We were so impressed DJI Air 2S when it came to be inspected, it received a rare five-star rating. But one small oddity was the quality of its raw photos – simply their performance at high ISO sensitivity was almost too good to be true.
Well, it turns out that was indeed the case. When we completed the results past the DJI and asked if the Air 2S applied any processing to its raw photos, it confirmed to us that “raw files use temporal denoising technology.”
What does that mean? Using a higher ISO value on cameras is a double-edged sword – the extra light sensitivity gives you good exposure in low light, but usually also adds noise to the photo. Air 2S ‘”temporal denoising technology”, which is not included in the drone specifications or feature list, effectively reduces camera noise and gives you cleaner raw images.
On paper, it doesn’t sound particularly controversial. For many owners, it can be seen as a benefit because the raw photos on the DJI Air 2S look really good straight from the camera.
However, some photographers may not be completely happy that the drone’s raw images are processed automatically. After all, the whole purpose of the raw file is that they are undeveloped digital images taken directly from the camera’s sensor, hence the name.
This would be less of a problem if “temporal denoising technology” were an optional feature that could be turned on or off in a DJI application. But when we asked the DJI if the feature could become optional, it told us “this is not meant to be offered”.
Incorporating automatic raw processing into the DJI Air 2S is not an important issue (or even a problem) for most people. But be aware that some photographers may not be too happy with the lack of “genuine” raw files from drones.
Applying automatic processing to raw files from a mirrorless camera without the ability to turn it off would probably be a controversial choice. And with drones like the DJI Air 2S that are now actually flying versions of these underground cameras, they are now expected to offer a similar shooting experience (and according to similar standards) as their mirrorless counterparts.
On the other hand, the feature also reveals where the DJI Air 2S sits in the DJI configuration and to whom it is directed. While the Air 2S has a similar 1-inch sensor to the DJI Mavic 2 Pro (its high-end compact drone), the Air line is still DJI’s mid-range offer for both enthusiasts and professionals looking for a small foldable drone. And at this level, a small amount of automatic raw processing is probably much more acceptable for most leaflets.
Since the Air 2S has now almost made the DJI Mavic 2 Pro unnecessary (unless you need a variable aperture), we expect DJI Mavic 3 Pro (or maybe DJI Pro 3) will arrive later this year.
There are early rumors, but professional aerial photographers have been waiting for the successor to DJI’s flagship compact dron for some time – and you can feel what features we’re looking for DJI Mavic 3 Pro: what we want to see feature.