Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

The DJI Mavic 2, in both Zoom and Pro varieties, is already our favorite drone, and one of the best products of 2018, and it’s about to get even better as third-party accessories hit the market. Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 — the first of its kind. The kit, which is available for pre-order, costs $190 and includes two 1,500-lumen LED lights.

The cubical lights are made from durable aluminum and are both shockproof and waterproof. They tuck in just below the drone body, held in place via mounts that clip over the front propeller arms on the Mavic 2. The lights can rotate 360 degrees to achieve the desired lighting direction. Each mount weighs just 1 ounce, so hopefully they won’t drastically reduce the flight time of the drone. At full power, the lights offer 30 minutes of battery life and 750 lux at 1 meter.

Via Bluetooth, users can also control the power of the lights remotely via mobile app, but note that this does come with a range limit of just 100 feet. Also, while Lume Cube doesn’t state a maximum operational height, you’ll probably want to keep the drone at a relatively low altitude if you’re trying to illuminate the ground.

The most obvious use for the kit is for night-time filming. Even the relatively large 1-inch-type sensor in the Mavic 2 Pro isn’t sensitive enough to get clean footage in the dark. Lume Cube says a custom fresnel lens gives a 60-degree beam angle with no hot spots, which should offer a natural look for video recording.  

The lights also make it easier to see obstacles while flying, and will even allow the Mavic 2’s obstacle avoidance sensors to work better at night. Naturally, they also increase the visibility of the drone itself. In a press release, Lume Cube states the lights offer both continuous and strobe functionality to meet FAA night flight regulation.

There are many less obvious uses for putting a light on a drone, like aiding search and rescue operations or performing industrial inspections. For photographers, a DJI Mavic 2 outfitted with lights also offers a unique opportunity for light-painting landscapes. With adjustable power, Bluetooth control, and the Mavic’s programmable flight modes, it should be possible to achieve evenly lit foregrounds in long exposures with relative ease.

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