[Review] DJI Mavic 3 Classic: Design & Price

The introduction of the Mavic 3 Classic adds a new member to DJI’s Mavic 3 family. The three drones in this lineup are now the standard Mavic 3, the cinema-focused (and appropriately named) Mavic 3 Cine, and the weirdly named Mavic 3 Classic.
After weeks of testing, I feel like the Mavic 3 Classic is the product that the majority of customers should choose from this confusing array. It costs less than the Mavic 3 and has less features than the latter, most notably the absence of the Mavic 3’s secondary telephoto lens.
The Mavic 3 Classic costs $1,495 compared to the original Mavic 3, a $500 price reduction. Practically all other specifications are nearly identical between the two versions.

If the telephoto lens model had been branded something like Mavic 3 Pro and the Mavic 3 Classic had been released at the same time as the Mavic 3, the lineup would have made a lot more sense. The “traditional” aspect of the Mavic 3 Classic, like other of the company’s drones, is that it just has one lens.

Date and Price of release for the DJI Mavic 3 Classic

The DJI Mavic 3 Classic, the first drone ever to receive a European C1 certification, went on sale in all countries in November 2022. This basically implies that the Mavic 3 models can be flown in the A1 Open Category, which has no training requirements, but does need you to pass a test set by your local aviation authority. You must keep a distance of 50m from people and objects and cannot fly over crowds or swarms of people.
Continental drone pilots will warmly welcome this certification, but UK-based drone pilots will have to deal with this class of drones for an additional three years after the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority controversially announced that it will not recognize European ratings despite having contributed to their design.

Three kits are available for the Mavic 3 Classic. Aimed at people who already own a compatible controller, the DJI Mavic 3 Classic costs $1,599 / £1,399 / AU$2,399 with the DJI RC-N1 controller, $1,749 / £1,529 / AU$2,599 with the DJI RC smart controller, and $1,469 / £1,309 / AU$2,299 with just the drone.
The DJI Mavic 3 Fly More Kit costs $649 / £529 / AU$799 and comes with a carry case, two extra batteries, a three-battery charging hub, and other accessories. In contrast, the DJI Mavic 3 Traditional ND Filters Set (ND8/16/32/64), which are necessary for video, costs $129 / £109 / AU$169. When compared to the comparable Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine kits, the costs of either controller kit and the Fly More Kit are significantly less expensive.

Usability and design

The only difference between the Mavic 3 and the Mavic 3 Classic, as already established, is the absence of a telephoto lens. Each are 895 grams in weight, with folded measurements of 221 by 96 by 90.3 mm and unfolded measurements of 347.5 by 283 by 107.7 mm.
With most features disabled during testing, the claimed flight time is 46 minutes, with a maximum hover time of 40 minutes while shooting 1080p 24 frames per second (again, in controlled conditions).
Even though I didn’t receive the whole 46 minutes during my testing, the 39 minutes I did receive felt great. The Mavic models have hovering accuracy of 0.1 meters thanks to GPS, Gallileo, and BeiDou satellites used for navigation.
While the Mavic 3 Cine model has 1TB of onboard storage to accommodate the ProRes files that the Cine model can record, both devices offer 8GB of internal storage. The two models have the same 3-axis gimbal capabilities and range for obstacle recognition and avoidance.

The Mavic 3 line uses the O3+ transmission system from the corporation for highly precise control. This system has a great range before the signal weakens and enables a controller to receive 1080 30p or 60p footage for composition and exposure correction.
There’s no way I’d fly a drone at that distance to verify this, especially since a drone must always be in visual range. The claimed maximum transmission distance with minimal interference is 15 kilometers in the United States (this is lower in other locations). According to chats with PetaPixel, DJI appears to be aware of this and claims the sole reason it is included is to demonstrate the company’s faith in the signal strength.
I was able to cross my river, which is around 2.5 miles from my takeoff location, with the help of a spotter. In a direct line of sight over an open body of water, I experienced no transmission problems. The advertised range, with interference, is accurate for my testing at 1.5 to 3 kilometers.

Image and video quality of the DJI Mavic 3 Classic

The Hasselblad 20MP Four Thirds camera has the largest image sensor of any camera currently available on a foldable drone and offers great image quality for both images and films. The camera has a lens with a 24mm equivalent and an aperture range of f/2.8 to f/11. With a little bit of fall-off towards the edges in photographs, this results in images that are sharpest in the center. Video footage doesn’t experience this fall-off, which is probably because less of the sensor and lens edges are used when recording in a 16:9 or 17:9 format.

The bigger sensor allows for remarkable ISO handling over the whole ISO 100–6400 range, with photographs still being useable at higher sensitivity levels. At ISO 800, noise is obvious, and ISO 1600 is the highest ISO you should ideally shoot at for images to keep the best image quality. Both 12-bit raw and JPEG files can be used to record images, and as the sensor can deliver 12.8 stops of dynamic range, raw files in particular can capture a lot of image data, allowing you to restore shadow information in post-production if necessary.

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