DJI Mavic 3 Launch Event
This is an event you won't want to miss. Introducing DJI Mavic 3 - the drone that puts Imaging Above Everything.
DJI Mavic 3 is not just an evolution - it's a revolution.
In September, 2016, DJI introduced the Mavic Pro – a compact, foldable drone with a professional-grade camera that also detected obstacles. Two years later, they followed up with the Mavic 2 series. Notably, at the time of its release, the Mavic 2 Pro was the smallest drone to feature a camera with a 20MP 1"-type CMOS sensor and the first to include Hasselblad's Natural Color Solution (HNCS) technology. It was an impressive feat, but there were some shortcomings.
The Mavic 2 Pro's camera didn't use the full sensor when shooting 4K video clips. Perhaps this was to prevent overheating, given its small housing, but what resulted was line skipping and pixel binning that compromised the overall quality of the footage. Furthermore, if you wanted to home in on subjects, you needed a whole different drone like the Mavic 2 Zoom.
Three years after the Mavic 2 series was introduced, DJI returns with the highly-anticipated Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine. Weighing 7 grams less than the preceding models, they're the first prosumer and compact, foldable drones to feature a dual-camera setup. At the bottom is a camera, co-produced with Hasselblad, with a 20MP Four Thirds sensor, with a 12MP 1/2" CMOS telephoto camera placed above.
The standard and Cine models share most of their hardware, but with the more expensive ‘Cine’ version adding 1TB of internal memory and the ability to capture using the ProRes 422 HQ codec. The Cine model also only comes as a combo package, including three batteries, two sets of ND filters and the more sophisticated DJI RC Pro controller.
The Mavic 3 and Cine can fly up to 46 minutes. This surpasses the Mavic 2 series, and the Air 2S, by 15 minutes. It even beats out the Autel EVO II, that boasts up to 40 minutes flight time. The top-of-the-line Mavic 3 Cine, which costs $4999 for the 'Premium Combo' (the standard model comes in at $2999 for the Fly More combo), offers up 1TB of internal storage and Apple's ProRes 422 HQ (High Quality): a codec that applies the least amount of compression to video files for the highest-quality imagery possible.
As impressive as these new features are, they come at a significantly higher cost compared to their predecessors. Does the overall offering justify the steep price hike? Furthermore, which model – standard or Cine – gives most people the best value? Most importantly, is it an all-in-one solution fit for most professional use cases? Let's take a look.
When it comes to camera sensor size, video resolution, zooming capabilities, and flight time, the Mavic 3 and Cine excel compared to previous Mavic models. We've priced these as Fly More Combos since only the standard version is offered as a basic model (without two additional batteries and accessories) and the Cine is only offered as a Combo. The Standard Mavic 3 retails for $2199.
|DJI Mavic 3 / Cine||Mavic 2 Pro||DJI Air 2S|
20MP, Four Thirds CMOS sensor
24mm equiv. F2.8-11
20MP, 1"-type sensor
28mm equiv. F2.8-11
20MP, 1"-type sensor
22mm equiv. F2.8 (fixed)
|Zoom||Hybrid: 1-4X digital zoom on main camera, up to 28X digital on telephoto||2X optical, 4X digital (Mavic 2 Zoom, sold separately)||1-4X digital zoom|
|Video transmission||OcuSync 3.0 (O3), 4 antennas, 15 km, 1080p/60p||OcuSync 2.0, dual antenna, 10 km, 1080p/30p||OcuSync 3.0 (O3), 4 antennas, 12 km, 1080p/30p|
|Video resolution||5.1K/50p, DCI or UHD 4K/120p||4K/30p||5.4K/30p, 4K/60p|
|Video bit-rate||200 Mbps (H.264) / 140 Mbps (H.265)||100 Mbps||150 Mbps|
|Log video||10-bit D-Log, HDR video (10-bit)||10-bit D-Log-M, HDR video (10-bit)||10-bit D-Log-M, HDR video (10-bit)|
|APAS version (Advanced Pilot Assistance System)||APAS 5.0||APAS 1.0||APAS 4.0|
|Obstacle avoidance sensors||Forward, Backward, Downward, Upward, Left, and Right||Forward, Backward, Downward, Upward, Left, and Right||Forward, Backward, Downward, Upward|
|Flight time||46 minutes||31 minutes||31 minutes|
|Dimensions||221x96x90 mm||214×91×84 mm||180×97×80 mm|
At 221 x 96 x 90 mm (8.7 x 3.8 x 3.6") folded down, the Mavic 3 has a frame that’s slightly larger than the Mavic 2 series. It's either 8 or 12 grams lighter, for the standard and Cine, respectively, due to the fact that its legs are thinner and the body is slimmer. The propellers are longer and have orange tips. The 5000mAh batteries, that are inserted into the back of the aircraft, as opposed to the top, are longer and slimmer. Overall, the design is more aerodynamic.
DJI has created a more robust obstacle avoidance system for the Mavic 3. The Mavic 2 series featured obstacle detection sensors on the sides of the drone but oftentimes they weren't reliable and only worked when the drone was operating in Tripod mode. The Air 2S has obstacle avoidance capabilities on the top, bottom, front, and back of the aircraft.
DJI has equipped the Mavic 3 with six fish-eye vision sensors and two wide-angle sensors that give the drone 360º omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, even when flying in Normal mode. This means the drone can detect obstacles on the top and bottom along with every possible angle from the front, back, and sides. The bottom of the aircraft houses two additional sensors plus auxiliary lights that help aid take off and landing in low-light situations.
DJI has placed two fish-eye vision sensors strategically on the back so they face both the back and side of the drone for enhanced coverage. The drone has 360º obstacle detection.
APAS 5.0 – the latest iteration of an autopilot system that automatically detects obstacles – will avoid them by creating a path around them. In the demo given to DPReview by DJI's team, the video shown to us demonstrating APAS 5.0 capabilities was recorded at a maximum resolution of 4K/30p. This is consistent with the Air 2S. If you went to 4K/60 or 120p, the feature will no longer work. DJI says it has updated APAS 5.0 to work properly in more complicated environments, including a congested city. This feature was not yet available for us to test in the beta version of the DJI Fly app.
For the Mavic 3 model, DJI has opted to use the same RC-N1 Remote Controller that powers the Mavic Air 2, Air 2S, and Mini 2. It doesn't have external antennas, and it can still be a challenge to attach a smartphone to the top. However, it's comfortable to hold and includes everything you need to operate, including a gimbal wheel plus buttons to instantly start and stop taking photos and video. It’s easy to switch between Cine, Normal, and Sport Modes while the Return to Home feature is instantly accessible.
The Mavic 3 Cine is powered by a new remote called the DJI RC Pro. It basically looks and behaves like an updated version of DJI's Smart Controller. The RC Pro features a 1,000-nit, 5.5" high bright screen and a range of 15km (9.3 miles) thanks to O3+ (OcuSync 3) transmission. DJI says it takes 90 minutes to charge fully and can operate the drone up to 3 hours.
One new and noteworthy development comes in the form of a new gimbal protector. DJI has done away with the plastic gimbal clamp and created something that wraps around the drone and secures the battery, which now gets inserted in the back of the aircraft. Flexible straps hold the propellers in as well. The front of the drone fits into a molded cup that covers the top front section of the drone and protects the camera. A thick elastic band wraps around the bottom of the drone, where another molded buckle snaps in, and up the back. A small clip snaps everything into place on the top-center part of the drone.