DJi Mavic 3 One Year Later – Disappointing

 

Have you purchased a Mavic 3 and are disappointed with how unprofessional it is?

This post looks into a number of ways that DJI ruined the Mavic 3 and ripped off a lot of people who expected to be buying a feature rich drone that was an upgrade from their previous drones.

The DJI Mavic 3 is a good drone, but given the hardware platform it has to work with, it is such a massive disappointment to own, it is an overgrown Mini 3, it is no longer a professional drone, it is complete amateur hour.

The most disappointing thing about this is that every issue mentioned here today can be fixed with firmware, yet DJI seem blind to the massive amounts of disappointment this drone dishes up.

*Disclaimer

Affiliate links may be present on this page. These are links to websites such as Amazon, eBay or similar. If you decide to purchase something, then they will offer me a tiny commission. This comes at no extra cost to you and is just a way for me to try and support myself and the blog.  Thank you.

My history with DJI

 

I own the DJI Mavic 2 Pro.

I also now own the DJI Mavic 3.

I used to own the DJI Mavic Pro.

Why? Because they are the best travel drones on the market, or at least the first two were at the time of their release.

I first started flying drones when the Mavic Pro came out, before then the drones were too cumbersome, the Mavic Pro changed everything. Here was a drone that could be carried around in a backpack, you could travel the world with this thing.

Since then DJI have released smaller, cheaper, more beginner friendly drones in the DJI Air and Mini ranges. However, these did not interest me as I wanted the best of the travel line, the Mavic range of drones.

When the Mavic 2 Pro was released it was game changing. It maintained full professional control, actually increasing that even more so with 10-bit colours, variable aperture and a 1″ sensor.

When the Mavic 3 was released however… It sucked.

That’s fine, but the problem is that the Mavic 3 still sucks after one year on the market.

How DJI ruined the Mavic 3

 

The issue with the drone is that it is as basic as it gets, it lacks professional control and customisation, DJI have taken away all the great features from the Mavic 2 Pro and have basically released an over-priced, over-sized Mini.

The DJI Fly app is shit, it’s pathetic, it hamstrings the drone and stops it being the drone it is capable of being.

There are things that the DJI Mavic 2 Pro can do that the Mavic 3 can’t do, not small things either, things that relate to the control of flight, the ability to recreate certain shots and the overall living and travelling experience with the drone.

I hope they fix it.

The Major Issues

 

In this section I will go through the main issues with the drone, this list is not a complete list, this is just off the top of my head the things that stood out to me immediately after taking flight and ruined the experience for me.

These are the things that just scream amateur and made the drone feel like one big rip-off. These for me are the ways that DJI ruined the Mavic 3 the most, with the other issues being smaller and less of a nuisance.

Landing protection

 

This for me is a key example of how DJI ruined the Mavic 3, showing no knowledge of how the drone is used and the limitations that they have placed on it with its amateur app pairing.

Landing protection is the downward sensor on these drones, on the Mavic Pro and the DJI Mavic 2 Pro we had the ability to disable these features.

That ability is now gone!

Why this matters

There are two main reasons that you would turn landing protection off:

  1. Hand catching the drone.
  2. To get have uninterrupted manual control of the drone.

These are two very important features and they’re gone, for no good reason.

Hand catching

 

Recall that this drone is a travel drone, not only that but it is the top of the line travel drone of the DJI brand.

When you travel, you will not be taking off from some local park, doing a few laps and landing on a landing mat. You will be on the beach, on a rocky outcrop, in long grass, on a boat, on the side of a hill and so on…

You will not only be hand catching the drone, but probably hand launching the drone as well.

Without the ability to turn landing protection off the drone will be hovering above your hand while you press the joystick downwards, it will need to recognise your hand as a landing point before it lands.

THIS IS MORONIC, ILLOGICAL, IDIOTIC AND FRUSTRATING!

Why would you have the drone do this? Why not allow us to turn this stupid feature off and reach up and grab the drone?

When you’re on a boat and your hand is moving up and down the drone will panic and reset the whole process. Nobody is going to hurt themselves grabbing the drone, who are you trying to baby?

FFS DJI let us turn this stupid feature off. Grabbing the drone (which is stable in the sky) is much easier and safer to do than trying to have the drone drop into your hand. Idiots.

Ability to fly low

 

Imagine buying this drone, thinking you can do whatever you want as it is a professional drone only to realise it’s severely handicapped and tailored towards amateur drone users who can’t fly for shit and lack any sense of creativity.

Without the ability to turn off landing protection you can not fly as low to the ground as you could before. Although you can turn off other obstacle avoidance sensors, this downward facing sensor can’t be switched off.

What if I wanted to fly lower to the ground to have the objects in frame move more quickly?

What if I wanted to fly through something/underneath something in a slow controlled manner (combined with tripod mode which will be mentioned below)?

STOP TRYING TO BABY PEOPLE AND GIVE US BACK FULL CONTROL OF THE DRONE!

Example of how low you can go with landing protection off/on.

Tripod mode

 

Number 2 on the list of how DJI ruined the Mavic 3 is a big one, it’s the lack of Tripod mode.

This issue is so frustrating amongst drone users that there is even a change.org petition to try and get DJI’s attention to fix it.

 

Mavic 2 Pro already had “cinematic mode”.

 

What is Tripod mode?

Tripod mode was a flight mode available on the Mavic Pro and the Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom drones that limited the drone’s flight to 1m/s and gave stunning amounts of control to the drone.

This mode allowed you enough control to fly around very small subjects, to fly indoors, to fly closer to subjects safely, to get cinematic shots, to do pieces to camera with the drone flying towards you slowly and so on…

 

Where did it go?

DJI removed it, they instead “gave us Cine mode”.

But the Mavic 2 Pro already had cinematic mode which was the same thing, so all they have essentially done is REMOVE a flight mode.

The stupid thing is, Cine mode can easily be replicated with simple joystick sensitivity and control adjustments in Normal mode, which makes it pointless. Tripod mode cannot be emulated in any way.

CINE MODE CANNOT REPLACE TRIPOD MODE AND IS NOWHERE NEAR AS GOOD!

The reason I am writing that in bold caps is in the vein hope that DJI will take note. We already had Cine mode, not only that but the same shots could be achieved in ‘Normal’ mode. But nothing can do what ‘Tripod’ mode did.

Combining Tripod mode with landing protection off also allowed very creative shots low to the ground. DJI ruined the Mavic 3 by removing this, they have handicapped the drone and you no longer have professional control and customisation.

Composition ability has taken a hit.

Waypoints & TapFly

 

Number 3 on the list of how DJI ruined the Mavic 3 is a feature that is important for those who want to film themselves without a controller in their hand, as well as for those who want to plan flight routes.

 

Waypoints

Waypoints are a control that allows you to automate the flight path of the drone entirely, this differs from the basic Quickshots in the sense that it is far more involved, professional, customisable and useful for people who work with the drone as part of their job.

I have grouped this here with TapFly which for me is the feature I used more, however  I know a lot of people want Waypoints back so I decided to include it here.

TapFly

TapFly is a feature that allows the drone to fly in a locked direction. This allows you to have the drone fly a course that is basically “on rails” as you use the yaw and gimbal controls to define the camera movement.

The actual flight path is locked, it is automated and direct, this movement can’t be replicated with the same accuracy without this feature.

This is not only great for having the drone fly over an area for shooting yourself in the frame without a controller, but can allow you a locked off course over a separate subject that gives you shots you can’t replicate without it.

 

TapFly gave speed controls and allowed you to film yourself without a controller in your hand.

The stupidest part

These features exist in the drone, but only in Hyperlapse mode.

That’s great, but Hyperlapse is one of the least used features of the drone, why would you not have Waypoints, Course Lock, TapFly etc in video mode (the most used mode in the Mavic 3).

Another massive fail on DJI’s behalf here, another nail in the coffin and a lack of professionalism and custom flight control that just ruins the Mavic 3 experience.

 

Mavic 3 has these features in Hyperlapse mode, so why not put them in video mode?

D-Log iso limits

 

Number 4 on the list of how DJI ruined the Mavic 3 is the fact that we only have two ISO settings in D-log!

 

Why this matters

This drone, as we have discussed previously is the top of the line for anyone who wants to go travelling with a foldable/portable drone.

Naturally people will be shooting in changing lighting conditions, as sunrise and sunset are the conditions with the best lighting (golden hour etc).

To capture a sunset or sunrise, you’re faced with a scene with high dynamic range, but brilliant soft light, so to get all the information possible you will be shooting in D-Log more often than not.

In fact, it is easier to just always be in the same shooting mode to simplify the edit, simplify the shoot and keep everything on a level basis.

The issue here is twofold.

 

Mavic 2 Pro allowed iso range from 100-1600 in D-Log.

Raising ISO

What if the light drops and we want to raise the iso?

Why would we not be able to do this? I could do it on every other drone.

People who are buying this drone understand the risk that comes with raising the iso and the introduction of noise. 

STOP TRYING TO BABY PEOPLE AND GIVE US BACK FULL CONTROL OF THE DRONE!!

Why should we have to switch to Normal mode to raise the iso in dropping light after we have been shooting in D-Log to capture the most detail possible?

If we want to get a shot we will try deal with the noise later, with footage that at lease has the same colours as everything that came before it and the same workflow.

Lowering ISO

What if the light increases and we don’t want to drop the aperture anymore?

STOP TRYING TO BABY PEOPLE AND GIVE US BACK FULL CONTROL OF THE DRONE!!

I understand that 400 is the base iso, that’s fine, but put back in the iso control below base iso so that people have proper control over the shot in changing conditions.

People might not want to land the drone to change ND filters or go to a smaller aperture which could make the image look too soft, they might prefer to drop the iso below the base, a feature common on most cameras.

Mavic 3 limited to 400 and 800 iso in D-Log.

Saturation, Sharpness, Contrast

 

Number 5 on the list of how DJI ruined the Mavic 3 is not even a big ask, it is as simple as it gets and I won’t waste too much time on this one.

These customisations are available on phone cameras but not the Mavic 3!?

I don’t really know what else to say here, it’s pathetic on DJI’s part that for a camera this expensive we have ZERO control over these three components of the image.

Absolutely pathetic.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro allowed proper camera controls that any camera offers, Mavic 3 doesn’t offer this.

Satellite connection times

 

There are numerous threads on the internet that point to this issue as well as posts regarding the fact the issue wasn’t fixed by the firmware they supposedly released to fix the issue.

With the Mavic 2 Pro, no matter where I was travelling, the drone would always be ready to fly by the time I had the controller on and the app connected.

Unfortunately that doesn’t always happen with the Mavic 3.

Although I haven’t had to wait more than about 1 minute, others have reported wait times in excess of 2 minutes even after the firmware updates. This never happened for me with the other Mavic drones that I owned.

Smaller Issues

 

The following things to me are still important, but they capture some of the lesser ways in which DJI ruined the Mavic 3, these things it would be nice to have but they won’t make or break the drone.

Battery bank

 

With the Mavic 2 Pro (and I believe even with the Mini 3 pro) you can turn the Mavic battery into a power bank, charging other devices such as your phone.

This was a handy feature to have when travelling, if you are out all day you need your phone for GPS, wifi, talking to other travellers etc, so it was handy to be able to charge it in your backpack as you walked or drove around.

The remaining 15% of a Mavic 2 Pro battery equates to 8.89 Watt Hours, this is enough to charge a larger phone such as the Samsung Note 10+ from 0% to 50%

That last 15% you can’t fly with anyway, so to be able to use it to charge something like your phone when you’re travelling is quite a handy thing to have.

Low battery warnings

 

DJI continue to ruin the professional customisation of the Mavic 3 by not allowing you to alter the low battery warning percentage limit.

For those who might be flying in windy conditions and want to have an increase in safety factor for certain flights, this control to give you a warning at a higher rate is now gone.

It is another step in the amateur inclination of this drone, all of these little things add up.

No fullscreen option

 

The DJI Fly app does not have any option to remove the onscreen information and provide a clean image.

This option was available in the DJI Mavic 2 Pro and allowed a clear view of the shot composition without the displayed data getting in the way and cluttering the screen.

Full screen option available on the Mavic 2 Pro. As it should be on the Mavic 3. 

Remote controller issues

 

The DJI RC Pro is great, but massively over-priced.

For what you get, it is a small screen, without the helpful LCD display that came on the Mavic 2 Pro controller that showed elevation, battery settings, distance, GPS connection and more handy features.

The controller also does not work when wearing polarised sunglasses, this baffles me. How can you release this over-priced controller without it being able to display through polarised sunglasses?

Every phone I have ever owned has not had this issue.

As for the remote they ship with the Mavic 3 … what a f#@*ing joke!

No custom buttons … not one.

What kind of controller is that for the top of the line drone? To not have custom buttons is laughable, to ship the same controller that comes with the Mini as you do with the Mavic is insulting.

This drone should ship with the DJI RC (for the same price), and with an option to ship with the RC Pro regardless of whether it is the “Cine” version of the drone or not.

Lift your game DJI, you will lose people with your crap behaviour.

“Camera settings” shortcut button

 

In the DJI Go 4 app that is paired with the Mavic 2 Pro the shortcut button to go to camera settings actually took me to helpful camera settings that need changing and viewing. 

These things include: iso, aperture, shutter speed etc.

In the DJI Fly app, this same shortcut brings up absolute garbage like changing MP4 to MOV, anti-flicker settings, colour display assist, video subtitles etc.

Why the hell would I need shortcut access to that!?

Why can’t you bring up the actual helpful camera settings such as frame rates, resolution, iso, shutter speed etc?

Just another small way that DJI ruined the Mavic 3, the features that are missing keep coming.

 

The Mavic 3 takes you to this pointless crap with the “camera settings” shortcut.

Summarising how DJI ruined the Mavic 3

 

A common thread runs through all of these issues: lack of customisation and control.

DJI ruined the Mavic 3 by removing the ability for the user to choose the way they want to shoot, they have removed full control, flight controls, camera customisation and every hint of a professional feature like Waypoints and Tripod mode.

I should be able to turn landing protection off to fly however I want, I should be able to reduce sharpening, I should be able to boost my iso, I should be able to use Tripod mode to better control the drone.

How did it come to this?

 

This drone was released in a hurry so DJI could try make a buck before Christmas 2021. That was stupid enough on their behalf but a lot of the current issues we are faced with run deeper than that.

Of course the following is only speculation, but I have some theories about how this passes without much attention.

Drinking their own bathwater

I believe DJI, after having grabbed the drone market by the horns are now in a state of drinking their own bathwater and being completely ignorant to what people actually want.

This is fed from “reviews” from people on Youtube without a critical bone in their body that just love having a shiny new toy to play with and are incapable of saying anything bad about the drone out of fear of not being sent the next model upon release.

These people get the drone and don’t put it through its paces, they don’t point out the removed control, the lack of professional features and the disappointment that is the Mavic 3 experience.

They’re basically just an extension of the DJI marketing campaign, parroting on about the camera and the sensor etc.

Yes the camera is better, but what’s the point if I can no longer use Tripod mode, TapFly or turn off landing protection? It can have as good a camera as you like but it won’t be able to get the shots the Mavic 2 Pro could!

Lack of understanding

There is the potential, however small, that they genuinely haven’t realised what a major cock up the drone is and are willing to fix it in firmware. I hope this is true.

The massive mismatch between the engineers who designed the drone and those in charge of the software is incredible.

On the one hand you have the best drone hardware ever designed, USB-C charging, longer flight times, quieter, same size and weight, an absolute marvel!

On the other, you have an amateur app that can’t unlock the drone’s potential and creates frustration amongst those who fly it, ruining the DJI reputation with every passing day.

I hope it is just a lack of understanding and that they’re working on these issues, but I doubt that’s the case.

People with too much money / limited feedback

You can just imagine it can’t you, someone who has never owned a drone and buys this as a first drone.

Loves how automated it is and thinks the camera is neat, has all auto settings and likes the (over)sharpened image, not a bad word to say about it, has no idea what the drone is for or how it should be used.

Some people should be flying the Mini range but get this drone just because they can. These people kind of ruin it for the rest of us by not giving proper feedback to DJI.

For every forum post you read, there’s probably thousands of people angry over the same things that don’t write on forums, but DJI only see these limited complaints and therefore do nothing.

DJI Mavic 3 vs Mavic 2 Pro video

 

For those who want to visualise all of the things mentioned here in a bit more detail, check out this video which explains how DJI ruined the Mavic 3 and suggests some improvements as well.

 

Dear DJI…

 

You haven’t finished the drone yet. 

This drone is not an upgrade from the Mavic 3, just a sideways movement.

Give us back a professional travel drone, give us the customisation that we expect when we spend these large sums of money for the “best” travel drone on the market.

Give us back proper flight controls, make the drone good again.

This drone should be everything that the Mavic 2 Pro was and then some, not half of what the Mavic 2 Pro was but with a better design.

Pin It on Pinterest