The DJI Mavic 3 has been on the market for less than year, but new leaks suggest the flagship will soon get a more affordable sibling called the DJI Mavic 3 Classic.
A combination of some leaked photos and a new FCC (Federal Communications Commission) filing suggest the launch of the Mavic 3 Classic is now imminent. And this is potentially good news for anyone who wants a flying Micro Four Thirds camera without the current Mavic 3's hefty price of US$2,199 / £1,879 / AU$3,099.
FCC filings usually appear a few weeks before an official product launch, and a test report for the DJI Mavic 3 Classic (picked up by DroneXL) references the drone by name. An additional filing refers to the changes DJI has made from the existing DJI Mavic 3 and Mavic 3 Cine, showing how closely the Classic will be related to those existing models.
So how will the Mavic 3 Classic achieve its cheaper price tag? According to earlier leaks from the reliable @DealsDrone account on Twitter, the main difference will be that the Classic version will lack the Mavic 3's telephoto camera, instead only offering a single 20MP Four Thirds CMOS sensor for video and photos.
DJI Mavic 3 Classic pic.twitter.com/kEa5Xrgkc3September 3, 2022
Fortunately, that camera is hugely impressive, with our DJI Mavic 3 review finding its performance to be "nothing short of excellent". The Four Thirds sensor is also significantly bigger than the ones in DJI's smaller drones, like the DJI Mini 3 Pro and DJI Air 2S.
What else the DJI Mavic 3 Classic will lack compared to its pricier siblings isn't yet clear, nor is its expected price tag. But @DealsDrone claims that the drone will be launched in "late October" and will be sold in a bundle with the new DJI RC controller, which arrived alongside the Mini 3 Pro earlier this year.
Analysis: Cheaper Mavic 3 could fly off the shelves
It's fair to say that the DJI Mavic 3 had some teething problems when it first launched in November 2021, including some GPS issues and missing features. But with most of those now being remedied by firmware fixes, a more affordable version of the drone looks a lot more appealing.
The Mavic 3's current US$2,049 / £1,729 / AU$2,899 price tag does keep it in the realm of professionals or well-heeled amateurs. The question is how much DJI can cut from that figure – and whether it's likely to do that by changing the camera alone, or in other areas like Apple ProRes support or the 1TB internal SSD, too.
Looking at DJI's current lineup, there is a sizable price gap between the Mavic 3 and the DJI Air 2S ($999 / £899 / AU$1,699). The halfway point between those two drones is $1,500 / £1,300 / AU$2,300, so that gives us a potential ballpark for the Mavic 3 Classic to land in.
That certainly isn't cheap, particularly in these financially-trying times, but it could still be a highly tempting option for those who find the DJI Mini 3 Pro's camera a little bit too limiting.
The Mini 3 Pro is currently top of our guide to the best drones, and we've been impressed by the results produced by its 12.1MP 1/1.3-inch sensor. But if you're prepared to trade its incredibly compact form factor for a Four Thirds drone with better wind resistance, it looks like it'll be worth holding off for a few weeks to see what the Mavic 3 Classic brings.