DJI's Mavic 3 is a useful cinematic drone, but its steep price ($1,899 as we write this) can be off-putting compared to the $1,449 of the older Mavic 2 Pro. The company thinks it has a simple solution, though: offer a trimmed-back version. DJI has introduced the Mavic 3 Classic, a new variant that drops the telephoto lens in exchange for a better $1,469 starting price (more on that later).
The Classic otherwise includes the features that might draw you to the Mavic 3 in the first place. The centerpiece remains a 20-megapixel, 24mm-equivalent Hasselblad camera that can shoot 5.1K video up to 50 frames per second (4K at 60FPS) and capture 12-bit RAW photos. You can likewise expect a healthy 46-minute peak flight time, a range of up to 9.3 miles and an O3+ transmission system that can send 1080p 60FPS video to your remote. You're still asked to fly within line of sight, but an AirSense ADS-B receiver can warn you of nearby aircraft if you operate at higher altitudes.
This still isn't a trivial expense. The base price is for the drone only, and doesn't include a remote or charger. It's meant for upgrading DJI users who have the necessary gear. Everyone else will have to pay at least $1,599 for the standard kit, which includes the charger and the basic RC-N1 remote. Spend $1,749 and you'll get the display-equipped DJI RC remote. And if you need accessories, the $649 Fly More add-on includes two batteries, a charging hub, a car charger, three pairs of quiet propellers and a convertible carrying bag.
The Mavic 3 Classic clearly isn't meant for newcomers, or even many enthusiasts. You'll want to look at the $679 Mini 3 Pro or $999 Air 2S if you're on a tighter budget. However, it might represent a solid value if you care about drone camera quality but don't need long-zoom shots to create your next magnum opus.