Why Has DJI Made So Many Mavic 3’s? – Should You Upgrade?
So, I made an error in my review video of the Mavic 3 Pro. Here, I said that there were seven different versions of the Mavic 3 available when there are actually eight different versions of this drone available to purchase. There are three different versions of the airframe and five different payloads that go on the front.
Okay, so to cover each of these options, here's a quick breakdown of each of the different types of Mavic 3 that we have. So, there are three different airframes. One is the regular drone, the second is the Cine version, and the final one is the Enterprise version. Each of these bodies offers slight variations that help them accomplish what they were built to do.
For example, the Cine version has a one-terabyte SSD built-in to write and store the high bitrate ProRes video that it can capture.
The Enterprise version, on the other hand, allows for SDK support and has a mounting point on the top side of the drone for attachments like a speaker, a Spotlight, or the RTK module. There's also an LED strobe built into the body of the drone for nighttime and low-light operations. These Enterprise drones also run on a completely different app that is only compatible with the RC Pro – it's the Pilot 2 app.
Regardless of those small changes, the airframe is basically the same across the board, across the entire Mavic 3 series of drones. The general attributes are basically unchanged no matter which version of this drone you purchase. So, the transmission system, the range, the flight time, the top speed, even the omnidirectional obstacle avoidance – all of those general attributes remain the same across the entire lineup of Mavic 3 drones.
Now, what about the cameras? Again, there are five different payload options: the classic version of the camera with a single sensor, the original Mavic 3 camera that has the main four-third sensor, and the secondary seven times tele camera. Then we have the all-new Pro camera system with three sensors that are the same as what the original camera offers, but adds a third lens with a 70-millimeter focal length or a three times zoom. So, it sits right in the middle of the two other cameras in terms of zoom or focal length.
The other two payloads are Enterprise-specific for commercial applications. So we have the thermal payload for conducting inspections or Search and Rescue editions. Then we have the multi-spectral camera, which is this wild-looking payload designed for agriculture production management mapping.
So it's pretty obvious by this point that the Mavic 3 is DJI's flagship foldable drone from a prosumer, professional, and Enterprise standpoint. They've gone across the board and replaced all of their higher-level drones with a version of the DJI Mavic 3. It's kind of like that old saying back when smartphones first became a thing – that there's an app for that. Well, now there's a Mavic 3 for that. No matter what you do, if you're a photographer, videographer, cinematographer, if you conduct aerial inspections, if you're in law enforcement, there's a version of the Mavic 3 that can help you get your job done.
From a business standpoint, can you really blame DJI? They've come out with an almost perfect aircraft that boasts great obstacle avoidance, a fantastic top speed, and outstanding flight time. It's excellent across the board. By choosing to mass-produce this model, they have allowed us to save on the buying side, as they can produce these at such a scale that we save money when purchasing them. That's something I definitely can't complain about.
This is not the first time DJI has done something like this, coming out with multiple versions of a drone over time. If we look back at the DJI Mavic 2, we had five different versions of this drone: the Zoom, the Pro, the Enterprise Dual, the Enterprise Zoom, and the Enterprise Advance.
On the DJI Phantom side, we had four different versions. This, by this point, is like a relic, but we had the Standard, the Advanced, the Pro, and the Multi-spectral. Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head. Regardless, we've had plenty of different versions of specific drones over the years from DJI.
What's so shocking about the Mavic 3, though, is the sheer amount of options that we have coming out. What really has people talking is the fact that after only a year of the Mavic 3 being the best drone that you can buy, with its two cameras, DJI has now discontinued that version of the drone in favor of a new version. It's virtually the same in every single way, except for its new third camera.
Is it worth upgrading to the new DJI Mavic 3 Pro
This brings us to our main question of the video: if you own a previous version of the Mavic 3, whether it's the classic, the regular Mavic 3, or the Cine version of the Mavic 3, is it worth jumping and upgrading to the new Mavic 3 Pro?
Typically, a mid-cycle refresh in one of DJI's drones involves a minimal amount of changes. For example, when we look to the original Mavic Pro, it was replaced after a little over a year of service with the Mavic Pro Platinum. The Platinum version of the Mavic Pro is a drone that I never owned because the changes didn't warrant an upgrade. They were too insignificant for me. They improved the ESCs, they changed the paint color, and they gave us new low-noise propellers, which I could actually add onto my original Mavic Pro here to get the same effect. So even though they came out with this brand new drone, it wasn't enough for me to go and buy basically the same version of the drone that I already had.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 and Air 2S
Looking at more recent drones though, the Mavic Air 2, released with a half-inch 48-megapixel sensor, was quickly updated after a year with an entirely new camera that sported a 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor and could shoot 5.4K video. This wasn't the only massive change though. Two new upward sensors were added to the top of the drone, which improved forwards obstacle avoidance performance and added upwards obstacle avoidance.
This wasn't all though; the Air 2S was the first drone to introduce OcuSync 3, which was a huge step up from OcuSync 2 that was in the Mavic Air 2. It gave us better range and a more reliable signal between the remote and drone.
Even though the Air 2S was just a mid-cycle refresh, and even though they just added an ‘S' at the end of the name, this was like a brand new drone. It gave you a brand new experience when flying. I mean, those three changes – the camera, the obstacle avoidance system, and the transmission system – in my opinion, warranted a generational update from Mavic Air 2 to, say, Mavic Air 3. But they went with Air 2S, I'm assuming, because the airframe was so similar. So, I can kind of understand that.
But looking at these two drones right here, it doesn't make me all that surprised that a Mavic 3 Pro came out only a year after the Mavic 3 release. In fact, I think that this is a fairly mild upgrade compared to what DJI did with their Air line of drones.
Okay, now moving into that question: whether or not you should upgrade from, say, your Mavic 3 classic, Mavic 3 or Sydney, to the new Mavic 3 Pro.
So let me speak directly to those of you that own, say, the Mavic 3 classic, the regular Mavic 3, or the Mavic 3 Cine, and are wondering if they should make the upgrade to the Mavic 3 Pro for that extra lens.
This is essentially the same camera that comes in the Mini 3 Pro. It shoots 4K at 60fps, can take 48-megapixel photos, but what's really been changed is the focal length that gives us a zoomed-in, tighter field of view at 70 millimeters.
What makes it really difficult is that this upgrade, even though seeming very small, is really significant. Like I've mentioned in my review video, it has entirely changed the way that I capture aerial photos and videos. It is a completely different experience having the ability to use a 70 millimeter lens in the air. The compression that you get opens the door for so many different possibilities.
I fly the city that I live in, Philadelphia, on a daily basis for commercial projects and just for fun. Because of this new lens, I'm able to capture parts of the city in ways that I wasn't able to before. Instead of taking off from my usual spot at the Art Museum, I'm launching from way outside of the city and Fairmont Park to get different vantage points of the skyline and other areas of the city.
Out here in the park, there's a lot of great architecture and history from the Centennial International Exhibition held in 1876, the hundred-year anniversary hosted way long ago. The thing is, it's all very isolated from the actual city itself. I've been able to get some pretty cool shots out here, but the camera is just too wide to try and incorporate the city and these awesome structures. With that 70 millimeter lens though, things have completely changed and it has given me a newfound love for flying in this area.
If you own the original Mavic 3 with the seven times telezoom, you could get some pretty good shots from out here already. But as I've said in my previous videos, I just feel that this is way too tight of a frame to use on a daily basis. The 70 millimeter lens, in my opinion, is the perfect middle option.
So, because of the experience that I have flying these three drones here – the Pro, the Cine, and the Classic – I do believe that the Pro warrants an upgrade over the older Mavic 3 drones. Even though you just have that one change, that one upgrade, which is the new lens, the new camera here on the drone itself, it's something that I didn't think I needed until I had it. Because it's given me an entirely new perspective from my drone when in the air, it's something I feel like I almost can't live without. Like if I was leaving home and I needed to choose one drone to bring with me, it would always be the Mavic 3 Pro because of the different types of shots I can get with the three different cameras.
Now, if I was somebody that was trying to make the upgrade from an older drone like the Mavic 3 Classic, Cine, or that middle Mavic 3 to the Pro, I might even end up keeping my Mavic 3 because again, you can use the same controllers and batteries amongst all of your drones. So that older Mavic 3 could make for a really good backup, and then you could use the Mavic 3 Pro on a daily basis.
Let me play devil's advocate
Let me play devil's advocate here though. The Mavic 3 is already so good. Like, what more do you need, right? You've already got the great transmission system, the great omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, the great speed, the great range, the great transmission system, the great flight time. Like, this drone is already so good. So, you're going to have to go through those hoops of selling your drone, buying a new one, waiting for it to ship, just to have that extra lens.
Personally, I think it's worth it, because I've never had the ability to fly a 70 millimeter lens, 70 millimeter focal length in the air, until I had the Mavic 3 Pro. For me, I understand now, having used it, that it is such a game-changer. But again, remember, you're going to have to jump through a lot of hoops just for that one change, and the Mavic 3 is already such a solid drone.
I think that this is really where it comes down to your situation. Like, think about it, do you think that you could benefit from the different focal length on your drone? I personally didn't understand the benefits until I actually saw clips like this, which really just can't be captured with any other drone, making this so unique. There aren't many aerial platforms that are offering a 70 millimeter focal length with a sensor that is this good. I would just evaluate your current situation and figure out if the hassle is worth the upgrade.
As I've mentioned, I personally feel like I couldn't live without this focal length because it allows me to switch up the types of shots I'm able to get with just the touch of a button, and the video that comes from it, even the photographs, look incredible.
Here's the thing, though: I don't think that DJI is done. I don't think that they're finished releasing versions or iterations of the Mavic 3 because this drone is already so far advanced. I mean, let's look at what else is available on the market from not only other companies but from within DJI themselves.
There is nothing pushing up against this drone that's making it feel old or obsolete. It offers everything that I could need and more. It usually exceeds my expectations on most of the jobs or shoots that I bring this drone on. I mean, it's got great flight time to the point where I can fit multiple jobs in on one battery. It's got an awesome transmission, which allows me to fly really wherever I want without any lag or hiccup.
There's really only one spot that I think that DJI can continue to upgrade, and that is the camera, which is exactly what they're doing. What I really wish they'd do, though, is allow for a modular, customizable system, especially for a pro-level drone like the Mavic.
Look at this little chart thing that I made and showed in the beginning of this video. Imagine if, when buying your Mavic 3, you could choose the airframe you wanted, the payload you wanted, you could choose your remote, all based on your needs in a drone.
Like, how cool would it be to say, buy the stock airframe because you don't need the built-in SSD of the Cine version and maybe you don't need the bells and whistles of the Enterprise version. Then maybe you buy just the classic camera because the optical zoom really doesn't intrigue you from the other cameras. And maybe you also buy a thermal camera with your drone. So now, you've got two cameras that go on the same drone and you can use both of them on one airframe.
Now, I think that this would be awesome for the end user because it would create this awesome ecosystem of one airframe being able to use all these different payloads, and you could upgrade down the line. But some people might say, from a business standpoint, that it'd be a bad move from DJI because they wouldn't make as much money by selling less drones, right? They would just sell cameras.
But I think that there's an argument to be made for the other side of things where they could sell just one airframe, keep it around almost like the body of a camera, and then sell the cameras like they would sell lenses. Right? So if you've got a mirrorless camera, you're going to upgrade the body less frequently than you'd upgrade the lens. So in this case, you'd upgrade the airframe not as often as you'd upgrade the camera.
I mean, if they left the Mavic 3 airframe to sit around for say four years but frequently came out with new cameras, like upgrading it so that we get a four-thirds sensor with a 2X optical zoom or maybe they come out with a camera that's special and can shoot 8K video, right? There are all these different options.
Personally, I think people would spend more money on more cameras rather than going and buying just one drone and holding out until they would release another more upgraded drone like a Mavic 4.
Taking it a step further from there, they could even upgrade the airframe down the line and introduce specialty versions of the drone like they have the Cine and like they have the Enterprise version. Maybe they have a version of the drone that allows you to mount your camera vertically. Maybe they have a version of the drone that gives you more internal storage. Maybe one is faster than the rest, right? So they could build this entire ecosystem that I think would be better for the end user because you just get more flexibility, options, and choices.
But I also think it could potentially make them more money from a business standpoint because people would want to upgrade more because of this whole ecosystem that they have.
Okay, wow. So, uh, I definitely got on a tangent there, but I really do think it'd be cool to have a fully modular system. Only one day, we could hope to have something like that because that would be really cool to kind of have this entire ecosystem built around one line of airframes and cameras.
Okay, now, should you upgrade? Right, the end-all, be-all question. For me, I'd say yes because now, personally, I feel like I can't live without this extra lens. It really does give you an entirely different experience, an entirely different perspective when flying your drone. It's something that I haven't experienced until I got this drone.
And again, this drone is special because no other aircraft that I'm aware of has the ability to switch between three different lenses, giving you three different viewpoints all from the same exact drone.
Now, I'd love to hear your thoughts down below. Are you a Mavic 3 Classic owner? Are you a Mavic 3 Cine owner? Do you think that you're going to upgrade? Maybe you own one of the older drones like say the Air 2S, and now you're finally going to make the upgrade because it is warranted with this brand new camera system.
Anyway, thank you guys so much for watching. Let me know your thoughts again down below, and as always, I'll talk to you later. Peace!
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I purchasing my first Drome for commercial use. I studying for my 107 will be taking the exam in two weeks. I have questioned this topic. Seeing all of the grades. I want to purchase a Drome that will allow me to be creative and not have to purchase several Dromes next few years. I even asked why haven’t developed a Drome that would be able change payloads.
Well here in Europe you can’t fly at a lot os places without the C1 (or C0) certification. With that in mind I’m glad I’ve got my M3cine and I’ll stick to it! No way I’m getting a M3pro