DJI Mavic 3 Review from a UK Based Professional Commercial Pilot
Now i actually said to mark at drone safe im going to rent one of these to actually review as soon as i can get hold of one he said, come and grab this one. Take it away, see what you think he knows im going to be honest about everything, so i drove down there went into the store, theyve just got shelves and shelves of dji gear and its brilliant. So if you were to buy anything from the store, youre very welcome to go in there, they welcome you with open arms and a cup of coffee so go in. There sit down talk about what you want talk about, what you need, theyll, even take you out and try the drone out. Theyll fly it with you, give you some hints on safety tips and things like that. How you can get involved, how you can get started? How you can get trained up to be a professional pilot if you wish, but theyre really good and their support is fantastic, as well. Theyve been known to stay up, till 9pm, helping clients out so youre always going to be have help on the end of the phone okay, so check it out. The address is on the website. Address is on the page now and its also in the links down below, so please go and check them out. Okay, so this is the drone as soon as i got it out. I had one of my suspicions not confirmed but actually negated.
A lot of people said that the build quality is quality isnt. That good and, to be honest with you, i think its amazing, its brilliant. I love the look of it im, not just saying this so im just going to explain something i actually um killed. My dji inspire one last december ive waited 11 months to see this when it came out, ive been expecting big things, and so this had uh quite a lot to live up to. But my point with this whole review is that the dji inspire one was pretty much a full manual kind of uh setup. They had no obstacle avoidance on it. It had no fancy gimmicks, gizmos, no flying automation, so its really down to the skilled operator, and i flew it for six years and i got to know how to actually use the sticks to control the drone. I never used any automation, so i got quite good at actually doing the nice sweeping maneuvers. In fact, i could use both sticks and control the camera. At the same time, i never needed a second camera up, so i know how to fly drones so when this came out im not fussed about all the automation things so im not going to talk about a lot of the things that are due in january. I just hope that they do come out and theyve got things like waypoints, so ill do another review when all of those have come out.
What i want to do now is try and match this to the dji inspire one. So all im interested in at the moment is the quality from the big camera. So the 5k footage i want to know that it flies well, and i also want to know that the photos are good with this m3. 4. 3. 3 sensor. So thats really all im interested in now. I know theres some issues that people have talked about online, but im going to do this from myself from the jobs i do as a professional, filmmaker and photographer. So its going to be down to me what i would use this for and then possibly what you would use it for as well. So my first impressions were, i think, its a really good. Looking drone its beautiful, i love the gunmetal grey with the black on the back, the black camera. Its really well designed people have talked about the legs being kind of easily breakable, but when you get hold of it, when you actually get in your hand, theyre pretty strong, whatever its made of it, its good, it doesnt feel at all like its gon na break Or anything, its got really solid movements and everything so um with regards to build quality, its beautiful now. The funny thing is as soon as you take the battery out, this becomes really light. In fact, i think the battery and the drone weigh almost the same, if not the batterys slightly heavier than the drone, so its quite amazing.
This is really light. This is where all the weight comes from and thats whats going to power this to get some decent flight times so before i go any further lets just look at the rest of the family, so here we are. I havent got the inspire because its currently been somewhere because it got trashed on an advert. I was filming. Um wasnt, due to flying era, actually got wet out at sea with salt water damaged it completely and it was irreplaceable, which is why ive been waiting for this. So what weve got here? Ive flown a lot of dji drones. I love the company. I think they produce some stunning kit and theyre very, very robust and reliable. So here weve got the mini 2, which is about weighs about the same as our hamster, its tiny, its brilliant and its just a brilliant, brilliant little drone films. Amazing 4k footage ive done roof surveys with this with the photography. So for me that is always going to stay with me, a brilliant camera, then weve got the dji uh air 2. So ive got the filter on there. Thats, a great camera been ive used that on a couple of huge, huge jobs, um, i think in one job i took about three and a half thousand photos. Sorry, six thousand photos and i flew about 24 kilometers on one job. So it was a huge huge job and it got wet, got rained on just lived up to it, absolutely fantastic.
This is the air 2s, which again its got on our one inch sensor, so its fantastic for photography, really good video quality at 5.4k. Absolutely love that this is the original mavic pro, so its the very first one that came out and you can see how tiny the camera is there again. It was a kind of groundbreaking video drone when it came out so thats got a good place in the history of dji. Then youve got the mavic 2 enterprise um this one. You can stick things on top youve got your lights. You can put on there loud speakers really good industrial kind of drone and then youve got the obviously the mavic 3 here. So you can see that the size compared to the um, the two original mavics, its slightly bigger than the original mavic um. So its not a huge, huge difference, which is good, you want to keep them kind of compact and easy to carry around and compared to the enterprise, pretty much the same sort of size, same sort of weight. So you know that this is a really good. Lineup of drones, my favorites are the mini 2, the air 2s and the mavic 3. I think theyre just amazing drones, so lets get into talking about what this thing can do now and then well have a look at some footage. Okay, so the chances are youve already seen all the videos on this youve watched the previews.
The reviews seen the rumors youve watched people with all versions of this drone, so im not going to go massively into that. All im interested in is the video quality. The stills quality and the image and stills the video and stills quality at night. The thing about these drones, all dji drones is theyre reliable. You can throw it in the sky flight as far as you like, and you know its going to come back. Its got just about everything its so i feel so secure. So when i first got this um, i think it was about seven or eight oclock at night, when i got home with it, and i thought im gon na go straight out and do some night stuff. I trusted dji, so i basically put it on the ground, flew it, flew it around the harbour, and that was it. I felt really confident this was going to work out the box and im glad it did. It comes with the standard dji controller which you get with the the mini 2 and the mavic air 2s, which some people have complained about. Im im used to it again im a manual person, so i just use the basic functions of any drone just to get the footage and photos that i need so for me, im used to this controller does everything i need to do the only thing id like If um had a slightly different another wheel here, perhaps to move the camera left and right, but i do that with the drone anyway.
So its pretty cool so thats a setup with the the the basic one battery setup that you get or if you get the fly more combo you get this controller as well, obviously, with the other one you get the the smart controller too, but again im not Going to go into that, so as soon as i took off, i was smiling. It flies really well, it seems pretty quiet once its in the air. It seems pretty quiet so im impressed with that. I like the the way it handles it just felt good as soon as i took off, just like all the other drones, but it didnt feel heavy in the sky. It was really responsive its just a pleasure to fly. I almost phone mark straight away and said i love it straight away now. Ive had my reservations about it but, like i said, im interested in image quality. So lets have a look at some of the footage now and im going to combine the 5k footage compressed down to 4k for this video and were going to have a look at some 4k 50 video footage and then 4k 50 slowed down two times. Have a look at that and then see what you think and then well come back and talk some more Music? Okay, so i think youll agree. That footage is amazing. The 5.1 k footage is stunning. The 4k is great. The 4k 50 slowed down two times, all brilliant, so for me, thats tick that box the image quality for video is exactly what i need from a drone like this really good.
Now everything you saw there was filmed in the standard mode standard setting colors and all that kind of thing. On top of that, youve also got d log, which is a bit harder to grade. So a lot of people may struggle with that. To start with its just a shame, they havent included, i think its cine, like d and the high log camera in there. That may well come with the firmware so, like i said, im not going to pull this apart until january until all the firmwares come out and theyve updated everything, but it i think it definitely needs something in between the standard and the log version. So lets hope that comes along so thats the video side of things taken care of really happy with that, and i can use that for clients for stock all that kind of stuff, so tick thats done next. One is photography so, of course, im a photographer as well, so i need to know that this m43 sensor is going to produce some really good images, whether its at daytime, whether its at night time. I do a lot of property reviews, things like that or property promotions, so its good for me to know that these photos are going to come out. Well, so i found that they came out incredibly clear. Ive also got the like. I say the in the air 2s, so obviously its a comparison between those, but if you know what youre doing as a photographer, you should be able to get good shots now.
The daytime stuff is a given for this, so that all of the photos i took during the day with this just came out beautiful um. Obviously you can zoom in you can crop to your hearts content. This is a four thirds aspect ratio, so you may have to crop down 16 by nine to sort of fit whatever it is youre doing um, but i found the photos to be really sharp, really good. Having the aperture is good now ill. Give you a quick tip with the aperture, and i found this with the dji x5 camera for the uh inspire when i first got it that the sweet spot for any aperture its like the holy grail of apertures, its f 5.6. What you have to remember is that, with a cropped sensor with an m43 its like a two times crop, so you have to double the aperture. So if youre shooting at 2.8 its really kind of 5.6, if youre shooting at f8, its the equivalent of f 16. So you may get some kind of anomalies coming in the more you put the aperture closed, the more you may get some diffraction kind of issue showing up in the if you really examine it at 200 or something so i would rarely go to f11 unless you Havent got a filter when you go out during the day and you need to do some filming thats where f11 comes comes in really handy, because you can stop it right down and still get some good footage without having to increase the shutter speed too much.
So a massive point of this, which is better than the air 2s, for example, is the fact that youve got that changeable aperture. But really, i think the the holy grail of apertures on here is f 5.6. So if you can use that for most of your photography, whether youre going in close or far away youre going to get some much clearer images now, i did compare it with two great big shots of weymouth um looking down and also right to the back of Chisel beach, which is a few miles away, and with the air 2s shooting at f 2.8, because thats all its got. Obviously, everything in the front was really sharp, but, as you went back, it got slightly more blurred, so the the properties way off in the distance were kind of a little bit blurred doesnt matter, because most of the emphasis goes on the front. But when i took the same photos with this at either f 5.6 or f 8, then the clarity was there all the way through even the houses at the back. You could see super sharp, so really happy with that thats, where its going to excel over. All of the other smaller drones that dji makes so thats a massive point with this. So as photography goes its a really really good camera, so thats two boxes ticked, i can do my stock video stock photography all my commercial projects. I can do with this cam with this camera and drone straight away now ill talk about knight in a second.
But another thing i want to touch on is the flight time, so i actually tested um when i first took it up at night time. There was a little bit of a breeze and i landed, i think 51 and id been flying for about 22 minutes. I think so. I was quite impressed. It was pretty good. I flew the other day and i was flying around filming and taking photos. I was doing quite some fast maneuvers and i think i got 31 minutes before i landed at 20. So if you wanted to push it to 15, youd probably get something like 33 minutes, 34 minutes, but generally, if youre doing normal kind of work, youll get between 30 and 35 minutes flying if youre just hovering. I can pretty much guarantee youll get 40 minutes and i cant see how youre going to get up to 46, but my theory is – and i think this is right from all the videos ive seen from my experience – it depends what youre doing how long the battery Is going to last so if youre hovering just taking photos youre going to get close to 40 minutes, because it doesnt take a lot of battery power to take those photos and process the raws so thats when youre going to get the most battery power? If youre doing what i was doing, youre taking a photo over there flying over there doing some filming in 5k coming back and youre whizzing about, then i reckon 30 to 35 minutes.
But if youre filming in pro res, if youve got the cine version and youre filming in pro res, that takes a lot more energy from the battery. So i watched someone actually throw the drone up film in pro res and had to land at 19 minutes. So he was filming prores all the time, so obviously, with the rotors going with maybe a little bit of wind and having to record to the hard drive that prores file, then obviously youre going to get less so thats really important to bear in mind. If youre going out filming with a client, it depends what youre doing so use those as a kind of rough guide. Because if you go out with this thinking, youre going to get 40 minutes filming prores for a client and after 20 minutes youve got to land. Its not going to look good so either get yourself a bunch more batteries or just abide your time, or you know kind of work out your time effectively based on those sort of figures, if youre doing a if youre doing a roof survey, one battery youll probably Do three or four houses easily, so i think the battery power on this is good, but obviously you cant expect to fly pro prores and get 46 minutes out of it. But i will say its so good that i actually got bored flying it for a while, because i was id been at the sky so long and id done this whole area of photographs and videos, and i didnt know what to do so.
I just landed so battery power is really good. So lets talk about night stuff. Now everyone talks about night photography and how good is the iso whats it like at really high isos, you dont always have to shoot and film in for really high isos and what i noticed with this when i was doing photography in the sky, i was getting Photos for 3.2 second exposures, so i was hovering in light wind and you can see now that some of these photos taken with a 3.2 second exposure. I think i was on f 2.8 on those ones or maybe f4, but they came out amazingly sharp, really clear. Uh, the the gimbal, the the steadiness of the drone was just superb. Then i took some more at 1.6 seconds and one second, so when youre doing photos – and this was almost pitch black – just taking photos of a town, so if youre taking photos at night, try and stick to 100 iso because thats, where the sweet spot is with Iso, where you want lack of grain, lack of noise, and things like that, i did take it up to sort of 400 iso and it was still super clean, so for photography, youre going to be okay as long as youre, not flying in crazy. In fact, you shouldnt be flying in crazy winds at night over a town, so its not going to happen, but i was photographing, like i said, really long exposures and they were coming out fantastic and, of course, you take three or four or five photos.
Some are going to go in the bin because they will come out blurred, but i was getting quite a good hit rate with the photography at night, so really impressed with that, and the colors from the the hasselblad camera are superb. When i compare it to the uh, the mini sorry, not the mini the um air 2s big big difference, so the colors are more natural on this, but theyre, very vibrant and very very nice. Looking so photography with us at night, i was blown away and again, i think i shot a couple at night at 5.6 with a really long, shutter speed and the houses at the back were still really kind of. Pin sharp, really impressed with that. Okay, so lets talk about video at night with the mavic 3.. Now, like i said when i first got this, it was night time so i had to take it out. I just wanted to get out and fly it, so i took it down to weymouth and i, after seeing what the footage was like at 6400 from someone elses review, i thought id set the iso at 3200 and did a clip, as you can see, on the Screen now and to be honest, it was fairly grainy, so i was kind of like okay. Well, how can we get around that? So i actually put it down to 1600 and you can see here where it changes just how much cleaner that is.
1600 iso on this drone at night is brilliant. I was actually filming. The sun had completely gone down, so it was pitch black um and it that theres just no grain at all, no noise in there at all. So i want to give you a quick tip about filming at night now um, the the rule is that you, basically, if youre, shooting 25 frames, a second keep your shutter speed to a 50th thats it for filming in the daytime, because it gives you that kind Of nice blur, it gives you the good it just matches up really well now, at night time, youre generally flying really slowly. So what i did on a couple of the clips that i used was actually brought the shutter speed down to match the focal uh. Sorry, the um, the frames per second, so i was shooting at 25th of a second at 25 frames, a second, so it matched perfectly. Nobody can tell the difference and if youre, flying really slowly its fantastic, and that gives you an extra stop of light. So i was filming, i think at in some instances, maybe f4 and shooting at uh 25th of a second, so 25 frames a second. So it looks really good. So if youre struggling, uh heres some tips on flying this mavic 3 at night, first of all, dont go higher than 1600 iso and its so clean. Why not just set it at 1600? First of all, and if youre filming at 25 frames a second then maybe try 51st 50th of a second shutter speed.
First and then, maybe if you have to, if you need the extra stop, bring it down to 25th fifth of a second um but other than that then fluctuate the aperture. If youre quite a distance away, then f 2.8 will do you pretty well for night time because its a great big wide view so everythings going to be in focus or most of its going to be in focus. The sweet spot like ive said, is f, 5.6. So if you can fly at 25 frames, a second either 25th of a second shutter speed or 50th at f, 5.6 1600 iso. I think youll see some of the best footage youve ever seen from a drone at night, because the m43 sensor on this at night is super super clean, and you can see here that i matched it up with the uh, the dji air 2s, and i i Had to, if you see some of the cars on the right hand clip going backwards its because i had to reverse the clip, but you can see here on the left. Youve got the air 2s and on the right, youve got the um, the mavic 3. So, on the mavic 3 i was at 1600 iso and on the air 2s i was on 800, so the because of the difference in sensor size with the mavic 3 and the air 2s. Then i found that 3200 on this was grainy and 1600 on the air.
2S was the same sort of grain or noise. As soon as i brought this down to 1600 and the air 2s down to 800, then they both lost a lot of that noise and became quite clean. The only difference is that this, the color color science from the hasselblad camera is way better. So you can see on the footage that the the um, the color and everything is, and the dynamic range is much better on the mavic. So youve got more detail in the shadows now filming at night. Everyone wants to bring out all the shadows where theres no light. Why would you do that because theres no light there? If you wanted light, you would add light. If there was moonlight it might shine on the roofs and light them up if theres no light theres. No light so dont try and pull back whats, not there just to kind of make a point with with apertures and cameras, and things like that. So it all depends on what youre doing, if youre filming at night on set theyre going to have lighting anyway um. If youre filming cities at night thats what they are, the light is what youve got so dont: try and pull out shadows where theyre, not where theres no real light there. But i will say: is this excelled at night and it just the dynamic range is fantastic. I thought the air 2s might be as good, but its not its just good photography, because you can have a long, shutter speed on the air 2s and get some good photos, but for video its not as good.
This absolutely knocked it for six. So video at night with this, like ive, said if you can uh, even if you have to bring the shutter speed down to match the frame rate. Fine just do it as long as you fly slowly its going to look fantastic, but yeah really impressed with the video at night on that. Okay, so lets talk about this little camera on top of the main camera and if it looks like this has just been dropped in somewhere, then its true, because i actually finished filming, i offloaded all the footage onto the computer shut everything down realized. I hadnt talked about that and i think it definitely needs talking about so the camera itself, when we first saw the previews coming out the rumors and things like that talked about a seven times: 162 millimeter lens camera, so its a its a much smaller sensor. Its a half inch sensor and the camera is basically designed just to be a kind of spotter camera, so i never really held out much kind of hope for it um. So as a spotter, i think its great as uh for various bits and pieces. So i really wanted to test this see what its like now. A lot of people have been concentrating on the zoom factor of it, so zooming from one to the other, to one times to two times to four times to seven to fourteen and then to 28 times its, not a zoom lens.
A zoom lens is when you turn the barrel and the lens zooms. This goes from the first of all youre on the main camera one times two times the sensor is being cropped on the main camera in half, then youre, basically cropping more to four times on the main sensor. Then, when you switch to seven times thats when it switches to the the second camera up here and the seven times, is the native focal length of that lens of that camera, as well so thats. When youre going to get the optimal performance from this. And then it goes to 14 times so its then cropping that tiny sensor by half then it goes to 28 times and its cropping that again so youre talking about an eighth. I think it is of a half inch sensor, so its really rubbish. So if i was dji or if i wouldnt even have the option to zoom in what i would have done is to have the main camera here, um having all the goodness of that beautiful hasselblad camera this one i would have had just as a switchable seven Times telephoto lens camera and left it at that so youre filming with one. Then you switch to that seven times multiplication and use that because the seven times uh camera on here, the lens its almost usable, so ive seen lots of people talking about it. Just doesnt work, but you can see here on the screen what it looks like when we go from one times so weve got the the one times view there.
Then we go to two times. Then we switch to the seven times and im not gon na. Go to the the 14 and 28, but on this clip you can see that i actually had. I was filming the lighthouse over in portland. This is where i actually use the sticks. So a lot of people rely on the the the set circle thing where you can set it in the drone. Itll. Do it for you so again, like i said i learned to use the sticks really kind of in a finely controlled manner, and you can see on this one now with this um, with this shot of the lighthouse that it was all done manually using the seven Times, camera now, ive processed this and ive sharpened it quite a bit and to be honest on a smaller screen. It looks amazing, so if this is only ever going to be seen on a tablet or a smartphone or maybe online on the internet on a computer screen, i think its actually quite good. So this whole thing was done manually and it that the stabilization at seven times zoom is incredible ill, give it that so the whole thing worked flawlessly, and that was my first shoot. That was my first chance of using this actual lens and it just worked flawlessly. The drone was really kind of stable and it worked exceptionally well, so i want to show you another clip of a um a cruise ship in a second.
But my point with this is that if you stick to that seven times and youre going to be using it for maybe a tablet or just something online as part of a drop in or maybe even a smaller square, on a big screen that youre illustrating something. I think its a really good camera, the other ones, the zoom scrap them – take them out theyre, just not worth toffee theyre good for searching for something. So, if youre looking for some wildlife use that camera, it works perfectly for that, but dont use it to film or photograph because you just wont get any good results, but the seven times actually works quite well. Now, when it comes to ill. Give you a quick lesson on using the sticks when it comes to actually doing something like that shot of the lighthouse. You know youre going to maybe do two or three takes. I did that in one luckily, but what you should do is if youre going to start at this point here filming here so lets say your drone is filming that and youre going to start filming at this point, and you want to do an arc there. About 90 degree or 45 degrees, or whatever it is, you just want to film like that. You want to get it from there all the way around to stop filming there. What you actually have to do is start flying round here, so it gives you time to adjust the sticks to get to a point where youve by the time you get to here, youve locked in that those those points on the on the controller.
So what you do is, if you, whether youre going one way or the other you either have them both going in or both going out. So, if theyre, both going in on that first section, where youre not actually filming or you dont need the footage, you slowly move them both in to the point where the its perfect, you can see that the object youre filming is staying dead center and its doing This beautiful arc and once youre there push your finger your thumbs down, so it locks both of those in place and then itll just do the whole. You can stand there all day and itll just fly around doing a perfect shot. Similarly, this way, once youve found the perfect point, push your thumbs right down and lock it in place, and it will just do perfectly so using that lens lets have a look at this cruise ship. One now got up there this morning there was some beautiful sunrays, but i got up to uh this morning to do some quick filming, beautiful sun rays behind this cruise ship, put it on the seven times and just filmed it, and it worked really well and again. Ive sharpened it so i hope it kind of looks okay in the review but, like i said, if youre showing on smaller screens or outputting to 1080, i think its almost usable. It looks pretty good, so you know yeah. It is what it is, but i wouldnt use anything other than the seven times, which is what it was designed to do otherwise, youre just doing whatever any other sort of camera does cropping in on the sensor and its just not worth it so lets talk about Who this is for, if youre a beginner to flying drones and aerial video and photography, i would recommend getting the air 2s, its a fantastic drone.
5.4K video, a one inch sensor, takes fantastic photos and even the nighttime photos i took with the air 2s almost matched. This because, obviously it held really well, i could do long exposures again. I could keep the iso right down to 100 and use the f 2.8 aperture. So the night photography with the air 2s was almost as good as this just brilliant, its a fantastic drone. So if youre, just starting out look at the air 2s, if youre a hobbyist looking to maybe get into this in the future as a career, then i would look at getting the fly more combo. You definitely need three batteries. Ive only had one. So each battery takes 90 minutes to charge, so i would recommend getting the fly more combo learn how to fly this really. Well, you dont need prores trust me. You will not need prores for at least a couple of years unless you work on a big set straight away, which, if you do show me how you did it, but i would recommend getting the fly more combo learn how to fly. Learn how to grade things using the uh, the log footage and just enjoy it. I think its a really good buy and if youre a existing or an existing professional thats looking to get into this and take it a lot further. Then, if you think youre going to be going on to film sets, then i would look at the cine version.
So the only reason you would need prores. In my opinion, because on the on the normal standard version, the d log shooting at 10 bit is brilliant. You can grade that quite a lot without sort of losing any kind of image quality, so i think for most people this would work, and you can grade that 10 bit. Footage really really well. The only real reason i think you would need prores is, if you want to really play some more and get really deep into the depths of that. But the main reason is: if youre working on a set and the the crew are using, maybe a red dragon or an re camera where theyre shooting prores on the ground. They need, whatever theyve got in the sky, to shoot prores as well. So they can match the colors a lot easier. They can use the same sort of uh log lut the lookup table and use it on the same footage throughout so theyll get theyll match it perfectly. So if you are thinking of getting into this into a big part of your career youre, going to get maybe into the movies or making music videos where youre using ground footage as well, then then the cine version would bode you well because, like i said you Can match all the footage up? Okay, so i hope this has helped.