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DJI Mavic 3: Best portable folding drone on the planet?

DJI's flagship Mavic 3 has landed. Let's take a look at it.

Being able to put a camera in the sky is part of the job for many people these days, from cinematographers to real estate photographers to wedding photographers.

And now, DJI's new Mavic 3 lets you put not one camera in the sky, but two.

Yes, two.

What follows is a first look at the DJI Mavic 3. (It arrived too late to put it in the air, but there's plenty to do unboxing and setting up this package.)

The Mavic 3 is the follow-up to DJI's Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom drones, released in August 2018. A lot has happened since then, and an update to the flagship line has been widely anticipated for some time.

The Mavic 3 comes in two models: the Mavic 3 and the Mavic 3 Cine. The only difference is that the Cine model offers support for the Apple ProRes 422 HQ codec (where you'll be burning through a gigabyte of storage for every 10 seconds of 5.1K video) and 1TB built-in SSD. The base Mavic 3 is limited to H.264/H.265 codecs with a max bitrate of 200Mbps.

If you find H.264/H.265 video not offering you the flexibility you need, then you need the Cine version. For most people, however, the Cine version will be overkill.

Let's take a visual tour of the Mavic 3.

DJI Mavic 3: Tech specs

DJI Mavic 3

Aircraft specs

Takeoff Weight

  • Mavic 3: 895 g
  • Mavic 3 Cine: 899 g

Dimensions (Folded/Unfolded)

  • Folded (without propellers) 221×96.3×90.3 mm
    (Length×Width×Height)
  • Unfolded (without propellers) 347.5×283×107.7 mm
    (Length×Width×Height)

Diagonal Length

  • 380.1 mm

Max Ascent Speed

  • 1 m/s (C mode)
  • 6 m/s (N mode)
  • 8 m/s (S mode)

Max Descent Speed

  • 1 m/s (C mode)
  • 6 m/s (N mode)
  • 6 m/s (S mode)

Max Flight Speed (at sea level, no wind)

  • 5 m/s (C mode)
  • 15 m/s (N mode)
  • 19 m/s (S mode)

Max Service Ceiling Above Sea Level

  • 6000 m

Max Flight Time (no wind)

  • 46 minutes

Max Hovering Time (no wind)

  • 40 minutes

Max Flight Distance

  • 30 km

Max Wind Speed Resistance

  • 12 m/s

Max Tilt Angle

  • 25° (C mode)
  • 30° (N mode)
  • 35° (S mode)

Max Angular Velocity

  • 200°/s

Operating Temperature

  • -10° to 40° C (14° to 104° F)

GNSS

  • GPS + Galileo + BeiDou

Hovering Accuracy Range

  • Vertical: ±0.1 m (with Vision Positioning); ±0.5 m
    (with GNSS Positioning)
  • Horizontal: ±0.3 m (with Vision Positioning); ±0.5 m
    (with High-Precision Positioning System)

Internal Storage

  • Mavic 3: 8 GB (available space is approx. 7.2 GB)
  • Mavic 3 Cine: 1TB (available space is approx. 934.8 GB)

Hasselblad Camera

Sensor

  • 4/3 CMOS, Effective pixels: 20 MP

Lens

  • FOV: 84°
  • Format Equivalent: 24 mm
  • Aperture: f/2.8 to f/11
  • Focus: 1 m to ∞ (with autofocus)

ISO Range

  • Video: 100-6400
  • Still Image: 100-6400

Shutter Speed

  • Electronic Shutter: 8-1/8000 s

Max Image Size

  • Main Unit: 5280×3956

Still Photography Modes

  • Single shot: 20MP Photos
  • Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB): 20 MP, 3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7 EV
  • Timed: 20 MP, 2/3/5/7/10/15/20/30/60 s

Video Resolution

  • Apple ProRes 422 HQ
  • 5.1K: 5120×2700@24/25/30/48/50fps
  • DCI 4K: 4096×2160@24/25/30/48/50/60/120*fps
  • 4K: 3840×2160@24/25/30/48/50/60/120*fps

  • H.264/H.265
  • 5.1K: 5120×2700@24/25/30/48/50fps
  • DCI 4K: 4096×2160@24/25/30/48/50/60/120*fps
  • 4K: 3840×2160@24/25/30/48/50/60/120*fps
  • FHD: 1920×1080p@24/25/30/48/50/60/120*/200*fps

    * Framerates above are recording framerates. Videos will be played as slow-motion videos.

Max Video Bitrate

  • H.264/H.265 Bitrate: 200 Mbps

Supported File Formats

  • exFAT

Photo Format

  • JPEG/DNG (RAW)

Video Formats

  • Mavic 3:
    MP4/MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265)

  • Mavic 3 Cine:
    MP4/MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265)
    MOV (Apple ProRes 422 HQ)

Tele Camera

Sensor

  • 1/2-inch CMOS

Shutter Speed

  • Electronic Shutter: 2-1/8000 s

Lens

  • FOV: 15°
  • Format Equivalent: 162mm
  • Aperture: f/4.4
  • Focus: 3 m to ∞

ISO Range

  • Video: 100-6400
  • Still Image: 100-6400

Max Image Size

  • 4000×3000

Photo Format

  • JPEG

Video Formats

  • MP4/MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265)

Still Photography Modes

  • Single shot: 12MP Photos

Video Resolution

  • H264/H.265
  • 4K: 3840×2160@30 fps
  • FHD: 1920×1080@30 fps

Digital Zoom

  • 4x

Gimbal

Stabilization

  • 3-axis motorized (tilt, roll, pan)

Mechanical Range

  • Tilt: -135° to 100°
  • Roll: -45° to 45°
  • Pan: -27° to 27°

Controllable Range

  • Tilt: -90° to 35°
  • Pan: -5° to 5°

Max Control Speed (tilt)

  • 100°/s

Angular Vibration Range

  • ±0.007°

Sensing

Sensing System

  • Omnidirectional binocular vision system, supplemented with an infrared sensor at the bottom of the aircraft

Forward

  • Measurement Range: 0.5-20 m
  • Detection Range: 0.5-200 m
  • Effective Sensing Speed: Flight Speed ≤ 15m/s
  • FOV: Horizontal 90°, Vertical 103°

Backward

  • Measurement Range: 0.5-16 m
  • Effective Sensing Speed: Flight Speed ≤ 14m/s
  • FOV: Horizontal 90°, Vertical 103°

Lateral

  • Measurement Range: 0.5-25 m
  • Effective Sensing Speed: Flight Speed ≤ 15m/s
  • FOV: Horizontal 90°, Vertical 85°

Upward

  • Measurement Range: 0.2-10 m
  • Effective Sensing Speed: Flight Speed ≤ 6m/s
  • FOV: Front and Back 100°, Left and Right 90°

Downward

  • Measurement Range: 0.3-18 m
  • Effective Sensing Speed: Flight Speed ≤ 6m/s
  • FOV: Front and Back 130°, Left and Right 160°

Operating Environment

  • Forward, Backward, Left, Right, and Upward: Surface with a clear pattern and adequate lighting (lux>15)
  • Downward: Surface with a clear pattern and adequate lighting (lux >15). Diffuse reflective surface with diffuse reflectivity>20% (e.g. wall, tree, person)

Video Transmission

Video Transmission System

  • O3+

Live View Quality

  • Remote Controller: 1080p@30fps/1080p@60fps

Operation Frequency

  • 2.400-2.4835 GHz
  • 5.725-5.850 GHz

Max Transmission Distance (unobstructed, free of interference and aligned with controller)

  • 2.400-2.4835 GHz; 5.725-5.850 GHz
  • FCC: 15 km
  • CE: 12 km
  • SRRC: 8 km
  • MIC: 8 km

Max Download Bitrate

  • SDR:
  • 5.5MB/s (with RC-N1 remote controller)
  • 15MB/s (with DJI RC Pro remote controller)
  • Wi-Fi 6: 80MB/s

Latency (depending on environmental conditions and mobile device)

  • 130 ms (with RC-N1 remote controller)
    120 ms (with DJI RC Pro remote controller)

Antennas

  • 4 antennas, 2T4R

Transmitter Power (EIRP)

  • 2.4 GHz: ≤33 dBm (FCC); ≤20 dBm (CE/SRRC/MIC)
  • 5.8 GHz: ≤33 dBm (FCC), ≤30 dBm(SRRC), ≤14 dBm(CE)

Battery

Capacity

  • 5000 mAh

Voltage

  • 15.4 V

Charging Voltage Limit

  • 17.6 V

Battery Type

  • LiPo 4S

Energy

  • 77 Wh

Weight

  • 335.5 g

Charging Temperature

  • 5° to 40° C (41° to 104° F)

I will follow up with a review after I get some hours under my belt with this drone.