DJI Mavic 3 vs. Mavic 3 Classic: Which drone should you get?

DJI’s Mavic lineup has always held the coveted flagship title from the company, and this year we have not one, not two, but three options for consumers to choose from. So let’s look at the two more popular ones and see which you should get, the Mavic 3 vs. Mavic 3 Classic.

Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Classic differences

If you look at the camera payload, you will quickly figure out the difference between the Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Classic. While the rest of the drone stacks up one-to-one with its bigger sibling, bringing up to 46 minutes of flight time and 8 GB of onboard storage, the Classic is missing one big item: the 1/2-inch tele camera.

This is supposedly the compromise that allowed DJI to drop the price between the two drones, with the classic coming in at about $1,749 when paired with the RC controller. This makes it competitive to choose over DJI’s Air 2S. (Actually, the Mini 3 Pro would be a pretty good buy over that too.) While I was pretty against DJI coming with this drone, I can see why they would create this SKU after using it and thinking about its use cases (mainly if you do video). I still want an Air 3, but I’ll allow the Classic for now.

Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Classic similarities

This should be a short segment because everything else is the same between the drones. Unlike the Mini 3 Pro vs. the Mini 3, you don’t lose out on recording settings or intelligent features, just the second camera option. While you’ll have to get a different set of ND filters, you’ll still get the 5.1K Micro 4/3 Hasselblad sensor that shoots up to 200 frames per second in 1080p or 120 at 4K.

Both drones are mighty and capable when put in the right hands. At the end of the day, the pilot makes the shot happen, not the person with the best drone.

Mavic 3 use cases

Since the release of the Classic, the standard Mavic 3 has become the ideal drone for photography. While you get all the bells and whistles for video, that tele camera is a powerful tool for creating some great photos.

Photo of a Kentucky county courthouse using the Mavic 3 tele camera from 0.25 miles away.

The Mavic 3 is for the pilot that does both a lot of video and photo work while not needing the ProRes capabilities of the Mavic 3 Cine. However, if you do video, it is also a good choice, giving you more options to keep the drone further away from the action but still get crisp 4K video from the tele camera.

Mavic 3 Classic use cases

While you can still take great photos with the Mavic 3 Classic, if you choose to buy this drone over the standard drone, you are most likely doing just video, which the Hasselblad camera does very well. The Classic is really just an upgrade to the Air 2S, so if you’re someone still flying that, you would use this camera in a similar matter. Having more than one camera on a consumer drone really is new to the industry, so you most likely wouldn’t miss not having the tele camera.

Final verdict: Which should you get?

Overall, it is really what you do with the drone that matters. If you do not need a tele camera, save money and purchase the Classic. Personally, I love my standard Mavic, it takes incredible photos, and when I need that zoom-in goodness, I have it. However, if you’re torn between choosing either and can afford the price of the Mavic 3, that’s the one I would go for since it has all the bells and whistles of the Classic but the extra capabilities of the tele lens that you might end up falling in love with.

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