The DJI Mavic 3 is the latest drone from DJI, while the DJI air 2s is their newest model. Both drones are very popular, but which one is better? In this article, we will compare the two drones and see which one is the better choice.
DJI Mavic 3 Vs DJI Air 2s
The DJI Air 2S is approximately 300g lighter than the Mavic 3 (221×96.3×90.3mm). This makes it easier to fit into your bag. The Mavic 3’s rubbery gimp cover provides better protection and keeps the propellers in place against its sides.
The Mavic 3 is 347x283x107.7mm, while the Air 2S measures 183x253x77mm. This is not likely to make a difference in flight unless you are keen on pushing your drone through tight spaces.
The Mavic 3 feels more solid and bulkier than the Air 2S, which is not surprising. The Mavic 3’s battery slot is located at the rear of the device, instead of the top as the Air 2S.
Once you remove the batteries, it becomes obvious why there is a difference in size and weight between the drones. The Mavic 3’s battery lasts 46 minutes, while the Mavic 3 can only fly for 31 minutes.
In the next section, we’ll be looking at the cameras and focusing on the drone and its controller.
DJI has provided the Air 2S with object sensors that can face forwards, backward and upwards. However, the sides of the sensor are not covered. This means that if you don’t pay attention, you could accidentally shimmy into a tree or other drone magnet. However, the Mavic 3 is able to see objects to their sides. This makes it safer in cluttered areas. But, as with the Air 2S object sensors, there may be times when you want to disable the object detection to fly through tight spaces.
The drones are equipped with DJI’s QuickShots, Active Track and MasterShots systems. These systems hand over some or all of the control to their intelligent technology to produce smooth video in a variety of situations. The Mavic 3 has these features yet to unlock (a firmware update is promised for January). However, Active Track 4 in Air 2S jumps to Active Track 5 and together with enhanced object sensing, it promises to deliver improved tracking performance with fewer crashes.
DJI provides the RC231 (AKA RC-11) controller along with both drones. They each use the DJI Fly App on a connected smartphone. There are no differences between the two drones, so there is nothing to report. The transmission distance of the Mavic 3 is 3Km longer than that of the Air 2S at 15Km. This distance puts the drone out of the visual line of sight. However, it should not be a problem as the Mavic 3’s connection should be a little more reliable when close to the ground.
Advanced Return to Home (RTH), a feature on the Mavic 3 that takes into account wind speed, allows it to determine the best route back to its origin point. This reduces the risk of the drone heading home too soon or deciding to leave earlier than necessary.
Videography is best done slowly and steadily. However, fast-flying can be more fun and allows you to get the drone in position faster for better shots. The Mavic 3 can climb to maximum altitude faster than the Air 2S, despite its heavier weight. It can also fly horizontally at 75kph (46.6mph), while the Air 2S can only reach 68.4kph (42.5mph).
The Air 2S’s gimbal-mounted camera houses a 20Mp type CMOS sensor. It’s capable of producing excellent-quality RAW and JPEG images as well as video. The maximum video resolution of the camera is 5.4K at 30 frames a second (fps), but you can also shoot Full HD footage at upto120fps.
The Mavic 3 has two cameras. One uses a 20mp Four Thirds sensor. This sensor is nearly twice as large as the one in the Air 2S. It gives the Mavic 3 an advantage in terms of image quality. It’s almost like having a decent, mirrorless camera in the air. The Mavic 3 can shoot 5.1K video at 50fps, DCI4K (4096×2160) at 120fps, and Full HD at 200fps.
The Mavic 3 also has a variable aperture, which allows you to control shutter speed when the light level changes mid-flight.
Although the second camera on the Mavic 3 may not be the best for videography or photography, the 162mm equivalent f/4.4 lens and the hybrid zoom of up to 28x are great for checking distances to determine if it is worth flying closer in order to capture a shot with main camera’s 24mm lens.
This is a crucial point to remember when comparing drones. All other features seem silly compared with the actual output of the camera at the end.
Even a trained eye cannot tell the difference in the final results when comparing side-by-side. Youtube will compress the video to the same quality, so this is even more evident.
Let’s take a closer look at the differences between the cameras and see how DJI has improved them on the DJI Mavic3.
Low light performance and sensor size
The upgrade to the Mavic 3’s sensor is the main feature and also the reason it’s so expensive.
This drone is a great choice for professionals.
A larger sensor can capture more light. This is great for low-light video and photos and also makes it easier to reduce noise in the morning, dusk and night.
It’s quite remarkable that DJI was able to compact a sensor normally found in micro four-thirds cameras such as a Panasonic Gh5 into a tiny foldable drone.
Both drones can fly at 20 mp, but the Mavic 3 models are larger and can absorb more light.
Is the Mavic 3 secondary cam useful?
Another unique feature of the Mavic 3 camera is the smaller Zoom camera that sits on top.
DJI promoted it as a way to search for flight spots, rescue missions and get a better view from far without anyone being in danger.
This camera may be a good choice for situations when you have to avoid certain events or fly over people due to FAA rules.
The 7x optical zoom lens gives you 7x lossless zoom. However, the 28x hybrid zoom zoom allows you to zoom further, although it will reduce quality. It is great for seeing distant objects.
The secondary camera has a 1/2 inch sensor, which is quite good, even better than some drones. This will allow you to capture amazing shots without having to compromise image quality.
This secondary camera has one drawback. It doesn’t allow for smooth zooming.
The Mavic 3 has a unique feature that is superior to the Air 2s: the ability to adjust the aperture. This allows for greater control over your focus and can be especially helpful when using ND filters throughout the day.
The Mavic 2 pro had an adjustable aperture. I still remember how helpful it was to add an ND filter to it to adjust the aperture and make images lighter or darker. If the lighting was different, I didn’t have to constantly bring the drone down and adjust the ND filter.
Both drones have incredible resolution and can film up to 5k. However, there are important differences in frame rates.
Let’s start by congratulating the DJI Air 2s for winning first. The 5k resolution is a true 16/9 aspect ratio. The Mavic 3 is slightly cropped to the top. This gives you some small black bars, which is useful if you want to export the video as 16 by 9.
The Mavic 3 can capture 5k at 50 frames per second. This means that you can achieve slow motion at this insane resolution while the Air 2s can only shoot 30.
I think the Mavic 3’s ability to shoot 4k at 120 frames per second is even more important. This feat was something we rarely saw in 1080p, and it has been a remarkable achievement. Although the 60 frames per second of the Air 2s isn’t terrible, you can use that slow-motion quality to your advantage in many situations.
Both drones can take 20-megapixel photos. They also have the same photo shooting modes as each other, including JPEG or DNG RAW photos at 4k and 5k resolution.
The colors of the Mavic 3 were created by Hasselblad’s principles, so it could be that they are more true to life.
Although the Mavic 3’s color profile is flatter, it doesn’t mean that the dynamic range will be greater. Based on my tests, both drones had a similar dynamic range. This is also supported by actual specs.
The Mavic 3’s dynamic range is 12.8 stops compared to the Air 2s’ 12.6 stops. The difference is so minor that it is almost insignificant.
Comparative Comparison of Battery Life and Range
The range is now obsolete for most drones. Even though the DJI Mavic 3 can reach 15 km in FCC, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to fly beyond the line of sight. Anything that sends a strong signal less than 1 km is acceptable.
However, DJI has made incredible progress in transmission technology, and the Mavic 3 is worthy of my Best Long Range Drones List.
This is because the battery life on the Air 2s is 46 minutes longer than the Air 2s’ 31 minutes. Although this isn’t possible in real life, it is enough to be able to shoot anything with ease.
Intelligent Flight Modes
The Mavic 3 and Air 2’s Intelligent Flight modes work almost exactly the same. Both have MasterShots that allow for automatic editing and dubbing of the app.
The drone also comes with Orbit, Follow me and regular smart shots.
The Mavic 3 has a panorama mode, which allows pictures to be processed directly by the drone. QuickTransfer allows you to store and process materials on any mobile device even without connecting with the remote controller. This is great for those who edit directly on the drone tablet.
Sensors for Obstacle Avoidance and Active Track
The new APAS 5.0 Obstacle Avoidance System is slightly better than that in the Air 2s. This is due to a combination of new software and six fish-eye vision sensor, and two wide-angle sensors. It can be used to create a 360 obstacle-avoiding system.
This system can also be used to prevent accidents in return-to-home technology. The Mavic 3 is the first drone to be able to calculate its route back home.
Active Track 5.0 has been improved over previous versions. It allows the drone to track and follow the subject as it moves forward, backward, left, right and diagonally. The drone can also fly alongside the subject. Intelligent software and more capable cameras can predict where the subject will go even if it loses focus for just a moment.
Both drones are excellent in wind conditions, but the Mavic 3 has the edge in strong gusts. This is not due to its weight.
DJI conducted wind tunnel testing and found that the Mavic 3 generates 35% less drag than other Mavics. This could be due to the sleek shape of the arms or the body.
The Mavic 3 is capable of handling 42 kph winds, compared to the 38.5 kph of Air 2s. This makes a significant difference in severe weather.
Mavic 3 can calculate the wind speed in the current environment before returning home. This allows Mavic 3 to fly more safely and trigger the return home earlier than is actually necessary.
Return to home
The Air 2s can return home fine, even if it detects something, but the Mavic 3 has smarter returns home.
DJI calls this advanced RTH. It improves upon the existing models in that it automatically calculates the most efficient route to land at the home point. The aircraft also measures wind speed.
If you don’t have enough battery life, even the most powerful drone camera won’t do any good. With a 5000 mAh battery, the Mavic 3 will delight with up to 46 minutes of flight time. Only 3750 mAh is available on the Air 2S. This gives you just under half an hour of flight. This will be enough for most users, but the Mavic 3 provides an advantage.
It is important to take into account the Mavic 3’s faster speed when deciding how long you need to fly. This allows you to do more in a shorter time. The Mavic 3’s Advanced Return to Home (RTH) feature is superior to its predecessors. This allows the drone quickly to determine the best route to take off, taking into account wind speed.
While the remote controller is an important factor in choosing a drone, it won’t be a major consideration when choosing between the Air 2S or the Mavic 3. Both drones rely on the RC-1 controller, and both use the DJI Fly app. While some users might prefer the DJI smart controller, the RC-N1 is sufficient for most.
Transmission distance is an important factor to consider when evaluating controllers. The Mavic 3 has a transmission distance of 15 kilometers, whereas the Air 2S is only 12 km.
The DJI Mavic 3 is the better drone overall. It has a longer flight time, higher top speed, and better camera. The DJI Air 2S is a close second, however. It has a slightly shorter flight time and lowers top speed, but its camera is much better. Thus, depending on your needs, pick up a suitable drone for yourself.
Lucidcam hopes this blog will be helpful for you. Thank you for taking the time to read.