DJI Mavic 3: the closest we’ve gotten to a crash-proof consumer drone

Over 45-minute battery life? High-quality camera? Seamless, easy-to-fly experience? (Almost entirely) crashproof? You can have it all, as long as you have the DJI Mavic 3. There are so many standout features on the DJI Mavic 3, that it’s hard to decide on the best.

Most drone enthusiasts will likely settle on these top three: 1. a dual-camera system featuring Hasselblad, 2. an incredible 46-minute battery life, and 3. improved sense and avoid tech that makes this drone nearly crashproof.

All that, and it’s packaged into the existing DJI tech that helped propel the drone company to fame: easy to use interfaces and reliable hardware. And while priced higher than DJI’s more entry-level drones like the Mavic Mini or the Mavic Air, the DJI Mavic 3 is still relatively affordable given all the tech that’s packed inside: it starts at $2,199.

DJI Mavic 3 drone

DJI Mavic 3 camera(s): the dual-camera system featuring Hasselblad

When it comes to the imaging system on the DJI Mavic 3, it would be wrong to call it just a camera. It’s cameras, plural. The DJI Mavic 3 has an integrated dual- camera system that takes the best of its predecessors, the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom and combines them into one.

In the two types of Mavic 2 drones, you had to choose whether you wanted the Hasselblad camera or the zoom camera. With the Mavic 3, there’s no need to choose; you get both.

The DJI Mavic 3 has a dual-camera system featuring a Hasselblad camera, and a second Explore Mode camera with 28x Hybrid Zoom.

Hasseblad camera: The first camera is a custom Hasselblad L2D-20c aerial camera. This professional-level, 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera uses a 24mm prime lens and offers higher dynamic range and resolution. Expect reduced noise in low-light environments for sharper, clearer photos.

Zoom camera: The second is a 28x Hybrid Zoom Tele Camera. This thing has a 162mm long-focus lens. As far as use cases go, this would be especially beneficial for wildlife observation, as the sound of the drone could disrupt animals. With this, you can stay quite far away, but still get that nature photography without disturbing nature.

Separately, you can opt for an upgraded version of the Mavic 3 called the Mavic 3 Cine. Besides a few extra accessories, the primary difference between the Mavic 3 Cine and the MAvic 3 is higher-quality video, which offers Apple ProRes 422 HQ encoding for richer video processing, with an internal 1TB SSD onboard for high-speed data storage. That said, the Cine Premium Combo won’t come cheap. While the standard Mavic 3 starts at $2,199, the DJI Mavic 3 Cine Premium Combo starts at $4,999.

The Mavic 3 versus the Mavic 3 Cine, side-by-side. They look the same on the outside, though have different specs.

DJI Mavic 3 camera specs

Here are some of the most relevant specs:

  • Records video in 5.1K and DCI 4K/120fps with Apple ProRes 422 HQ encoding, if you opt for the DJI Mavic 3 Cine
  • 10-bit D-Log color profile captures up to 1 billion colors for natural color gradation and advanced flexibility in post-production.
  • Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution
  • Native dynamic range of 12.8 stops
  • Adjustable aperture of f/2.8-f/11
  • 4/3 CMOS sensor with a 24mm prime lens

DJI Mavic 3 obstacle avoidance: it’s truly crash-proof (just don’t call it that in front of the lawyers)

Someone’s going to find a way to crash it, so DJI won’t call it crash-proof. But, this thing essentially is.

The DJI Mavic 3 is equipped with multiple vision sensors (six fish-eye vision sensors and two wide-angle sensors) with an extended sensing range to precisely sense obstacles in all directions, rather than just the front and back as was the case on previous DJI drones.

This is a huge upgrade for DJI as it seeks to compete with the few competitors out there. One promising competitor, the Skydio 2 has significantly better obstacle avoidance tech than the DJI Mavic 2 drones, able to confidently navigate between trees or other high-obstacle areas. The DJI Mavic 3 might actually be better than Skydio, taking one of the few, sole standout qualities away from one of its top competitors and making it one of its own.

ActiveTrack 5.0

So how does the crash-proof tech work? It’s thanks to DJI’s Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing system. While previous iterations of ActiveTrack enabled the camera to follow a subject as it moved directly toward and away from the drone, ActiveTrack 5.0 works in all directions. The drone is capable of flying in tandem with its subject as it moves forward, backward, left, right, and diagonally — and even around it. If the subject moves too fast and temporarily goes out of frame, the drone’s visual sensors are smart enough to pick it back up when it reappears.

Now, you could bike through a forest or run under a pier and the drone would still be able to follow you — and not crash.

Improved return to home

Here’s something else neat: it can sense obstacles in front of it from a farther distance, enabling the drone to have more time to make decisions as to how to navigate around it. Previous DJI drones have a 20 meter sensing range. Compare that with the Mavic 3’s 200 meter (during Advanced RTH) sensing range.

Speaking of Return to Home, this drone improves upon it. Previous DJI drones used Return-to-Home functions based on tracing back the flight route or scanning and flying above obstacles to a safer altitude. This drone is a lot smarter and more efficient thanks to what DJI calls ‘Advanced RTH,’ which commands your drone to automatically determine the shortest, safest, and energy-efficient route to land back at its home point. That’s especially helpful if your drone finds itself needing to return home due to insufficient battery life.

DJI Mavic 3 Fly More Combo Battery Charging Hub can charge 3 batteries at once.
The DJI Mavic 3 Fly More Combo includes a battery charging hub and 3 Intelligent Flight Batteries. Each battery provides up to 46 minutes of flight time.

DJI Mavic 3 battery life: 46 minutes of flight

Most in the drone community have accepted that a drone’s battery life would always hover around 30 minutes, give or take depending on the drone. DJI proved us wrong, extending the DJI Mavic 3 battery life to a whopping 46 minutes. That means you can achieve a max flight distance per battery charge of 30 km.

A spokesperson for DJI told The Drone Girl that DJI was able to develop more efficient motors and propellers while reducing weight of the drone to help improve its max flight time. He added that the Mavic 3’s more aerodynamic shape (think curved arms, body and gimbal) allows for a streamlined drag reduction. According to the results of a wind-tunnel test commissioned by DJI, the overall drag was reduced by 35% compared to the Mavic 2.

Capturing and sharing footage

Flying any drone for hours is fun. Getting great footage — and then managing it to go out in interesting clips where you want it to publish — is the challenging part for most drone makers. As DJI has long done, it’s relatively easy to take professional-level shots, even if you’re an amateur pilot.

The DJI Mavic 3 is set up with MasterShots, a suite of professional-quality drone and camera movement settings to create cinematic content quickly and easily.

Once you’ve gathered that footage, the DJI Fly app will take these clips and automatically edit them for share-worthy content in a few taps. And it’s truly a few taps, as Mavic 3 supports the Wi-Fi 6 protocol to provide QuickTransfer for faster sharing of photos and videos between the drone and your smartphone.

And if you’re looking for a high-quality live feed, you’re in luck. DJI’s new upgraded transmission system called DJI O3+ delivers smooth and clear video transmission, even if there’s strong signal interference. This drone has a super high frame rate transmission with a 1080p/60fps live feed, which is close to the quality that the camera actually records at.

DJI Mavic 3 configurations

The DJI Mavic 3 goes on sale in three configurations. There’s the Standard version which is just your baseline drone and a few essential accessories. That retails for $2,199.

Most people will opt for the DJI Mavic 3 Fly More Combo, which includes most accessories, and retails for $2,999. Or, some may opt for the even higher-end Cine Premium Combo, priced at $4,999.

$2,999 DJI Mavic 3 Fly More Combo
The $2,999 DJI Mavic 3 Fly More Combo

Here’s what’s in the box of the $2,999 DJI Mavic 3 Fly More Combo:

  • Mavic 3 drone
  • 3 Intelligent Flight Batteries
  • 3 RC-N1 Cables
  • Battery Charger
  • Battery Charging Hub
  • Storage Cover
  • 6 Propeller pairs
  • 2 Control Stick pairs
  • ND Filters Set (ND4\8\6\32)
  • Convertible Carrying Bag (can be converted between shoulder bag and backpack configurations)
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • Manuals and Guides

For an extra cost, you can purchase the DJI New-Generation Smart Controller called DJI RC Pro. Rather than rely on your smartphone to provide a live video feed, this controller does the work instead, eliminating the need to connect a third-party device (your iPhone or Android).

The DJI Pro
The DJI New-Generation Smart Controller called DJI RC Pro is included with the Cine Premium Combo.

The new Smart Controller levels up DJI’s existing Smart Controller with an improved video transmission system to support DJI O3+, while offering a higher transmission rate and transmission range of up to 15 km. DJI RC Pro supports Wi-Fi 6 and up to 100Mbps transmission rate in close distance. Its battery system offers an extended operating time of up to three hours, and it charges as fast as 90 minutes.

The DJI RC Pro is included in the Cine Premium Combo.

DJI Mavic 3 thoughts

The new DJI Mavic 3 is easily the company’s greatest consumer drone yet. It takes the best qualities of not just its predecessors but its competitors too, and puts it into one slick package. And not just that, but it took technology that we thought was only a dream, like more than 45-minutes of battery life and dual cameras so you don’t have to commit to just one. It gave us that in a drone that’s reasonable in price as far as consumer tech goes — and eye-popping given how much is packed in the Mavic 3.

After numerous non-drone product launches, it sometimes felt like it took a while for DJI to launch a new drone. But it was certainly worth the wait.

Oh, and I managed to get my hands one on already! See what’s inside the box for yourself!

What are your thoughts on the DJI Mavic 3? Will you be putting one under your Christmas tree this year? Leave your thoughts below!


3 Comments

  • Michael says:

    Yes I ordered the cine version cant wait.

  • I got mine and quickly realized that the Mavic 3’s DJI Fly Apps is INCOMPATIBLE with Google’s flagship device: the Pixel 6 Pro running Android 12? How crazy is that!? I’ve got a very expensive paperweight here and I’m not sure what to do. 🙁

  • Craig says:

    Crash proof as long as you never use it it sport mode which disables all of the sensors
    Managed to crash mine into a tree and the camera completely broke off.
    Camera mount is its biggest weakness

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