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Hi there, and thanks for checking out this review of two top DJI drones, the Mavic 3 Classic and Mavic 3 Pro.
In my experience, selecting between two drones from the same product line is even tougher than picking between two separate manufacturers.
However, when it comes to the DJI Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Pro, you shouldn’t have that problem.
These drones are separate enough that they each bring something unique to the table. And although the Mavic 3 Pro is technically the predecessor to the Mavic 3 Classic, they both still have a lot of great merits.
I’ve had a blast flying both of these drones. After enjoying the flight experience of the Mavic 3 Classic, I knew I had to get my hands on the Mavic 3 Pro after its release.
This in-depth guide will plunge deep into the differences between the DJI Mavic 3 Classic and Mavic 3 Pro and share enough details about my flight experiences with each to guide your purchasing decision. I’ll also explain why the Mavic 3 Pro is my to-go between these two drones.
While I genuinely believe you can’t go wrong with either choice, you only need one drone, and you’re on a quest for the best. I’m here to help you find it, so let’s get right into it!
Brief overview #
DJI Mavic 3 Classic #
The Mavic 3 Classic is one of DJI’s newer non-Mini drones, released in late 2022. It’s a follow-up to the DJI Mavic 3, released a year prior in 2021.
That drone was already impressive with its Hasselblad camera and 4/3-inch CMOS sensor.
Several months before the Mavic 3 Classic release, DJI put out the Mavic 3 Enterprise. However, the Mavic 3 Classic bears more resemblance to the OG Mavic 3 than the Enterprise edition.
This drone was designed to be a lower-cost alternative to the Mavic 3. That meant omitting its secondary camera, reducing the zooming a pilot can do.
Besides that, you won’t want much with the Mavic 3 Classic, as it includes these exceptional features:
- 4/3-inch CMOS sensor and Hasselblad camera capable of shooting in 5.1K video and 20 MP image quality, with 12-bit RAW color depth.
- 15 kilometers of video transmission in crystal-clear HD quality for streaming on social media.
- Omnidirectional obstacle sensing and APAS 5.0 for safer flights.
- An impressively long flight time exceeding 45 minutes.
- Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution for more natural hues in your videography and photography (a must for standing out in an increasingly competitive market).
- Automated flight features, including Waypoints, Cruise Control, and advanced RTH, are ideal for beginners.
» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 vs. Mavic 3 Classic: Which Drone Should You Buy?
DJI Mavic 3 Pro #
Arriving on the heels of the Mavic 3 Classic was the Mavic 3 Pro, which was released within six months of the former.
This newer and improved drone also bears more resemblance to the OG Mavic 3 than any of its predecessors.
More expensive than the Mavic 3 Classic, the Pro edition slaps on a third camera, a medium tele camera designed to augment drone photography.
This drone is a next-level solution for the serious photographer eager to up their game. Here are some starring features of the Mavic 3 Pro:
- A triple-camera system for experimenting with focal lengths, lenses, and moods in your photography.
- A flight time that nearly mirrors the Mavic 3 Classic despite the additional weight of the camera system.
- Tri-Camera Apple ProRes Support to further augment your shots and professionalize your portfolio.
- 15-kilometer video transmission in HD quality for keeping your audience abreast of all your drone activities.
- Omnidirectional obstacle detection backed by DJI’s advanced APAS 5.0 system for more safety on your flights.
- The same autonomous modes found in the Mavic 3 Classic, and Panorama, QuickShots, MasterShots, and FocusTrack.
**» MORE: **DJI Mavic 3 Pro Review (I have NEVER flown a drone that I enjoyed so much)
Quick verdict #
It’s our duty here at Droneblog to only recommend the highest-quality drones to you through much experimentation, testing, and personal flight experience.
We’ve concluded that the DJI Mavic 3 Pro – although more expensive – has more of what today’s professional drone photographers need. Its triple-camera system lets you capture the same vantage point in three unique ways without having to switch drones in your fleet, and its on-the-go editing, good battery life, safety features, and automatic modes make it an all-around fantastic pick.
The Mavic 3 Classic caught my attention when it came out. I loved that it promised the same quality found in the original Mavic 3 but for a lower price.
I didn’t miss the lack of zoom much, considering there are so many other fun features to play around with.
Then the Mavic 3 Pro came out, and in my humble opinion, blew the Mavic 3 Classic out of the water.
Although it’s not the lower-cost solution, the Mavic 3 Pro provides the same basic features found in the Classic but done better or about the same.
Its triple-camera system dances circles around the Classic’s Hasselblad camera, and that’s saying a lot! After all, a Hasselblad camera is nothing to sneeze at.
» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 Classic vs. Air 3 (Which One is Better)
What are the main differences? #
Considering the Mavic 3 Pro is the next in the evolution of the DJI Mavic series after the Mavic 3 Classic, these two drones will have a lot in common, as I’ve made clear.
However, it’s their differences that make them even more interesting. Let’s explore!
- Number of cameras: Here is by far the biggest differentiating factor between these two Mavic 3 drones. The Classic has but one Hasselblad camera, while the Pro has three: a 1/1.3-inch CMOS medium tele camera, a 1/2-inch CMOS tele camera, and a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera. This unparalleled triple-camera system makes the Mavic 3 Pro hard to beat, especially for professional drone photographers who want the best of the best.
- Zoom: To make the Classic more affordable than the original Mavic 3, it had to forego the zoom. However, the Mavic 3 Pro has zoom built into two of the three cameras. The medium tele camera boasts 3x Optical zoom, and the tele camera has 28x Hybrid zoom. The latter camera especially is a superstar if you want to capture footage from a distance without sacrificing detail and stay safe.
- Weight: There’s not a ton of weight difference between these two Mavic 3 models, but they’re not identical here, either. The Pro weighs 958 grams at takeoff and the Classic 895 grams. Commercial pilots – the target audience for these drones – must register regardless, but you must also register if you want to use either Mavic 3 drone recreationally.
- Flight time: Again, we’re splitting hairs here a tad, but the flight times of these drones diverge. The Classic flies for up to 46 minutes versus 43 minutes for the Pro. That makes sense, considering this drone’s moderately higher weight, but both flight times are lower than advertised, anyway (that’s true of any drone!).
- Image resolution: The Classic tops out at 20 MP image resolution, which, trust me when I say, is more than fine for even professional photography. While the Hasselblad camera in the Mavic 3 Pro also has 20 MP of resolution, this drone’s medium tele camera can shoot in 48 MP resolution, twice what the Classic can do. That’s especially pertinent to pro commercial pilots seeking a cutting edge.
- Hasselblad Natural Colour Solution: HNCS brings a natural degree of color to your photography, brightening hues and making your photography pop without heavy contrast. DJI included this feature in the Pro to reduce your time in post, but it’s only available in that drone.
**» MORE: **DJI Mavic 3 Classic vs. Mini 3 Pro (Here’s My Choice)
DJI Mavic 3 Classic #
As the Mavic 3 Classic celebrates its first birthday (as of this writing), it’s amazing to think of all DJI has done in the time since November 2022.
In the Mavic line alone, we had the Mavic 3 Classic, then the Mavic 3M Multispectral, and the Mavic 3 Pro. That was all in less than a year!
Given the breakneck speed at which DJI released these drones, it’s easy for the Mavic 3 Classic to get overlooked.
It’s not the newest in the Mavic 3 line anymore, a distinction it only had for a few weeks before the Mavic 3M Multispectral came out.
However, the Mavic 3 Classic is one drone you shouldn’t overlook. It’s about $500 cheaper than the original Mavic, depending on where you purchase it from.
The Mavic 3M Multispectral and Mavic 3 Pro are more expensive, so the Classic still holds its lower price distinction.
Its Hasselblad camera, although it’s the only one it has, is comparable to the Mavic 3 Pro’s Hasselblad camera right down to sharing the same sensor size and image quality.
And yes, of course, the Mavic 3 Pro has two more cameras, but if you’re only chasing after that Hasselblad camera, you can save yourself at least $500 by choosing the Mavic 3 Classic.
It’s a bummer it can’t zoom, as that’s one of the biggest advantages the Pro has over the Classic when you take away its two additional cameras.
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However, it’s still a suitable choice for professional drone pilots doing tasks like real estate or news photography.
The Classic shares a lot of other great features in common with the Pro, enough that you might reconsider the newer version of the Mavic 3 line if you’re on a budget.
The video quality is identical at 5.1K, the flight time is nearly the same, the obstacle sensing technology and APAS editions match, its video transmission doesn’t differ, and it has many of the same Intelligent Flight Features.
These drones even share the multi-directional visual assist system, which can detect obstacles coming at your drone from the right, left, back, and front.
You can use your remote controller or smartphone to see the obstacles that surround you and make smarter flight decisions.
DJI Mavic 3 Pro #
The latest and greatest edition of the Mavic 3 line (at least as of the time of this publication) is the Pro.
This drone has a superb triple-camera system designed for shooting everything from wildlife in a wide-open savannah to sky-high architecture in a busy city like Seoul or Chicago to peaceful nature shots in your own backyard.
The Hasselblad camera has a greater dynamic range and high levels of detail through its 12-bit RAW photo capabilities.
HNCS will produce a beautiful, natural color profile you’ll never want to take photographs without. This feature will liven up your portfolio, and it’s not even the only color augmentation feature this drone boasts.
The Pro also has a 10-bit D-Log M color mode, a feature DJI introduced around the time of the Mavic 3 Pro’s release.
It can record a billion colors so your videos look natural, colorful, and professional.
Its Apple ProRes codec can support ProRes 422, ProRes 422 LT, and ProRes 422 HQ encoding between the three cameras, ratcheting up the professionalism even further.
The tele camera has an awesome aperture range of f/3.4, and the Optical and Hybrid zoom capabilities of the three cameras enable you to get lifelike shots of targets from more than a mile away.
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If you’re a wildlife drone photographer, you’ll appreciate how you can stand safely far from your subject yet still take photos that make you look like you’re only feet away.
This drone is also one of the safest in the skies, with multi-directional awareness.
Nocturnal Assistance helps you find obstacles in low-light conditions, and the included LightCut app – a Mavic 3 staple – enables you to edit on the go using AI and single-tap alterations.
Your professional footage doesn’t have to sit in post for hours or weeks until you get time to edit it between this drone’s portfolio-ready footage and on-the-go editing.
You can post your drone photos or videos faster, build a portfolio sooner, and begin making money with your drone.
Head-to-head comparison #
Camera system #
Winner: DJI Mavic 3 Pro
Let’s get the easy one out of the way, shall we? The Pro is going to win this category head and shoulders.
I love my Classic, but it’s not unfair to say the Pro deserves this one.
Since these drones are in the same product line, they share DJI’s awesome three-axis mechanical gimbal for adjusting the yaw, roll, and tilt.
They also have the same video resolution of 5.1K for crystal-clear, shining footage every time.
Even their Hasselblad cameras have the same image resolution, but the camera system similarities come to an end there.
Yes, I’m going to mention the Classic’s lack of zoom one more time. It’s maybe not the biggest concession to make if you only do a very specific type of drone photography and videography.
However, I can’t think of many jobs where zooming doesn’t come in handy. As I mentioned before, it’s useful for wildlife photography and videography.
You don’t have to get too close to the animals and risk someone’s life, and you won’t spook the creature you’re trying to photograph.
Real estate photography and videography require a capable camera with zoom, as does capturing news footage.
If your drone camera doesn’t have zoom, you’re handicapping yourself compared to a pilot’s camera that does.
The Mavic 3 Pro has camera capabilities to match all moods and scenarios, and only for $500 more than the Classic.
You can put a price on advancing your drone career, whether you’re an influencer, social media maven, or real estate expert, and it’s $500.
» MORE: Camera Technology in Drones (Explained)
The Mavic 3 Classic shines in all other areas but its camera system.
It has many of the same features as the Mavic 3 Pro outside of that, from advanced safety technology to Intelligent Flight Modes, LightCut, and obstacle avoidance.
These two drones aren’t identical, as they diverge in other ways, but they have enough of the same features that it’s hard to reward one the category of performance more than the other.
This isn’t a bad thing at all. If you’re on a budget and can’t spring for the extra cost of the Mavic 3 Pro, you’re not sacrificing much in the performance department.
Yet if you want the Mavic 3 Pro and have used the Classic like I have, you can get used to this one lickity-split.
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Winner: DJI Mavic 3 Classic
Neither drone is portable, per se. They’re both large, heavy drones.
Granted, you can fold both, but they still measure larger than your average foldable drone, especially if you compare the Mavic 3 drones to a Mini.
For example, the Mavic 3 Pro is 231.1 millimeters by 98 millimeters by 95.4 millimeters unfolded without propellers, and the Classic is 221 millimeters by 96.3 millimeters by 90.3 millimeters without propellers.
There’s barely a size difference between them, so neither is necessarily portable. However, they excel in enough other areas where that’s okay.
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RC compatibility and long-range flights #
We already know the Mavic 3 Classic and Pro share the same long-range transmission ability, and they’re also compatible with the same remote controllers.
The RC-N1 works for many DJI drones, including the Mini 3, Mini 3 Pro, original Mavic 3, Mavic 3 Classic, Mavic 3 Pro, Mini 2, Mini 2 SE, and Air 2S.
It’s a simple, basic controller with no screen, two joysticks, a few buttons on the front, and more on the top.
It’s easy enough for any beginner drone pilot to pick up and use, but it’s not the most ergonomically pleasing remote controller on the planet.
It also lacks a screen, meaning you must use your smartphone if you want to track your drone’s movements on a screen (and yes, you’re going to want to do that).
However, both drones are also compatible with the DJI RC Pro, which features O3+ video transmission with a 15-kilometer range and 1080p video footage at 60 frames per second.
It has a screen, a 5.5-incher that displays your drone adventures in stunning 1080p and 1,000 nits of brightness.
Download your killer new drone shots using Wi-Fi 6, instantly start your drone via the push of a button, and enjoy a longer battery life, as this remote reduces power usage by 20 percent.
» MORE: DJI Transmission System (Everything You Need to Know)
Battery life #
Winner: DJI Mavic 3 Classic
The Classic wins this only by a hair, as its advertised battery life is two minutes greater than the Mavic 3 Pro’s.
Considering the former weighs less, it’s not surprising it should get more time in the sky.
However, in my flight experience, the battery life differences are not noticeable between the two.
Neither drone will fly for as long as DJI advertises, and in the wind, they fly for even less time.
And yes, that’s considering these drones are burly choices for blustery flights with the same degree of wind resistance.
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After dozens of hours spent flying the DJI Mavic 3 Classic and Mavic 3 Pro, I’m confident when I say these drones are close in many ways.
However, the Mavic 3 Pro has two things the Classic doesn’t: extra cameras.
They really make all the difference, allowing you to elevate your drone photography, whether you’re a beginner or intermediate.
The keys to the kingdom you hold in your hand with the Mavic 3 Pro will help you elevate your skill quickly as you tinker around with color settings, aperture, zoom, and focus between the three cameras.
The quality is exceptional with any of the three, and one even boasts 48 MP quality, more than twice what the Classic’s Hasselblad camera offers.
However, that camera is very capable, as is the Mavic 3 Classic itself.
It’s not an unsuitable option for a drone pilot torn between the two, but ultimately, you get so much more with the Mavic 3 Pro that the $500 jump is not that much to ask for.
You will have a drone with top-of-the-line safety, a burly body, high-quality sensors, and Intelligent Flight Modes galore.
You won’t be disappointed with your choice when you choose the Mavic 3 Pro!
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