DJI Mavic 3 Telephoto Lens

DJI Mavic 3 Telephoto Lens Specs and Features

One of the most visible features of the Mavic 3 is the dual-lens system. It is the only model of DJI prosumer line supplied with two different lenses: a traditional wide-angle and a long telephoto one

When the Mavic 3 was released, several features of the telephoto lens were not yet implemented. But after several firmware updates, plenty of functionalities have been added and the quality of the images has been improved

The two lenses of the DJI Mavic 3

If You Prefer To Watch This As a Video

Mavic 3 Telephoto Lens Specs

Sensor Size1/2″
Field of View15° (162mm equivalent)
Photo Resolution12MP (4000 x 3000)
Photo FormatJPEG + RAW
Photo ModesSingle
Automatic Exposure Bracketing: 3 or 5 Photos at 0.7 EV
Burst Shooting: 3, 5, 7
Timed Shots: 2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60 seconds
Video Resolution4k at 25, 30, 50 fps (3840 x 2160)
FHD at 25, 30, 50 fps (1920 x 1080
Shutter Speed2″ – 1/8000″
ISO Range100 – 6400
Digital Zoom 4x
Source: DJI website

The only video mode available at the moment with the telephoto lens is Normal, there is no support for the two 8-bit modes, D Log and HLG

Other recent improvements include

  • Support for manual exposure with control of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed
  • Manual White Balance
  • Ability to use the intelligent flight modes Spotlight and Point of Interest

Is the Zoom in the DJI Mavic 3 Optical or Digital?

There is often some confusion about the term optical or digital zoom

Most drones offer some sort of digital zoom, where the footage is basically cropped and the size of the pixels increased, thus losing resolution, more or less the same as increasing the zoom level in a video editing program

Since the DJI Mavic 3 has two different lenses, the zoom functionality is hybrid: with the main wide-angle lens, the image is optical. We can zoom digitally from a factor of 2x to 4x. At 7x the telephoto lens is engaged and at this length, the image is again optical. We can further zoom digitally to 14x and to a huge 28x

On a true optical zoom for a DSLR camera, there is a complex system of lenses that move when rotating the zoom dial, and the image projected on the sensor gets magnified. The downside of optical zoom for drones is size and weight 

A telephoto lens for DSLR cameras

The only DJI model with a true optical zoom is the Mavic 2 Zoom, it can shoot optically from 24 to 48 mm and anywhere in between

How to Use the Telephoto lens in the DJI Mavic 3

Next to the shutter, there are two icons. The one below is labeled 1, by scrolling up or down with a finger the zoom is applied progressively from 1x to 3x. The icon above is for zooming from 7x to 28x

Progressive zoom dragging with a finger

An alternative way that gives smoother results with the traditional RC N1 remote control is to use the left wheel of the remote controller while holding the function button. With the new RC remote controller with a built-in screen, it is possible to use the right wheel, which is much handier

More details about the excellent new RC controller in my specific article

There is also the possibility of choosing Explore in the Video/Photo menu, but this way manual exposure is not available and there are no other benefits, therefore I suggest using the method above

Quality Test of the Telephoto Lens of the Mavic 3

Let’s check the quality: when zooming we can only shoot at a resolution of 4k, as 5.1k is not available. This is the result of applying a 2x digital zoom and it is not bad at all: there is certainly a loss of detail, but the footage is still perfectly usable if encoded at 1080p for posting on social media and even encoded at 4k it is acceptable

Normal size, no zoom
2x zoom

But this function is useful mostly for users who don’t have access to a computer for post-processing. In my case, if I need to zoom to 200% I would simply shoot at 5.1k and then zoom digitally on my computer with much more control

At 4x digital zoom, the quality has constantly improved with the various firmware updates. There is obviously a loss of detail, but it is usable for a project encoded in 1080p resolution and this could be very handy

4x zoom

At 7x zoom the telephoto kicks in and the footage is again optical, not a digital zoom. The quality is obviously not as good as the one obtained with the main camera: it is softer, there is a bit of noise in the shadows, and the dynamic range is lower

But with some care, it is possible to obtain very interesting clips with parallax, with elements on different layers at different distances. We can also shoot subjects that we could not get close to, due to regulations, or across a river or a lake. We can also film wildlife without disturbing it

7x zoom, native telephoto lens

It is possible to zoom digitally up to 14x and 28x times, but the quality is not nearly good enough for videography. These extreme zoom levels serve other purposes, like rescue, surveying, or exploring a new place to find interesting shooting opportunities

14x and 28x digital zoom

For videography, I mostly use the dual-lens system of the Mavic 3 with the telephoto lens in native resolution, therefore at the 7x zoom level

Tips and Tricks to Optimize the Telephoto Lens of the Mavic 3

I find the telephoto lens a very useful tool, but there are some tricks for improving quality

  • It is better to select manual focus and set the focus point, as in autofocus mode the camera will keep refocusing
  • Shoot only in easy light conditions, as the dynamic range of the sensor is very limited, therefore avoid shots in the direction of the sun or in low light
  • With the very narrow field of view of the telephoto lens, every move made with the sticks of the remote control is magnified, so be very gentle to avoid abrupt results. Intelligent flight modes like Spotlight and Point of Interest really help
  • When shooting a subject several miles away, there is dirt in the air due to moisture, pollution, or salt when we are close to the sea. Make sure you take this kind of shot in days with clean air and good visibility
  • The footage shot with the telephoto lens will have a bit of noise and some dirt, therefore the results can be improved using a good denoiser. I use the excellent Neat Video, a must for any serious videographer

More details about the intelligent flight modes of the Mavic 3 in my specific articles:

Active Track
Point of Interest

Photography with the Telephoto Lens of the Mavic 3

When shooting photos, the telephoto lens is very useful for close-up views of places hard to reach, and for shots with a different perspective, as a telephoto lens reduces the distance between layers

The small sensor has a photo resolution of 12MP and we cannot expect the same quality as with the excellent 4/3 sensor of the wide-angle lens, but the quality of photos with the telephoto lens has improved a lot after several firmware upgrades

Some examples of photos taken with the telephoto lens. For editing and color grading all the images I have used the excellent Luminar Neo, the tool I use for editing and managing all my photos. Click on the link for an in-depth analysis of this program

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I am Vittorio Caramazza, aka Vicvideopic, the founder of this website and author of all the posts. I am a videographer and photographer contributing to several stock agencies. I am an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Lightroom. I have 10 years of experience with dron videography and photography. I was struck by drone syndrome in 2013. I have owned and tested in depth the following drones: Phantom 3, Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Mini, Mini 2, Air 2, Air 2s, Autel Evo Nano Plus, Mavic 3, Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3. My home has turned into a breeding ground for drones. I am the owner of two YouTube channels specializing in Videography and Photography, with a focus on drones My main channel is VicVideopic (in English): My other channel is Drone Mitico, the Italian version.: I am currently based in Sicily (Southern Italy), but I tend to move quite often. After all, this is one of the main benefits of being a digital nomad…

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