DJI has released the third iteration of the Mavic line – the Mavic 3. I was lucky enough to take the high-end (high price!) Cine version for a few flights. So, what’s new this year – specs!? Watch our hands-on video as we take DJI’s feature-packed new drone for a spin…
Familiar design, high-end specs
DJI has been upping their Mavic line over the years, it was a huge shift to go from the Phantom down to the compact Mavic design. This time around, the Mavic 3 has grown slightly in size and has a number of features professional film crews used to have to look to Inspire or other options for.
The Mavic 3 has a 4/3 CMOS sensor, a good step up in size, and you can immediately tell from the imagery that’s produced. It’s made in partnership with Hasselblad and features a 24mm, 2.8-11 aperture controllable camera. Resolution-wise it can capture up to 5.1K @ 50 FPS, and 4K 120 FPS. Both of those can be captured in Apple’s ProRes codec. ProRes capture is only available in the higher-end Cine version, but those resolutions and frame rates can be captured in H.264 on both the models.
Video: Hands-on with the DJI Mavic 3 Cine!
Another Cine exclusive: the internal 1TB SSD, in addition to the usual SD card slot. Those ProRes files do eat up storage, and it’s nice to have that option when you forget the cards at home (happens to the best of us!)
Improvements to battery life are substantial, with max flight time now at 46 minutes, up from 31 minutes of the Mavic Pro 2. In testing it didn’t last quite that long, but I was certainly not swapping batteries as often. It weighs just 899 grams (the standard Mavic 3 is 895 grams).
There’s a new remote, similar to the previous options DJI had with a built in screen, this one runs Android and delivers a really solid 1080 60p feed. It’s got an HDMI out, another cinematography friendly feature.
There are some improvements on features we’ve come to expect in these kinds of drones. Omni-directional obstacle avoidance has been improved, as has Active-Track. The latter, along with Slow-Mo, Mastershot, and Panorama modes were unavailable prior to launch so we’ll have to test DJI’s claims that they have sent out that firmware update.
You’re now able to get up in the air faster thanks to an algorithmic improvement to connecting to satellites. Rarely did I find myself waiting for a strong enough connection to let the Home point update, and when I did it was only a few seconds.
Worth noting the larger sensor does also improve the images, in case you forgot this thing takes pictures and not just video.
DJI Mavic 3 Cine: A cinematographer’s perspective
I mostly use my cameras on the ground, but have been involved in a number of productions where getting Hollywood quality in our drone shots wasn’t needed. When those jobs did come along, we hired two person teams with a Matrice or similar setup. Often, just to get a higher quality codec like ProRes.
When the cameras for instance that are filming an interview are of a certain quality, it becomes very obvious to cut to a lower quality image captured out of the more prosumer drones. Now, smaller production companies can afford to hire more affordable crews, or more likely invest in this as part of their business.
If there’s any catch to the quality of this item, it’s the price. While the Mavic 3 starts at $2,199 and the Fly More Combo comes in at $2,999, the DJI Mavic 3 Cine jumps all the way up to $4,999 with the only real differences being ProRes & the internal 1TB SSD. For ~$2,800, you could get a lot of other production improvements. It’ll be hard to justify the difference for a lot of creators, where higher bitrate and frame rate options along with the bigger sensor will improve image enough that that extra cash can stay in their pocket. Once you see the ProRes footage though, it sure is hard to go back.
With all of that said, there are quite a few reasons why you might want to opt for the regular Mavic 3 instead of the Cine variant. Our own Scott Simmie breaks down the top 10 reasons to buy the DJI Mavic 3 Standard drone.
What do you think about DJI’s latest drone updates? Stay tuned to DroneDJ for more coverage of the DJI Mavic 3 and DJI Mavic 3 Cine.
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