DJI Mavic 3 drone launch: DJI outdoes itself with twin cameras, massive sensor and mega flight times

DJI Mavic 3 camera drone is finally here, and it's a major improvement over the Mavic 2 Pro

DJI Mavic 3 drone flying in a woodland
(Image credit: DJI)

At last, the DJI Mavic 3 has been revealed – for the full story, head to our in-depth DJI Mavic 3 drone review. The rumours were true, it features not one but two cameras and a whole heap of upgrades on its predecessor, the DJI Mavic 2 (currently our favourite professional model in our best drone guide). A full DJI Mavic 3 review will follow very soon, but here are the most interesting bits from DJI's announcement today. 

Most of the excitement about the Mavic 3 centres around the 20MP Four Thirds type CMOS sensor in the drone's main camera, developed in partnership with Hasselblad, the esteemed Swedish camera company. It's a step up from the Mavic 2, as well as DJI's newest release, the DJI Mavic Air 2S, both of which have 1-inch sensors.

This is fronted by a 24mm f/2.8 prime lens and is capable of shooting 20MP still images in 12-bit DNG RAW format and videos in 5.1K at 50fps and 4K at up to 120fps. This compares with a 20Mp 1-inch type sensor with a 28mm equivalent lens on the Mavic 2 Pro and a maximum video resolution of 4K (3840 x 2160) at up to 30fps.

DJI Mavic 3 drone sat on a rock

(Image credit: DJI)

As well as boosting the video resolution, the larger sensor of the Mavic 3 sensor delivers greater dynamic range – up to 12.8EV. That means that video and stills can have more tones with greater shadow and highlight detail, plus subtler gradations.

Alongside the main camera is a 12MP telephoto camera. This has a focal length equivalent to 162mm and a 1/2-inch type CMOS sensor, and is designed to help fliers get a closer view of objects not within close-flying range.

Aside from the cameras, the other big news is that new DJI Mavic 3 has had a big battery boost. The Mavic 3’s rechargeable Intelligent Flight batteries enables flights of up to 46 minutes, which is 15 minutes longer than the Mavic 2 Pro can manage. Naturally, these and other enhancements come at a cost and at RRP, the standard version of the DJI Mavic 3 retails at £1,879, over £500 more than the Mavic 2 Pro.

If you want an even more from your drone, there's the option to go for the Mavic 3 Cine version. This adds Apple ProRes 422 HQ for greater flexibility in post-production grading and fast data transfer. As well as the 8GB internal storage and the microUSB slot of the Mavic 3, the Cine version has a built-in 1TB SSD to store the larger files.

Safer flying: obstacle avoidance and tracking

DJI has upgraded the Mavic 3's omnidirectional object avoidance system with increased range and wider field of view so there’s less chance of it crashing into a tree or anything in its way. There’s also an upgraded transmission system called O3+ which helps to maintain the connection between the drone and the controller, taking the range to 15Km. 

Meanwhile, ActiveTrack 5.0 enables the drone to follow a subject as it moves forward, backward, left, right and diagonally, or it can fly alongside the subject.

In addition, the upgraded Return to Home system can figure out the most efficient route and take the windspeed into account when calculating the power it needs to get home as the battery depletes.

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DJI Mavic 3 cine, close up

(Image credit: DJI)
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DJI Mavic 3 cine, close up

(Image credit: DJI)

Intelligent flight modes: MasterShots, Panorama and more

While you can take full control over the flight of the Mavic 3, it also has a selection of intelligent flight modes that make it easier to get smooth footage in a range of situations. MasterShots, introduced in the DJI Mavic Air 2S, for example, takes control of the flight, recording and editing, while WayPoints 3.0 helps when you’re filming the same place repeatedly.

There’s also 100MP Panorama Mode in which the images are captured, joined and processed by the drone with no post-processing required, and Trimmed Download allows you to export a section of a video rather than the whole clip to save storage space and export time.

QuickTransfer lets you store and process stills or video on your smartphone without linking to the drone’s controller.

DJI Mavic 3 drone flying in a woodland

(Image credit: DJI)

DJI Mavic 3 drone: price and release date

DJI Mavic 3 is available to buy now from store.dji.com and selected retailers. It’s available in three configurations, as follows:

Standard Combo: £1,879 GBP / from 2,099 EUR (subject to local taxes)
Includes: Mavic 3 drone, one battery, RC-N1 Remote Controller, battery charger, essential cables and other bits. 

Fly More Combo: £2,549 GBP / from 2,799 EUR (subject to local taxes)
Includes: everything you'd get in the Standard combo, plus 2 more batteries, a battery charging hub, a storage cover, ND filters, extra propellers and convertible carrying bag. 

Cine Premium Combo: £4,279 GBP / from 4,799 EUR (subject to local taxes)
Includes: everything included in the Fly More Combo, but with the DJI RC Pro controller, plus a built-in 1TB SSD, Apple ProRes 422 HQ video recording, DJI 10Gbps Lightspeed Data Cable and extra ND filters.

Angela Nicholson
Angela Nicholson

Angela has been Amateur Photographer magazine’s Technical Editor and Head of Testing for Future’s photography portfolio. She’s a widely respected editor, writer and reviewer as well as a CAA-qualified drone pilot.