Update: this drone has now launched! Read our full DJI Mavic 3 review.
If the flood of rumours and leaks from trusted sources are true, and we’re reading DJI’s hints correctly, all will be revealed about the DJI Mavic 3 on 5 November. It'll mark the end of DJI's run of launches this autumn, following the release of pro-level filmmaking camera the Ronin 4D and the long-awaited unveiling of the DJI Action 2, a compact action camera with magnetic snap-on accessories.
However, for drone fans, it's all about the Mavic 3, and we've got high expectation from the maker of most of today's best drones. Thanks to those leak we mentioned, we’ve already got a pretty good idea of its main specifications, too. For a start, just like the Mavic 2 which is available in two forms – DJI Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom – it looks there will be two versions of the Mavic 3, the standard or Mavic 3 Pro and the Mavic 3 Cine.
Both versions of the Mavic 3 also look set to feature two cameras, one with a 24mm lens over a Four Thirds type 20Mp sensor and the other with the equivalent of a 160mm lens and a 1/2-inch type 12Mp sensor. But what else might the Mavic 3 offer to kick the Mavic 2 into touch and entice us to upgrade?
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1. Hiked resolution
If the suggested pixel counts are true, the Mavic 3 should be capable of producing 5.4K (5472 x 3078) video from its 20Mp sensor just like the DJI Air 2S. Meanwhile the 12Mp camera should be capable of generating 4K (3840 x 2160) footage, but a jump in frame rate would be good.
The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom both top out at 4K 24/25/30p - naturally I’m hoping that the Mavic 3 will be capable of shooting 4K at 60p for smooth, detailed slow-mo playback.
2. Big storage and clever file formats
One of the rumours circulating about the Mavic 3 Cine is that it has a built-in SSD. That’s perfect for storing high-res video but it could also enable ProRes or ProRes RAW recording to give videographers greater control over the appearance and style of their movies.
As yet we don’t know what type of storage the standard Mavic 3 will have. Fingers crossed that its not the usual microSD but something faster like CFexpress.
3. Dual recording
One of the many things that’s not clear about the Mavic 3 Cine is whether the SSD is in addition or instead of the memory card slot that we expect to see on the Mavic 3. If there are two storage options, it’s possible that the Mavic 3 Cine could record footage from both its cameras simultaneously. That would give some interesting editing opportunities.
4. Fast dumps and overflows
While an SSD is handy, if it’s built-in rather than removable, it will need to be cleared in the field once it’s full before any more footage can be recorded. According to the leaks, DJI will pair it with a high-speed cable to enable 1 Gbps transfer, but even that could mean hanging around watching the amazing light disappear while everything downloads. The memory card port could again come to the rescue with some overflow storage or perhaps the SSD will be removable so that it can be swapped out?