Reviews

DJI Mavic 3 Review: A Return to Flagship Territory

DJI Mavic 3

RRP $ 2,200.00

“This is the drone for the serious user who wants the best of the best in a portable package.”

advantages

  • Versatile dual camera system

  • Flies incredibly smooth

  • Above average battery life

  • Excellent dynamic range

disadvantage

  • Expensive costs

  • Telephoto lens not good for low light

Never the one who sits still and lets the competition take a bit of the spotlight, DJI has set a wild pace in recent years. Since the Mavic 2 series was released in 2018, the company has had its fabulous array of drones. Well, it’s back to where it all started with a real successor in the DJI Mavic 3.

Instead of dismantling it into two versions like its predecessor, the Mavic 3 combines everything in one package – complete with a Hasselblad dual camera system with telephoto zoom lens. Seriously, it covers pretty much anything professional users want. Know that, the only one DJI competes against itself.

draft

Unsurprisingly, the Mavic 3 follows the same clean design language that has followed the company’s range of products. Although, at 895 grams, it’s technically bigger and heavier than that Mini 2 and Air 2S, the Mavic 3 still features the same foldable design DJI is known for, which makes it easy to travel. Throw it in a backpack with the controller and spare batteries, you still have room for all your other normal gear.

DJI Mavic 3 hovers in the air.John Velasco / Digital Trends

I highly recommend getting that Fly more combojust because for the extra cost ($ 2,200 versus $ 3,000) you can get the replacement batteries, ND filters, charging station, and the most versatile drone bag I’ve ever seen. The sturdy fabric makes the bag feel sturdy, but I’m particularly amazed that it can be transformed from a shoulder bag into a backpack.

The design isn’t particularly innovative here. We’ve seen it countless times, but at least it’s solidly built. There’s a difference between its build quality and its entry-level drone in the Mini 2 – this one feels a lot thinner!

camera

The focus here is the Hasselblad dual camera system that the Mavic 3 carries. Without question, this is what most people serious about drones will pay attention to the most – and since it contains the largest sensor in the Mavic line, there are no surprises about its performance.

Close up of the camera on DJI Mavic 3.John Velasco / Digital Trends

Let me start with the main camera: a 20 megapixel 4/3 CMOS sensor that can record videos at 5.1K / 50fps, 4K / 120fps. When it comes to snapshots, they are accompanied by sharp detail and incredible dynamic range. The latter is worth describing in more detail because I’m impressed with how well it can handle such contrasting light sources – it degrades highlights to compensate for the exposure of the rest of the scene. It is a joy to use for all types of aerial photography, to ensure that it is well equipped to handle it in all conditions.

The video quality of the Mavic 3 is just as impressive. Even if I don’t use many of the Mavic 3’s functions enough, there is a professional mode for adjusting video settings in no time at all, and the option for 10-bit D-Log – perfect for everyone who want to get the most out of their camera. Needless to say, the 5.1K video recording is handy for post-production, but I left it at 4K for the majority because it is less stressful on my computer.

When it comes to low light, this is still an area of ​​possibility in my opinion – just because shadows tend to show more noise, which becomes more noticeable if you choose to increase the exposure in post-processing. Videos in particular can still appear noisy in the shade, but their low-light performance is by and large significantly better than that of the Mini 2 and Air 2S.

The 162mm f / 4.4 aperture telephoto lens is useful if you know how to use it effectively. Technically, the drone switches to the secondary telephoto lens when it reaches 7x zoom – and I can tell the difference in real time as the image looks sharper on my phone. In addition, including the maximum 28x zoom, the quality will decrease as all of these zoom levels are nothing more than digital zooms.

It is a pleasure to use for all types of aerial photography.

I really love how I can get closer to a subject without actually having to control the drone to get closer. I can still be at a decent distance and get good shots. However, it will take some practice to keep the subject in the frame as you will have to compensate for the zoom, which makes the controls more sensitive.

  • 1.
    DJI Mavic 3 1x zoom.
  • 2.
    DJI Mavic 3 7x zoom.
  • 3.
    DJI Mavic 3 28x hybrid zoom.

You should only use the telephoto lens when the lighting is good, just because it cannot be used in low light. In fact, the Mavic 3 struggled to lock focus with the zoom lens when it was dark. Also, it doesn’t help that the zoom lens quality can be riddled with noise – it just isn’t meant for low light.

Controls

I’ve always enjoyed flying DJI’s drones. The same smooth and responsive controls I’ve seen on previous DJI drones, the Mini 2 and Air 2S, can be seen here on the Mavic 3. The remote control is also the same, so I didn’t have to spend time adjusting. One reason I enjoyed flying is because of the new OS3 + technology that delivered a reliable 1080p feed to my phone at 60 frames per second here. I was really able to get a feel for how tightly the controls shift into sport mode, which allows you to push the Mavic 3 to its speed limits.

DJI Mavic 3 Fly More combo content.John Velasco / Digital Trends

The only hiccups I encountered while piloting the drone was when I finished a recording. Sometimes the feed froze for a brief moment, which was probably due to the microSD card I was using. So you should use one that can write to the card faster to avoid this particular problem.

Another reason the Mavic 3 is so comfortable to use is because of the omnidirectional obstacle sensors around the drone. The front, back, bottom and top of the drone are all covered so that first-time fliers or relatively young pilots can fly safely. These sensors help inform the drone if there is an obstacle in its flight path, such as a tree nearby.

Close-up of the DJI Mavic 3's omnidirectional sensors.John Velasco / Digital Trends

The only thing missing from my tests was ActiveTrack 5.0, the system that would allow the Mavic 3 to fly autonomously while tracking a subject. Unfortunately, the firmware to enable this feature won’t be available until January 2022 – along with other modes like MasterShots, Quickshots, and Panorama. Even so, I tested the Mavic 3’s auto-tracking system by selecting a subject, either by selecting it on the screen or by drawing a frame around the subject on my phone. From there I was able to fly the drone while the camera remained fixed on the subject. It works fine of course, but I’m excited to see how the Mavic 3 will fly itself when ActiveTrack 5.0 is available.

battery

Sure, the Mavic 3’s 47 mph top speed and 15 miles of transmission range should be commended – mainly because I can fly the drone further than previous drones in the series. But the other notable thing is the 46 minute flight time. That’s incredibly long compared to the Mini 2 and Air 2S, so I enjoyed flying the Mavic 3 without worrying about swapping out a new one frequently. However, in my tests, I found that the battery life got in the region of 35 minutes longer. That’s still damn respectable in my book!

characteristics

Experienced pilots will eat up the drone’s incredible camera performance and versatility to capture breathtaking content with its dual camera system. I was able to do gentle pans with this parallax effect, but that was partly due to my experience. What is missing are the other recording modes that make DJI’s drones easy to use, even for beginners who don’t have a lot of flight time under their belt.

I can fly the drone further than previous drones in the series.

In particular, both MasterShots and Quickshots were inaccessible with the firmware I tested. However, having tried them both on the previous DJI Air 2S, I’m confident they will work flawlessly on the Mavic 3. This is one of the Mavic 3’s many attractions as it appeals to beginners, enthusiasts, and professionals alike.

DJI Mavic 3 hovers in the air.John Velasco / Digital Trends

I’m not saying the DJI Mavic 3 should be the drone you should buy when you’re just starting out, but if you can afford it, there are tons of features to use to get you started. Instead, it is the professional who will really get the most out of the Mavic 3 for commercial purposes.

Our opinion

DJI didn’t take a moment to breathe. So when you think about what has happened in the past 3 years, it’s incredible that the company continues to push the boundaries with its drones. After tackling the entry-level and mid-range market with its final drones, the DJI Mavic 3 screams out onto the stage to set the bar in the series. In fact, it’s the one out there for those who are serious about their drone photography and cinematography – but I wouldn’t go far to say it’s the best drone out there.

In particular, the $ 2,200 startup cost is a significant investment for the average consumer. You can buy four DJI Mini 2 drones for the price of just one Mavic 3. Knowing this, it can be argued that many of its features are exaggerated if not used frequently. To reiterate, the Mavic 3 is for the serious user.

Is there a better alternative?

Fortunately, DJI has a few drones that are worth a look. the DJI Air 2S is a drone that bridges the gap between novice and professional users, plus it’s half the price of the Mavic 3. Alternatively, I can’t stress enough that the DJI Mini 2 address as the perfect boarding drone.

How long it will take?

As it is widely regarded as the flagship drone in the DJI range, the Mavic 3 is solidly constructed from sturdy materials. Everything about its build quality and construction gives me confidence that it is really easy to handle in the long run. There is a one year limited warranty which it covers for defects, but you can also purchase extended warranties through DJI that also cover damage.

Should you buy it?

You bet! If you want the best quality footage in a portable drone, you won’t find anything like the Mavic 3.

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