more, almost like the Mini 4 here. You kind of have this gimbal that can look way up. It also compensates for faster speed so that the camera doesn't knock down. So being able to have a better gimbal range would also be nice.
  5. I know it's stupid, Ken and a couple other people brought it up, but vertical shooting. Look, I shoot a ton of vertical video for clients, for social media. It's just kind of something you've got to do. I actually almost feel like I shoot more vertical video than horizontal video. So being able to have the option to natively shoot vertical video on the Mavic 4 would definitely be a nice touch.
  6. Agreeing with Eddie, I also want USB-C ports on the actual batteries themselves. Sure, it's nice to plug into the drone and charge up the battery of the drone, but what if you're in a hotel room and you don't want to keep cycling batteries through the drone? Well, in that case, you could just plug them right into the USB-C port. So a port on the battery for charging would be nice.
  7. Optical zoom instead of multiple cameras. I agree with I think Brett on this one. Being able to have the multiple cameras, sure it's nice, but you're kind of locked into the focal length of each camera to use to kind of have that full resolution and full quality. I'd prefer a larger sensor with a shorter optical zoom distance. So maybe anything between like 1 to 70mm, or I'm sorry, 24 to 70mm, or maybe 24 to 50mm, all optical would be great on a nice large sensor. That would be awesome.
  8. Speaking of larger sensor, APS-C, could you imagine an APS-C sensor on a Mavic 3, a Mavic, Mavic 4, Mavic 4 Pro? I mean, you look at the Inspire 3 that has the full frame, we now have the Micro Four Thirds or the Four Thirds sensor on the Mavic 3. Bring us right in the middle and give us an APS-C sensor and just give us one camera, one camera optical zoom. That would be great.
  9. Also on the trend of cameras, a higher resolution would be great. So we're topping out at 5.1K on the Mavic 3 right now. Give us 6K, give us something larger. That would be nice.
  10. Also, a mechanical shutter, that would also be great to have on the camera as well.
  11. I'd also love to see user-swappable payloads. One, for repairability. So if I break my camera, I can buy a new one and easily put it on. I feel like the one thing that always rips off these drones is the camera, because the gimbal is very fragile. So if I crash, sometimes the drone will be fine, but the camera is laying like 5ft away. So user-swappable payloads would be nice from like a repairability standpoint. But also DJI, in a year, could come out with a new camera and sell it to us and make us buy it all over again. So from a business standpoint, I think it's good for DJI, but also it's great for the consumer as well.
  12. Integrated LED beacons – I'd love to see one on the top and the bottom for flying at nighttime, for spotting as well as just for general visibility during the nighttime. I think that putting one on the top and bottom makes sense so that if you're flying away or towards yourself, you can always see that light beacon.
  13. I also think this is a big ask, but 5G would be nice. Being able to integrate some sort of cellular connection from the controller to the drone would give you like infinite range. So that would be a nice addition as well.
  14. This is a little bit weird, stick with me here – a dual battery design that can also be put into a tiny little case to make it one battery. So when you buy one battery, it comes as one, you can put it into the drone as one, but it can also be split into two for further redundancy and also for hot swapping. That could be pretty cool.
  15. I also have an SDK on here. So releasing a software development kit for the Mavic 4 would be great so that other companies can take advantage of the platform and just make it better. Like for example, AVSS could therefore tap into the Mavic 4 and make a parachute for it.
  16. Also, I have something on here mentioning about the remote controller, but the RC Pro is already so good, I don't know how they can make it better. But hey, they went from Smart Controller to RC Pro and made it better in that way. So a new RC Pro 2 could be great as well, with maybe a brighter screen, more battery life, and maybe some more custom buttons.

Anyway, that's pretty much all that I got for the Air 4 rumors and my Mavic 4 wish list. Let me know your thoughts down below. What do you want in a Mavic 4? And as always, I'll talk to you later. Peace.


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    Billy Kyle
    Billy Kyle

    I make videos for the Internet. You can watch all of my drone videos on my YouTube channel and here on DroneXL.

    Articles: 64

    4 Comments

    1. I am holding off on replacing my Air2S with either a Mavic 4 or Air 4.
      The Air2S still does a great job but I would like a short tele camera lens.

    2. Give as 14bit raw photo files and that will improve quality massively! You be finally able to push them pictures in post processing!

    3. id like to see changeable cameras have two drone bases one Mavic 4 and ad Mavic 4 enterprise. then offer user swappable camera system. with all the different options they have in the Mavic 3 lineups but were we can purchase just the camera option you could have a micro 4/3 single with swappable pancake lenses. or a one inch optical zoom camera, a larger cmos senser with mechanical shutter (might have to be single focal range given size), a three senser camera like the m3pro and a 2 camera senser, but the also on the enterprise side could use all the same senser but have top attachments as well. and the option for the multi spectral and the thermal. I’m thinking we are reaching a point where the aircraft would need upgraded less often but the camera could be swapped and upgraded for years. yes dji would sell probably less air craft but would make those sales up when people but two or three cameras rather then sticking to the one they have because cost to benefit is to high that cost to benefit would be better if your buying just cameras after.

    4. I might consider if the Mavic 4 camera can tilt camera vertical up at 90 deg. I love my Mini 3, best value!

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