DJI Mavic 3 Pro First Flight – Experimenting With The New Camera

This has got to be the craziest camera system that DJI has put onto a Mavic drone. This here is the DJI Mavic 3 Pro and today we'll be taking our very first flight with this drone to experiment with this new camera system.

DJI Mavic 3 Pro First Impressions

Much like all of my other first flight videos, we're actually taking a step back in time here, as I've already uploaded my full review video of the Mavic 3 Pro. I'll leave that linked up in the top corner and down in the description if you really want to get into the weeds of the specs of this drone.

But in terms of the Mavic 3 Pro, it's really not all that much different from the Mavic 3 Cine, the Mavic 3, and the Mavic 3 Classic in terms of the airframe. So, there shouldn't be any surprises when we're actually flying the drone. But the biggest difference is this brand new camera system, specifically speaking, the new lens that's been added to this camera.

So now, we have a 1x, a 3x, and a 7x Zoom, with the 3x Zoom being our brand-new lens. You know, it's funny, I call them different lenses as if it's a mirrorless camera, and I'm switching between lenses. And I guess it's kind of correct, right? But in reality, you're actually switching between cameras. You're actually switching the sensor that you're shooting with. You've got a different aperture, a different-sized sensor. So again, it's going to be cool to kind of see how all these different cameras (and not lenses) are going to react as we fly this drone.

Okay, so let's go ahead and take off with the Mavic 3 Pro. For the first half of the video, I just want to cover the drone itself, the airframe, which again should be pretty quick because we've already had this airframe around for such a long time. And then the second half of the video is where we're really going to dive into the camera itself.

Right now, I've actually just got the camera on automatic exposure. It's just adjusting the aperture so that main camera has an F 2.8 to f11 adjustable aperture right from your remote controller. So again, because I'm doing this first flight, it just makes things so much easier if I can let the drone do the exposure work for me, and I focus on actually flying the drone.

Now, also, when we get into talking about the other cameras, it's going to be a little bit difficult because I'll be starting and stopping my recording, so there might be some times where there's a black screen. But again, you'll just have to bear with me as we switch between all of these different lenses.

O3 signal is impressive on the Mavic 3 Pro

Now, this here is one of the reasons why I love the Mavic 3 – the range. We are over half a mile away, which is usually all the distance you'd need to capture a lot of the photos and videos that you might be capturing. I mean, we're at the bridge down that way, and we have perfect signal – no breakup, no lag, no dropped frames from here to there. So, the signal is incredible.

Now, I'm flying with the RC Pro. There is also the option to fly with the DJI RC, as well as the RCN1. So, you've got all of these different other controllers that can be used with this drone. But for this video, I've got the RC Pro. We'll go ahead and spin it around.

And again, in terms of the actual airframe itself here, I wanted to show off the speed. So, we flew down in sport mode, and got down there pretty quickly. The top speed of this drone is around 46 miles an hour, which I'd say is respectable. Like, it's a fairly fast drone.

So, right now, we are getting about 47-ish miles an hour. But watch when I want to dive down to the ground. We can dive down at negative 13 miles an hour. Like, we can come down to the ground quickly. And even if we wanted to fly up, it's very agile in that sense too. So, we can now go upwards at, look, 17 miles an hour with this drone.

This airframe is so good. There's going to be so many people that say, “Well, how come with this new drone they didn't upgrade the props? So, they didn't upgrade to the motors? They didn't upgrade the battery?”

It's like because the airframe is already where it's got to be, it's got a 47-minute advertised flight time, it's got a 46-mile-an-hour top speed, the range is great on it. It's got omnidirectional obstacle avoidance. So like the actual airframe itself is what I would say as close to perfect as you can get. And now, just having these different cameras gives people the ability to choose what type of camera they want and of course how much they want to spend.

So, in terms of the airframe, DJI, of course, with the Mavic 3, it's everything you'd expect. It's awesome. We'll go ahead and get a little bit risky and flat underneath the bridge here. This always seems to be my route now. I've been including a flight under the bridge in my route. I'll make sure not to dive down too fast though.

So yeah, I mean from transmission to range to the speed to everything about the actual drone feature set, like its obstacle avoidance sensors, it's everything that you could want. It's just a big upgrade to the actual camera itself. We'll go ahead, we'll come back, loop towards us, and then we'll go ahead and do a little bit more of a camera-specific, I guess you can say, first flight because again, that is our biggest difference.

But amongst everything, right? I mean, we've been ripping up and down the river here for about four minutes. That's at least how long my screen recording has been going for. We've drained about, I'd say, 18-17 percent battery, and the dynamic range on this camera is just great.

Three cameras on the DJI Mavic 3 Pro

Okay, so now what I want to do is actually get into the camera portion of the video where we cover the 1X, the 3X, and the 7X lenses or cameras, whatever you want to call them.

Okay, now it's time to get into the fun part and cover these cameras. So, the one thing I always like to do with my drones when I first get them is do a reveal of Manayunk behind me here. Right, so we're just outside of Philadelphia. We're in kind of like a small little, I'd say you could call it a suburb, maybe, but it really, really is a part of Philadelphia. So, this is a Philadelphia address, technically, where we're at right now. We're over the Schuylkill River.

The one thing that I enjoy doing is coming down here and doing a reveal shot up and over the trees. And we actually have some trees in bloom now, which is nice. Over the winter, you know, we've been doing reveal shots over dead trees, but now we have some good light, and we've got some good trees.

From here, what I always like to do is flip it into normal mode, go and just do a quick reveal of Manayunk. Right, fly up and over the trees. Camera quality with the four-thirds sensor is great. Awesome dynamic range. We're shooting in 4K at 30 frames per second here, Up and over reveal everything.

And this is great for like a nice establishing shot, right? But for example, what if I really wanted to focus on that church out there in the background? Well, I'd then have to fly closer to it, right? I'd have to maybe sacrifice not showing the trees because we have a wider field of view here. Right, we've got about a 24-millimeter equivalent. But as we fly down here, I'm going to go ahead and stop our recording. It's going to go black screen for a second. I'll flip over to our 3X camera and then I'll go and record again.

And whoa, look at that, right? So, we've got about a 50 (70) – whoa, that is crazy. That is a crazy difference right there. So, that's our difference at about 50 (70) millimeters. Now, I will, right off the bat, it's throwing me off actually flying zoomed in at 50 (70) millimeters because your depth perception is kind of thrown off.

So right off the bat, the thing that I would say is don't fly around in 3x unless you're actually going to be filming. If you're going to be getting from spot to spot, use 1x. But look at this – like this shot now from this same exact spot looks entirely different.

So if we come down towards the water, and if we go and do our reveal up and over the trees, we now have such a tighter shot of the actual church itself and even of some of the homes that we're revealing here. So, we're really able to get this shot in two entirely different ways, and this is at again, roughly 50 millimeters or 50-millimeter equivalent (I meant 70mm).

And I don't notice any shake in the camera whatsoever. It's nice and stable. Of course, when you're on a drone, you've got the wind to deal with. And if you've got a more zoomed-in image, it's going to be a little bit more difficult for that image to be stable. But I mean, just sitting here looking at it, it is rock solid. It does help that it's not all that windy today, but regardless, there's no shake, which is nice.

They also deadened the gimbal just a little bit. So, I noticed that the gimbal is a little bit slower when we're more zoomed in, which is nice.

Now from here, I'm going to go ahead and stop recording and flip over quickly to our 7x Zoom from here and then start recording. So now, we are way more zoomed in than usual. We, of course, have the 7x camera already on the Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine, but the Mavic 3 classic doesn't have that extra zoom lens.

Personally, for me, because I've already been using the zoom lens on like the Mavic 3 Cine, for example, it's just not a tool that I turn to to get, like what I would say, is cinematic shots, but instead, it's something that I do to like if I'm doing a real estate shoot, I'd look down at the house number to make sure I'm photographing the right home. Right, like I'd look for the address.

So that's what I like to use the 7x Zoom for. Here, I mean, it further deadens our camera here or our further, further deadens our controls here just because of how zoomed in we are.

But again, I mean, it's nice and smooth. We do want to make sure that we're in focus as well. That's the one thing I noticed, is that with the 7x zoom, you do have to tap to make sure you're always in focus.

Do you guys remember when they first came out with that 7x zoom and how I would say half-baked the camera was? Like, it didn't have a lot of different features, which is definitely a bummer. But like, if we wanted to go and get a shot kind of down Main Street here, we'll go ahead and tap to focus again. We'll go up and fly over Main Street. See, I just find this focal length to be just a little bit too tight for filming with a drone.

Like, that 50 (70) millimeter felt so natural coming up and over the trees, but this just seems like it's a little too tight for me. So, all right, we're gonna stop recording. We're gonna flip back over to the 1x camera here, regain our orientation, right? Like, it's entirely different. Like, we just zoomed way out. Okay, we'll go ahead, wait, record with 1x. We'll come back down over towards where we're at here.

Let's see, another shot that I like to do is up and over to reveal the Philly skyline. So now we're over here in Manayunk, Philly is over towards that way, so we're here in West Philly. We're gonna fly down the water kind of towards where we did in the beginning over there and then we'll go up and over the trees here, over some of these other buildings that make up the City Avenue district, and actually reveal Philadelphia for itself.

Now, also with this drone, when in Explorer mode, there is a plane. That's a plane. I thought it was a bird. So with Explorer mode, we can actually zoom in up to 28 times, but that's all digital. Everything we're using here is all optical. So we're jumping from camera to camera, lens to lens, to actually get a difference in terms of like the image that we're seeing.

So we'll go and fly kind of near this train yard over here, get a little bit lower, so we totally cut off the skyscrapers back there. I actually did a reveal from over here with the M300 DJI's commercial drone and zoomed in like 200 times and was able to see William Penn.

That was crazy! But regardless, we're here with the Pro, so flying up and over, I mean, look, this is a great establishing shot. If we were going to make a video about this area and we wanted to discuss some of the buildings in the City Avenue District, this would be an awesome shot to get to show its distance away from Philadelphia. We don't want to fly too high here, so we'll stop here so we don't go above 400 feet. But again, at 1x, this gives us a really good view of the surrounding area, like a wide shot of the surrounding area, as well as Philadelphia in the background.

Dji Mavic 3 Pro First Flight - Experimenting With The New Camera

But now, if we go and stop recording, I'm actually going to surprise myself. So let's go and bring the drone all the way back down until we can't see the skyline anymore, and then we'll flip over to that 3x camera. Let's go ahead. We are looking down. We're above this warehouse. We'll go ahead from here and stop recording. Then we'll flip over to 3x. Yeah, that's nice and punched in. And then we'll begin recording. And now we should get this nice almost parallax effect with our foreground and background elements. Yeah, look at that! That looks awesome.

Dji Mavic 3 Pro First Flight - Experimenting With The New Camera

So, this would be again a shot where you might be talking about the city directly, and you do this reveal up and over West Philly to reveal the actual city. Right now, we are 400 feet in the air. We are, oh gosh, I'd probably say three to four miles away from the city, maybe even further than that, and we get a pretty nice view from here.

Now, if we stop recording again, flip over to our 7x camera, this is going to be crazy. Yeah, so now we have the entire city of Philly completely in frame, and honestly, this is nice and sharp. This is again a half-inch sensor. I'm on automatic. I am just going to make some quick adjustments here on the camera, just kind of dialing in our exposure.

Dji Mavic 3 Pro First Flight - Experimenting With The New Camera

I am using an ND8 here on the camera. The one thing that I noticed is that it doesn't have the same dynamic range as the other cameras. You get a lot of deep shadows on the buildings, whereas all the other shots looked a lot better. But if we come way down, way down here, and do a nice reveal, that's still pretty cool and smooth too.

Now, this is the same camera that was made available on the Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine. The only difference is the 3x camera. This is still a nice shot, and it shows the entire skyline of Philly perfectly. We're flying a little high there. Let's come back down. That's sweet, and awesome. Alright, I'm going to flip back over to our 1x for now. The reason being is that it's just the best way to navigate and get around. Look at that! It's crazy flipping from 7x to 1x to see just how far you can punch in. Remember, that's all optical. We're not losing any quality in terms of our digital zoom, which is nice.

Now, let's see what other shots we can attempt and test here. Maybe we can do some shots of the traffic or even the trains here. If I wanted to show off this traffic and talk about the traffic in the city of Philadelphia, again, this is a great wide shot. It gives us everything we need in terms of showing I-76, Kelly Drive, Lincoln Road, and other roads around here.

This is a good wide-establishing shot. But if we pull back a little bit here, we'll go ahead and jump over to the 3x. This now gives us a far more compressed look at this highway, so we could potentially talk about specific areas or specific vehicles. Again, I'm getting the dumbest examples here, but it's just kind of what we have to work with here. But this is nice, right? I mean, I'm far away from these cars, but I can still get a nice compressed look.

So that's the big thing, right? Compression. With this 50 (70) millimeter lens, I've got to say it really opens up a whole avenue of different types of shooting that you can do with this drone because you have the ability to switch between these different lenses. I mean, again, the 7x wasn't all that useful, but being in the middle, being at 3x, 50 (70) millimeters, gives you a lot of different options.

Now, just to prove my point here, we do have a helicopter flying. We are nice and low though. He's coming up and flying just over the water here. Just bring the drone down a little bit. So in regards to us actually trying to navigate around, like if I wanted to bring the drone back home, it's spinning pretty slow here. I could flip it into sport mode and go a little bit faster. But you see, like, I'm all the way over here on this parking garage, and flying back at this focal length, to me personally, just makes things really difficult.

You know what's funny is, I wonder if we can tilt the camera up and actually see the helicopter as it flies over us. So he's flying just above, yep, there he is. Cool. Alright, coming back down.

So, again, flying at 3x here is tough. You kind of don't have a lot of situational awareness. I really couldn't tell how far away the drone was from me to here just by looking at the screen. But if we stop recording, flip over to 1x, and then start recording again, we're good. Nice.

So now here's the issue. With my main camera, I like to leave the aperture at around f/5.6 when I put my ND filter on. This gives me the ability to go down to f/2.8 to make my lens or image brighter, or go up from there if I need to make my image darker, putting me in the middle with room to go back and forth in terms of flexibility.

However, with these other lenses, we have a fixed aperture. For example, our 3x camera lens is fixed at f/2.8. So, if I put an ND8 filter on there, it's going to be different in terms of my exposure. That's just something to think about in the back of your head, like making sure you're using the appropriate ND filter for all three of your lenses on this drone.

Now, something cool I want to show you guys, which I haven't tested in this video but want to share, is that with the 70mm lens, we can use ActiveTrack and spotlighted point of interest. With the 7x zoom, we were able to do and Point of Interest, but with the 3x camera, we can now actually do ActiveTrack. We can hit Trace, have it follow from the back, and then press “go.” The drone will fly all by itself at 70mm. Not only do we get this more compressed look, but the drone can also stay safe and further away from the subject it's following. That's really cool.

Something I'm even more excited about, but not showing here today, is that we can do hyperlapses with the 70mm lens. That's something I cannot wait to experiment with, as it will give me so much more flexibility in and around the city to do some awesome stuff like showing traffic going up and down the highway or the city skyline.

So that's going to be a lot of fun to play with. Let's go ahead with the X button. We're in our 3x zoom here. I think the best shot is going to be Manayunk by far. Let's do something. How about this? Let's go and actually use the building itself. See, that was close because I got really close to the light pole there. But, it was tough for me to tell through the screen because I was at 3x. So, again, just something to note.

Let's do a little reveal around the actual building itself here. We're in sport mode. I gotta redo that. Gotta redo it. Flip over to normal, fly it back just a touch. That's the thing, especially when flying in sport mode, it will get a little bit fast when you're zoomed in too far.

So, now we'll go up and around, do this reveal. I mean, look at that. That is something you just wouldn't be able to do with a standard 1x zoom. The compression is perfect. The only two other drones that I know of off the top of my head that are made by DJI that had a focal length equivalent to this was the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom, which allowed you to zoom in two times optically up to 48 millimeters, and then also the Inspire 2.

Dji Mavic 3 Pro First Flight - Experimenting With The New Camera

The Inspire 2 gave you the ability to put a 50-millimeter lens on, and now the Inspire 3. So, this really is an awesome focal length to shoot at. Let me just, for comparison, say, come back over here to around the same spot. Right there. I'm going to stop recording and I'm going to flip over to the 1X. I mean, this reveal is almost going to look stupid, right? Like, we'll try to fly closer to the building a little bit and then we'll be able to. And, that's as close I'm going to get.

We'll go and we'll do our little reveal around. It's not the same effect. Yeah, it works, but I think the 3x zoom looks way better. By the way, I might be totally wrong about the whole 70-millimeter thing, but I will correct myself after I actually read the specs. I literally just ripped this box up and started flying.

Okay, let's end it there. We are all wrapped up with our first flight of the DJI Mavic 3 Pro. The drone's airframe is very similar, but that camera is going to open up a world of new possibilities for photographers and videographers. Being able to have all these different cameras at the touch of a button, being able to just flip between the different cameras right here on the controller is awesome. I'm going to be able to now go into the city and be able to get wide shots of the entire skyline, wide shots of specific buildings, and then get different shots to mix up my aerial cinematic video by doing tight shots as well. So, I cannot wait to experiment with this more.

If you want to learn more about the Mavic 3 Pro, be sure to stay tuned here on the channel as I'll be uploading a lot of content over the coming weeks. And, as always, I'll talk to you later. Peace.

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Billy Kyle
Billy Kyle

I make videos for the Internet. You can watch all of my drone videos on my YouTube channel and here on DroneXL.

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