Four “Must Have” Accessories for the DJI Mavic Air
Memory Cards and Case
The Mavic Air comes with 8GB of internal storage for photos and video. That sounds like a lot, but it will fill up more quickly than you might think. It was designed primarily as a backup for those times you go out to fly and forget to bring an external memory card. You will want to pick up one or more Micro SD cards to make sure you never run out of storage before you run out of battery life.
Cards come in sizes ranging from 16GB to 256GB. Some people like to get the biggest card they can so they don't have to transfer their files very often. I like to use smaller cards and transfer the images as soon as I get back from flying. If I have photos and video from my last four or five flights stored on one card, I run the risk of losing them all if something happens to the card. What can happen to a card? You can take it out and lose it. It can get corrupted for no apparent reason. You can lose your drone in an unfortunate crash. You get the idea.
I use 32GB cards and change them every time I change batteries when I'm out flying. Since I typically fly long enough to drain three batteries, I will have three cards at the end of my session. Even if I drop my drone in a lake on my last flight, I still have two cards safely tucked away.
To keep track of those cards (trust me, they are really easy to lose) I use a case. The one I have is made by Pelican. I keep empty cards on the left side and cards with images or video on the right side. It holds plenty of cards but is very thin and compact.
If you want to know more about memory cards for your Mavic Air, take a look at this tutorial.
In addition to being small, the Mavic Air also sits close to the ground. That's not a problem if you have a clean, solid spot to use for takeoffs and landings. But if you want to take off from a grassy area you are going to run the risk of turning your Mavic Air into a lawnmower. If your takeoff spot has any dirt or sand, it is going to get whipped up by the props and could get sucked into the ventilation ports on the sides of the Mavic Air.
A landing pad always gives you a dirt-free, dry, safe place to take off and land. They come in various sizes and fold up very compactly. They are also very light weight. I don't use one every time I fly, but I've always got one tucked away in my flight bag just in case I need it.
The controller for the Mavic Air has folding arms that swing down and hold your phone when you fly. But if you like to use a table to fly, most are not going to fit. The solution is to use a tablet holder. The base of the holder fits easily into the arms of the controller. You then disconnect the short cable that usually connects the controller to your device. Now grab a regular charging cable for your phone or tablet. Plug the USB connector on the cable into the USB port on the back of the controller. Plug the other end of the cable into your device.
I typically use the holder even if I am using a phone instead of a tablet. My phone fits easily in the swing out arms on the controller, but the edge of the arm covers up part of the home button at the bottom of the screen. The holder, however, doesn't block the button and I can access it if I need to while I'm flying.
Your Mavic Air takes great photos and video. Put one of these PolarPro ND/Polarizer filters on the front of your lens and your Mavic Air will take even better photos and video.
Using a Neutral Density filter will decrease the amount of light that gets to the camera's sensor. So when you shoot video on a bright, sunny day you will be able to use a slow enough shutter speed to have a slight bit of motion blur in each frame. This blur will result in smoother, more natural video.
Using a Polarizer filter on your still photos and video will enhance the color and saturation of your images as well as cut through glare coming off water or glass. You can see the dramatic difference in the two photos below.
To use a filter on the Mavic Air, you have to first unscrew the bezel that is on the front of the camera. The first time you do it it is a little nerve wracking because it is screwed on pretty tight from the factory. If you have trouble, try putting a small rubber band around the bezel to help you get a better grip on it.
Once the bezel is off, just screw the filter on in its place. If you are using a Polarizer filter just remember that the outer ring is designed to rotate and will continue to spin even after the filter is firmly attached.
Unless you need to shoot in a low light situation, it's fine to just leave a filter on your lens all the time.