Good day, folks! Shawn here from Air Photography. Last week, I did a video going over the evolution of the Mini 3, covering all the new features and changes that have been added to it since it was released. In today's video, we're going to do the same thing but this time, taking a look at the DJI Mavic 3.
Now, in my opinion, the changes that the DJI Mavic 3 has undergone are quite a bit more dramatic than the Mini 3 (Now $469 on Amazon). The drone we have today, the Mavic 3, is quite different from the drone that was initially released. Although it was a pretty solid drone upon release, there were a lot of missing features and some bugs that definitely needed to be worked out.
DJI Mavic 3 Evolution Video
If you recall, back when the Mavic 3 was released at the beginning of November 2021, during the DJI launch event, they did mention that many of the features we would expect on it would not be available until the Firmware Update in January.
There were mixed feelings about that. Some people thought they should have waited until the drone was ready before releasing it, while others didn't care because they did warn us.
Myself, I was kind of neutral on the issue. Of course, I would have liked all the features on day one, but it was nice that we were able to get the drone early and start testing it out to see what it was capable of.
DJI Mavic 3 release notes
Now, for those of you who aren't aware, you can actually go to the DJI website and get a complete listing of all the firmware updates and additions that have been added to most of their products.
On this page, it lists all the different downloads and things that are available for the DJI Mavic 3, such as software, companion apps, LUTs, and manuals. You can also get all the release notes for the different aircraft and products that they sell.
You can see here we have something called the DJI Mavic 3 release notes in a PDF format. That's the document we want. When we open it up, it lists all the different firmware updates that have been added since the drone was first released. So, let's go ahead and take a look at the Mavic 3 and all the different firmware updates since it was launched.
First firmware update for the Mavic 3 on launch day
The first firmware update we got for the Mavic 3 was on the launch date. You can see here it says November 5th, 2021. Quite often, products like this have firmware waiting when they're first launched, and the Mavic 3 was no different.
We got this small firmware update, which added a few minor things: the ability to unlock Geo zones, some various shooting resolutions, the ability to shoot in 1080 at 30 frames per second when in Explorer mode, D-Log mode (which is the flat color profile), and it increased the max flight speed when using APAS 5.0.
December 2021 firmware update
However, if we go to the next firmware update, DJI surprised everybody by releasing this large firmware update in December and not January, as they originally stated. This firmware update added most of the missing features that were not available at launch. Now, this didn't include everything; some of the features like panoramas and quick shots didn't get added until the January firmware update.
Let's go ahead and take a look at what was added. First of all, FocusTrack was added, which includes Point of Interest, Spotlight, and tracking. That was actually a pretty significant addition, and one that I was pretty excited about because I do use FocusTrack quite a bit.
It also added MasterShots and Hyperlapses. It gave us the ability to shoot RAW photos only, so we could go into the settings and select RAW only. If you have the Cine version, it did reduce noise when recording in ProRes. It improved Return-to-Home performance, obstacle avoidance performance, hover stability, and a few other little bug fixes at the bottom.
Now, this was a pretty big firmware update. It added most of the missing features and fixed a lot of the bugs that people were complaining about. For some people, the drone was not hovering very stably. Some found the obstacle avoidance to be over-sensitive, and sometimes it would cause the drone to jump around, which is something that I did make a video about. I noticed mine was a little bit overactive.
So, after this firmware update, a lot of the bugs were fixed, and a lot of the missing updates were now available.
January firmware update
So, moving along, on January 24th, 2022, we got the next major firmware release. This firmware release added the rest of the missing features. It added QuickShots, panorama mode, and burst shooting, which was a nice feature allowing you to take a burst photo set.
Another interesting thing it did was add zoom for normal mode. Up until this firmware update, we couldn't zoom when filming in regular mode; the only way to zoom was to go into Explorer mode. But with this update, when filming with the Hasselblad camera, we could get two times digital zoom.
It also added color assist for D-Log, so if you're filming in a flat color profile and D-Log, you could turn on color assist to get a better view of how it's going to look. The D-Log flat color profile is very flat, making it difficult to see what you were filming, so that was an important update as well.
It added the ability for 4K 60 when filming in MasterShots, and it added the Quick Transfer feature. I did make a whole video about Quick Transfer.
Another thing it did was add zoom for FocusTrack, so when filming with the Hasselblad camera and FocusTrack, you could now zoom in two times – a small feature but important for some.
It also allowed us to film in D-Log when using FocusTrack. Additionally, it enabled us to set the return-to-home altitude when using the advanced return-to-home feature. If you recall, when the DJI Mavic 3 was launched, they introduced the new Advanced Return-to-Home feature. In theory, it was a great idea; it actually helped reduce battery usage when returning home. It would lower its altitude when it thought it was safe, using its obstacle avoidance.
However, there were some situations where that wasn't a good idea, especially when flying in and around telephone wires and hydro wires. Sometimes, obstacle avoidance doesn't see those types of obstacles very well.
So relying on obstacle avoidance while doing an advanced return-to-home wasn't always ideal. Being able to manually set the return-to-home height and force it to go home at a certain altitude was an important update for many people.
Another important thing it did was increase the sharpness when using the telelens, especially when you had it at high magnification. The image quality was much better, and there were a few other minor changes as well.
March firmware update resolves Mavic 3 satellite issue
On March 23rd, we got another firmware update. This was a minor one, but a very important one. If you recall, with the launch of the Mavic 3, a lot of people were complaining about how long it took to connect to satellites. Even I sometimes waited upwards of 10 minutes, and I was comparing it to other drones that could get a GPS lock in about 30 seconds.
So that was a pain with the Mavic 3. This firmware update addressed that issue. It didn't fix it for everybody, but most people noticed a great improvement.
I find my Mavic 3 still takes a little longer to connect to GPS than some of my other drones, but it is definitely more tolerable now and not really an issue for me. This update also fixed some issues with Quick Transfer and fixed some other minor bugs.
May firmware update
Now, fast forward to May 31st, we got another pretty substantial firmware update. One of the big things it did was allow us to jump directly into the telelens when in photo or video mode. Up until that point, we had to switch to Explorer mode, but this update allowed us to go right into that telelens.
I'll show you a screenshot comparison here: before the update, we had the little binoculars that put us into Explorer mode; after the update, it changed to a 7, so that would put us right into the seven times telelens.
Of course, we could still use the Menu system and go into Explorer mode if we wanted all the features, but this was definitely a nice quick way to jump back and forth.
The other thing this firmware update did was add HLG for the Hasselblad camera. So again, that's another kind of filming mode, mainly to do with high dynamic range. I don't really film in HLG myself, but a lot of people were waiting for that feature.
It added 1080p 200 frames per second slow motion, and it also allowed you to film in HLG and D-Log when shooting MasterShots and QuickShots.
They increased the digital zoom when using the Hasselblad camera up to three times. Before that, when they added digital zoom to the Hasselblad camera, it was only two times, so they increased it to three times.
This update also added some enhancements when using the wide-angle lens. With this update, when using the wide-angle lens, you could now use FocusTrack, QuickShots, MasterShots, and Hyperlapses whenever you had that wide-angle lens mounted.
Additionally, it added some new ProRes formats if you have the Cine version. They introduced a LUT that you could download on the DJI website if you're filming in D-Log, which brings it to the Rec. 107.
It also added a nifty option for bypassing the use of APAS 5.0. I'm not really sure about this feature as it's not something I use, and I'm not quite sure what it did, but it was added, along with a few other things at the bottom.
One thing it did do that was of interest is that it optimized the stability of the aircraft when shooting a hyperlapse. In June, we got another minor update that fixed a few bugs, mainly to do with the IMU and the RC Pro. There was nothing really major there.
November 2022 firmware update brings night mode
Now, if we fast forward to this past November, November 2nd, they added another substantial firmware update. What they did here is they added a new night mode, which a lot of people were really interested in, especially if you just wanted to capture some nice night shots but didn't have a lot of experience with camera settings and tuning everything in manually. You could just put it in night mode, and for the most part, it did a really good job.
For hyperlapses, you could now set it from high to preview options. They added a new ISO level for D-Log, which you could now set at 1600.
The other interesting thing that it did here is when using the telelens, you could now make use of Spotlight and Point of Interest. That's part of the FocusTrack feature. Now, it didn't allow you to track, but if you did want to do a Point of Interest or use Spotlight, which is something that I do use quite a bit, you could now use it while in the tele lens mode.
Cruise control for the DJI Mavic 3
It added cruise control, which I made a whole video about. What it did was allow you to set a button on the controller, set your direction, some yaw rotation, enable cruise control, and the drone would continue on that path. There are a lot of scenarios where that would come in very handy.
The other big thing that they did here was add Gain and Expo tuning. Basically, what it did was allow you to set the speed both when flying forward, raising your altitude, and lowering your altitude. You could slow the drone rate down.
A lot of people complained that when in Cine mode, the drone was still flying too fast to get really nice, slow cinematic shots. With this update, you could now set it quite a bit lower, and you could actually set it for all the different modes: Cine mode, Sport mode, and Normal mode. So that was a really welcome feature.
You can see a few other things as well, mainly here, you can see it did add Remote ID for the US. That was another pretty big firmware update, adding a lot of very interesting features.
December firmware update adds waypoints
Now, moving along here, we got the last firmware update this past December, on December 9th. This firmware update didn't add many new features, but it did add one very important one that a lot of people have been waiting for.
If we take a look at the release notes here, you can see it did add some new frame rates when filming in night mode, but the big one that it added here was Waypoint Flight.
You could now go in and create some Waypoint missions, which a lot of people really like to do, including myself. They added a couple of different ways in which you could create waypoints: you could fly the drone around and add points manually, or you could go in and launch your maps and create a whole Waypoint Flight while flying.
The other thing that this update did was allow us to go in and download offline maps. So, if you're going to be flying in an area where you don't have cellular service or you just don't want to have to connect it to your phone before your flight, you could download maps for that area and have full map features while flying.
So that's basically it; that was the last firmware update we got for the DJI Mavic 3. That was over three months ago. We're now in March – what's the date today? The 14th, yes, the 14th. So I can only assume that there's going to be a firmware update soon for it.
There are some rumors going around of new features that will be added, perhaps compatibility with the DJI Goggles 2.
One thing that they haven't added yet, which they did to the Mini 3 Pro, was the ability to go in and adjust the noise reduction and sharpness. On the DJI Mini 3 Pro, they added that new style parameter under the camera settings, which hasn't been added to the DJI Mavic 3 yet. So one can only assume that it's going to be added sometime in the near future.
And really, who knows what else will be added? DJI tends to surprise us sometimes with new features.
So as you can see, the Mavic 3 has had quite the transformation since it was first released. This is one incredible drone. Definitely by far the best drone that I've ever owned or flown.
And I have a feeling DJI is just getting started. I think they're going to continue refining the software, the Fly app, making it more powerful and robust, and they're going to keep refining the drone, perhaps even adding new features.
Well, folks, that's basically it for this video. Hopefully, you enjoyed it and got some value out of it. Give a thumbs up if you did; it's always greatly appreciated.
Don't forget to subscribe to my channel, so you don't miss any of our upcoming videos, and we'll see you in the next one.
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