For any purchase as pricey as the Mavic 3, it’s only rational to understand what one is getting. One of the most important features of drones — or most other electronic devices — to understand beforehand is internal storage.
In the following article, we will see what the maximum internal storages DJI offers in its two Mavic 3 models are. We will also get an overview of how to expand the internal storage properly.
DJI offers Mavic 3 in two versions: the standard model, which has 8 GB built-in internal storage, and the Cine Premium Combo model, which has 1TB SSD. From the 8 GBs offered in the standard model, a little more than 7 GBs are available for all the photos and videos that are taken on the drone.
How much space would you need?
Mavic 3’s camera is quite powerful. It can record footage at 5.1K (5120×2700 at up to 50 FPS on H.264). With a maximum bitrate of 200 Mbps, it’s quickly apparent that the video needs a large space. In the 8 GBs it comes with, at the level of quality footage it records, a maximum of about 9 minutes worth of videos can be held.
This is way too short for anyone, even a hobbyist looking to record some aerial view in their spare time. Therefore, you have only two options.
You can opt to get the Mavic 3 Cine Premium Combo model instead of the standard version. This model allows you to record loads of video carefree. The 1 TB storage, which gives you about 934 GBs, is not easy to fill. A terabyte allows for more than ten hours of footage, and that is plenty.
As the price of the Mavic 3 Cine Premium Combo is drastically higher than the standard version, however, most prefer to go with the second option, which is to get an external microSD card. This is such a common practice that on the drones’ “specs” pages on DJI’s website, a list of compatible and recommended microSD cards is made available.
How to access the internal storage
There are three main ways to access photos and videos on the drone. The most straightforward way of transferring files from the drone to another device is by connecting the drone directly to the device using the right type of USB Type-C.
The cable that comes with the drone works fine. Once connected to a computer, a phone, or a table, both the internal storage and the microSD card inserted in the drone can be accessed.
The second way to transfer files from the drone is by using the DJI Fly App. On the App, you can find the option to ‘share’ a video or photo after opening it in the ‘Album’ window of the DJI Fly App’. Depending on the operating system of the device you’re connecting it to, the technicalities may differ, but using this method, you can wirelessly access files on the drone.
The last way only applies to accessing files on the microSD card. By simply taking the card out and connecting it directly to the device using a card reader, all files on the card can be transferred.
What is the internal storage of other drones?
Two of the more popular DJI products, the DJI Mini 2 and the DJI Mavic Mini, do not come with any internal storage. Instead, all the video they record is stored in the phone connected to them. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, the quality in which the videos are stored (720p) is much lower than what the drones are actually capable of.
In this case, it is almost necessary to get external storage otherwise it would be such a waste of camera power.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro comes with 1.28 GBs of storage. But this is more useful on days you’ve forgotten to bring external storage. Autel Evo Lite+, a very popular non-DJI drone, has 6 GBs onboard. The DJI Air 2S, like the Mavic 3, comes with 8 GB of internal storage.
In this context, Mavic 3 seems to have a decent amount of storage. Regardless, though, microSD cards are now an integral component of the drone experience.
How to pick the best microSD card
On the official website, DJI has included a set of recommended microSD cards. The simplest option is to get one of the many listed SD cards. The list can be found here (https://www.dji.com/mavic-3/specs).
Things to consider
- For most, SanDisk is the most go-to option. The truth of the matter is that you won’t be stirred wrong if you pick any of the other well-known brands like Samsung, Lexar, Kingston, etc.
- At 200mps video shooting capacity and each raw photo averaging at about 45MBs, The Mavic 3’s camera generates a lot of data and thus requires quite a bit of size.
- A 64 GB capacity external storage is enough for a lot of people. But for purposes geared more towards professional work, the option to incrementally reach 256 GB of storage is always available.
- When considering the speed of a certain microSD card, there are two indicators.
- Read/Write Speed
- Mavic 3’s specs, like most newer drones, requires a speed of at least UHS-I U3, which is shown on the microSD card by a ‘U’ with a ‘3’ in it.
- Having a UHS-I speed class guarantees a minimum of 30MB/s read/write speeds (this figure is a minimum, and thus, UHS-I is capable of reaching much higher speeds)
- Video Speed
- This feature can be used to tell the microSD card’s minimum sustained write speeds.
- It is denoted by a ‘V’ with the speed next to it.
- V6, V10, and V30 are good enough for 1080p recording. V60 is best for 4K and V90 is for anything above.
- Application Performance Class
- MicroSD cards can either be A1 or A2. These indicate the speed at which the card can utilize randomly given inputs.
- A2 technology allows the card really high speeds (above 100MB/s)
- Read/Write Speed
When purchasing external storage, it should be a habit to buy a maximum of how much you’re willing to lose at once. That means if you want to buy a 128 GB microSD card, it’s better to buy two 64 GB microSD cards, if you want to buy a 256 GB microSD card, get two 128 GB microSD cards, etc. This is because it reduces the risk of losing larger data by distributing the storage device should something happen to the card or the drone.
What happens if an incompatible card is used?
If you choose to get a microSD card that is not on the list, it is highly recommended that you’re certain that the microSD card you’ve bought is compatible with the drone.
The consequences of using a microSD card that is not compatible with Mavic 3’s storage system range from annoyances like slowdowns, low-quality videos, and glitching videos, to more serious results like corrupted files, data loss, and even boot issues.
External SD Card Recommendations
SanDisk Extreme Pro
- Offered in a variety of storage options
- Very reliable, durable, and enduring
- DJI approved
- Offers higher-than-standard read/write speeds
Lexar Professional 1800x (and above)
- Lifetime warranty from the manufacturer
- Employs UHS-II technology, allowing read/write speeds that are high
- Because of its high capacities, it is excellent for those who work with intense video volumes
Samsung Evo Plus
- Comparatively fairer price
- Very secure
- Ten years warranty
- Reaches good read/write speeds (though not advertised speeds as those seem to be reserved for when using it with Samsung devices)