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The new DJI Mavic 3 Pro features the same body as existing DJI Mavic 3 series drones, but it brings a new larger gimbal-stabilized camera unit with three cameras – a main 24mm (equiv.) MFT Hasselblad camera, a medium telephoto 70mm camera, and a telephoto 166mm camera, which now has an upgraded f/3.4 lens. With a takeoff weight of slightly over 900g, the Mavic 3 Pro can fly for up to 43 minutes. Among the new features is the new “slightly less flat” D-Log M color profile, and ND filters with balanced strengths. There is also a Cine version of the Mavic 3 Pro with 1 TB built-in SSD and the ability to record ProRes 422 from all three cameras. The Mavic 3 Pro drones are now available for pre-order in various kits (including one with the DJI RC Pro) from $2,199, with shipping starting in May 2023. We met with Ferdinand from DJI just after NAB 2023 near Las Vegas to try the new drone in action and ask a few questions. Watch our video above!
Back in November 2021, DJI announced the Mavic 3 drone, which featured significant improvements over the previous generation Mavic. Even though they used the wording “Mavic 3 series” a few times in the press release, I did not really pay attention to the drone not having the “pro” in its name – unlike its predecessor at that time – the DJI Mavic 2 Pro.
Following a series of very useful firmware updates for the Mavic 3, DJI has announced a new addition to the Mavic 3 series – namely the more affordable DJI Mavic 3 Classic, which comes almost precisely one year after the initial release. Despite ditching the telephoto camera and having only the main Hasselblad-branded camera, the Mavic 3 Classic also comes with one advantage over the Mavic 3 – it has re-introduced the adjustable maximum speed setting in all flying modes. I refer to it as the “new tripod mode”.
Enough of the Mavic 3 history. Today, DJI announced the most capable drone of the series yet: Let’s take a look at the new DJI Mavic 3 Pro.
The most interesting thing about the new Mavic 3 Pro is, without a doubt, the camera unit that now features three cameras and looks like the face of a droid that just came out of a Star Wars movie, but more on that later.
The drone’s body basically stayed the same, and it uses the same batteries, but it is now slightly heavier. The takeoff weight is now 958g (Cine: 963g). That isn’t a lot more, but this difference could have some consequences for drone pilots in Europe. The Mavic 3 (takeoff weight up to 899g) got the C1 label that qualified it for the subcategory A1. The C1 label is only available for drones under 900g, so the Mavic 3 Pro will most likely have to get the C2 label (900g – 4kg takeoff weight). This is only my speculation. We will have to wait for the official information regarding the “C” labeling. We will inform you as soon as we know, so stay tuned.
Because of the increased takeoff weight, the maximum flight time is now 43 minutes (slightly less than the original Mavic 3’s flight time of 46 minutes).
The new larger gimbal-stabilized camera unit now houses not two, but three cameras that form a face (kind of). The large main camera occupies the lower half and the two telephoto cameras resemble the “eyes”. These are the three available cameras:
The main Hasselblad-branded camera features a 20MP Micro four-thirds CMOS sensor. The lens has a 24mm focal length (full-frame equivalent, FOV 84°) and a variable aperture between f/2.8 and f/11. The camera can focus from 1m to infinity.
It can shoot 12-bit raw photos with a dynamic range of up to 12.8 stops, and video at up to 5.1K 50fps or DCI 4K 120fps. Please note that ActiveTrack is unavailable at video resolutions higher than 4K or frame rates over 60fps.
This newly added camera has a 48MP 1/1.3” CMOS sensor. The lens has a 70mm focal length (full-frame equivalent, FOV 35°) and a fixed f/2.8 aperture. The focus distance is 3m to infinity.
It can take 48MP or binned 12MP stills, as well as video, in up to 4K 60fps. This camera also supports the new D-log M picture profile.
This camera, which was featured on the original Mavic 3, has a 1/2” CMOS sensor and a lens with a 166mm focal length (full-frame equivalent, FOV 15°). Here in the Pro version, there is a slight improvement – a better lens. The aperture of the 166mm (equivalent) lens is now fixed at f/3.4 (as opposed to f/4.4 on the Mavic 3). It shoots video in 4K up to 60fps (currently only in the normal color profile) as well as 12MP stills. The hybrid (digital) zoom reaches up to 28x.
The standard version of the Mavic 3 Pro can record either in H.264 or H.265 with a bitrate of 200Mbps (MOV or MP4 wrapper). In the D-Log M profile, the main camera and the medium telephoto record video with 10-bit color depth and 4:2:0 subsampling. The 7x telephoto can only do 8-bit 4:2:0 and it does not have D-Log M. Ferdinand from DJI told us, however, that DJI might add D-Log M to the telephoto camera as well with a future firmware update. The drone has 8 GB internal storage and a microSD card slot to save the recorded footage.
Additionally, the Cine version of the drone supports an Apple ProRes codec with 10-bit 4:2:2 subsampling (all flavors – 422 HQ, 422, and 422 LT) on all three cameras. Same as with the Mavic 3 Cine, the Pro Cine also has the built-in 1TB SSD that can offload the footage via the included 10Gbps data cable.
The drone features Omnidirectional Sensing and APAS 5.0 technology that is made possible by eight wide-angle vision sensors. The drone can sense obstacles in all directions and plan a safe flight route to avoid them.
DJI O3+ transmission system can send 1080p 60fps live feed at a distance of up to 15km (FCC). This, of course, only shows how robust the signal is, as the drone should only be flown within the pilot’s line of sight.
The drone includes a variety of DJI’s intelligent modes to help with creating content:
The Mavic 3 Pro also includes additional automated-flight features such as:
The QuickTransfer option allows quick wireless image transfer directly from the drone to a mobile phone via Wi-Fi 6 at speeds up to 80MBps without connecting to the remote controller.
The ND filters that DJI will offer with the Mavic 3 Pro are adjusted with different strengths to compensate for different apertures for each camera. The in-flight switching between cameras should therefore be seamless, even with an ND filter on the drone.
All the drones from the Mavic 3 series are compatible with the latest DJI Goggles Integra, DJI Goggles 2 and DJI RC Motion 2.
DJI Mavic 3 Pro is available for pre-order now, and DJI claims that the shipping will start shortly in May 2023. The following configurations will be available:
Do you use any of the existing Mavic 3 series drones for your video work? What do you think about the new DJI Mavic 3 Pro? Do you think the new 70mm is a useful focal length for a drone? Let us know in the comments section below the article.
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Jakub Han is a freelance filmmaker based in Vienna. He is interested in new tech and trends in filmmaking and passionate about action sports and short documentaries. Jakub has over 10 years of experience with camera work and post-production.