The new system is impressive, so much so that for the very first time I configured the app to use the most conservative settings and actually tried running it in a tree. I could always have hit the tree, but the number of warnings I received would have stopped any normal person long before the collision happened. That said, no collision avoidance system is perfect – be careful when hovering over obstacles. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Sport Mode, which has no avoidance protection and can now reach speeds of around 42 miles per hour.
The Mavic 3 will eventually have access to ActiveTrack 5, which DJI says will be better at tracking subjects in automated flight modes. With this feature, the drone moves with the subject instead of just following it with the camera. Consider the shot of a car driving down a windy mountain road: with ActiveTrack 5, you would be able to automatically follow the movement of the car. More interestingly, DJI claims that the vision sensors will help track movement and even locate the subject if it disappears from the frame (again, think of the car on the road, momentarily lost in the trees; ActiveTrack 5 should be able to find it when it reappears).
Unfortunately, DJI has followed the lead of far too many tech companies these days by announcing features long before they ship them. We used to call this vaporware, but it has become common among camera and device makers. It’s a trend we’d love to see come to an end, but for now it’s enough to say that if these features are potential selling points for you, don’t buy the Mavic 3 just yet. DJI says the new features will be available through an update in early 2022.
Surprisingly, the Mavic 3 uses DJI’s Fly app. I say surprisingly because this is clearly a drone aimed at pros, and the company’s Go 4 app has a lot of settings that pros would love – white balance controls and Priority mode. opening, to name a few – which are not in the Fly app. It’s not that the Fly app is bad, it just seems aimed at a much more casual user than the Mavic 3 is likely to attract. Still, the variable aperture controls are easy to use, and you can customize the settings to suit your workflow. Maybe advanced features are another of those things to come.
As it stands, the Mavic 3 is an impressive drone. The Cine model in particular, with the ability to shoot ProRes videos, will be good news for professionals who need high-quality footage. The Cine starts at $ 5,000, which is way beyond what more casual users will spend.
The base model isn’t exactly cheap at $ 2,200, but it’s more accessible and still produces the best quality video footage I’ve seen from a consumer drone. The long flight time, impressive obstacle avoidance features, and (in theory) ActiveTrack 5 make the Mavic 3 a place far above anything else on the market.