DJI has launched the Mavic 3, the latest in its line of exceptional drones, which include last year’s Mavic Air and the even older but still popular Mavic Pro and Phantom 4 series. I’ve been testing it over the past week, and I can tell you this much: The Mavic 3 is clearly DJI’s most capable drone ever. It shoots DSLR-quality photos, takes epic 4K video, and even adds new obstacle avoidance features that make it easier to fly than any of its predecessors.
Also Read: Best DJI Drones
|DJI Mavic 3||Color: Worx
Note: Includes 10-gallon
reusable collection bag.
|DJI Mavic 3 Cine||Color: Worx
Note: Includes 10-gallon
reusable collection bag.
Some may argue that the Mavic 3 drone is just an incremental update over past iterations of the company’s flagship product. While this statement would be technically correct, there are so many new features and functions which have been added to this iteration-that it essentially becomes a whole new beast altogether.
Note: Our review of the DJI Mavic 3 Cine was conducted using the drone. Featuring a new DJI RC Pro remote control and an internal SSD, this is the top-level unit from DJI.
Note: The original version of this review was published on November 22, 2021. In the event that we receive new information or updates, we will frequently update this post.
DJI Mavic 3 overview
As a successor to the Mavic line, the Mavic 3 maintains its predecessor’s compact size while adding in new features. For example, unlike its predecessor, which had all four propellers spinning above it- including two on top of each other-the DJI Mavic 3 only uses two bottom propellers; while also having longer arms that keep it from bumping against anything overhead.
The quad-rotor drone design and folding propellers remain the same as its predecessors, much like how the rectangular frame with a camera hanging off of it remains unchanged.
New cameras at an angle of 45 degrees are installed on the back. Matched with angled ones in front, the Mavic 3 has all direction obstacle avoidance. APAS 5.0 software works together with these cameras to identify objects that are as far as 200 meters away and use them to make sure your drone stays safe while you use its new features ActiveTrack 5.0.
Simply put, DJI learned all of their lessons from the Mavic drones before this one and built what would be considered the best one yet.
Updates to the airframe and software are one thing, but the camera is an entirely different story. It’s hard to argue that this isn’t a game-changer when it comes down to taking video footage without breaking your wallet. Previous models of Mavic drones had lower quality cameras which helped keep the price point low – now you can get high-quality footage at a fraction of the cost of a DSLR camera.
DJI Mavic 3 Features and Performance
The main attraction at this show is the new flight time record set by DJI’s Mavic drones. In capable hands, the Mavic 3 can keep flying for up to 46 minutes- over nine miles! It’s equipped with O3+, a shortened version of DJI’s trademarked OcuSync technology that gives it an extended range of over 15 km or 9.3 miles! Despite being unable to fly beyond visual line of sight due to safety laws, this amazing connection between drone and remote is unmatched even among other great connections we’ve seen thus far in this industry.
When flying through the air, the Mavic 3 can cover up to 30 kilometers of ground. It does so at speeds between 42 and 45 miles per hour. However, if you want smoother footage for your videos, then traveling at 33 miles per hour is best.
We can attest that the drone is rated to handle winds up to 25 mph, which reduces flight time; however it averages 47 minutes of flight time on a calm day, which includes typical setup and an extra buffer for when it lands.
We marveled at how well the obstacle avoidance sensors work. The Mavic 3 has an auto-halt range of about 6 feet from obstacles and was able to detect a slender, barely visible tree branch that I missed when looking for it around my own yard.
Although we experienced some video lag in the first few minutes of our very first flight, we haven’t been able to reproduce this issue since then. The 1080p live view video is perfect on the built-in display of the RC Pro remote, controls are responsive and piloting has remained just as easy with familiar controls and a handful of customizable buttons that you can use for various tasks. We have not yet tested this remote with Mavic 3 but based off reviews from users who have tried it out, there was no complaints about its ability to connect or provide quality footage.
DJI MasterShots were not available on our test unit. DJI promised in a future software update that this will change which will include things like panoramic photo mode, follow-me modes and more self-piloted features.
DJI Mavic 3 Specifications
We were amazed by the technical specifications of the Mavic 3. With only a handful of other drones being better than it on paper, we couldn’t believe how small yet powerful it was for such an affordable price.
Make no mistake, the Mavic 3 is an expensive drone that only professionals can afford. Fortunately for those who are looking for a consumer-friendly drone, there are already some other options in the market; such as the DJI Air 2S.
|Dimensions||3.6 by 3.8 by 8.4 inches|
|Integrated Camera||Integrated with Gimbal|
|Media Format||microSDXC, 8GB Internal|
|Remote||Dedicated with App|
|Live Video Feed||1080p|
DJI Mavic 3 camera
What sets the DJI Mavic Air apart from other drones, is its camera. The Hasselblad L2D-20C has a Micro Four Thirds sensor capable of taking 20MP still images and shooting up to 5.1K video at 50fps or if you want to go further than 4k, it will take captures videos at an effective FOV of 84 degrees with a 24mm equivalent focal length and aperture range f/2.8 – f/11; depending on what quality setting you choose. Videos are captured at up to 200 Mbps!
The secondary sensor is a 1/2-inch shooter that takes 12MP stills and shoots video at up to 4K at 30fps. In terms of shooting video, the value in this second camera is the zoom, which can go up to 28x hybrid zoom. With only 15 degrees seen through a 162mm lens with such little distance between me and my subject – it was as though they were right there in front of me!
There are two different models of the DJI Mavic 3, one being the Standard Model which has 8 GB of internal storage and records videos in MP4 format while another being the Cine Model which has no internal storage but records videos in MOV format.
- 8GB of internal storage are included with DJI’s Mavic 3 Standard model.
- DJI Mavic 3 Cine features an internal SSD with 1TB of storage, and is capable of recording in Apple ProRes 422 HQ.
With it’s advanced recording format, the Mavic 3 shoots fantastic footage from high up in the sky – even with a pilot who isn’t too skilled at flying drones. DJI has done well to stabilize the camera and their partnership with Hasselblad is delivering great results when shooting photos.
New: DJI RC Pro Remote
The new RC Pro remote control is an excellent update from the standard remotes included with most Mavic drones. There are also a few features that make it superior to DJI Smart Controller such as its microSD card slot and HDMI port.
RC Pro is the newest product release from DJI, which features a 5,000 mAh battery and an 8 inch HD touchscreen. Essentially, RC Pro is a small Android tablet with some DJI goodies such as FPV support and live camera view; however, RC Pro still functions just like your mobile device when it comes to using the latest version of the DJI fly app.
This quadcopter comes equipped with four left and right joysticks, two emergency stop buttons (one on the backside and one on the front), navigation buttons for operating an Android device, one top-mounted dial to control your gimbal’s angle/position, two custom buttons located on the rear of this drone, and a D-pad located at the center of this drone. This machine also includes one USB Type C port placed conveniently next to other ports including SD card slots and HDMI output ports.
This is difficult for me to answer in full. Size wise, the Mavic 3 falls right between its predecessors; both in size and portability. In terms of camera quality, it barely competes with its competitors like the Yuneec Typhoon H3 or DJI Inspire 2 which are both equipped with Micro Four Thirds cameras. However, the difference between these competitors is that the Mavic only has one lens while both competitors have interchangeable lenses – although they are around $1,000 more expensive than the Mavic.
In terms of pricing, the Mavic 3 Standard competes with popular Phantom and Evo drones; it also lands in Typhoon H3 territory. The Mavic 3 Cine is another story though – when you take into account its SSD and RC Pro remote, it falls under the same price bracket as Inspire 2s, Matrices, lower end Alta models, and more.
In conclusion, when looking at all of the features that make up an aerial machine – there isn’t another drone out right now that can offer what the DJI Mavic 3 does. Other drones may have similar or even superior cameras but they are much bigger machines and they lack portability while other small-sized products don’t stack up against the quality of DJI’s newest camera.
Should I buy the DJI Mavic 3?
Let us start off by saying that we feel the DJI Mavic 3 is an excellent drone, especially for an aerial photographer with high standards who wants to have a portable aircraft. It will be awhile before another company can come up with something comparable. As great as this product sounds, don’t expect it to come cheap; the DJI Mavic 3 starts at $2,199 and prices can go all the way up to $5,000.
If the price doesn’t scare you away, then it becomes a matter of personal preference and whether or not you’re willing to invest that much money on this product. While I do appreciate all that it has to offer, there are still some shortcomings when compared to other options such as my Canon DSLR. After much consideration, I decided against purchasing the DJI Mavic 3 Pro because it does not meet my needs as well as my Canon DSLR (which has interchangeable lenses), especially since they did not include a full-frame sensor in their latest model.
With the exploration of drones behind us, we can conclude that there is no question about which drone deserves first place. The Mavic 3 is undeniably the smallest and most capable drone with a camera of this caliber. It stands out for its ease-of-use too; for instance, using an Inspire 2 needs two people – one to control the device and another to operate its camera. The Mavic 3 however, because it has been so successful in prior models, only needs one person (the pilot) to capture videos from high up in the sky.