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DJI Mavic 3 Review

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In 2021, we watched as the best drone makers took the most advanced flight payloads, and resized their capabilities to fit for our footwear “sized” drones. December 2021 is when DJI launched the much-anticipated Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine that took this Hasselblad 4/3″ fully frame camera and putting it inside its foldable Mavic airframe that we’re all familiar with. Similar to thermal sensors, until now, you needed to buy an even larger drone and separate camera/payload to shoot video or photos using the four-third” fully-frame sensor.

We have gotten the chance to test one of the very first M3 drones available to value-added resellers in the United States and have had the opportunity to fly numerous times to test and commercial reasons outdoors. In the next review, I’ll try my best to provide the information both good and bad you should be aware of this new drone by DJI.

M3 or M3 Cine

The M3 is precisely the product that many of us have been waiting for, but not even close enough to satisfy the very few. When you remove it out of its packaging, you’ll notice the changes. The new upper shell is equipped with “finger holds” that are softly engineered to mimic the aerodynamics you see in manned aircraft , making it easy to transport to and from your launch location. Weighing just under 2 pounds the M3 is the lightest commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) drone to sport a 4/3″ Full Frame CMOS sensor.

It’s gone is the guards for gimbals that so many had to fight with, replaced by an easy-to-install guard that moves and “snaps” into the right position. DJI has gone beyond the call of duty to ensure that the motors of the gimbal ensure stability to take commercial photos and videos by locking the camera even when the drone is turned off.

With the improved and new multidirectional obstacle-sensing safety system , the M3 is equipped with upgraded cameras for detecting obstacles that make the competitors appear sloppy and unstable when trying to locate subjects, or keep them straight and even during an asset inspection.

Both both the M3 along with M3 Cine models M3 Cine leverage the same camera and body of the aircraft. Its Mavic 3 comes with the standard remote, and eight-GB hard disk internal to the device. In addition. the M3 Cine comes with a smart controller, 1TB internal hard drive, and the ability to record ProRes Apple format.

M3 Battery

DJI is following in the footsteps of other brands and keeps passengers in the air longer with the drone to fly for more than 30 minutes. The company claims as long as 46 minutes flight and forty minutes hover time without wind, and with only one battery. After multiple flights of test conducted at The Nine Ten Drones training facility located in Fayetteville, NC we have achieved an average of a maximum flight time of 36 minutes of flying and 35 minutes hovering , even in low-wind. In all of our test flights , we reduced the M3 battery to just 5% or less. This is something we would not advise anyone to use on a regular basis.

35-36 minutes of flight time, as compared with other drones available, is becoming norm and what pilots should expect from drones for business and professional use. The charging time for one battery when using a the standard power source of a home outlet supply is typically about 60 minutes.

The batteries that are required for M3 as well as the M3 Cine are $209.

M3 Remotes

If you’re unaware, DJI users are perturbed by the decision to launch M3 as the M3 standard and to fly using an N1 remote controller that uses Occusync 2.0 which is available in mini 2 as well as Air2 models. Mini 2 and Air2 drones but does not include cross-compatibility of earlier versions of the DJI Smart Controller that runs Occusync 2.0.

DJI has introduced its OG Smart Controller with a idea that the single remote would work with drones for a long time to be. We purchased one of the smart controllers that we wanted to use together with the Mavic 2 Pro as we believed that it could be compatible with the Mavic/Phantom 2 Pro that was coming out and not just as a result of wanting to pair it with Mavic Junior or a mini drone. This massive failure was acknowledged by users from commercial, government and recreational operators as well.

The DJI Mavic 3 Cine combination comes with the DJI RC Pro Smart Controller which was first introduced alongside Air 2S. Air 2S in the first second quarter of 2021. Its RC Pro boasts a 5.5″ 1080p screen with an average brightness at 1000 nits. It’s regrettable that DJI makes the identical smart controller, but only improves the way of transmission to improve the range, which was already over the limits of what Part 107 regulations will allow.

The market needs bigger and more powerful UAS remote controllers, right now and DJI will only give us the same features while raising the cost to $5,000.

The remotes in the end have an ergonomic design and perform well. However, I would have expected more from DJI as well as other companies that have also done so. DJI probably didn’t have the necessary components for this OG Smart Controller but had an excess inventory of N1 remotes, and had identified new materials for the RC PRO. ….. The “Remote Recycling Ring” The story continues.

Dual Camera M3 Specifications

Hasselblad L2D-20c

4/3″ CMOS Image Sensor
20MP Image Capture
Variable Aperture f/2.8-f/11
Eight Stops Dynamic Range
Capture at least 5.1K Video
Vision Detection Auto Focus Technology

Tele Camera (“Explore Mode”)

1/2″ CMOS Sensor
12MP Image Capture
28x Hybrid Zoom
Fixed Aperture f/4.4

Flying the M3

Mavic 3 Mavic 3 is flown using the DJI Fly application that was initially launched alongside Mavic Mini. Mavic Mini. The Mavic 3 certainly caused controversy when people began asking concerns about why DJI released an “commercial” drone on the market, which is controlled with an app designed for small recreational drones. Over the three months I’ve had with the Mavic 3 I have zero complaints regarding the performance or capabilities that comes with DJI Fly. DJI Fly app.

If you’re just getting started with drones and you’re using a Mini 2, Air 2S or M3 is the first drone that you fly and you don’t be aware of how far the field has progressed since. If you want to save yourself some time and locate you nearby Facebook Drone Club and ask any of its members to Fly their Phantom 2/3 and Mavic Pro.

I’m not going to explore the fancy, intelligent flight modes since the majority of the times I operate manually when I am not conducting an autonomous mapping task with DroneDeploy for precise capture. Certain, the flight modes that are intelligent can be useful for videography, and are primarily used for video production or by those who are more keen to showcase the incredible autonomy the drone they purchased is capable of.

The M3 is enjoyable, responsive and drives like the sports car. In the event that you think that the Mavic 2 Pro is a Nimbus 2000 then the M3 is certainly an Firebolt and even more. When the Mavic 2 Pro and the Mavic 2 Zoom met one other and “made” the M3 drone, the new drone would be called the M3.

This is crucial – Do you remember how in the past the drone would spot obstacles and then stop. Then you had manually “find” the safest route which would allow the drone to maneuver around the obstruction? Everybody would or still does think “It would be amazing that the drone could fly itself around the obstruction” and have no idea of how difficult it is. Now we are at the point at which drones are doing this. They can recognize obstacles and steer over them regardless of the direction the pilots are “pushing with the sticks”. This can be very useful in avoiding obstacles during flight for fun, inspecting or mapping/modeling , but it is extremely detrimental to people who make videos. There’s nothing more annoying than nailing a shot only to get Artificial Intelligence jerk you off track because it detected something that wasn’t an obstacle to collision. Professionals are turning the wheel off of their training, turning off obstacle detection and relying on the input of the operator and their awareness to hit the shot.

Look at the M3 gliding through the North Carolina snow and notice the AI “calculating” an appropriate direction for the future:

The M3 starts up quickly (has the brand new DJI start tone) and can fly within seconds, thanks to improvements on its GPS system. The capability to rapidly launch the M3 can be beneficial for any user operating in fast situations of rapid response (Fire/Police) and those who require fast “turnarounds” during the swap of batteries (Mapping/Modeling).

Its responsiveness M3 is amazing, with no lag when remote inputs are received The aircraft rises and yaws with ease, and without “jumps”, “skips” or delays. The M3 has 3 “flight speeds” that can be controlled using the remote controller with which it is paired. The three modes include Normal, Cinema and Sport. The M3 being in “Sport” mode significantly increases the sensitivity of controls and places the obstacle detection, avoidance and detection accountability on the user. Setting the remote in Cinema mode will place virtual wheels of training on your drone, which control its speed across all directions.

Sport mode is ideal to show off and fly the drone over trees while family and relatives are watching, recording footage of huge landscapes, or tracking swiftly moving objects outside.

Cinema mode is perfect to perform assist inspections using an “inspection camera” indoor flight ops or using your drone as though it was a camera using a costly tripod, and generally to improve the ability of operators to fly with precision.

The M3’s night flight is an absolute blast, and for professional entrepreneurs who run small businesses , this device will make a significant difference to your business. Don’t waste your time on night of not being able to record any worthwhile footage using you Mavic 2 or Phantom 4 Pro and welcome crisp, crisp video captured using the 4/3″ full-frame sensor of the M3. There is no way to become the next big thing in Hollywood anytime soon using the M3 all by itself. As an example, I know that the GlideAerials team GlideAerials is thrilled to replace the Mavic 2 Pro with the M3 because of the better camera, faster speed of flight and enhanced flight efficiency, but they’re not going to be dumping their Inspire 2’s any time soon.

Take a look at this M3 night-time flight from Harrah’s Casino Resort in Cherokee, NC:

For UAS professionals searching for the best drone to assist in asset inspection and management, The M3 is a cost-effective device for replacing your Mavic 2, Phantom 4 or other outdated drones that have helped you to get started. With the M3, you’ll be able to be mapping or modeling on a Monday or Thursday, gathering data for GIS/Planning, and on Wednesday you will be out looking over bridges, structures, or equipment in dangerous places.

Take a look at the M3 doing an asset inspection on an emergency communications tower for public safety.

It is without a doubt that the Mavic 3 is the smoothest commercially-flying off-the-shelf drone I’ve experienced to at this point. DJI is back and delivering yet another top quality product at a reasonable price considering the performance and capabilities that it can provide.

Mapping and 3D Modeling

The images you take using Mavic 3’s camera Mavic 3 can be turned into high-resolution 2D maps and 3D models with the photogrammetry programs you already use however, you’ll have to manually capture the images at the moment. SkyeBrowse, DroneDeploy and/or Pix4D will all be integrating Mavic 3 into their software within the next three months.

Mavic 3 Mavic 3 will produce a super high resolution model or map when it is up to 400 feet above the ground level(AGL) because of its four-third” CMOS sensor that will provide high-quality images with the 20 million pixels that are effective. As long as Mavic 3 is available for flight, Mavic 3 is available to fly using it’s “Big 3” mapping softwares, there’s nothing to talk about in the moment. Nine Ten Drones did manually record a sequence of images that we then processed into a map as well as a 3D model.

It is crucial to remember it is important to note that Mavic 3 Hasselblad camera Mavic 3 Hasselblad camera has an electronic (“rolling”) shutter that means once it is turned on, the CMOS sensor is switched “On” it scans line by line in a sequential manner and results in a distortion of the shutter that is rolling. It is believed the DroneDeploy, Pix4D and SkyeBrowse each compensate for this distortion by making post-processing adjustments to their software. Based on my experience of mapping using electronic and mechanical shutters is that the effect is not significant except when you are modeling and mapping to use high precision for surveying goals.

M3 Cine – Is it worth it? $$$?

If Apple ProRes is a requirement to meet your videography requirements then you’ll need to choose Mavic 3 Cine. Mavic 3 Cine model. Alongside it being an Apple video format, the “Cine” comes with an internal 1TB drive, which is required to handle the larger file size of 5.1k Apple ProRes video.

The last upgrade included with”Cine,” the “Cine” that will make it worth the price of $5k is the addition of the RC Pro (V2 Smart Controller). Professional and business drone users need an operator that can meet the demands and requirements of their job and not an RC car controller that needs a cell phone to be successful.

Be aware that Mavic 3 Cine Mavic 3 Cine is not an toy designed for leisure pleasure. It’s a tool for professionals which can earn six-figure incomes for a variety of individuals and companies across the globe, all while making a significant return on investment.

M3 Pricing Breakdown

Mavic 3 Standard Mavic 3 Standard $2,199.00

Mavic 3 Aircraft
Remote Controller N1
Intelligent Flight Battery
Battery Charger
Spare Propeller Pair
Cables for charging/device charging

Mavic 3 Fly Plus Combo $2,999.00

Mavic 3 Aircraft
Remote Controller N1
Intelligent Flight Battery x 3
ND Filters (4/8/16/32)
Charging Hub
Battery Charger
Spare Propeller Set x4
Cables for charging/Device Charging
Convertible Carrying Bag

Mavic 3 Cine Premium Combo – $4,999.00

Mavic 3 Aircraft (1TB Internal SSD)
Remote Controller Pro (5.5″ Screen)
Intelligent Flight Battery x 3
ND Filter Set (4/8/16/32)
ND Filter Set (64,128,256,512)
Charging Hub
Battery Charger
Spare Propeller Set 4
Charger/Device Cables
10Gbps Lightspeed Data Cable
Convertible Carrying Bag

Mavic 3 Remote Controller Pro (5.5″ Screen) Mavic 3 Remote Controller Pro (5.5″ Screen) $1,199.00

Mavic 3 Intelligent Battery – $209.00

DJI Mavic 3 Review Summary

It is recommended to purchase Mavic 3 Mavic 3 if you are looking for the top “Proprise” (Professional and Enterprise) drone that is currently not equipped with features for thermal imagery. The Swiss Army knife drone can perform inspections of assets, locate people missing person(s) as well as suspect(s) or suspects, take photos of million-dollar homes, record the most memorable wedding, and map a complicated construction site, and many more.