As for the quality of the photos while zoomed in, I can see this being a real game changer. During my preview, we took some photos from the East Bay, looking to San Francisco, and the city is hard to capture (it's far, and the air is hazy). Despite that, the 2X zoom really does bring the skyline forward, and with no loss of detail -- something you really can't do easily with most drones. On a closer subject, we took a photo of the rocks on the coast and fully-zoomed in, you can see a lot more detail -- if this was used to reframe a human subject, you can see how you will save time being able to get the shot right there, rather than hacking the image later in Photoshop.
The addition of the zoom lens also allows for different camera presets, in particular, "dolly zoom." With this mode (and only on the Mavic 2 Zoom) you can keep a target (like the wind-swept me, below) in the center of the frame, and leverage the zoom while the Mavic slowly flies towards/away from you to create an unusual effect that warps the scene around them. It looks pretty neat, but I'm not yet sold on how many times you'll want to use it. That said, it's easily the most cinematic of DJI's "QuickShot" presets -- the company says the feature was inspired by Hitchcock films, and even now it's clear these dolly zooms can add a needed dose of drama to your aerial footage.
I much preferred the new Hyperlapse mode, which fortunately is found on both the Pro and the Zoom. If you're familiar with Hyperlapse on Instagram, then you'll know what to expect here. In short, you can specify a path for the drone to follow (or a subject to circle) and how long you want your clip to be. It'll then follow that path, taking photos at set intervals. Once it's complete, it stitches them all together right there, creating a speedy time-lapse video you can instantly share. Now, this is something I can see being used for many an establishing shot or as a way to spice up your vanilla flyovers. And if you take your drone photography very seriously, you can save the flight plans you've created for use in capturing future shots.
Having briefly flown the drone, a lot of the experience is really familiar. The controller is more or less the same as the original Mavic (just with the removable thumb-sticks found on the Mavic Air). It handles very similarly, comes with the low-noise propellors and is still a delight to throw around in the air (or leave it hovering, deadly still). I'm not so much a fan of the "prototype" gray color (it's not actually called that, but that's what came to mind). But at least it's an easy way for your buddies stuck on the older Mavic to know you've got the new one.
There's definitely a lot for us to test during our full review, but in the short time we spent with it, and by looking at the spec sheet, this is a very photographer-friendly update. A lot of people prefer the Mavic over the Phantom 4 due to its size, so it's good to see some of the higher end photo-centric features in the Pro model this time around. Now, all you have to do is figure out which one you want (both are going on sale today).
Chris Velazco contributed to this report.