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The Mavic 3 line (Classic, Pro, Cine) is DJI’s foldable professional flagship line.
Aside from stellar omnidirectional obstacle sensing, solid tracking functions, and a quality build, the Mavic 3 line has impressive cameras. 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad cameras to be exact.
An essential purchase for any Mavic 3 owner, especially the commercial pilot, will be SD cards.
Even the Cine versions, with their 1TB of internal storage, perfect for Apple ProRes files, can accommodate high-capacity 2TB SD cards.
We’ll be discussing SD card specs as well as talking about the best SD cards for the Mavic 3 line, how to insert and eject the Mavic 3 and DJI RC Pro SD cards, and how to format the SD cards in both the Mavic 3 and DJI RC Pro.
The best SD cards for the Mavic 3 line and DJI RC Pro are the SanDisk Extreme and Extreme PRO lines, Samsung’s EVO line, Kingston Canvas Go!, Angelbird, and the Lexar 1066x line.
While we will be discussing specific cards by various manufacturers, there are many, many different cards available that you might have used in the past and will work well with the Mavic 3 line.
DJI Recommendations #
While many times we might feel that companies have “recommended products” as a way to boost sales in various internal ventures or because they have business ties with other manufacturers, going by DJI’s SD card recommendation list is beneficial.
This is because DJI has spent tons of time, resources, and money planning, engineering, building, and testing its products.
DJI is in a unique position to know what 3rd party and after-market products work best for its equipment and what 3rd party products will help DJI’s products operate to their full capacity.
The SD cards DJI recommends are not problematic nor diminish the final output of the images and videos produced with its drones.
Because of this, shortly, we will be looking at quite a few card recommendations from DJI.
» MORE: Best SD Cards for Mavic 3
What to Look for in an SD Card #
While most SD cards seem, to some, to be just identical tiny pieces of plastic with a label and gold-colored notches and grooves, not all SD cards have the same build quality or perform equally.
Like with many products, you get what you pay for!
When purchasing SD cards, it is important to take into consideration the SD card’s maximum space, its read/write speeds, and price, as sometimes there are large differences in price between cards that appear to be similar in specs.
» MORE: DJI Air 3 Beginners Guide (Step-by-Step Guide)
When it comes to SD cards, they are a middle ground or vehicle between the drone and getting content out to the public, via social media, or paying clients.
They are not oftentimes used as a permanent home for data in a professional capacity.
While yes, the Mavic 3 line is considered a professional workhorse, there are many hobbyists who use the drone in a non-commercial capacity.
As such, it is good to first consider how you plan on using SD cards.
Are you someone who regularly flies as a hobbyist, shoots in 4 or 5k, and is not in a rush to move content from the Mavic 3 to a computer, allowing videos to accumulate internally?
Or, on the other hand, are you a commercial drone pilot who shoots a lot of footage and regularly transfers the media to a computer for editing and delivering to clients?
If you leave media on the SD card for a while, shooting over and over again on the same SD card, then a high-capacity card would be the best route to go.
Thankfully, the Mavic 3 line can use cards up to 2TB.
On the other hand, if regularly offloading content to a computer or portable drive for editing, having multiple, lower-capacity, cost-effective cards might work well for client project organization.
Below is a comparison chart of the common sizes of SD cards, which should help in determining the right-sized card for your Mavic 3.
The chart is based on the Mavic 3 Pro’s three cameras: the maximum 48 MP photo option at 98MB/photo (rounded up to 100MB), 20 MP photos at 40-50MB, and the 12 MP photo option at 25MB/Photo.
Photo Storage Examples #
Card Size (GB)48MP 100MB Photo20MP 50MB Photo****12MP 25MB Photo32320640128064640128020481281280256051202562560512010240512512010240204801024 (1TB)1024020480409602048 (2TB)204804096081920
» MORE: DJI Mini 3/Mini 3 Pro: Where to Put the SD Card (Explained)
Video Storage Examples #
Below is a comparison chart of how much storage is used in shooting various lengths of 4k 60fps video footage.
These numbers are being used as they are common when filming drone footage, although the Mavic 3 is capable of much higher resolution and frame rates (fps)
Video length****Size at 4k/60fps – 150Mbps60 seconds1.09 GB5 minutes5.45 GB10 minutes10.9 GB30 minutes32.7 GB1 hour65.4 GB5 hours327 GB8 hours523.2 GB16 Hours1 TB 46 MB32 Hours2 TB 92 MB
» MORE: DJI Air 3 vs. Mavic 3 (Here’s my Choice)
Read/Write Speed #
Having looked at how much space various cards can hold for photos and videos, we’ll look at how the actual speed of an SD card comes into play.
U1 & U3 #
On the front of SD cards, there will be a bucket with U1 or U3, these are the UHS speed class ratings.
UHS Speed Class 1 supports 10MB/write speed as a minimum, with UHS Speed Class 3 having a minimum of at least 30 MB/write speed.
Because the Mavic 3 line shoots such high-resolution videos, 4k and above, knowing the speed class of a card, and then using a U3 class is essential for filming such content.
Perhaps the card might not be used for videos.
Even if not planning on shooting 4 or 5k video, having U3 cards is beneficial at times for taking photographs, as there is a noticeable advantage in speed.
These speed benefits when taking pictures on the Mavic 3 come into play when doing 3-5 frame AEB (auto exposure bracketing) and burst shooting.
The images in these modes write quickly to the card, without the pauses of a slower U1 card.
If you’ve ever taken multiple shots quickly and noticed considerable lag between the burst shots and the camera finalizing them, it most likely was due to the speed class of the card.
In this case, you’ll want a U3 SD card.
For the best client and hobbyist experience possible, you’ll want to purchase the fastest, best-quality card that fits your budget.
» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 vs. Mavic 3 Classic: Which Drone Should You Buy?
To go with the different types, sizes, and speeds of SD cards that are available, there are also many different pricing options.
Oftentimes there will even be various price swings between SD cards by the same manufacturer.
When looking at DJI’s recommendation list, we see cards by SanDisk, Samsung, Kingston, and Lexor. Additionally, Angle Bird has been a major up-and-comer in the drone SD card market.
When it comes to SD cards, the higher the storage capacity, the less expensive per GB the SD cards get.
For instance, a SanDisk Extreme U3 128 GB card regularly sells for between $14.99 and $29.99, whereas the 256 GB version of that card regularly sells for $22.99.
The 256 GB version of the card is cheaper per GB than the 128 GB, as the 128 GB card easily exceeds the 256 GB option price.
The bright side to all of this is that SD card manufacturers have deals where there are 2-packs of SD cards on sale, and combined they are priced less per card than if you purchased both cards separately.
» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 QuickTransfer – How to Download Files (Step-by-Step Guide)
Recommended Cards #
Below is a listing of DJI’s SD Card recommendations, as well as a higher-costing Professional Grade SD card by Angelbird, and useful manufacturer’s product information.
SanDisk Extreme/Pro Lines #
The SanDisk Extreme and Extreme Pro lines are made for the conditions we might find our drones in.
They are reportedly Temperature proof, Waterproof, and Shockproof.
The Extreme series has read speeds up to 160MB and write speeds up to 60MB, perfect for 4k video recording and burst shooting on the Mavic 3 line.
These features apply to the 128 & 256 GB and even the 1 TB versions as well.
As regular users of SanDisk, we highly recommend these lines of cards.
» MORE: DJI RC 2 Review (Everything You Need to Know)
Lexar 1066x #
The 1066x line is specifically designed for action cameras, drones, and other high-end end electronics.
For the budget conscience, the Lexar 1066x has SD cards that come in a few dollars less than SanDisk currently.
» MORE: Best SD Cards for DJI Mini 2 SE
Samsung Evo Select/Plus Lines #
In addition to being waterproof, shockproof, temperature proof, and X-ray proof, the EVO Select and the Evo Plus series are also magnetic proof.
The Evo line has read speeds up to 100MB and write speeds up to 60MB. Additionally, as of this article writing, specific Evo SD cards on currently on sale.
» MORE: Best SD Cards for DJI Avata
Kingston Canvas Go Line #
Made for action cameras and drones, the Kingston series has transfer speeds up to 170 MB and supports the A2 App Performance Class.
This series of cards is water, x-ray, temperature, shock, and vibration proof.
» MORE: Best DJI Mini 3 Pro SD Cards
Angelbird Line #
The Angelbird line is designed specifically for professionals and larger video and photo productions filmed with popular commercial drones as well as action cameras from GoPro, Insta360, and DJI.
Supports Full HD, 4K, and 6K video recording and photo in a variety of rugged environments.
» MORE: Best SD Cards for DJI Mavic Air 2
Inserting/Ejecting SD Cards #
The Mavic 3 line has popularized the convenient placement of the SD card removing it from behind the right leg or arm of the drone and relocating it to the rear of the Mavic 3, above the battery.
This design queue is also seen in the Mini 3 line as well as the Air 3.
With this redesign, SD cards can be quickly and conveniently removed and reinserted.
» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro SD Cards: How to Insert, Eject, and Format (Video)
Mavic 3 #
To insert an SD card into the Mavic 3:
STEP 1: Pull the rear port cover open and straight up (this houses the USB-C and SD card slots).
STEP 2: With the Mavic 3 powered down, insert the SD card, with the pins facing upward, until the card clicks into place.
STEP 3: Close the rear port cover.
» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 Pro – How to Turn ON/OFF (Step-by-Step Guide & Video)
DJI RC Pro #
As with the DJI RC and DJI RC 2, the Mavic 3’s DJI RC Pro also has an SD card slot.
Although there is 32 GB internal storage the SD card on the DJI RC Pro can be used for storing screenshots, screen recording clips, and other media.
To insert an SD card into the DJI RC Pro, while the DJI RC Pro is off, simply push the SD card, face up, into the SD card slot (the left slot), until it clicks.
**Note: **The SD card slots on the Mavic 3 and DJI RC Pro are spring-loaded.
If you have large fingers or your fingers slip when inserting the SD card it could cause the card to quickly eject from the slot, possibly getting lost.
Using a fingernail to insert the cards generally works well.
» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 vs. DJI Mini 3 Pro (Which One is Right for You?)
Formatting SD Cards and Internal Storage #
The process for formatting SD cards and the internal storage that is in the Mavic 3 is done within the DJI Fly app, whether you have a DJI RC Pro, DJI RC, or the RC-N1 remote controller.
» MORE: How to Format SD Cards in DJI Drones (Quick Steps with Photos)
Mavic 3 #
**To format the SD card or internal storage, **after powering on both the Mavic 3 and your current RC (DJI RC Pro, RC, or RC-N1) connected to a smart device:
STEP 1: While in the DJI Fly app, go into your settings and locate the **CAMERA **tab.
STEP 2: Under storage, press format. You will be presented with an option to format either the SD card or Internal Storage.
STEP 3: Choose SD Card and press Format.
To format the internal storage of the Mavic 3, during Step 3 simply select Internal Storage at the Select location to format screen.
» MORE: How Do I Update DJI RC Pro? (Step-by-Step Guide)
DJI RC Pro #
Unlike the SD cards in the Mavic 3 (removable and internal storage), the Mavic 3 does not need to be on to format the SD card and internal storage of the DJI RC Pro.
To format the DJI RC Pro’s SD card and/or internal storage:
STEP 1: Pull down the DJI RC Pro’s notification screen by double-swiping it down.
STEP 2: Press the settings/options gear in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
STEP 3: Tap STORAGE
STEP 4: On the bottom of the screen, under Portable Storage, you will see your SD card. Mine is currently labeled disk, as I had not yet changed it after inserting a brand-new SD card.
Tap on your SD card’s name. You’ll see your SD cards used space. Press Format.
STEP 5: You’ll then be asked to format the SD card. If you choose to format at this time, press FORMAT SD CARD or otherwise choose CANCEL.
The same steps apply to formatting the internal storage of the DJI RC Pro.
However, instead of choosing the DJI RC Pro Portable Storage, you would select Device Storage and proceed with formatting the internal storage.
» MORE: How to Pair the DJI RC Pro Controller with DJI Drone (Step-by-Step Guide)