Which drone should you buy, the Mavic 3 Classic or the Air2S? That depends on a few things.

When DJI posted the announcement of the Mavic 3 Classic, I posed the question: with this release, should you buy this new drone or the older Air2S?

I have an Air2S along with an AVATA, Mini 2 and FPV, and love it. It is used far, far more than the others, although to be fair, I am still coming to grips with the AVATA. Nevertheless, I have been pondering the original question at length. I do not own, or even had a play with the Mavic 3 Classic (as yet anyway) so can only compare side-by-side specification wise to come to some sort of conclusion.

So here goes:

 

DJI Mavic 3 Classic

DJI Air2S

Weight

894g

595g

Sensor

4/3 CMOS Hasselblad

1” CMOS

Aperture

f/2.8 – f/11

f/2.8

Megapixels

20MP

20MP

Video

5.1K / 50fps 4K /120fps

5.4K /30fps 4K /60fps

Battery Life

46mins

31mins

Range

Up 15Km with 1080p/ 60fps live feed

Up to 12Km with 1080p/30fps live feed

Obstacle Sensing

Omnidirectional

Forward, Backward, Upward, Downward

Controller

DJI-RC with 5.5” built in screen

Standard controller, no screen (uses phone or tablet)

Price

AUD$2599 with DJI-RC

AUD$2399 with standard controller

AUD$1699

Assuming we all stick to the letter of the law and only fly within visual range, then 15Km v 12Km is neither here nor there, so comparing the capabilities of range is a bit of a moot point at the end of the day.

Other specification can be split between drone capability and photographic. There is no doubt that the imaging– both photographic and video – is superior on the Mavic Classic 3. A bigger sensor, adjustable aperture and increased frame rate beat the higher resolution of the Air2S, no question. Having said that, from my experience, the capabilities of the Air2S optics and sensor are remarkable and will give you no cause for complaint I assure you.

On the drone side, the increased battery life is a big plus for most. I tend to only fly for a maximum of 20 minutes being gun shy of battery failure due to a past (and expensive) experience. This gives me a decent margin of error.

(For those coming late I had one of the original GoPro Karma drones that had a bug in the battery life sensor. Consequently, when returning from a flight shooting whales at Hervey Bay, it ended up in a watery grave about 2 metres away from landing.)

For those who have ever had a serious crash, the omnidirectional sensor system is also a bonus, which, whilst not eliminating such a possibility, certainly minimises it.

But a big winner for me is the inclusion of the DJI RC controller. The bane of my life has been getting a method of shielding the phone or tablet from sunlight so you can read the information on-screen, and also see clearly what you are shooting.

I know there are commercial sunshades available, but I have yet to find one that will correctly fit a Samsung A7 tablet. If you know of one, please let me know! I do have one for my phone, but it being a Samsung A71, I prefer a larger screen.

If it works as well as say the Karma controller did in bright sunlight, this to me is worth the price difference alone. (The Air2S has just had an hardware update to support the DJI-RC controller too by the way and you can buy the controller alone for AUD$399 which I reckon is well worth it.

So dear reader, there it is. Whilst the question of “which drone” is not fully answered, I’d suspect if you have the extra $900 in your pocket, that, longer term would be the way to go. But as I say, if you don’t have those 900 shekels and thus get the Air2S, you will not be disappointed.

Not at all. Despite the above conclusions, I still think the Air2S is the best bang for buck model DJI make.

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