The DJI Mavic 3 is finally here. DJI has unveiled the latest in their line of consumer camera drones, and this iteration packs the best camera, remote, and flight features of any Mavic to date.
Powered by Hasselblad, the Mavic 3 has a Micro Four Thirds camera sensor, shoots 5.1K video, has a secondary camera with 28X zoom, and rocks 46 minutes of flight time!
Mavic 3 overview
Most earlier Mavic drones offered mobile-class cameras, and were designed for consumer pilots. The Mavic 3 departs from that a little bit. While there was a clear distinction between the capabilities of the Mavic Pro, Phantom 4 and Inspire 2, which all released around the same time, the Mavic 3 competes more with the professional-grade Inspire 2, particularly as both have a Micro Four Thirds camera.
The Mavic 3 also introduces a new airframe design. The top-down view looks like the common Mavic design, and the propeller arms fold-in in the same way, the fuselage is also fairly similarly shaped, but the front propeller arms are now angled so that the propellers do not go over top of the body of the drone. This means that the propellers arms are also longer making room for the longer propellers, and to avoid hitting the body of the aircraft. There is also more ground clearance, as the rear propeller arms now act as the rear landing gear, instead of using just the narrow nubs on the body of the craft.
This stance does put the front feet closer to the view of the camera, which you would think would limit the overall usable gimbal rotation, but does not. In fact, the gimbal has more tilt than the Mavic 2 series.
New bug-eyes out the back, combined with angled front lenses house all-direction obstacle avoidance sensors. You’ll find the usual visual sensors and spotlight on the bottom, with two sensors looking straight up, with the four new angled sensors on the corners for front, back, left and right coverage. The new sensors look ahead up to 200 meters, which far exceeds the 40 meter detection range of previous Mavic drones.
Safety is not the only improvement on the Mavic 3, DJI has greatly increased the flight range, flight time, and intelligent flight features. The Mavic 3 is rated for 30 miles of flight distance, with a 15km connection range. APAS 5.0 and ActiveTrack 5.0 use the 200 meter obstacle detection sensors to greatly improve the safety and automatic route planning when the drone is on the move.
In the end, folks who were waiting on the Mavic 3 series before they bought into the platform may opt for the more-affordable DJI Air 2S or Mini 2 if they have a limited budget. Experienced pilots that were looking forward to a superb flying camera should be excited, the Mavic 3 is as good as you’ll get for under $3,000 today.
Mavic 3 camera
The Mavic 3 has two cameras. The main sensor is a Hasselblad Micro Four Thirds camera that shoots 20MP stills and 5.1K video at 50fps, or 4K at 120fps. The second camera is a 1/2-inch sensor that shoots 12MP stills, 4K video, and has a telephoto lens with up to 28x hybrid zoom.
Putting things into perspective, the main camera sensor behind the lens on the Mavic 3 is nearly 8x larger than the Mavic Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom and other 1/2.3-inch cameras. That’s also almost double the size of the 1-inch sensor in the Mavic 2 Pro, Air 2S, and most Phantom drones. DJI has graduated the Mavic series into DSLR camera territory. Of course, the Micro Four Thirds camera on the Inspire 2 offers interchangeable lenses, so the Mavic 3 will not replace that pro drone just yet.
Backing up the sensors is 8GB of internal storage, and enough horsepower to shoot ProRes 422 HQ encoding. This is where the Mavic 3 series diverges. The base model has the 8GB of internal storage, while the Mavic 3 Cine model offers a 1TB SSD and the ProRes encoding.
We’re looking forward to putting the camera to the test, but our early shots predictably produced the best shots we’ve ever seen from a Mavic drone.
Mavic 3 performance
The Mavic 3 has some exciting specifications for drone pilots. Firstly, it has a 5,000mAh battery, good for up to 46 minutes of flight.
I say again, 46 minutes in the sky!
Pilots can scoot along at almost 47mph, which is only a slight bump over past Mavic drones, but every bit helps sometimes. This increase in power improves the vertical speed in a big way. You’ll go up into the sky at around 18mph, compared to the 11mph of the Mavic 2 series. DJI has also adjusted the lowest speed of the propellers, allowing the drone to descend twice as fast as the Mavic 2 drones.
Mavic 3 flight features
The next generation of DJI flight systems are all included in the Mavic 3. That includes the extended flight range and reliability of O3+, the intelligent obstacle avoidance and flight planning of APAS 5.0, and improved object tracking of ActiveTrack 5.0. The result is a drone that can quickly and safely follow you down a forest path, avoid hitting obstacles when coming in for a landing, and much more.
Previous DJI drones asked you to set an altitude for the Return-to-Home feature. Before modern obstacle voidance techniques, your drone would navigate to the set altitude and head for the GPS coordinates of your ‘home’ location. The Mavic 3 will take your altitude setting as a suggestion, navigating the drone up or down as needed to clear obstacles.
DJI includes their typical selection of MasterShots, which includes the old Quickshots and other self-piloted camera modes. In just a few taps, any pilot can capture complex video and photos from the sky, including panoramic photos and the fun videos that circle around you.
Should you buy the Mavic 3?
The DJI Mavic 3 comes in three packages. The standard package will get you flying, the Fly More combo, as always, enhances your flight experience, but this time out DJI has a third tier that really takes things to the next level. All of the packages include the basics you’ll need, including chargers, extra propellers, and cables.
- RC-N1 remote control
- One battery
Mavic 3 Fly More combo for $2,999
- RC-N1 remote control
- Three batteries
- Charging hub
- ND filters (4/8/16/32)
- Carrying bag
- Cine Airframe with 1TB SSD
- DJI RC Pro remote control
- Three batteries
- Charging hub
- ND filters (4/8/16/32/64/128/256/512)
- Carrying bag
- DJI 10Gbps Lightspeed Data Cable
While these are all very impressive camera drones, the price tag is a lot different than most consumer pilots are accustomed to. DJI has elevated the Mavic series from being a powerful tool for hobbyists, into being a reliable tool for the professional aerial photographer.
Stay tuned for more coverage. We have the Mavic 3 in hand, testing it thoroughly before we share our full review.
- Fantastic camera
- 5.1K video
- Huge flight time
- Safe and capable drone
- Class-leading flight range
A 20MP Micro Four Thirds camera that shoots 5.1K video, and 46 minutes of flight time make the DJI Mavic 3 one of the best camera drones you can purchase today.
- Great camera
- Long battery life
- Long transmission range
The DJI Mavic 3 Cine packs a high-quality Hasselblad-branded camera, almost 50 minutes of flying time, and a transmission range of up to 15 kilometers.