DJI Mavic 4: what we want to see

DJI Mavic 3 Pro in flight head on
(Image credit: James Abbott)

In the drone world, time doesn’t stand still for long especially with the market leader DJI having relatively short product cycles to deliver new models with ever greater features and functionality. 

The original DJI Mavic 3 was released back in 2021, while the DJI Mavic 3 Pro released was in 2023. And although the Pro is fairly new, the series as a whole has experienced quite a long product cycle, so it's fairly safe to say that a DJI Mavic 4 could be just around the corner, potentially as soon as a 2024 release.

The Mavic series of drones is DJI's prosumer line, offering enthusiasts an entry point to some of the best drone technology available, up to the demands of professional use, without costing anywhere near as much as the sensational DJI Inspire 3 while being easier to use and to deploy at speed.

Whether its the three-camera Mavic 3 Pro or the single camera DJI Mavic 3 Classic, the Mavic models beat the best beginner drones for image quality, plus they also offer advanced subject tracking and obstacle avoidance. 

The question we have to ask ourselves is, how could DJI possibly improve on what's already one of the best drone series ever made? Rumors are pretty thin on the ground at the moment with regards to the DJI Mavic 4, but we still have a wish list of features we'd like to see in the next iteration of the hugely popular Mavic series, plus we'll be updating this page when more information becomes public.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The DJI Mavic 4
  • When is it out? Probably Q4 of 2024
  • How much will it cost? Likely at least $2,199 / £1,879 / AU$3,099

DJI Mavic 4: expected release date and price

A DJI Mavic 3 Pro drone in flight in a forest

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 (Image credit: DJI)

The DJI Mavic 3 was announced in November 2021, while the most recent model, the triple-camera Mavic 3 Pro was announced in May 2023. So, although the latter model is fairly recent, the series as whole is 'getting on a bit' in terms of DJI product cycles.

This suggests that the DJI Mavic 4 launch could be imminent, and we suspect that the most likely and earliest time for this will be during fall this year. But with the fairly recent release of the Mavic 3 Pro, we also suspect that the Mavic 4 will sport a dual camera design, like the DJI Air 3, to differentiate it from its predecessor. 

Chances are that the Mavic 3 Pro will remain current and available for a period after the release of the Mavic 4. That's not to say that a triple-camera Mavic 4 Pro won't be delivered at some point in the future, alongside a Classic model with one camera – that is, if DJI's approach to the Mavic 3 series is anything to go by. 

The standard bundle for the original Mavic 3 and the Mavic 3 Pro with the DJI RC cost $2,199 / £1,879 / AU$3,099 at launch, with the Fly More Bundle coming in at $2,999 / £2,549 / AU$4199. So, we expect the DJI Mavic 4 to launch with at least a similar, if not a slightly more expensive price; but by how much is likely to depend on the new features it has to offer.

DJI Mavic 4: confused rumors

A photo of a DJI beta drone model on the ground. Is it a DJI Mavic 4 or a DJI Air 3S?

(Image credit: Posted on X by Jasper Ellens)

A low-quality still from a video has emerged online, posted by Jasper Ellens on X, which many are suggesting could be a beta tester's Mavic 4. This shows a DJI Air 3-type airframe with a larger camera, but the likelihood is that if this is indeed a beta model, I would put my money on it being a DJI Air 3S or Air 4 rather than a Mavic 4.

Following the release of the DJI Air 2S, which used a 1-inch sensor, this image may be showing a DJI Air 3S with a larger Four Thirds camera like the DJI Mavic 3, but without the adjustable aperture which would follow DJI's previous product cycles for the Air series. Of course, it may be a smaller and lighter Mavic 4, but the chances of this are slim because the Mavic and Air series drones are completely different propositions.

Whatever happens, it certainly looks like a new DJI drone is about to be launched, possibly an Air 3S or Air 4 in late summer. And although the photo that has been shared suggests a new DJI Air model, that certainly doesn't mean that we won’t also see the Mavic 4 released in fall this year

DJI Mavic 4: What we want to see

DJI Mavic 3 Pro drone close up of the three cameras

Mavic 3 Pro's three cameras (Image credit: Future)
  • Main camera with larger sensor
  • Dual cameras

The Mavic 3 Pro is the jewel in the Mavic 3 line-up's crown, but like most things, there's always room for improvement, and there are some key features we'd like to see when the Mavic 4 finally arrives. Some may be little more than wishful thinking, but others undoubtedly have the potential to be delivered in an upgraded model.

The Mavic 3's main Hasselblad camera is fantastic with its adjustable aperture, 20MP sensor and 24mm equivalent focal length, but an APS-C sensor with a higher resolution would be the next logical progression. This would also bring with it some challenges in terms of what's possible and here we can use the dual-camera DJI Air 3 as a kind of template. This drone incorporates two small sensors in two cameras, but a larger and more powerful Mavic 4 could push this further.

Three cameras would realistically be unlikely in this situation, so a dual camera system with a second camera, potentially with the same sensor as the Mini 4 Pro and an optical zoom, would provide the flexibility Mavic 3 Pro users have become accustomed to. A mechanical shutter in the main camera would also be useful for video because it would remove the risk of jello/rolling shutter when capturing moving subjects.

Staying within the realms of the camera, another improvement here could be an increase in the dynamic range of the sensor to help pilots capture a greater level of detail between the shadows and highlights. Photographers can currently shoot HDR to increase dynamic range, but the ability to rely on this technique less and, most importantly, to provide videographers with the ability to capture more detail in high-contrast scenes would be invaluable.

DJI Air 3 drone on a tree stump with closeup of its dual cameras

DJI Air 3 dual camera (Image credit: Future)

The DJI Air 3 offers vertical shooting without rotating the camera and gimbal, much like the DJI Mini 3 models and the DJI Mini 4 Pro, and this would be a most welcome feature. Rotating larger gimbals has understandably been a challenge due to size and weight, so a sensor crop like the Mini 3 is the most obvious way to include this feature with the Mavic 4.

This list could go on, but we have to be realistic about what's possible alongside how many upgrades DJI is likely to incorporate. So, the last upgrade we'd like to see is increased flight times. Using the Mavic 3 Pro as the example and casting real-world flight times aside, the maximum advertised flight time per battery is up to 43 minutes. This is undoubtedly impressive, but taking this to an hour or more would be a game-changer for enthusiasts and professional pilots alike.

James Abbott

James Abbott is a professional photographer and freelance photography journalist. He contributes articles about photography, cameras and drones to a wide range of magazines and websites where he applies a wealth of experience to testing the latest photographic tech. James is also the author of ‘The Digital Darkroom: The Definitive Guide to Photo Editing’.