After a longer than expected wait, DJI has unveiled the newest iteration in its flagship drone series – the Mavic 3, a release that pushes their Mavic line into the professional realm. I wasn’t able to get my hands on one before writing this article, but I will be renting one later this month and plan to report back with my own personal experience on how I think this drone stacks up to the Mavic 2 Pro and the Air 2s. For now, let’s look at an overview.
Okay, so we have to start with the price as this seems to be the biggest topic of discussion (read – disappointment) when it comes to DJI’s latest launch. The Mavic 3 brings with it a significant hike in its price tag. The standard model (with the Fly More bundle package) comes in at a hefty $3,000, while the higher-end Cine model has intentions of breaking the bank, costing a whopping $5,000. Both models are no small chunk of change. DJI, having basically cornered the market, has decided now is the time to hike the price up to probably where it was supposed to be the entire time. Is the price really too high, or were we all just a little too spoiled with an underpriced Mavic 2 Pro this whole time?
Most of our readers who shoot aerial footage are probably asking themselves – if I already own either the Mavic 2 Pro or the Air 2s, do I really need to upgrade? Are the latest features worth the massive dent this is going to put in my wallet? I have linked to a few videos below that provide more detailed information, but here is a simple comparison of the most important specs in all three models. Note that I am only showing the standard version of the new Mavic 3 as I think it’s a better comparison. If you’re primarily a video shooter, the Cine version’s ability to shoot in Apple ProRes may be something you want to explore.
The Mavic 3 also has a second telephoto camera that sits right above its main camera. The telephoto has a much smaller 1/2inch sensor, fixed F4.4 aperture along with a 162mm focal length. I am eager to give it a try, however, the general consensus seems to be this is not a feature that is going to produce professional quality images. It’s able to output 12-megapixel images but sadly only shoots in JPG.
One thing to note is that it does seem that DJI has now retired the Mavic 2 Pro, so this comparison is more for people who already own that model (or ones are may be interested in buying on second hand). With this move, it also seems as though we won’t be seeing another version of DJI’s Inspire or Phantom lines, as the Mavic 3 is now very much in the prosumer/professional category.
To circle back to our original note about the price tag – is it worth it? That’s really going to depend on your needs and how you incorporate aerial imagery and video into your professional work. What I will say is that a lot of people are not happy with the higher price. In DJI’s defense, the amount of cutting edge equipment and technology stuffed into this machine is mind-boggling. We’re talking about a flying, 5.1k, 4/3rds Hasselblad sensor camera that shoots raw, hyperlapse, panorama and is stabilized with a gimbal. But the backlash on cost is evident. Perhaps this is a lesson in the pitfalls of lowering your price early on and then increasing it later on – something we’ve talked about extensively here related to pricing our own services.
So what do we think? Are you happy with this highly anticipated release? Will you be upgrading?