Hi, I’m Mark (Editor of TechRadar’s Cameras) and I’ll be your co-pilot at today’s DJI Grand Launch. I’ve been dabbling in and testing DJI drones for years, right up until the original DJI Spark in 2017, so I can’t wait to see what exactly lands today.
The “Explore Vivid” event doesn’t reveal much, but the Hasselblad camera in the teaser poster hints at a new drone like the rumored DJI Mavic 3 Classic. So if you’re looking for a new flying cam (or just interested in where they’re gliding next), sit back and join us as we countdown to takeoff.
How to watch the DJI launch
How can you tune in to today’s DJI launch? There is now a placeholder on DJI’s official YouTube channel where the announcement will take place today at 9am EDT / 1pm GMT. If you are in Australia, this will be at 12:00 AEDT on November 3rd.
That means we’re less than five hours away from the official launch, giving us plenty of time to get to grips with the Mavic 3 Classic rumors and see if it all adds up to an attractive potential holiday gift. As someone who bought the DJI Mini 3 Pro earlier this year, I have a few thoughts on this.
DJI drones: primer
If you’re new to DJI drones, here’s a quick introduction to their current lineup. Despite fresh competition from Autel, DJI is still by far the largest producer of consumer flying cameras – and its lineup is now divided into four sub-brands.
DJI’s small, entry-level drones are the “Mini” series, led by the DJI Mini 3 Pro. Right above them is the mid-range “Air” series, which despite the name is a bit larger and has cameras with larger sensors (like the 1-inch DJI Air 2S, which previously topped our guide to the best drones money can buy).
But above them is the “Mavic” series, which began in 2016 with the DJI Mavic Pro. The DJI Mavic 3, which packs a large Four Thirds sensor into a foldable body, is the spiritual successor to this original model. But at $2,199 / £1,879 / AU$3,099, it’s not exactly cheap – hence the DJI Mavic 3 Classic launch rumors today.
Parallel to these three major drone genres, DJI is buzzing with a new FPV model called the DJI Avata. It’s a super fun introduction to FPV flying, but a bit more niche than what we expect to see today.
As someone who bought a DJI Mini 3 Pro earlier this year, I recently wrote about why I might regret that decision if the DJI Mavic 3 Classic rumors are accurate.
Not that I’m dissatisfied with the Mini 3 Pro – it’s a brilliant little drone that turned out to be a great companion on a recent visit to the UK’s Lake District (where I took the photo above).
But the Mavic 3’s larger body is more stable in windy conditions, and getting this Four Thirds Sensor for less money than the current model will make it a tempting alternative, especially if you often fly in gloomy conditions.
Ultimately, guys. These ARE the #dji #Mavic3 #Classic #prices as revealed by the retailer’s website. I’m sorry I made some tax and remote mistakes. I’ll just post a screenshot next time. Doh.@OsitaLV @DroneXL1 @DroneDJ @techdronemedia @DealsDrone @dronemodelismo @TheDroneGeekPA @IshveenaSingh pic.twitter.com/qm6hxudaTTOctober 31, 2022
Is this a price list?
How much can the DJI Mavic 3 Classic cost? That’s one thing the rumors and leaks weren’t very clear about until earlier this week.
The above tweet from the usual DJI leaker @JasperEllens on Twitter sounds pretty sure that prices will start at €1,499 (only for the drone), with a bundle including a new DJI RC controller costing €1,749.
Based on current DJI prices, this should be around $1,499 / £1,349 / AU$2,399 for the drone alone, or around $1,749 / £1,599 / AU$2,799 for the DJI RC Controller Bundle. Not cheap, but a decent saving on the DJI Mavic 3’s starting price of $2199 / £1879 / AU$3099 (including old RC-N1 remote control).
Mavic 3 view
Looking for a taste of the video quality you’d expect from the rumored DJI Mavic 3 Classic? The one above compiles some of the test shots for our DJI Mavic 3 review.
If the Mavic 3 Classic does indeed have the same sensor (just minus that drone’s telephoto lens), it’ll probably give us a good idea of what to expect.
Our review states that “image quality from the main camera for photos and videos is generally excellent,” and there really isn’t another drone in the Mavic 3’s weight class that matches its 20MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor.
Hello #Mavic3classic. Removing the telephoto lens made it 4 grams lighter. And thanks to my friend @rquandt for digging up these photos. pic.twitter.com/dMaTiB6yg2October 27, 2022
DJI Mavic 3 Classic – leaks so far
Based on leaks from @JasperEllens (above) and WinFuture (opens in a new tab), it looks like we’ll see the landing of the DJI Mavic 3 Classic drone in just over an hour. But what specifications can it have?
WinFuture claims that “The DJI Mavic 3 Classic is basically almost 100 percent identical to the regular DJI Mavic 3”, aside from one major detail – the removal of the current drone’s telephoto lens.
This was apparently done for cost reasons, allowing DJI to sell the Mavic 3 Classic for a lower price (see the “Is this a valuation?” post below). If true, this is what a DJI drone would look like in terms of specs:
Camera: 20 megapixel Four Thirds sensor
Video quality: 5.1K up to 50fps / 4K up to 120fps / FHD up to 200fps
Video transmission range: Up to 9 miles
Storage: 8 GB expandable with a microSD card
Battery: up to 46 minutes of flight time
Dimensions (unfolded): 347.5 x 283 x 107.7mm
Dimensions (after folding): 221×96.3×90.3mm
20 minutes to go…
Based on these DJI Mavic 3 Classic leaks, the main question for most people is how much you might miss this telephoto lens. That’s tough, because there’s no doubt that the current Mavic 3’s 162mm lens is significantly inferior to its main camera when it comes to overall image quality.
And yet the effect that can be achieved with this extreme close-up – including a dramatic “parallax effect” that makes the background look like it’s moving quickly behind your subject – has been behind some of the most interesting drone videos I’ve seen on YouTube and elsewhere.
Still, in these tough financial times, that extra cost for a standard Mavic 3 is significant, and the Mavic 3 Classic could offer good value if that revealed price is correct. After all, it’s still a flying Micro Four Thirds camera.
one minute go…
Right, if you’re not prepared and ready for DJI’s big launch yet, you’ve got about sixty seconds to secretly open the above live stream on your work computer and get your shit together.
It’s time to see if the DJI Mavic 3 Classic rumors were true and how much we’ll need to raise from eBay sales next month to afford it…
It’s official: The DJI Mavic 3 Classic is here. And as rumored, it has the same 20MP Four Thirds CMOS camera, 46-minute flight time, and O3+ transmission system as the original Mavic 3 drone – it just doesn’t have the drone’s telephoto lens.
As before, the Mavic 3 Classic’s Four Thirds Camera can record 5.1K/50p, 4K/60p, and 1080p/60p video. Slow-mo modes are also available in the form of 4K/120p and 1080p/200p options. Helpful in adjusting the exposure in the air, the equivalent focal length of the 24mm lens also has an adjustable aperture that can be switched between f/2.8 and f/11.
What about the prices? You can pre-order the DJI Mavic 3 Classic for $1,469 / £1,309 / AU$2,299 (drone only) or $1,749 / £1,529 / AU$2,599 with the excellent DJI RC controller.
From a quick look at DJI store (opens in a new tab)looks like shipping will be ready in 3-7 days depending on where you live.
It’s nice to finally see the CE C1 label on a DJI drone. Europe has been waiting for this for years! @DJIGlobal pic.twitter.com/S4HsUBABFsNovember 2, 2022
Good point made by @JasperEllens (above) for European drone fans – the DJI Mavic 3 Classic has the all-important CE C1 label, which means it’s prepared for future drone regulations that will come into effect from December 31, 2023.
These CE-grade certifications are part of the new European drone certification that actually started in December 2020, but its standards were not confirmed until this year. This has left most new drones in limbo. But in August, the original DJI Mavic 3 received its first “C1” certification, which it received via a firmware update – and the new Mavic 3 Classic has it marked on its shoulder.
What does this mean in practice? If you’re in Europe or the UK and are thinking of buying a Mavic 3 Classic, this means that from 2024 you’ll be able to continue flying in the so-called A1 Open category, rather than relegating to the A3 Open category. The latter would limit you to flying in areas free of people and at least 150 meters from the property.
Not very exciting stuff (especially if you live outside the EU) but worth knowing if you’re a European drone fan.
It’s a day after the DJI Mavic 3 Classic landed, so I’ve had some time to summarize my early thoughts.
Overall, the new DJI drone looks like a very good new option for anyone who values image quality over portability. It’s much cheaper than the standard Mavic 3 and offers pretty much all of the same features aside from the telephoto lens.
DJI also offers the Mavic 3 Classic in more package variants than its flagship drone, which is sure to change soon as the DJI RC controller (the one with a built-in screen that doesn’t hijack your phone) is now compatible with the original Mavic 3.
I still think it’s hard to beat the value and convenience of the DJI Mini 3 Pro (RC Controller) bundle, but the Mavic 3 Classic’s Four Thirds Camera is a big leap from that model, and it’s now available at a much lower price point than the DJI Mavic 3.