At the end of April 2022, DJI presented its new prosumer drone, the Mavic 3 Pro. Building on the technical base of the Mavic 3, this drone raises the level by incorporating a third camera to the already impressive platform of the front camera.
There is no doubt that the Mavic 3, which is no longer marketed today, has been the best drone of the year 2022. Although it was launched initially with unfinished features, subsequent firmware updates rectified these problems. Given the excellence of the Mavic 3, I was eager to evaluate the performance of its successor.
Could the Mavic 3 Pro be the best drone of 2023?
A sensation identical to the Mavic 3
To find out, I tested it. So, how did the Mavic 3 Pro behave? Frankly, his abilities left me speechless. Let’s start with its aerial performance.
Given my many hours of flying with the Mavic 3, I found that the familiar feel of the Mavic 3 Pro allowed a quick and easy adjustment between the two drones. Despite sometimes strange flight characteristics and an application interface that lacks a little responsiveness, the Mavic 3 Pro seemed to me to be a successful product, ready to accomplish serious tasks. I expect future firmware updates will fix these minor issues as DJI receives actual flight data.
Mavic 3 Pro in high winds. Katherine Betteridge/ZDNET
Everything worked out. The Mavic 3 Pro has shown remarkable stability in a variety of conditions, from windswept copper mines to sheltered forests. This stability inspires the confidence necessary to push the drone to its limits and capture the desired photos. The obstacle avoidance system – which works as well, if not better, on the Mavic 3 Pro than on the Mavic 3 – allows me to fly the drone closer to trees and rocks without hesitation to really get closer to the subject.
The trees are a real test for the Mavic 3 Pro’s obstacle avoidance system. Adrian Kingsley-Hughes/ZDNET
30 minutes per charge
And if I needed to get closer, I would try my luck, I would disable the sensor network and I would fly the drone up to a few centimeters from the rocks and trees. This is only possible with a stable drone in flight and hovering, and the Mavic 3 Pro has nothing to envy to its predecessors from this point of view.
The battery life is also impressive, with about 30 minutes per charge, surpassing competitors like the Mini 3 Pro and the Air 2S.
On the camera side, with the Mavic 3 with two cameras, most of my shots were taken with the Hasselblad CMOS 4/3 wide-angle camera equivalent to 24 mm. Why? Because the equivalent 166 mm TV camera in “explorer mode” was nowhere near as good.
The Mavic 3 Pro retains the same rangefinder camera as its predecessor
The Mavic 3 Pro retains the same rangefinder camera as its predecessor, which leads to the same problems: the captured images are not very usable, but require a good dose of post-processing to obtain correct results. Yes, DJI calls this camera an “explorer mode”, the idea being that you use it to locate places during the flight.
But if you give the content creators a camera, they will try to create content with it!
The novelty of the Mavic 3 Pro is the average rangefinder camera equivalent to 70 mm, whose performance is excellent and which makes it possible to multiply by three the number of shots compared to the main wide angle. You can get closer without having to bring the drone closer, which opens up new creative possibilities for content creators.
The absence of neutral density (ND) filters has proven to be an obstacle
During my tests, the absence of neutral density (ND) filters turned out to be a minor obstacle. The ND filters work like sunglasses for the camera, allowing better control of the lighting. This aspect is crucial for capturing videos in bright conditions, as ND filters allow you to adjust the shot more accurately. While the wide-angle camera has built-in aperture control – similar to the iris of an eye that adjusts to the light – other cameras do not have this feature.
Therefore, I found myself slightly limited when I used the medium telephoto lens, and the resulting photos required more post-processing to achieve the quality of the wide-angle camera.
However, if you are buying the Mavic 3 Pro, I highly recommend that you get the Mavic 3 Pro that comes with ND filters, or buy quality third-party filters that should be on the market soon, offered by manufacturers such as Polar Pro, Freewell, or PGYTech.
Powerful, stable, silent
The absence of ND filters aside, the Mavic 3 Pro is an exceptional drone. It is powerful, stable, silent, equipped with an exceptional camera and a battery life significantly superior to that of its competitors.
In conclusion, the Mavic 3 Pro confidently claims – undoubtedly and without reservation – the title of best drone for 2023.
DJI is one step ahead of its competitors, and this drone is a substantial improvement over the Mavic 3. For those looking for a prosumer drone, look no further. If you already own a Mavic 3 and need to get closer to your subjects, the medium telephoto camera will offer you exactly that on a platform that is otherwise familiar to you, which could make it the perfect upgrade.
However, a prosumer drone comes with a prosumer price, and if you are just starting out, I recommend that you develop your piloting skills with something a little cheaper, such as the excellent DJI Mini 3 or the Mini 3 Fuji. As for me, I already use my Mini 3 Pro a lot, and I am blown away by the incredible power of this drone weighing less than 250 grams.
Source: “ZDNet.com “