In the last 10 years, DJI has become probably the most successful drone manufacturer for both consumer and professional segments. That was possible because there was almost no serious competitors, which made DJI to hold monopoly on this technology zone.
When this happens, things tend to be bad for consumers and good for the business. Because there is no other reliable choice, consumers are forced to comply and endure with the one who holds the monopoly.
But this times has come to an end starting with 2018. First, Autel Robotics (a technology company located in USA) announced the EVO – The Evolution of Flight – an amazing piece of technology which looks like DJI Mavic Pro but has better specs.
Then the french company, Parrot, well known for the mid-range popular Bebop drones, unveiled the Parrot ANAFI – Anytime Anywhere – a more compact and cheaper competitor for Mavic Pro.
Now DJI has serious reasons to start improve their services, especially support, which until now was not so great.
Both Mavic Pro and ANAFI are foldable drones but there is a difference in the folding mechanism. While on the DJI Mavic Pro you have to twist the back arms, and you have to always follow a specific order in folding/unfolding process, the ANAFI folding is straight simple. All four arms expand very easily by pulling them sideways.
Parrot ANAFI is also lighter, weighting only 320 g, less than half of the Mavic Pro weight – 734 g. This is a tremendous advantage in some EU countries where drones weighting under 500 g are exempt from being registered. Also transporting ANAFI is easier, especially when you already have allot of shooting gear.
The overall weight is actually pretty similar. Parrot ANAFI Controller is way heavier than the Mavic one, weighting up to 390 g.
While folded, both drones are pretty slim, ANAFI being a bit longer than Mavic due to arm configuration and frontal gimbal design.
When it comes to range, DJI Mavic Pro definitely wins. Comparing with Parrot ANAFI which has a standard Wi-Fi 2.4 – 5.8 GHz, Mavic uses a better proprietary transmission system called OcuSync. This system operates on low band-wits frequencies having a max transmission distance of 7 Km in FCC countries.
ANAFI specs numbers are also great, Parrot pique oneself with a max range of 4 Km, but we all know that regular WiFi drones are not that great. Is not all about range. Flying a standard WiFi drone in populated areas can be very difficult due to high interference caused by all buildings equipped with same WiFi routers and modems.
The Mavic Pro OcuSync proved that can be very stable even when flying between buildings and high residential areas.
Both drone have intelligent batteries, a 2 cell for ANAFI rated at 2700 mAh, and a 3 cell rated at 3830 mAh for Mavic. Despite the capacity differences, both drones have similar flight time (~25 minutes) due to ANAFI lower weight. Having a smaller capacity, ANAFI’s Smart battery charge faster.
A big difference between ANAFI and Mavic is that, while Mavic has a dedicated charger, and also a dock for multiple units, ANAFI’s battery charge directly trough USB-C cable.
This is a bonus on the overall weight and transportation chapter for ANAFI, but can be a downside in charging speed.
Both drones come with a 3-axis stabilized gimbal, but there is a major difference. Parrot ANAFI features a hybrid 3-axis, which in translation is actually a 2 mechanical axis gimbal, the yaw axis being digital stabilized. This system was first time implemented by DJI on the Spark drone with great results, but it will never be as smooth as a 3-axis full mechanical gimbal.
Gimbal and camera design differs dramatically. Parrot have come with a very controversial gimbal design, allowing camera to tilt 180° and capture images from bellow. This feature is new and amazing, bringing drone footage and photography to another level, allowing pilots to capture footage like never before.
Mavic instead, has a more classic design, and a way smaller camera body which allows wide angles of movement. Both drones cameras are frontal positioned, exposed directly to any collision, although Mavic seems more fragile and easy to damage.
While ANAFI has a way bigger camera body, they both have quite similar sensor sizes: 1/2.4’’ on ANAFI and 1/2.3” on Mavic. Despite that, ANAFI sensor features 21 MP while Mavic’s only 12.35 MP.
Both have a 26 mm focal range, but ANAFI can zoom up to 69 mm on stills and 78 mm on videos. There is an important difference in lens though, ANAFI has a better ASPH (Low-dispersion aspherical lens) glass which make a better wide effect without fish-eye distortion effect.
Mavic also has a little advantage, featuring a wider aperture of f/2.2 vs. f/2.4 on ANAFI, allowing to be better in low light.
They both have a max ISO of 3200, but ANAFI implements a faster shutter speed up to 1/10000 s. The minimum shutter speed of only 1 s is probably a big downside for the ANAFI comparing to 8 s on Mavic. This means that Mavic can take long exposure stills while ANAFI not really.
Both drones can shoot in cinema 4K, 4K UHD and 1080p, but the Mavic can also shoot in 2.7K and HD and has higher frame rates allowing smoother slow-motion footage (up to 96 fps in 1080p and 120 fps in HD).
A crucial difference which make Mavic a bit obsolete is the video bitrate. Mavic Pro can record 4K at a maximum bitrate of 60 Mbps, which is pretty low for nowadays standards, making fast maneuvers to ruin some of your shots.
On the other side, Parrot ANAFI can shoot at 100 Mbps, allowing footage to be more sharp and fluent even when panning faster. Also because of the higher processing power, the rolling shutter effect is less visible on ANAFI.
ANAFI also features a HDR recording mode, which in theory helps grabbing more dynamic range. HDR video is richer in details, allowing more space to recover information in post-processing.
While Mavic can record in both MP4 and MOV containers in AVC/H.264, the Parrot drone can only shoot in MP4 which can be an inconvenient for MAC users.
Image from both drones is dead stable at first glance, but in high speed winds Mavic has definitely an advantage from the 3-axis mechanical gimbal.
Being so old, Mavic Pro has a very slow GOP codec, which takes 7 intermediate frame to build a full 4K frame, and so in low fps video looks very stuttering.
Nevertheless Mavic camera can focus. Yep, it has manual focus, allowing you to change focus by using the touchscreen and isolate the subject from the background. This can be handy if you shoot close subjects like bride and groom at a wedding.
This topic is won by ANAFI being able to capture wide stills at 21 MP (5344×4016) comparing to only 12.35 MP (4000×3000) on the Mavic. Despite this, you may get sharper results from the Mavic thanks to the 3-axis stabilized gimbal.
Both drone can shoot JPEG and DNG – Adobe RAW format, although images coming from ANAFI will have a larger size on disk because of the HDR merging.
A big advantage on Mavic is the shutter speed low limits, up to 8 s, which allows taking long exposed stills. With a wider aperture of f/2.2, Mavic can can shoot incredible stills during night time or in very low light indoors. ANAFI can bring the shutter speed down only to 1 s which is not near enough for long exposure shots.
On this chapter, ANAFI becomes a toy comparing with Mavic Pro. While DJI Mavic has a very complex 3D collision avoidance system called Vision, made of 4 vision cameras, dual band satellite positioning system and 2 ultrasonic range finder sensor, the Parrot ANAFI has nothing.
The parrot engineers simply did not invest in any additional hardware for sensing environment, focusing all processing power to image production. Thanks to this decision, they were able to dramatically reduce the aircraft weight and increase the battery lifetime even with a smaller capacity.
Is this a dealer breaker? Maybe or maybe not… If Parrot ANAFI is your first drone, then you will probably have a higher chance to hit obstacles (trees, walls), and so an insurance (additional costs) is mandatory just to be sure.
On the other side, experienced pilots do not use this Vision system very much, some of them disable it during flights to be able to fly in closed space.
Such a collision avoidance system becomes very handy during Return To Home procedures, when the drone is not in your sight, and avoiding obstacles or deviating paths can bring it home safely.
Both drones come with physical remote controllers included. While the Mavic’s RC looks very professional, has builtin LCD screen with tones of live information from aircraft, custom function buttons and dedicated exposure wheel, the ANAFI RC looks like a simple toy.
Both have built in mobile devices support and dedicated built in batteries. Comparing to only 720p video streaming on ANAFI, Mavic’s RC can actually deliver 1080p, which is great on tablets.
An interesting thing is that on ANAFI’s RC, battery life with IOS devices is double (up to 5 hours) than when using an Android device (up to 2 hours).
The Mavic RC is definitely way better build and offers many features, allowing you to see valuable information directly on it.
Both drones offer nice features and functions, mostly covering the same areas, but with different naming like:
There are some new features on ANAFI that stands out like Dolly Zoom, allowing to take vertigo effect scenes right out of the camera. The trick is that Parrot has only some features by default, the most wanted being available in App Purchase. They probably plan to come with more in the feature forcing you to always pay for new.
Mavic Pro on the other side comes with DJI Goggles, maybe the best feature ever when flying a drone. Although DJI Goggles are quite expensive many people find it being the real flying experience.
Unlike ANAFI, Mavic Pro has also gestures. This is probably to most useless function on DJI products, so it probably wouldn’t be a deal breaker.
Another feature plus for Mavic is that it can be directly controlled only by phone, while ANAFI does work only with the RC. I don’t think someone does that, but if somehow you manage to ruin or loose your RC, Mavic can still be used with you mobile or tablet.
A this time, Parrot sells the ANAFI at 699 Euros with a package containing the following parts:
Buy it from Amazon at the best price:
On the other side DJI sells the Mavic Pro in many bundles, the most basic package at $999, containing the following parts:
While DJI Mavic Pro has been the best consumer drone available in the last couple of years, the Parrot ANAFI is a serious competitor, featuring an advanced camera and enough flight time to make an amazing experience.
If you travel allot, and you want a drone that can easily be lifted for point and shoot, the ANAFI is great for you. Its so light and easy to transport and can be charged from any USB. Unfolding it takes only 3 seconds and then you are ready to send it away.
With more than 300$ difference, ANAFI is simply a great choice for making the most amazing gift to any aircraft passionate.
On the other side, if you are more into film-making, and shoot events, DJI Mavic Pro is still a better choice for more advanced users, offering more controls and features over camera settings, also giving the possibility to shoot slow motion out of the camera.