DJI’s two newest camera drones both are the third model in their series: first we got the Mavic 3, and then DJI gave us the DJI Mini 3 Pro. And indeed three is a lucky number, as both of these third-model drones are brilliant pieces of technology. But when it comes to the DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. Mavic 3, which is better?
Both are camera drones, targeting people who want to upgrade their aerial photo tech. Both are the top of their class. The difference between the two drones? They come from two very two different classes. And yes, that means two very different price points.
Here’s a comparison of the DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. Mavic 3, to solidify which drone is best for you:
DJI Mavic 3 drone in a nutshell
The DJI Mavic 3 drone launched in November 2021. It stood out for a few reasons including a dual-camera system featuring Hasselblad, an incredible 46-minute battery life, and a much improved collision avoidance system that makes this drone nearly crash-proof.
Among its top features:
- Hasselblad Camera with 4/3 CMOS (20 MP effective pixels)
- Apple ProRes 422 HQ video resolution
- Tele Camera with 1/2-inch CMOS
- 46 minutes max flight time (no wind)
- 12 m/s max wind speed resistance
- 8 GB internal storage (or 1TB on the Cine edition)
- Omnidirectional binocular vision system, supplemented with an infrared sensor at the bottom of the aircraft
- O3+ video transmission system
Those specs are impressive, and up until now haven’t been seen in drones at this price point ever before. Promises like ultra-long battery life or seriously-powerful sensors were reserved for commercial (and often custom) drones.
Price: $2,199 at launch (though since price-reduced at most retailers)
- Buy the DJI Mavic 3 now from Amazon for $2,049
- Buy the DJI Mavic 3 now from B&H Photo for $2,049
- Buy the DJI Mavic 3 now from Adorama for $2,049
Who is the DJI Mavic 3 for?
The Mavic 3 is for the photographer who wants the absolute best, top-of-the-line gear. They want room for modifications and upgrades, and there is nowhere that they’re willing to skimp. They might be a professional photographer and, since flying drones is their job, they’re willing to pay more for gear that lets them do their job to the utmost ability. They might use drones for other commercial applications, like mapping or inspections, in which case specs like that hybrid zoom might be essential.
DJI Mini 3 Pro drone in a nutshell
The DJI Mini 3 Pro drone launched in May 2022 as the perfect drone for vloggers, bloggers, avid travelers and really any budget-minded pilot looking for a quality drone. It stands out for its high image quality, all packed into an incredibly small and light body. The drone itself is stress-free and super simple to set up and get in the air.
Among its top features:
- 249 grams takeoff weight
- 1/1.3-inch CMOS Sensor, with 48 MP effective pixels
- 4K video resolution (3840×2160@24/25/30/48/50/60 fps)
- 34 minutes max flight time with standard battery (or 47 mins with Intelligent Flight Battery Plus)
- 10.7 m/s max wind speed resistance
- Tri-Directional Obstacle Sensing
- O3 video transmission system
Price: $759 (or an even cheaper $669 if you already have a remote controller). Buy the DJI Mini 3 Pro now from:
Who is the DJI Mini 3 Pro for?
While the DJI Mini 3 Pro is certainly used for professional photographers, it’s more likely the drone of choice for travelers, bloggers, athletes, or anyone who wants aerial photos but doesn’t want to carry a ton of equipment and doesn’t necessarily need the absolute top-of-the-line equipment, particularly if it means saving an enormous amount of money.
Related read: DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 2: is it worth the upgrade?
DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. DJI Mavic 3
Let’s put those specs head-to-head:
|DJI Mavic 3||DJI Mini 3 Pro|
|Starting Price||$2,049 (originally $2,199 at launch)||$759|
|Takeoff Weight||895 grams||<249 grams|
|Max Photo Resolution||20 MP||48 MP|
Apple ProRes 422 HQ
5.1K: 5120×2700 @ 24/25/30/48/50 fps
4K: 3840×2160 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60/120 fps
|4K HDR up to 30 ps|
|Sensor||4/3″ CMOS||1/1.3″ CMOS|
|Aperture||f/2.8 to f/11||f/1.7|
|Obstacle Avoidance||Omnidirectional binocular vision system, supplemented with an infrared sensor at the bottom of the aircraft||Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS 4.0)|
|Max Flight Time||46 minutes||34 minutes|
DJI Mini 3 Pro vs. Mavic 3: which drone is better for you?
The two are so different, but they also have an enormous amount of crossover that it can be tough to decide. Here’s what you should consider:
Price: Given that the Mavic 3 is over 2.5x the price the Mini 3 Pro, the decision might be made for you. If your budget is, say, under $1,000, then the $759 Mini 3 Pro is your only option. If you want the top-of-the-line specs though, and budget doesn’t matter, read on.
- Winner on price: DJI Mini 3 Pro
Camera: It’s tough to beat the Hasselblad camera — and the fact that the DJI Mavic 3 not only has a Hasselblad but also a dual camera system with a Zoom camera is pretty epic. That’s not to say the Mini 3 Pro camera is bad. In fact, it’s far better than the camera system on any other Mini predecessor, thanks to that 1/1.3-inch CMOS camera sensor and f/1.7 aperture, which is ideal for low light and nighttime performance. Actually, the Mini 3 Pro actually offers the same aperture and ISO as the DJI Mavic 3.
Ultimately the sensor and Apple ProRes encoding make Mavic 3 Pro’s camera far better, but depending on what the video is for, the difference might not be all that noticeable. Professional photographers, especially those shooting video for serious clients whether it’s using drones for wedding photography, or making a movie, will want the Mavic 3 over the Mini 3 Pro, for sure. But if your videos are ultimately ending up on something like Instagram, then the Mini 3 Pro is just fine for you.
- Winner on camera: DJI Mavic 3
Related Read: The best drone for photographers of 2023
Size and portability: Compared to something like the original DJI Phantoms, the Mavic 3 is small. But the Mini 3 Pro is far and away even smaller. Both could make a suitable carry-on, but the Mini 3 Pro could even tuck into another filled pack — or even a larger jacket pocket. If you’re always traveling and want to cut down on luggage, then the Mini 3 Pro is your ticket. When folded up, its longest side is just 145 mm, vs the Mavic 3 which is 221 mm when folded.
Another important component is weight. While the Mavic 3 is 895, the Mini 3 Pro is 249 — and that’s not only important for people looking to cut down on weight in their checked baggage. Weighing under 249 grams makes this drone exempt from many forms of regulation (any countries classify drones based on their weight, and 250 grams or more seems to be the threshold for more regulations). In many countries, including the U.S., drones weighing under 249 don’t need to be registered.
- Winner on size and portability: DJI Mini 3 Pro
Other factors including obstacle sensing, automation and inflight experience: Size, price and camera aren’t the only factors to consider. Both drones have obstacle avoidance, though the Mavic 3 has better, smarter sensors.
Both have automated flight and image capture modes such as MasterShots, which make it easy to have cinematic video footage without pro piloting skills.
If battery life is important, then the Mavic 3 wins, but you can also pay the additional $249 to get the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus for your Mini 3 which brings the two drones to comparable battery lives — not a bad deal.
- Winner on other specs: DJI Mavic 3 (though weigh if it’s worth the price)
With that, it’s difficult to put the two up against each other since they’re so different. In many ways, the smaller, nimbler and — perhaps most importantly — cheaper DJI Mini 3 Pro is better. Particularly for people who value ease of use and portability, the Mini 3 Pro delivers.
But the DJI Mavic 3 offers specs you won’t see anywhere else (or at least anywhere in this price range). Depending on specs you need — in particular camera quality, battery life and hybrid Zoom — the Mavic 3 might be the best (and only choice) in this price point.