Mavic 3 Explore Mode Explained [video examples]

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The DJI Mavic 3 is one of DJI’s most powerful flagship drones. But, it comes with a range of camera options that can make it relatively confusing for a new pilot or a pilot that has just upgraded their drone to this serious beast. Explore mode is one of them.

The DJI Mavic 3 explore mode uses the tele (zoom) camera to capture images at up to 28x zoom. The zoom makes it perfect for scoping out your surroundings to better plan your shots and flight.

The Tele camera in the Mavic 3 has a ½-inch CMOS sensor capable of shooting 12-megapixel photos with an aperture of f/4.4.

When you switch the drone to explore mode, the camera can zoom up to 28x – far greater than any other DJI drone zoom capabilities.

This article will cover everything you need to know about exploring mode, including its use and some common problems with solutions.

What is explore mode on the Mavic 3?

Explore mode on the DJI Mavic 3 allows you to zoom into a scene at up to 28x using its Tele camera.

The DJI Mavic 3 has two cameras. It can capture incredible photos with its larger Hasselblad L2D-20c camera, capable of shooting 20-megapixel photos and up to 5.1 K 50 frames per second video.

And it can also capture zoomed images from 4x (when not in explore mode).

Entering explore mode can allow you to zoom in on a crazy level. Just check out this clip from PhillyDroneLife:

You can see that they can zoom in to an incredible level with their DJI Mavic 3 in explore mode.

How to use Explore mode on the Mavic 3

Using the explore mode on the Mavic 3 is very easy. It is as simple as selecting a fused software button option to change the camera mode, and then you can control the gimbal and camera of the Tele lens using the remote control hardware buttons.

Enter Shooting mode

To enter the explore mode, you must press the shooting mode software button shown as number eight on this image, highlighted with the red arrow.

Pressing this button allows you to select between different shooting modes including:

VideoNormal, explore, slow motion. In explore mode the icon shows the zoom ratio and you can tap to adjust the zoom. NOTE: The larger the zoom ratio the slower the aircraft will rotate.
PhotoSingle, explore, burst shooting, timed shot, AEB
Master shotsWhilst executing different manoeuvres in sequence
Quick shotsrocket, dronie, circle, helix, boomerang, and asteroid
HyperlapseChoose from free, circle, course lock, and waypoints
PanoChoose from sphere, 180°, wide angle, and vertical

When the explore mode has been selected, you can use the on-screen buttons to select the zoom and other camera features.

Controlling the gimbal and camera

When you are in explore mode on the Mavic 3 you can press and hold the customisable button to use the gimbal dial to adjust the zoom.

I prefer using this method to change the zoom of my shots as it is intuitive and allows me finer control with the flywheel than I can get using the on-screen software sliders.

I guess I must be a tactile person.

Turn off Mavic 3 explore mode

Turning off the Mavic 3 explore mode is very simple, and you can achieve it by pressing the same software button you used to enter the mode.

Select any other mode such as video, photo, Pano or any of the modes in the above table to leave explore mode.

Who is explore mode for?

Explore mode is a relatively new feature to the DJI ecosystem. DJI has only recently allowed 28 times to zoom in their Mavic 3 drone, which opens up a whole world of possibilities.

The high zoom will introduce a lot of noise into your photo. Therefore, it is not suitable for high-definition photography or publishing. However, there are many reasons why you may want to use it, including:

  • Surveying – if you want a qualitative look at an area without wasting battery flying towards it, you can zoom in on the areas of interest.
  • Framing – if you want to get an idea of how a photo will be framed without flying towards a subject you can use the zoom function.
  • Search – drones are quite often used to search for people and property. The zoom function will give you the ability to explore a wide area in high definition without having to move the drone as much.
  • Wildlife – wildlife can get very scared by the noise of a drone. Using the zoom function will allow you to get photos and videos of wildlife from a large distance.

You can see that explore mode can be very useful in a wide range of situations and, DJI Mavic 3 is the only drone that allows you to achieve insane levels of zoom.

 Explore mode troubleshooting on the Mavic 3

there are a few issues that can pop up with the DJI Mavic 3 explore mode, including being unable to leave explore mode.

You must also be aware of the limitations and changes in how the drone will behave in certain modes.

Features can become disabled

DJI is constantly trying to make your flight experience fun and safe.

The drone will rotate slower when in explore mode and in high levels of zoom. Therefore, if you want to move faster, you should return the zoom to 1X.

Also, note that FocusTrack is disabled in explore mode. Focus track includes features like Spotlight 2.0, point of interest 3.0, and ActiveTrack.

To access these modes, you will need to disable explore mode and enter another more compatible mode, such as a photo or video.

Zoom isn’t fluid

The DJI Mavic 3 changes between the two cameras at approximately 4x zoom.

This change in camera, unfortunately, results in a large jump between 4x and 7x.

The Tele camera starts at 7x before moving in increments up to 28x.

Should you want a smooth transition, you’ll have to be aware of this change and ensure you do not want to zoom in between 4x and 7x.

Stuck in explore mode

Sometimes people have noticed that their drone can get stuck in explore mode.

Ensure that you press the right software button to change the capture mode:

Alternatively, landing the drone and doing a Fly App reset is the best way to solve any issues related to the software operating on your smart device.

Wrapping up

This article has covered everything you need to know about DJI Mavic 3 explore mode and how to use it safely.

You can access it by pressing software buttons on the first-person video display. You can then adjust the zoom level to 28x using the on-screen buttons or the combination on the remote control.

The Author

Dr Andrew Stapleton is a Drone pilot, Writer and YouTuber with a PhD in science. His drone footage has been featured on TV (ABC Documentary) and he has written and/or produced videos for Science Alert, COSMOS magazine, and Australia's Science Channel among others. He has been a drone pilot for many years and has flown many types of drones.