DJI Inspire 2 vs the DJI Mavic 3 Cine: Is the Big Bird Still Relevant?

DJI recently launched the DJI Mavic 3 Cine, an incredible drone in many ways. With the same size imaging sensor as the DJI Inspire 2 X5S camera, many are now asking if the DJI Inspire 2 is still worth the jump in price?

After all, the Mavic 3 has similar resolution, the same camera sensor size, much longer flight times, built in SSD and Apple ProRes format, and the ability to zoom up to 7x (optical zoom) using the secondary telephoto camera.

So, is the DJI Inspire 2 still worth the jump in price and size? We find out…

DJI Inspire 2 vs DJI Mavic 3: Which Is Better?

1. The Camera

The Inspire 2 was one of the first drones to include a micro 4/3rd camera sensor. This was significantly larger than anything else on the market at the time. Now, the DJI Mavic 3 also has a micro 4/3rd sensor. So is the Inspire 2 still worth purchasing?

We think so, and here is why:

First, although the two drones have the same camera sensor, that alone does not tell the whole story. The Inspire 2 gives you the option to switch between multiple different focal lengths, from a very wide 12mm lens, to the stock 15mm lens, to the incredible Olympus 17mm and 25mm lenses, all the way up to the Panasonic 45mm lens. Some folks are even using the massive 45-175mm zoom lens by Panasonic (with some large counterweights to make it all work).

It also allows you to swap to other camera options such as the high end X7 or fixed-lens X4S (discussed a little later in this article)

The Mavic 3 only allows for 2 focal lengths: the standard lens (25mm I believe) and the wide angle lens attachment that widens the view of the camera to a 108 degree field of view.

Sure, the Mavic 3 has the secondary telephoto camera you can switch to, but remember that this is a MUCH smaller 1/2″ sensor that will only give you 12MP photos, and only in JPEG format (a huge bummer for any pro photographer). Make no mistake, the half inch telephoto camera on the Mavic 3 in low light certainly won’t give you the same images as the Inspire 2 with a 45mm lens.

The Inspire 2 can use any of the above listed focal lengths on the large camera sensor, meaning that you’ll have excellent image quality even in low light.

WINNER: DJI Inspire 2

2. Photo and Video Storage Options

This is a big one.

Sure, the Mavic 3 Cine has a built in SSD drive, but what they fail to clearly mention is that it IS NOT REMOVABLE.

This seems very bizarre, especially as they are obviously gearing it towards the prosumer user, what with the Apple Prores and all.

Shooting 5.2K in ProRes will fill this up in a hurry, and then what? If you are a creator with the need for ProRes, you almost certainly have the need to be able to switch between storage cards, especially on longer expeditions where you may not want to take a long bulky items such as a laptop or storage transfer device.

At least with the DJI Inspire 2 you have the ability to swap SSD cards out of the back of the drone, allowing you to shoot for as long as you need to.

Also, if the SSD drive is every corrupted or faulty, good luck swapping it out.

WINNER: DJI Inspire 2

3. Flight Times

Obvious win for the Mavic 3 at almost double the flight time of the Inspire 2!

WINNER: DJI Mavic 3

4. Batteries

Yes, the Mavic 3 winds hands down in the flight-times category. Where it doesn’t win is the battery-redundancy category. The Inspire 2 has dual batteries that run in parallel. Should one battery cell fail, you have another battery in parallel to pick up the slack.

This also makes a big difference in voltage sag, especially in colder temperatures. If you run your batteries low like we do, voltage sag can become a real issue if you just have one battery.

The other great feature that the Inspire 2 has is the built-in battery heaters. These are incredibly handy in colder temperatures, using only a small percentage of battery capacity to heat the batteries to operating temperature.

WINNER: DJI Inspire 2

5. Obstacle Avoidance

This is another landslide victory for the Mavic 3. The Inspire 2 uses much older obstacle avoidance sensors that are nowhere near the accuracy of the Mavic 3 sensors.

WINNER: DJI Mavic 3

6. Visibility

This is one feature that is often overlooked when buying a drone. Remember, there is almost nowhere in the world that you can legally fly consumer/prosumer/pro drones beyond line-of-sight. Sure, there are some edge cases where companies have obtained permission to do so, but typically only under the strictest of rules and usually with a fairly significant safety team in place to make this happen.

This is one are where the larger form factor of the Inspire 2 really helps with visibility. Have a large commercial job site you need to take photos of? The Mavic 3 (although it has a huge 15km range), can’t really be seen past about a few hundred feet at the very most. So, legally, you can’t really fly it past a few hundred feet.

The Inspire 2 can be seen from great distances and will typically be a better options for professional users that don’t want to have to use multiple spotters on a job.

It also has some incredibly bright LED lights on front and back that can be seen from great distances.

WINNER: DJI Inspire 2

7. Gimbal Operations + Dual Controls

The Mavic 3 has a great gimbal system to stabilize the camera. What is doesn’t have however, is the ability for the camera to pan separately from the direction of travel of the drone via dual controllers.

This is an extremely valuable feature that the Inspire 2 has that every pro operator can appreciate. Need to track a car at high speed through a narrow canyon? With the dual operator controls of the Inspire 2 allowing the pilot to focus on flying the drone and the camera operator to focus on keeping the the subject in frame, the ability to get dynamic shots is much easier with the Inspire 2.

Decoupling the camera direction from the direction the drone is headed in allows the drone operator to be aware of the orientation of the drone at all times.

WINNER: DJI Inspire 2

8. Wind Handling

The much larger size, weight and power of the DJI Inspire 2 means that it can handle much higher wind speeds than the Mavic 3. It also means that it is much less susceptible to “ballooning” up and down with wind gusts, as the higher weight helps to keep it more stable.

The Mavic 3, although quick and responsive, struggles much more with remaining stationary in high winds than the Inspire 2 does as the lighter weight means it is more “tossable”

WINNER: DJI Inspire 2

9. Swappable Payloads

Something else that sets the Inspire 2 at a different level than the Mavic 3 is the ability to swap payloads.

Need to run a mapping mission and need the lightest camera possible? Pop on the X4S camera.

Need some great photos and video? X5S camera with swappable lenses is a great option.

Need a high resolution, cinema grade camera with a wide array of available lenses? Pop on the incredible X7 camera.

The Mavic 3 only has the single camera which cannot be swapped (it is a great camera, to be fair, but with only two focal length options and a single size of camera sensor the options are much more limited.

WINNER: DJI Inspire 2

In Conclusion

As you can see the DJI Inspire 2 is still very relevant, even against brand new technology like the DJI Mavic 3. It really is geared towards professionals, and definitely holds its own, even in a crowded marketplace.

Thoughts? Let us know at info @ dronetrader.com!

3 thoughts on “DJI Inspire 2 vs the DJI Mavic 3 Cine: Is the Big Bird Still Relevant?”

  1. Sure, and one thing people forget, and one thing I have always maintained, if you are charging a client serious money, then I’d rather take an Inspire 2 out of the back of the van with all it’s bells and whistles than a Mavic 3 when stood in front of the client. For all you know their son or daughter may also have a Mavic at home that they got for christmas… get my drift. No one can tell me that repeating that same old chestnut, “oh it’s the operator and not the drone that’s important.” Yes, any professional will agree more or less with that sentiment, but you can’t argue that you will stand out amongst the crowd when flying an Inspire 2. At the end of the day, it’s not the only thing, but it’s a major part of presenting yourself as a professional operator.

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