DJI Mavic 3 Review

The Big Ladder is given exclusive early access to the DJI Mavic 3.

A month ago I was asked by DJI if I would like to road test the much anticipated Mavic 3 Drone. Here are my findings…

As a photographer the first thing to catch my eye is of course the completely redesigned Hassleblad camera. Essentially there are 2 cameras. One a fixed 24mm lens with a sensor size of 4/3 20mp, the other is a zoom of up to 160mm with a 12mp sensor….It should be noted that the zoom cannot be used in Raw mode only jpeg. Video wise the Cine version comes with the much rumoured Apple Pro res format as well as far more video formats and frame rate options than the Mavic 2 Pro. These also include 4k at 60fps and 5K a 50fps.

I have been lucky enough to be supplied with the Mavic 3 cine version. This drone comes with the much awaited next generation smart controller. And a whole new operational layout.

On first fly the drone is noticeably quieter than Mavic 2 Pro. Though the real difference is how agile and more responsive the drone feels. It also seems to handle breezy conditions better than the MP2. The drone literally sits anchored in one place.

As a photographer my initial tests have centred on the performance of the stills camera. I was most keen to test the camera in low light as with a larger image sensor it was likely to produce much improved results. I can confirm that this is the case. Far more detail in the blacks (when shot in raw mode). Video is also far more tolerant of higher ISO’s with some of my test footage shot at 3200iso with far less noise than the Mavic 2 pro.


The game changer aspect of this drone for many photographers will however be the zoom. Which I found simply astonishing zooming to an equivalent of 160mm. This will be superb for those carrying out building inspections and media photographers in those situations where you are restricted on how close to the subject the drone can be. The zoom switches between both optical and digital during the zoom (I believe a firmware update is due to make this process smoother).

The most noticeable part of the drone design is that new battery lasts some 46 minutes…or 40 minutes in strong winds. This again is a game changer, no need for quite so many batteries and you will now be able to keep the drone in the air for double the time. The battery compartment is also part of the change, the battery now inserts from the rear of the drone and not the top.

On the new smart controller the menu system is far easier to navigate with a sliding system to scroll around menus much like an iPad.

Obstacle avoidance has been given a huge redesign with “fisheye” sensors on all corners that will definitely help in those close situations.

As I continue to test I will post my results on my website and social media but all in all a huge upgrade especially for movie-makers.

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