DJI Mavic 3: our opinion!

dji mavic 3 test review

Do you want to do quality aerial photography? The problem with affordable drones is that you often have to compromise on camera quality. The DJI Mavic 3 is equipped with not one but two cameras and has some impressive features on paper. But of course all this comes at a price. So is it really capable of doing things never before seen for a drone in its class, and is it worth the price?

DJI Mavic 3: two versions available

The DJI Mavic 3 is available in two versions: the standard version and the Cine version.

These two models are almost identical. The Cine version is a slightly upgraded version and the main differences are that it incorporates a 1TB SSD hard drive whereas the standard version has 8GB of internal storage, and the Cine version supports Apple ProRes 422 HQ video recording. The Cine version also has a different remote control with an integrated screen, the DJI RC Pro.

Apart from that, both versions have the same design, the same battery, the same flight modes and incorporate the same camera.

DJI Mavic 3: design and remote control

dji mavic 3 test review

The DJI Mavic 3 is designed like other DJI Mavic drones, but slightly larger. At first glance, it looks similar to its predecessor, the Mavic 2 Pro, but the design is slightly more rounded and the colour is a darker grey.

Also on the design side, there is a large camera just under the nose of the drone, anti-collision sensors all around the drone, and just above the battery compartment a USB-C port as well as a Micro SD card slot for additional memory.

Like its predecessors, its arms fold inwards, which makes it much easier to carry, making it much smaller and therefore easy to store in a bag when not in use. It only takes a few seconds to unfold it and make it ready to fly.

The Mavic 3 is very slightly larger than the Mavic 2 Pro when folded, with dimensions of 221 × 96.3 × 90.3 mm. The difference in size is most obvious when unfolded, measuring 347.5 × 283 × 107.7 mm.

As far as weight is concerned, we can say that DJI’s engineers have done a great job. If we compare it again to the Mavic 2, it is slightly lighter: 895g for the standard version and 899g for the Cine version against 907g for its predecessor, while it integrates a heavier battery (5000mAh against 3850mAh). The latter has been moved to the rear.

The standard remote control supplied with the DJI Mavic 3 is the RC-N1, the same one that comes with the DJI Mavic Air 2 and 2S. It has a telescopic smartphone holder at the top. Unfortunately, there is no LCD screen to display flight information, which is a shame given the high price of the drone, but you can find all this information on your phone in the DJI Fly app. This controller is larger than that of the Mavic 2 but has the advantage of a longer battery life, up to six hours, which is not negligible.

The remote control supplied with the DJI Mavic 3 Cine is the RC Pro, a new smart controller with a 5.5-inch touch screen and several other advanced features.

dji mavic 3 remote control

DJI Mavic 3: performance in flight

Flight modes

The DJI Mavic 3 has three flight modes: Normal, Sport and Cinematic (or Cine). While Sport mode allows you to reach speeds of up to 75km/h, Cine mode deliberately slows the speed down to 18km/h in order to create smoother videos.

Like other Mavic drones, it features QuickShot modes, automated flight modes that make it easy to create professional quality videos. These include the following modes:

  • Rocket: the drone rises into the sky with its camera pointing downwards
  • Circle: the drone turns around the subject
  • Dronie: the drone flies backwards and upwards and the camera is fixed on the subject.
  • Helix : the drone climbs and spirals around the subject
  • Boomerang: the drone flies around the subject with an oval trajectory
  • Asteroid: a kind of Rocket mode where the effect ends with a 3D view of the Earth

There is also a Hyperlapse mode for creating time-lapse and time-lapse videos, panoramic modes, and many modes for photos as well.

To track subjects in the best possible way, the DJI Mavic 3 uses the omnidirectional obstacle detection system with the ActiveTrack 5.0 upgrade. In our tests, we found that it easily follows both slow and fast people, as well as people walking through obstacles, without stalling once. No problem also with vehicles (like cars or motorbikes), as long as the latter do not go faster than the maximum speed of the drone of course.

Also noteworthy is the transmission distance of 15km, which is really impressive.

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Steering

DJI is known for producing drones that are both safe and easy to fly, and the DJI Mavic 3 does just that: it flies with such stability and reliability that you relax and gain confidence quickly.

Compared to the Mavic 2, this is clearly a more agile and responsive drone in flight. In Normal and Sport modes, the controls are much more sensitive, while Cine mode, designed to achieve smoother flights for better video footage, offers reduced sensitivity and control speed.

In terms of speed, the DJI Mavic 3 can fly at 18km/h in Cine mode, 54km/h in Normal mode and can reach 75km/h in Sport mode, which is just a tad faster than the Mavic 2. On the other hand, it gains in climb speed (up to 8m/s) and descent speed (up to 6m/s).

Although its high price tag makes it more suitable for experienced pilots and professional content creators, the Mavic 3 can also present a fantastic option for novice pilots, as it offers a very interesting scope for progression. It will allow you to evolve as your flying skills improve and ultimately meet your needs over the long term rather than having to invest in a new drone.

dji mavic 3 test review

Security

The DJI Mavic 3 uses several vision sensors to detect obstacles in all directions, as well as improved obstacle avoidance with the Advanced Driver Assistance System (APAS) 5.0, which combines six fisheye sensors and two wide angle sensors to detect obstacles in all directions. Once this system is activated, you can set the drone to fly autonomously around obstacles to maintain continuous flight and automatically brake.

We have found that this system works very well in conventional environments. The flight and videos are smooth. However, if you make it a little more difficult and put the drone in a more complex environment such as a dense forest with trees for example, the APAS system can be overwhelmed and the flight unstable and jerky.

However, it has to be said that this test was really difficult and you can also disable APAS to let the vision sensors do the work. This will result in a much smoother flight but with a higher risk of crashing.

Also of note is a new positioning algorithm that improves hover accuracy. However, we did not see any difference with previous generations of drones.

Battery and flight time

On paper, DJI claims that the new DJI Mavic 3 battery, with its 5000mAh capacity, can provide 46 minutes of flight time without wind. Of course, this figure is utopian and in reality you have to take into account the wind and other factors that will inevitably reduce the flight time. However, in our tests, which took place in less than optimal conditions, the drone flew for over 30 minutes before offering a return to its starting point.

DJI Mavic 3: the camera

dji mavic 3 camera

The Mavic 3 has not one, but two cameras: a primary camera with a Hasselblad 4/3 CMOS sensor with 20MP resolution, and a secondary camera with a 12MP 1/2-inch CMOS sensor used as a digital zoom.

The primary camera has a 4 degree field of view, 24 mm focal length with an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/11 with auto and manual focus from 1m to infinity. Its ISO sensitivity ranges from 100 to 6400 and it is capable of shooting video at up to 5.1K resolution at up to 50fps and 4K at up to 120fps. By comparison, the Mavic 2 Pro only achieves 4K at 30fps, so this is a real improvement.

The image quality of the main camera for photos and videos is simply excellent. The images we shot, even in 4K, were really impressive. This camera can capture images even in very low light conditions with very little image degradation and an incredible level of detail. Even in high-contrast scenes, no chromatic aberration was visible along the edges of the subject, and noise handling at high ISO is also excellent, although slight grain begins to be noticeable at ISO 800. We just noticed a small loss of sharpness on the edges of the frame for the photos, but this loss is really minimal.

The second camera has an equivalent focal length of 162mm, a fixed f/4.4 aperture and a 28x hybrid zoom. It is more limited and can only capture JPEG images and standard video (not Raw) in 4K at 30 frames per second.

The 28x digital zoom of this camera is very impressive and allows you to view distant scenes with ease. However, image quality decreases sharply as you zoom in, so don’t expect to capture high quality images at the highest zoom levels. The purpose of this camera is mainly to serve as a scout for the pilot by zooming in on subjects that may look interesting from a distance and thus avoid flying directly over them, which can save precious time for the battery.

DJI Mavic 3: the price

dji mavic 3 test review

With prices starting at €2099 for the basic version (on offer at €1929 at the time of writing) and rising to €4799 for the full version, it goes without saying that the DJI Mavic 3 is not a device for everyone. However, if you’re willing to break the bank, it’s clearly worth it as the quality is so high.

Donc la bête est décliné en trois versions :

The standard version which costs 2099€ (discounted to 1929€) and includes the standard Mavic 3 drone, the RC-N1 remote control, a smart battery, a charger, phone data cables, 3 pairs of propellers, spare joysticks and a storage cover.

The pack Fly More Bundle for 2799€ (on special offer at 2699€ at the time of writing), which includes all standard pack accessories, plus two extra batteries, 3 extra pairs of propellers, a charging station, a shoulder bag that converts to a backpack and a set of ND filters (ND4/8/16/32) in addition.

The ultimate package: the Cine Premium Bundle and its astronomical price of 4799€ for those willing to take out a loan from their bank 😅 But in exchange you get the best version of the drone, the Mavic 3 Cine with its built-in 1TB SSD and support for Apple ProRes 422 HQ video recording and RC Pro remote control instead of the standard RC-N1 controller. You will also get all the accessories included in the Fly More Bundle, plus an extra set of ND filters (ND64/128/256/512) and a DJI 10Gbps Lightspeed data cable.

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Conclusion: should you buy the DJI Mavic 3?

The DJI Mavic 3 is the most powerful folding drone offered by DJI. Its excellent video quality, enhanced battery life and improved collision avoidance make it even DJI’s best drone in terms of pure performance. Its strength is undoubtedly its dual-camera setup, with the impressive main camera offering clearly the best image quality in its class. This drone is a significant step up from the Mavic 2 series that will delight professional content creators.

However, these improvements, however great, come at a cost and that cost is high. If you’re not a professional videographer, the price tag will sting and you may be better off with a DJI Air 2S, which produces exceptional results for a much more affordable price.

But if money is not an issue for you or you are willing to pay the price, then the Mavic 3 is an obvious choice. This is a drone that will provide you with many years of service thanks to its advanced features and fantastic image quality.

Buy it if…

… you’re a professional videographer or need excellent professional-level image quality: the DJI Mavic 3 is undoubtedly the leader in its class when it comes to image quality.

Don’t buy it if…

… you have a limited budget: the price of the DJI Mavic 3 has increased considerably compared to the Mavic 2 series. If you are looking for a very compact drone, theDJI Air 2SThe smaller, lighter version will be more suitable. Finally, if you already own a DJI Air 2S or a Mavic 2 Zoom, you already have a great drone! They may not be as powerful as the Mavic 3, but their image quality is already excellent. Just wait for the price of the Mavic 3 to drop 😉

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