The DJI Mavic Mini is one of the most popular drones on the market. Price, sub-250g weight, and relative ease-of-use are the obvious reasons for this popularity. And, there are accessories out there that will figuratively elevate this little marvel to higher heights.
In my previous article, I wrote about why I chose the DJI Mavic Mini as my entry to the drone community. More than just my opinion, there’s a lot of love for the Mini, despite its small list of shortcomings. Luckily, there’s a solid market of DJI Mavic Mini accessories to get even more out of your drone. One item that seems to hold some controversy among drone pilots is a range extender. I’ve never used one and therefore have no opinion. I’m not going to wade into that conversation, so they aren’t mentioned. As well, I avoided the easy items that you already should have as a part of your Mavic Mini gear such as batteries, sticks, and cables. Barring these, here’s a list of my favorites and how I use them.
Neutral density filters
If you love shooting video, ND filters are a MUST. A neutral density filter fits over a camera lens and allows you to shoot video at lower shutter speeds. For those new to (drone) videography, the rule for capturing cinematic video is to set your shutter speed at twice the frame rate. The Mini 2 offers 24, 25, and 30 frames per second in 2.7K and 4K, plus 48, 50, and 60fps at 1920×1080 Full HD. You can do the math, but know that in daylight, video shot with this rule will be overexposed. Increasing the shutter speed will give you choppy footage.
The only way to hit the sweet spot for cinematic video at 24fps is to add a ND filter to your lens. A ND filter reduces the light hitting the sensor, allowing for lower frame rates. They are measured in set values where the higher the number, the darker the filter. I own these filters (as well as a polarizing filter) and without them, I wouldn’t even bother shooting in daylight. This Freewell filter set is very popular and covers all needs. ND filters are so useful, they’re often necessary and perhaps supersede the classification of accessory.
Many pilots view these as training wheels that have no use once you find your flying proficiency. Yet, having a set like any of these in your Mavic Mini kit can mean the difference between flying comfortably and not. Or capturing the footage you (or a client) need. Craggy outcroppings, a forest full of branches, anything that propellers could smack, may be overcome by guards. Peace of mind can come cheap with prop guards, however you must consider how they take your Mavic Mini over its 249g weight.
Sun shade for your controller
This is such a simple thing, and if you’re handy, you can probably fashion your own. But I purchased one and have no regrets. Glare produced on a sunny day reduces the clarity of the screen of your phone/tablet making details and the tiny digits of info in the corners hard to read. If you use a screen protector that has scratches or cracks, it’s even harder to see details. By using a sun shade, not only is your screen visibility vastly improved, you can reduce the brightness of your device to conserve battery power. The one I have folds down flat, taking up zero space.
It’s easy to dismiss the usefulness of a landing pad, however consider these points before shrugging it off. First, for manual landing, a brightly colored landmark makes it much easier to spot where in the world you are from 400 feet up in the sky. I discovered this a few months ago flying on a snowy day. Luckily, the bright red of my landing pad stood out as a beacon on the white snow. Another reason I rate a landing pad as one of the more useful DJI Mavic Mini accessories is for drone hygiene. Even in an obvious spot, I will use my landing pad to keep dirt, stones, grass clippings, etc. away from the soft underbelly of my Mini. Or to keep crud from flying up in your face.
These items should be a given, mainly because any Mini package, whether it’s the Fly More Combo or the standalone basic kit includes some extra props. And perhaps they best belong in my intro as parts and not accessories. The reason for this reminder is that the Mini can be a fickle flyer. I have had flights that were without event where I got a notification to RTH ASAP due to an issue. This issue turned out to be a propeller problem. Upon close inspection, I found a minuscule notch in one of the propellers. I had to swap for a new set before the error went away. Propellers are cheap and small, so there’s no reason to not have a supply on hand.
I will start by saying that I do not own any landing gear for my Mavic Mini 2, but I have contemplated the purchase. Despite better judgement, I have flown in snow and rain. However, I’m wary about the surface for takeoffs and landings. Using leg extensions or a sled design, landing gear will keep your Mini a few inches off the ground. There are even floating landing gear for water landings, but I’m not that brave. These definitely will take your Mavic Mini into a higher weight class, so keep that in mind when using landing gear.
As durable as the Mavic Mini is, something simple, such as the propeller experience mentioned above can require intervention before your drone will fly. While I baby my gear, quality items are built for a bit of a tumble. However, your magic flying camera has too many moving parts and voodoo at work to risk. A protective cover of some sort is mandatory for your Mavic Mini. Fly More Combos come with their own carrying cases, but standalone purchases do not. While you can look your best like a secret agent with something like this, a simple cover of any sort will prevent minor dings. But with all the Mavic Mini accessories I’ve listed here, perhaps a kitted-out backpack makes more sense.
UHS-3 Micro SD card
With the DJI Mavic Mini 2 giving the Mini line the ability to shoot 4K video and RAW photography, high capacity, fast-writing storage is pretty much a necessary Mavic Mini accessory. Additionally, SD cards are something that you want to overlap with redundancy. This means, have a few in your bag to make sure you can capture as much cool footage as your batteries allow.
Here’s a quick primer into SD cards and their arcane letters and numbers. UHS stands for ultra high speed and the number following (in this case a 1 or a 3) is an abbreviated write speed time. UHS-3 or simply U3 means a minimum write speed of 30MB per second. Any video camera system, flying or not, that shoots 4K requires a U rated card. However, there’s a further classification of UHS I or UHS II. These denote maximum read speeds.The V in this classification shows the video speed. The higher the number, the higher the resolution the card can handle. U1 cards have a minimum video speed of 10. Anything that shoots 8K video calls for V30 and above.
In terms of capacity, those new to 4K video shooting may be surprised by the large files sizes. If you’re shooting 4K at 30 frames per second, expect even higher file sizes. As prices of storage drop faster than most other technologies, it’s a good rule to purchase storage that outweighs your current needs. I recommend a pair of cards at a minimum of 64GB capacity.
A world of DJI Mavic Mini accessories
Your personal choice of DJI Mavic Mini accessories depends on how you use it most. For photo and video, filters and SD cards are going to be most important. But if you’re flying for fun and adventure, a lot of Mini accessories lean toward protecting your drone. As well, a word of caution buying third-party Mavic Mini accessories, I have ordered items that said they were for the Mini or the Mini 2 and the fit wasn’t precise. Keeping the Mini balanced is important when capturing that beautiful 4K footage. Above all, it must be stated again, almost any Mini accessory that is put on the drone may take it into a higher weight class. Be aware of this before flying.
Before purchasing any DJI Mavic Mini accessory, do some research. Read reviews and watch videos to see if they’re well-constructed and right for how you intend to use the Mini. There’s no value in cluttering up your fancy spy case with items you’ll never use or need.
Did I miss something? Leave a comment below if there’s something you’ve found vital to add to your DJI Mavic Mini or Mini 2 accessory kit.
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