DJI Air 2S vs Mavic 3 Classic: which drone to choose?

Let us guess. You were about to order a DJI Air 2S, and then DJI released the Mavic 3 Classic, the new “budget” version of its most advanced camera drone. So, you hesitate to put the extra euros to get its super 4/3 sensor. Is that about right? We’re here to help you decide! DJI Air 2S vs Mavic 3 Classic, which drone is right for you? The answer in our comparison.

DJI Air 2S vs Mavic 3 Classic: design, size, weight and remotes

dji air 2s vs mavic 3 classic 2
 DJI Air 2SDJI Mavic 3 Classic
Dimensions folded (L×W×H)180 x 97 x 77 mm221 x 96.3 x 90.3 mm
Dimensions unfolded (L×W×H)183 x 253 x 77 mm347.5 x 283 x 107.7 mm
Weight595g895g

Both the Air 2S and the Mavic 3 Classic feature the same foldable design that allows them to fold the arms for easy storage and transport, and unfold them before flight.

If the two drones are designed in the same way, they show however a rather important difference on the scale: with 595g for the Air 2S and 895g for the Mavic 3 Classic, that makes 300 grams less for the former, which is almost a third of the total weight of the latter. And this inevitably has an impact on the weight of the backpack.

However, while the Mavic 3 Classic is clearly larger when its arms are unfolded, the difference isn’t as great when they’re folded, so it doesn’ t take up much more space in a bag.

As far as remote controls are concerned, both drones are compatible with the same three radio controls, namely the DJI RC-N1 (the standard controller without screen), the DJI RC (with screen, released with the Mini 3 Pro), the DJI RC Pro (also with screen, the most advanced of the three). So there is no difference in that respect.

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DJI Air 2S vs Mavic 3 Classic: battery and autonomy

 DJI Air 2SDJI Mavic 3 Classic
Battery capacity3750 mAh5000 mAh
Maximum flight time31 minutes46 minutes

With its larger battery capacity, the DJI Mavic 3 Classic logically has the advantage in terms of autonomy. DJI announces 46 minutes of maximum flight time for the Mavic 3 in optimal flight conditions, against 31 minutes for the Air 2S. In more realistic conditions, expect 30-35 minutes for the Mavic 3 versus 20-25 minutes for the Air 2S.

Another advantage for the Mavic 3 Classic: being equipped with a USB-C port, it can be charged directly, while you will have to use a separate charger for the Air 2S.

DJI Air 2S vs Mavic 3 Classic: in flight

dji air 2s vs mavic 3 classic 3
 DJI Air 2SDJI Mavic 3 Classic
Maximum speed19 m/s (68.4 km/h)21 m/s (75.6 km/h)
(19 m/s max in the EU)
Max. ascent speed6 m/s8 m/s
Max. descent speed6 m/s6 m/s
Max. wind resistance10 m/s12 m/s
Video transmission systemO3O3+
Maximum transmission distanceFCC : 12 km
CE : 8 km
FCC : 15 km
CE : 8 km
Obstacle detectionFront, back, top, bottomOmnidirectional
APAS4.05.0
Airsense ADS-BYesYes

Wind speed and resistance

The Mavic 3 Classic is capable of slightly better performance than the Air 2S, with a speed of up to 21 m/s, or about 75 km/h. However, it is important to note that this speed is limited to 19 m/s (about 68 km/h) in the European Union, which is the maximum speed of Air 2S. So the flight speed is the same for both if you live in Europe.

Concerning the wind resistance, small advantage for the Mavic 3 Classic, able to resist to winds of 12 m/s (43 km/h) against 10 m/s (36 km/h) for the DJI Air 2S. The Mavic 3 will therefore resist a little better to strong winds.

Transmission and scope

Both drones have a maximum range of 8km CE. So if you live in Europe, no difference. However, for those who live in the United States, be aware that the Mavic 3 has a slightly longer FCC range, 15km versus 12.

Also note that the Mavic 3 Classic is equipped with the latest DJI OcuSync O3+ transmission system, compared to the O3 for the Air 2S. What’s the difference? The Mavic 3 will benefit from a video return quality of up to 1080p at 60 fps against 1080p at 30 fps for the DJI Air 2S.

Security

Both models are equipped with Airsense ADS-B, which detects the presence of aircraft in the vicinity, as well asAPAS, which assists the pilot to better avoid obstacles, although the Mavic 3 has the advantage of benefiting from the latest version (5.0) of this system.

But where the Mavic 3 Classic is really superior is on obstacle detection. Indeed, it is equipped with omnidirectional obstacle sensors, while the Air 2S has them in front, behind, under and above… but not on the sides. Advantage Mavic 3 Classic on this point.

Features

The functionalities in flight are almost identical for both drones, however the DJI Mavic 3 Classic has the advantage of having a new mode that appeared with it: the Cruise control mode .

Really handy, this feature locks the drone’s movement to a constant trajectory and speed, allowing you to focus entirely on controlling the camera and taking the shot.

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DJI Air 2S vs Mavic 3 Classic: camera and image quality

 DJI Air 2SDJI Mavic 3 Classic
Sensor1” CMOS4/3 CMOS
FOV88°84°
35 mm equivalent format22 mm24 mm
Openingf/2,8f/2.8 to f/11
Focusing distance0.5 m to infinity1 m to infinity
Video resolution20 MP20 MP
Video resolution5.4K up to 30 fps
4K up to 60 fps
1080p up to 120 fps
5.1K up to 50 fps
4K up to 120 fps
1080p up to 200 fps
ISO range (photo)100 to 3200 (auto)
100 to 12800 (manual)
100 à 6400
ISO range (video)100 to 3200 (auto)
100 to 6400 (manual)
100 à 6400
Max. bit rate150 Mb/s200 Mb/s
Photo formatJPEG/DNG (RAW)JPEG/DNG (RAW)
Video formatMP4/MOV (H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, H.265/HEVC)MP4/MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265)
Stabilization3 axes3 axes
Internal storage8 GB8 GB

We’ll kill the suspense a bit, but the Mavic 3 Classic has a major advantage that allows it to be superior on almost all aspects related to the image: its large 4/3 sensor. The largest sensor existing on a consumer drone, it clearly makes the difference. While the Air 2S’s 1-inch sensor is still very good and capable of capturing great images, the Mavic 3’s sensor captures more light, and thus offers higher definition and dynamic range.

Both cameras offer the same 20 MP photo resolution, and the following video resolutions :

  • for Air 2S: 5.4K up to 30 fps, 4K up to 60 fps, 1080p up to 120 fps
  • for the Mavic 3 Classic: 5.1K up to 50 fps, 4K up to 120 fps, 1080p up to 200 fps

We note a maximum definition a little higher for the Air 2S (5.4K against 5.1K), but quickly eclipsed by a much higher frame rate on the Mavic 3 Classic. Moreover, the latter also has the advantage of offering a maximum bit rate of 200 Mb/s, against 150 Mb/s for the Air 2S.

The DJI Air 2S does have a few trump cards up its sleeve: its field of view is slightly larger to that of the Mavic 3 (88 degrees against 84), which allows it to focus closer to the subject, from 0.5 meters against 1 meter for its competitor of the day.

It also has a better digital zoom: the telephoto lens having been removed from the Mavic 3 Classic, no more 28X zoom, the drone must make do with a 3X zoom, while the Air 2S is capable of zooming up to 8X in 1080p.

But the Mavic 3 Classic has not said its last word: its variable aperture from f/2.8 to f/11 allows it to be much more flexible and precise on settings such as exposure, while the Air 2S has to make do with a fixed aperture at f/2.8, which will force you to get ND filters to compensate and get a more cinematic look.

As far as photo and video functionalities are concerned, both drones are equal and rather well supplied: timelapse, panoramas, QuickShots and MasterShots modes… However, a new functionality has appeared on the Mavic 3 Classic (which the Air 2S lacks): the Night modewhich offers a higher sensitivity by raising the ISO to 12800 and thus allows to capture more light and to obtain more details in low light.

DJI Air 2S vs Mavic 3 Classic: price

dji mavic air 2s pack standard

Here are the prices of the two drones in their different versions, on the DJI website, at the time of writing this article:

 DJI Air 2SDJI Mavic 3 Classic
Drone alone1499€
Drone + DJI RC-N1 remote control999€1599€
Drone + DJI RC remote control1749€
Fly More Pack1299€+ 599€

For the same package, i.e. the drone supplied with the standard RC-N1 remote control without screen, the Mavic 3 Classic is available at a price of 1599€ against 999€ for the DJI Air 2S, which makes a significant difference of 600€.

A small bonus for the DJI Mavic 3 Classic: unlike the Air 2S, it is available in a “Drone only” version without remote control at the attractive price of €1499. If you already own a Mini 2 or a Mavic Air 2 for example, and you already have one of the three compatible remotes (DJI RC-N1, RC or RC Pro), this can be an interesting option.

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Conclusion: DJI Air 2S vs Mavic 3 Classic, which one to choose?

The DJI Air 2S and the Mavic 3 Classic are not really in the same league. The first one is more of a mid-range model, while with the second one, DJI is aiming more at the high end. As a result, there is no real match. From a purely technical point of view, the Mavic 3 Classic is superior in many ways, and the question of a choice between the two is more a matter of money than anything else.

But to summarize, the Mavic 3 Classic has a better camera, a better obstacle detection system, as well as a better autonomy. The DJI Air 2S, on the other hand, has the advantage of being more compact and light, and therefore convenient to carry. At its price, no other drone equals it, its camera does not demerit and allows to obtain magnificent images.

Buy the DJI Air 2S if…

… You need the best value for money. If you want to do quality aerial photography but don’t want to blow your budget, this is clearly the most interesting drone on the market, complete in features and with a more than correct image. And it will allow you to travel lighter.

➡️ Find our full review of the DJI Air 2S by clicking here.

Buy the Mavic 3 Classic if you…

…. You need the best image quality at all costs. If you are a professional, an enthusiast, or simply serious about aerial photography, then there is no better option than the Mavic 3 Classic and the extra money is well worth it.

➡️ Find our full review of the DJI Mavic 3 Classic by clicking here.

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