DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine Review: A Movie Studio in the Sky

The “Pro” moniker gets thrown around a lot on gadgets that are, at best, built for hobbyists with some disposable income. Not so with the DJI Mavic 3 Pro Cine. The original Mavic 3 was already a fantastic drone, but the newest variation packs an entire film studio into a small, flying package (and a high price to match its power).

At $4,799, this drone is not cheap, but you can capture high-quality aerial shots! This is just not something that’s really feasible without spending tons more.

Triple-Camera Combo

The most stark change in the Pro Cine variant of the Mavic 3 is its triple-camera array. The primary camera has a 20-megapixel Four Thirds CMOS sensor, paired with a 24-mm equivalent lens that supports up to 12.8 stops of dynamic range. It’s capable of capturing footage at 5.1K-pixel resolution at up to 50 frames per second, or 4K at up to 120 fps, and the results look just as crisp as the footage out of the Mavic 3.

Photograph: DJI

Flanking it are two other camera modules. First, there’s a 166-mm equivalent lens over a 12-megapixel sensor. This is similar to the 162-mm equivalent lens that the base Mavic 3 uses, which our tester didn’t like as much. However, the added support for Apple ProRes recording meant I was able to coax much better results from my footage than before.

The third, brand-new camera module on this drone is a 70-mm-equivalent lens paired with a 48-megapixel sensor. In my testing, this was the most useful new addition, since it allows you to get a little more distance from your subjects, but the 3X optical zoom still allowed for closer shots.

The result is a veritable Swiss army knife of options for shooting with this drone. The Cine model also packs a built-in 1-TB SSD, and the kit I tested came with two spare batteries, which gave me a decent amount of breathing room while shooting. DJI claims about 43 minutes of flight time on a single battery, though in my experience it was a little less than that. The spare batteries still gave me plenty of flight time to get the shots I wanted.

Obstacle Detection Is My Copilot

Photograph: DJI

Operating a drone can be a special kind of nerve-wracking on a normal day, but it’s the kind of stress you don’t want when you’re trying to shoot footage for a big production. The less you have to focus on piloting the drone, the more you can focus on your subject.

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