Skip to Content

DJI Mavic 3 Pro vs. Phantom 4 Pro (Here’s My Choice)

Here is a matchup unlike any other. We’ll be comparing the two flagship systems of DJI, that of yesterday and that of today.

The DJI Phantom Pro 4 is an industry staple, and the DJI Mavic 3 Pro is its replacement for all intents and purposes. That is unless DJI wants to finally deliver that Phantom 5.

There’s really no other way to put it.

I personally have counted on both of these systems not only to fly recreationally but commercially as well. I have certainly been flying the Phantom 4 Pro longer than the Mavic 3 Pro.

Even I have to admit, the Phantom 4 Pro has spent more time on the shelf than the Mavic 3 Pro since I got it.

There are a few reasons why that may be. Is the Phantom 4 Pro really ready for retirement? We’re going to find out in this head-to-head comparison.

Who knows, maybe we’ll all be surprised. You don’t get the King of Drones title easily after all. Is the Mavic 3 Pro really ready for the crown or is it still a prince?

Best Drone Courses for Beginners (Part 107 & More)

To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.

See Course List Editor's Choice
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Overview

Phantom 4 Pro

The Phantom 4 Pro is a drone with a 1-inch 20MP CMOS Sensor camera that can shoot up to 4K 60fps video and 14fps in Burst Mode.

It has a maximum flight time of 30 minutes and a maximum transmission range of around 4.1 mi (7 km). 

It is equipped with an improved, for its time, infrared sensing system with 5 directions of obstacle sensing and avoidance, being one of the first such drones to do so.

The Phantom 4 Pro was the system I used daily when I opened my drone services business for 6 years running. I still use it occasionally.

  • Reliable – an industry staple
  • Good flight time of 30mins
  • 20mp 1″ CMOS sensor
  • Larger Size is easily visible

» MORE: DJI Phantom 4 Pro V2.0 – SD Card (Explained for Beginners)

Mavic 3 Pro

On the other side of that is the Mavic 3 Pro, which is a triple-lens drone with a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera and dual tele lens, one 24mm format equivalent and the other 70mm format equivalent cameras.

It can capture up to 5.1K, DCI 4K, and UHD 4K resolutions on the primary Hasselblad camera as well as 4K from the other tele lens cameras. 

It has a flight time of around 43 minutes and a range of 9.3 mi (15 km).

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro is the system that has become my primary go-to drone over the last year. I purchased it as a means of updating the drone systems I use for my business.

Whereas in the past, I would have just gotten a replacement Phantom 4 Pro, this time around, I decided it was time to upgrade, and the Mavic 3 Pro is that.

  • Versatile three-camera system
  • Superb flight time of 43mins
  • Folding arms make it easy to store and transport
  • Newer transmission system with longer range

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 Pro Review (I have NEVER flown a drone that I enjoyed so much)

Quick Verdict

Without a doubt, considering where we are, the DJI Phantom 4 Pro is still a useful solid choice for a reliable trusted flight system.

But it doesn’t exactly hold up to the advancements that have been made and utilized in the later DJI Mavic 3 Pro. Those advancements that are under the hood of the Mavic 3 Pro really set it apart from nearly everything else found on the market today.

Even more so when compared to the DJI Phantom 4 Pro. It has superior range, it has longer flight times, and it has true omnidirectional obstacle avoidance.

In addition to that, the Mavic 3 Pro has the most up-to-date programming and control systems to go with those other qualities.

There are plenty of very good reasons why this was the chosen system in my own day-to-day operations and although it is a sad moment to retire any drone one has, the Mavic 3 Pro is a worthy replacement to that of the coveted King of Drones, the Phantom 4 Pro.

The King can pass the crown with no shame.

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 Pro – Where is the Serial Number? (Answered)

What are the differences?

One of the key differences, right from the start is the age of these two systems. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro was released in May of 2018 and the DJI Mavic 3 Pro was released in November of 2021.

In that time, several advancements were made. One was in battery technology, providing longer flight times, with the DJI Mavic 3 Pro boasting a 13-minute increase over that of its predecessor the Phantom 4 Pro with its 30-minute flight time.

Another big advancement comes in the form of a newly developed APAS 5.0 system and upgrades to the obstacle avoidance sensors, giving the DJI Mavic 3 Pro new abilities that the Phantom 4 Pro could never achieve.

It’s good to remember here, that the Phantom 4 Pro was one of the first drones to offer the type of obstacle avoidance it does.

What we see in the Mavic 3 Pro is the improvements on that very same type of tech and processing that the Phantom 4 Pro began.

Then we come to the image quality. Here again the Mavic 3 Pro offers something unique. It has a Tri-camera system with a primary Hasselblad 4/3 24mm equivalent f/2.8 to f/11 20mp sensor.

If we were to stop right there, the Mavic 3 Pro, for all its other advancements, would spec-wise, be very close to that of the Phantom 4 Pro.

We don’t stop there, though, as the 4/3 camera isn’t the end; it’s only the beginning. The DJI Mavic 3 Pro also comes with a 1/1.3″ CMOS Medium Tele Camera, which is 70mm equivalent with a 3x zoom and a fixed aperture of f/2.8 and 48mp.

Besides the secondary camera is a third 1/2″ CMOS sensor, 166mm equivalent, with a 7x optical zoom and a 28x Hybrid Zoom. Also, with a fixed aperture f/3.4 and 12mp.

This is truly a standout system that adds versatility to the drone space that no other system can, literally providing three separate cameras in one.

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 Classic vs. Mavic 3 Pro (Here’s My Choice)

Head-to-Head Comparison

It’s not looking great for the Phantom 4 Pro. What with the Mavic 3 Pro having multiple Cameras and the most advanced obstacle avoidance and flight time. My goodness that flight time – 43 minutes! Wow!

It could be easy to say that the Phantom 4 Pro has seen its day. You may be right in that assumption. Maybe? There’s one thing though, and I did bring it up above. You might have missed it, and that’s ok.

It has to do with the Mechanical Shutter. It’s also this one thing that has always set the Phantom 4 Pro apart from everything else within the consumer, prosumer market.

The Phantom 4 Pro has dominated the marketplace since its release. It has proven to be reliable for daily use – and this is the big part – it has been the go-to for mapping because of the way it operates due to the mechanical shutter.

Now there is a Mavic 3 that does offer a mechanical shutter. It’s not the Mavic 3 Pro, however. That one feature can only be found in the Mavic 3 Enterprise. A much more costly affair than that of the Mavic 3 Pro, I assure you.

For most, this wouldn’t be a big issue, and they may never even know the difference when watching their videos or stills.

From a professional perspective, there is a type of image distortion that’s typical when shooting moving targets (or when the camera itself is moving at high speed, as found when conducting a drone mapping flight). 

It’s known as a rolling/jello effect. This is due to the way an electronic rolling shutter works by exposing the pixels to light one row at a time.

Rolling and electronic shutters can cause distortion when movement is introduced into the equation, making them not ideal for mapping missions.

You may have even heard some of your favorite YouTubers talking about this distortion. The Mechanical Shutter, though, works by exposing each pixel of your camera’s sensor simultaneously. This method takes that particular distortion off the table.

So, let’s look over the specs really quick, and let’s see just how different the Mavic 3 Pro’s primary camera, the 4/3 Hasselblad, really stacks up to the Phantom 4 Pro’s 1″ sensor.

Mavic 3 Pro Phantom 4 Pro
4/3 CMOS1″ CMOS
20MP20MP
24mm24mm
Shutter Speed Electronic 8-1/8000 sShutter Speed Mechanical 8-1/2000 s
Electronic 8-1/8000 s
Still Photography Modes
Single Shot: 20 MP
Burst Shooting: 20 MP, 3/5/7 frames
Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB):
Still Photography Modes
Single Shot: 20 MP
Burst Shooting: 3/5/7/10/14 frames
Automatic Exposure Bracketing (AEB):
3/5 frames at 0.7 EV step
Timed: 2/3/5/7/10/15/20/30/60 s
3/5 bracketed frames at 0.7EV Bias
Timed: 2/3/5/7/10/15/20/30/60 s

So, what we’re seeing above here is that the Mavic 3 Pro’s primary Hasselblad camera, from strictly a camera perspective, is nearly identical to that of the Phantom 4 Pro.

Whereas the Mavic 3 Pro will have the Hasselblad color grading, the Phantom 4 Pro has that mechanical shutter, making it a superior camera in many ways, especially for mapping and surveying.

If it wasn’t for the added benefits that the Mavic 3 Pro has incorporated into itself, well, I guess the King would have to stay on a while longer after all.

» MORE: Autel EVO Lite+ vs. DJI Mavic 3 Pro (Which is Better)

DJI Phantom 4 Pro

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro was the first drone with a 1-inch 20MP 24mm equivalent camera that can shoot 4K 60fps video and amazing 14fps Burst Mode.

It was also one of the first to offer a 5-directional obstacle avoidance system using a new, improved infrared sensor combination.

It has a max flight time of 30 minutes and a max transmission range of 4.1 mi (7 km), using the DJI OcuSync 2.0 transmission system.

It comes loaded with some of DJI’s finest software and intelligent flight modes of that time such as ActiveTrack, TapFly, Draw Mode, Gesture Mode, and Return to Home.

It offers 4K professional-level video quality, and a precise mechanical shutter rather than an electronic shutter.

» MORE: Best ND Filters for DJI Phantom 4 Pro

The Phantom 4 Pro is ideal for professional photographers and videographers who want to capture stunning aerial footage, which remains true even today.

It is also suitable for any hobbyists who want to take their photography and videography skills to the next level.

Out of all the drones we’ve seen come and go, the Phantom 4 Pro has shown a staying power unlike any other. The DJI Phantom 4 Pro is sort of like NASA, putting boots on the ground of the Moon.

DJI hit a true pinnacle with the Phantom 4 Pro that they seem to have been chasing ever since, and finding it hard to get that sort of lightning in the bottle again.

The Mavic 3 Pro, is close, maybe superior.

Another way to look at it, I suppose, is like a work truck to a race car. Sure, the race car costs more and has more bells and whistles about it, but it’s not going to haul wood or rock and get you to work and back reliably.

DJI Phantom 4 Pro Plus V2.0
$2,689.00

The DJI Phantom 4 Pro has many advanced features and specs. The flight modes are for drone pilots at all levels and are easy to use. It’s an excellent choice for travel drones and works best for aerial photography.

Buy from Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 05:21 pm GMT

DJI Mavic 3 Pro

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro, on the other hand, is a powerful drone that is engineered for high-quality aerial photography and videography and took everything that makes the Phantom 4 Pro the great drone that it is and improved on it some.

Designed with the intent of dethroning the Flagship Phantom line, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro is equipped with a 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera and dual tele cameras, which can capture 5.1K, DCI 4K, and UHD 4K resolutions on the primary Hasselblad camera and 4K from the other two cameras. 

It has a flight time of 43 minutes and a range of 15 km.

The Mavic 3 Pro is also ideal for professional photographers and videographers who want to capture stunning aerial footage, even more so with the tri-camera setup, which offers an unheard-of new type of versatility in a drone system.

That improves workflow immensely by removing the need to launch a secondary drone or even a third to achieve what the Mavic 3 Pro is able to with the Tri-Camera configuration.

It is also very suitable for hobbyists who once again want to take their photography and videography skills to the next level; with omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, it won’t be long before any new pilot can take more daring risks while flying.

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 Pro – How to Turn ON/OFF (Step-by-Step Guide & Video)

The Mavic 3 Pro offers the very most advanced and popular intelligent flight modes DJI has developed, such as the newly introduced Vision Assist, exclusively found on the Mavic 3 line as of now.

It allows for the visual sensors to be viewed for heightened situational awareness.

The DJI Mavic 3 Pro carries the full complement of DJI Flight modes such as waypoints, cruise control, and the newly improved return to home.

Also FocusTrack, Mastershots, Quickshots, and Panorama. The DJI Mavic 3 Pro is everything DJI can be in a single package.

Our Pick
DJI Mavic 3 Pro (Fly More Combo)
$2,999.00

Flagship Triple-Camera Drone with 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera, 15km Video Transmission, three Batteries, Charging Hub, and more.

Buy from Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 03:12 am GMT

Conclusion

Once again, we have looked into what each of these systems has to offer, and we’ve gone over their differences.

In the end, the Mavic 3 Pro wasn’t as much of an improvement in the camera as one might have thought. That is the primary camera, anyway.

The Mavic 3 Pro really sets itself apart from the Phantom 4 Pro by what else it offers. A more sophisticated obstacle avoidance system, which helps immensely in protecting your investment.

It has two additional cameras that until now, you would have to have differing drones to get the same views. Of course, there is always what you can do in post-editing. Having the camera already there, though, saves time.

One of the biggest differences is that of the comparative flight times. 13 minutes is a huge increase and allows for you to perfect the shot without having to be rushed.

Once again, it’s not quite what the Hasselblad camera is bringing, as it is everything else. At the end of the day, though, it is about practicality.

Are the additional bells and whistles enough to warrant replacing your Phantom 4 Pro? Probably not, actually, if your focus is on getting great photos and video in a 4K format.

The Phantom 4 Pro has that covered in spades. Although getting good batteries is staring to become an issue.

If your focus is having that versatility, then yes, hands down, the Mavic 3 Pro is your option as nothing, nothing else compares to it in that regard.

Fly Safe, Fly Always, Always Fly Safe!

» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 vs. DJI Mini 3 Pro (Which One is Right for You?)