DJI Mavic 3 Release

It’s been three years since DJI released the prosumer Mavic 2 Pro drone. The Mavic 2 was lauded for its size, and its ability to capture high-quality 20 MP stills and 4K HQ video. It was the go-to drone for many hobbyists and professionals.

I personally got into drone photography and videography this past year and I purchased a Mavic 2 Pro. It’s been a workhorse for me and I’ve really enjoyed the ability to capture stills and video with a different perspective.

But, I too was looking forward to the next release in the Mavic line. Three years is a long time in the camera world, just look at all the incredible technology and innovation that’s happened since. DJI also released the feature-packed Air 2 and Air 2S, hinting at what might be possible with the next Mavic.

Well, the wait is over. The DJI Mavic 3 is here and it is impressive. It’s the flagship that we’ve all hoped for. It’s better than the Mavic 2 Pro in every single way.

There are also multiple versions of the drone, a normal version, and a ‘CINE’ version. The CINE is designed for professional filmmakers, as it’s able to employ a ProRes 422 HQ codec for high-end quality…it also runs an extra $2,000, but it does include some extras too, like a new smart controller.



Mavic 3 Pro
Drone
Fly More Combo: $2,999
CINE Version: $4,999

Key Specifications

  • 3-Axis Gimbal with Dual Cameras
  • 20MP 5.1K Wide-Angle 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad
  • 12MP Telephoto with 28x Hybrid Zoom
  • Up to 46 Minutes of Flight Time
  • Up to 9.3-Mile Transmission Range
  • 360° Obstacle Avoidance System
  • 10-Bit D-Log Color Profile & HNCS
  • 1080p60 Live View Video Stream
  • 8GB of Storage Space
  • RC-N1 OcuSync 2.0 Remote Included
  • ProRes 422 HQ Codec (CINE)
  • 1 TB SSD (CINE)
  • DJI RC Pro (CINE)

The Camera(s)
The Mavic 3 features two cameras – a main camera with a 4/3-inch 20 MP Hasselblad sensor with a 24mm focal length and a second telephoto camera with a ½-inch 12 MP sensor and 28x hybrid zoom. The Mavic 2 only featured a 1-inch sensor. It can’t be understated how big an improvement the new main sensor makes. The larger 4/3-inch sensor has better dynamic range, noise performance, and quality. It’s a noticeable improvement for stills and video.

The video quality features are amazing on the Mavic 3, especially on the CINE version. Every model offers up to 5.1K resolution at 50 fps and DCI 4K up to 120 fps. It has 12.8 stops of dynamic range, the new sensor really pays off. You can capture footage in 10-bit D-Log or ProRes 422 HQ with the CINE version.

It also has a variable aperture, from f/2.8 to f/11, being able to adjust aperture is a nice feature for video and was a complaint of the otherwise impressive Air 2S.

Overall, the imaging technology on the Mavic 3 is extremely impressive. A micro 4/3rds sensor that you can fly around – amazing!

Design
The Mavic 3 features a unique dual-camera design, but you’ll notice some other big design changes from its predecessor. Its dimensions aren’t radically different, but you’ll notice updating swinging arms that are longer, larger props, a brand-new battery design (larger capacity too), and slimmer arms.

DJI really focused on creating an aerodynamic drone and they succeeded. The Mavic 3 is less noisy than previous models too.

The new batteries are large, but they are 5000mAh, a large increase over the Mavic 2. These batteries and the new overall design enable flight times of up to 46 minutes! The batteries also plug into the back, versus on top with the Mavic 2. So, although larger, DJI did a good job of keeping the footprint similar.

The Mavic 3 also gets the updated DJI controller, the one we saw with the Air 2 and Air 2S. I have flown with the old Mavic 2 controller and the new one. The new one is much better. It feels better in the hands, and maneuvering just seems more seamless and controllable.

If you do get the CINE version, you’ll also get an internal 1 TB SSD drive and a new smart controller. The new controller is a step up from the old smart controller. It has a brilliant display, but what stands out is how responsive the controls and joysticks are.

Additional Upgrades
There are other great upgrades that DJI integrated into the Mavic 3. A big one is the new Occusync 3+ technology, which is how an image is transmitted from the drone to the controller, so you can see what you’re capturing. The new technology is much better than Occusync 2.0 on the Mavic 2. You’ll experience a much better connection, regardless of whether you’re in the trees or open expanses.

The new obstacle detection and APAS 5.0 sensors are also fantastic. It makes flying closer to objects safer, and the drone can even react and avoid objects, then return to course. It is DJI’s most crash-proof drone yet if that’s a thing.

It also gets the updated ActiveTrack 5.0, another feature we saw improved on the Air models. The Mavic 3 should track better than ever now.

What’s cool too is that DJI has promised some future firmware upgrades too. It’ll be interesting to see what those are, but we’ve seen camera companies upgrade features via firmware too.

Another huge upgrade – 46 minutes of flight tie, forty-six minutes! That’s about 15 more minutes more than the Mavic 2 Pro, which is a big deal. This extended time is due to the new battery, but also the aerodynamic design. That’s an insane flight time for the features of this drone.

Conclusion
There is no doubt the Mavic 3 is an incredible drone – I believe it’s the best prosumer drone on the market, although Autel and the Skydio line are also pushing the limits. It’s DJI’s new flagship.

The fact is, you get a micro 4/3rds sensor, 5.1K 10-bit video, 46 minutes of flight time, and some of the best obstacle avoidance out there with the Mavic 3. Of course, there are a bunch of other features, but those are some hard hitters and the ones most users will appreciate the most. All of the other things just build into the experience, like Occusyn 3+, the new controller, the hybrid zoom, and ActiveTrack 5.0.

If you opt for the CINE version, you’re getting a super high-quality ProRes 422 HQ codec, capable of producing cinema-grade footage. But, I think that version will be overkill for many.

I think for most people, the standard version is great. The CINE only makes sense if you’re doing a lot of commercial videos or if you just want the best. Note, you won’t see any difference in still quality.

I personally will be buying the Fly More Combo. It comes with a case, extra batteries, ND filters, and a few other accessories. As much as I’d love a CINE version, I really don’t need it and it’s a hard pill to swallow at $5,000.

But, what an awesome drone. If you’re in the market, I recommend buying the Mavic 3. It is DJI’s best yet in this class. The Air 2S is still excellent and half the size, but for the utmost quality, opt for the Mavic 3.

Matt Meisenheimer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin.  His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special.  Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.

Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.

As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.

You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com

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