DJI Mavic 3 Pro
Our top choice
How do you take the best drone on the market and make it even better? DJI's answer is to add additional cameras, just like a high-end smartphone. We think it's the right move, too. The DJI Mavic 3 Pro is the most versatile camera drone yet.
- Massively improved camera configuration
- Same great flying abilities
- Additional controller options
DJI Mavic 3
Still an excellent option
The DJI Mavic 3 is one of the most impressive and feature-rich drones that money can buy. Until the Pro model came along, it was completely unrivalled. Now, though, it sits as a slightly more affordable option with less cameras.
- Excellent main camera
- Long flights and great stability
- A big improvement over the Mavic 2 Pro
- Telephoto camera is relatively poor quality
Since its release, the DJI Mavic 3 has been the de facto choice of high-end camera drone, with none of the competition coming close to snatching its title.
Of course, it was only a matter of time before DJI one-upped itself, and now, the Mavic 3 Pro has hit the scene.
It's easy to see the difference between the two models, with the bulky trio of lenses front and centre on the Pro variant, but how do these two drones compare in the real world?
We've done some hands-on testing, as well as a deep dive into the spec sheets, to find out which one you should choose and why. Let's get stuck in.
Specs, options and pricing
Both the Mavic 3 Pro and the Mavic 3 can be purchased with a variety of bundled accessories. The pricing of each varies quite significantly depending on the options selected. Here are the choices you have:
- Mavic 3 Pro:
- With DJI RC - $2199 / €2099 / £1879
- Fly More Combo with DJI RC - $2999 / €2799 / £2549
- Fly More Combo with DJI RC Pro - $3889 / €3499 / £3169
- Cine Premium Combo - $4799/ €4599 / £4109
- Mavic 3:
- With RC-N1 - €1929 / £1729
- Fly More Combo with RC-N1 - €2629 / £2399
- Cine Premium Combo - €4799 / £4279
The Fly More Combo for each drone includes two additional batteries, a 3-bay charger and carrying bag. The batteries and charger are identical across the two models, but the design of the bag does differ a bit. We think the original Mavic 3's bag has a more premium feel, but it's also much heavier and larger. The more compact Mavic 3 Pro bag is much easier to take with you.
The other key difference is the fact that the Mavic 3 Pro ships with the DJI RC remote as standard. This is the controller that was introduced alongside the Mini 3 Pro, and it essentially has an Android phone built in, so you don't need to connect your phone when it's time to fly.
By contrast, the Mavic 3 ships with the older RC-N1 remote, which has a phone clamp on the top and no display. It's a fine controller, it's just less convenient than the newer DJI RC.
There's also now the option to purchase with the DJI RC Pro. This is DJI's flagship remote, and it offers a higher-quality video downlink, a brighter display, HDMI output, external antennas and expanded storage. It's the nicest controller money can buy, but it costs a hefty sum. You're looking at the best part of a grand on top of your already sizable investment.
There's a Cine version of each model, too, but we won't go into too much detail about those. They're designed for professional use and can record in Apple ProRes natively, each comes with a 1TB internal SSD to cope with the extreme bitrates. If you need one of these, you'll know it, just prepare yourself for a hefty initial outlay.
DJI Mavic 3 Pro DJI Mavic 3 Camera 24mm f/2.8-f/11 + 70mm f/2.8 + 166mm f/3.4 24mm f/2.8-f/11 + 162mm f/4.4 Speed 21 m/s 21 m/s Weight 958g 895g Range Up to 28KM Up to 30KM Battery 5000 mAh - Up to 43 minutes 5000 mAh - Up to 46 minutes Dimensions 347.5×290.8×107.7 mm 347.5×283×107.7 mm Video Resolution Up to 5.1K 50fps Up to 5.1K 50fps Video Formats MP4/MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265) MP4/MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, HEVC/H.265)
Design and features
Aesthetically, the two drones are identical for the most part. The obvious exception is the camera module, with has dramatically increased in size on the Mavic 3 Pro, in order to accommodate its additional lens.
As a result, the muzzle-style gimbal protector has been redesigned to fit the new unit. It works just as well and is fitted in the same way, but it feels a little cheaper on the Mavic 3 Pro, which is a puzzling choice.
Excluding the camera unit, the drones are the same size everywhere else. The Mavic 3 Pro is a little heavier at 958g, compared to the 895g weight of the original Mavic 3.
For most people, this is no big deal, but in some regions, it's very important. The 900-gram mark is often used as a cut-off point that separates classes of drones, and it could mean that you can legally fly the Mavic 3 but not the Mavic 3 Pro - be sure to check your local regulations before committing to a purchase.
The flying experience
Since the majority of the hardware is the same across the two drones, they fly in very much the same way. The key difference is that you get marginally shorter flight times on the Mavic 3 Pro, due to the additional weight.
In practice, both drones fly for a very long time, and the estimated 3-minute reduction in flight time is unlikely to cause many issues.
The other key difference is with the controllers. We're testing with the DJI RC Pro remote, and the video downlink has a significantly higher bitrate than the DJI RC and DJI Fly app. It's an astonishingly clear image, but since the cost of the controller is so high, you'd hope for that to be the case.
Elsewhere, the DJI RC Pro allows you to set a multitude of custom buttons, and it's much more configurable than the RC-N1 or RC Pro remotes. The RC-N1 has the fewest physical controls, with the DJI RC adding an additional shoulder button, a jog wheel and two programmable rear buttons.
Cameras and image quality
The main camera is the same across both drones. It features a large 4/3 sensor and an adjustable aperture, and simply put, it's by far the most impressive camera that we've used on a flying machine.
The Mavic 3 was the first drone to have multiple camera options, adding a 162mm telephoto to the equation. It's substantially lower quality than the main camera, with a smaller 1/2-inch sensor and a fixed f/4.4 aperture.
On the Mavic 3 Pro, this lens gets extended to a 166mm focal length, and the aperture gets opened up to f/3.4. In practice, it's not a massive difference, but in our testing so far, it does appear to be of higher quality.
The Mavic 3 Pro also introduces a third intermediary lens, that's equivalent to a 70mm focal length, with an f/2.8 aperture. We think this is an excellent addition, as it allows for a very different perspective, but without the extreme zoom of the telephoto.
The new camera has a sensor size of 1/1.3 inches making it about the same size as a high-end smartphone camera, such as the iPhone 14 Pro. We haven't had a chance to properly analyse the footage, but it looks great on first impressions.
The Mavic 3 Pro is a clear winner, mainly owing to its additional lens, which vastly increases the versatility of its camera setup. The inclusion of the RC Pro by default is another big point in its favour, we love this controller. It has excellent ergonomics, a bright and responsive screen and - most importantly - it frees up your phone while you're flying.
DJI Mavic 3 Pro
At the time of writing, the Mavic 3 Pro isn't all that much more expensive than the Mavic 3, and we think it's definitely worth the extra outlay. However, chances are that we'll see the Mavic 3 drop in price over time. When that happens, it'll start to look much more appealing.
This isn't to say that the Mavic 3 is suddenly redundant, it still has significant merits of its own. The most important, to many people, will be that the Mavic 3 falls under the 900g weight restrictions, while the Mavic 3 Pro does not.
DJI Mavic 3
DJI has taken one of the best drones around and improved on it even further.
It also flies for longer and its accessories, such as the gimbal protector and the bag from the Fly More kit, are of a higher quality than those provided with the Mavic 3 Pro.
Whichever drone you decide on, you can rest assured that you're getting one of the top drones on the market today. From what we've tested, no one is coming close to matching DJI's image quality, features and flight characteristics - and the Mavic 3 series are its best drones yet.