Okay, so this is kind of like a quick and jumbled review of the Mini 3 Pro here, but it's also a rant that's fueled by two recent drone repairs that I needed to make.
The first was my Mavic 3 Cine, which had a messed up gimbal that progressively worsened after an unfortunate crash into a tree. Luckily, it flew into that tree, and just kind of sat there at the top. This involved a really fun rescue mission, which is definitely a story for a video.
Anyway, after that incident, the horizon was never straight, and the internal lock that holds the camera in place was broken, so it would never actually disengage. When I started the drone up, I had to manually unlock the gimbal before starting the drone so it would work properly.
The next incident was on a drone job where I was using my Air 2S, and I also crashed that into a tree. I was making a rotation. I got the drone stuck between some branches. I tried to maneuver my way out but quickly hit a branch that led to a 75-foot tumble and ultimately resulted in a broken arm and gimbal.
The Air 2S crash is probably what gets to me the most because I was using it on a job where I was only making a couple of hundred dollars, photographing some empty land.
So, therefore, the money I was making on that shoot then needed to go directly into fixing the drone that I used for that same shoot.
So basically, I was making no money for my time during that day. Yes, this is the cost of the business, but in the moment, it made me realize why am I using these expensive drones on everyday jobs, when I could be using something that is much less expensive and will get the job done just as well?
The DJI Mini 3 Pro is all the drone you'll need
The drone I'm talking about is, of course, the Mini 3 Pro, which is so good that it actually makes me question whether or not the Air 2S or the Mavic 3 are worth it. Like pound for pound, dollar for dollar, the Mini 3 Pro is by far the champion for its size, weight, specifications, and price.
At the end of the day, when you purchase a camera drone, it all comes down to the image quality of the photos and videos that that drone is able to capture with the camera on board.
Of course, there are a lot of other important factors like the speed, the build, the flight time, the range, and the transmission system. There's a lot that goes into making a really good drone, but at the end of the day, you're using that drone to take photos and videos. That is its main purpose. So the image quality really is important, and that's why DJI makes so many different versions of these drones so that you can choose which suits you best based on size, price-point, and camera.
Bigger drones have better cameras
So, for example, smaller drones have the more inferior cameras. While the larger drones have the better cameras because they can carry heavier payloads, but with those bigger drones comes a higher price tag.
So these are the 3 drones that makeup DJI's, foldable lineup of drones. Currently. Right now. Now I'm not even gonna try and get around to the fact that the Mavic 3 has the best camera, and that's because it should.
It's DJI's highest-end professional foldable drone with a four-thirds sensor. And even though on paper the photo resolution is on par with the Air 2S and technically less than the Mini 3 Pro, the overall image is far better with greater depth, more clarity, better dynamic range.
I mean the Mavic 3 photos just have a look and feel to them that make them my favorite to work with in post, thus resulting in my favorite-looking images.
The same thing is true for video. The dynamic range on the Mavic 3 makes the image look so natural right from the camera and the wider 5.1 K aspect ratio makes it easy to shoot epic cinematic video with an unreal amount of detail.
If I was going on a trip and I wanted to bring my best drone with the best technology and the best image quality to get the overall best results, the Mavic 3 is my go-to every day of the week.
That's why all the travel blogs you've seen on my channel in the past year have been filmed with this drone. The video quality is just unbeatable. With that said, let me stop gushing over the Mavic 3 and get to my point.
The video quality from the Mini 3 pro is damn good. Like to the point where when shooting with it, I never wished myself, man, I really wish I used my Mavic 3 for these clips and think about it. I just went on for minutes raving about the Mavic 3 camera. So to come to the conclusion, that the Mini 3 pro capture clips that are just as good for my use case is definitely saying.
That last sentence is really important. You need to understand your use case to figure out what drone is going to suit you best. For example, if you are frequently contracting out to capture aerial video for, say, high-budget films, short films, or maybe even TV shows, then the Mavic 3 Cine or the Inspire 2 are probably gonna be more up your alley.
If instead, you find yourself falling in the category of the other, like 97% of drone pilots, you're probably using your drone for social media, content creation, landscape shooting, cityscape, shooting, real estate, construction, hyper lapses, literally anyone else that the Mini 3 Pro is all the drone that you need.
What makes a good drone?
Like, let's think about all the things that we need to make a good drone. You want it to be portable. You want it to have a great camera. You want it to have great specs with a long flight time. You want it to be quiet so you aren't making a scene. You want it to have an awesome transmission system so you don't lose signal and can fly far away.
You want it to have a good controller with good flight characteristics and o what meets literally every single one of those categories, the Mini 3 Pro.
It always seemed like DJI's Mini drones had one little reason to keep me continuing to reach for my larger drones. The Mini 1, for example, didn't shoot raw photos or 4K videos. The Mini 2 lacked obstacle avoidance and retained this tiny toyish design.
The Mini 3 Pro, on the other hand, though, is a completely revamped aircraft that feels so much more substantial in every way to build quality. The performance in the air, the images that come from the camera. Literally, everything has been upgraded to make this a much more robust drone. And the specs onboard speak for themselves.
Now, I'm going to do my best to break down everything that the Mini 3 Pro has to offer, but if you want a more in-depth look at this drone. I'd highly recommend another great resource by Pilot Institute. They have a complete deep dive on the Mini 3 Pro, and it is completely free.
They have a full library of other free content as well, like deep dives on some of the most popular drones. These deep dives complement their paid courses, like their best-selling Part 107 course to help you pass your exam for your commercial drone license, a general photo and video masterclass to help you improve your shooting skills.
And I've even got my own course where I teach the fundamentals of real estate photography and videography for anyone that's looking to get into the business.
They often run really great sales, like the current holiday pricing, so be sure to click the link in the description if you're interested in learning more about how to become a better real estate photographer and videographer.
Or if you wanna check out all the other great content they have to offer, like that Mini 3 Pro deep dive, which again is entirely free.
DJI Mini 3 Pro has a 47-minute flight time
So getting back on track here, in my opinion, the most impressive thing about the Mini 3 Pro is its flight time of 47 minutes with the extended battery.
There are often times when I'm out shooting at a location, and I end up landing my drone before I run out of power because I've captured everything that I needed to. I can also capture longer hyperlapses over a longer distance because of this extended battery.
I'm also kind of shocked that DJI decided to put O3 or OcuSync 3, their best transmission system here, into this drone, giving it seven and a half miles of range.
Typically, DJII will use an older transmission system with drones lower in their lineup to kind of help separate the lowest-end offering from the highest-end offering that makes up their entire drone lineup.
But the Mini 3 Pro rewrites that notion as it has DJI's highest and best transmission system available. Right now being O3. So that means no matter if you wanna fly thousands of feet out over the water and capture photos of a lighthouse, or if you wanna keep it close to you just to take photos of things that are nearby, you're gonna get a flawless signal.
Now, speaking of transmission systems, the Mini 3 Pro is also compatible with all 3 of the current DJI remotes available.
The stock RC-N1 Remote Controller, the mid-tier DJI RC with the built-in screen, and the highest-end RC Pro, with a brighter built-in screen.
No matter what your budget or preference of remote is, you can find one that suits your needs to be used with this drone. All of them have awesome ergonomics and lead to an awesome overall flight experience.
Much like the transmission system, the camera is an area where DJI will typically limit their drones again, that kind, of fall lower in their lineup, just to make those higher-end offerings seem more favorable.
Shoot vertically with the Mini 3 Pro
But I would say it's actually been quite the opposite with the Mini 3 Pro, as this camera can actually do some things that other drones in their lineup can't do.
For example, the biggest feature that this drone's camera offers is the ability to rotate vertically, to capture portrait photos and videos, which are great for sharing on social media sites.
This aspect ratio fits the screen of your phone, which is where most people consume content. So, being able to shoot natively in that aspect or ratio is a big plus.
The specs of the camera itself are great too, with the ability to capture super detailed 40-megapixel photos. You can also capture a video in 4K at 60 frames per second, which just kind of seems to be the standard now. Whether the camera is on a smartphone, a drone, if it's an action camera, or a mirrorless camera, 4K/60 is that sweet spot.
I've shared some images from this drone earlier in this. In previous videos and over on my Instagram, and this is really where the Mini 3 Pro can speak for itself.
Those specs are great to read to understand what your drone is capable of, but actually looking at the photos and videos that it captures will help you understand why the drone is so powerful.
I'll leave a few sample clips down below for you to download from Dropbox, so then you can see just how great these clips are for yourself right off of the SD card.
As a product of the camera rotating vertically, it's now been mounted onto the drone in a much different way. This leaves a lot of room above the camera as it's mounted to these sides instead of to the top side of the drone. This is important because it'll allow the camera to pitch upwards during flight, giving you a lot of flexibility.
Probably one of this drone's biggest strengths is its size, which makes everything that we just discussed seem even more insane.
The fact that they were able to fit that much flight time with this good of a camera, with the O3 transmission system inside of a drone of this size, seems downright impossible. I mean, this drone is smaller than the controller that you use to fly it.
It's pretty obvious that this means transporting this drone is incredibly easy. I mean, the drone itself, a remote, and some extra batteries barely takes up any room at all. This entire kit here can fit into a fairly small pocket or section of your backpack.
I remember the days when you would need a special backpack just to carry the drone, but now you have something that is better in every way and is a fraction of the size. It's really, truly amazing.
Now, this small size also means that the Mini 3 is very quiet. I mean, no matter the circumstances, when you get this drone a hundred feet away, there is no shot that you're going to hear it. Which is a good thing because I hate going to a crowded place, taking off my drone, and attracting a scene. This drone is tiny and keeps the noise level down, which is a huge plus.
Now, the final point that I want to bring up here in this video is the flight characteristics of the Mini 3 Pro. But by this point, I feel like I don't even need to bring this up in my videos.
The reason I say this is because all DJI's drones, no matter where they sit in their lineup or how expensive they are, fly amazing The handling, the performance, the speed, and everything in the air feels effortless, which is exactly how you want it to be.
I can honestly say that despite being DJI's less expensive drone because it's one of their newest, it is one of their best-flying drones because it's using the newest software and algorithms to deliver the best flight experience possible.
So fueled by my rant, here is my conclusion. I think that 99% of the things that 99% of the people buying drones need to accomplish can be handled with the Mini 3 Pro and then some.
I think that this drone can actually overdeliver on what you need from a drone. For example, being able to capture 40-megapixel images on this drone can sometimes be overkill.
Sometimes I like dealing with the smaller file sizes, and I'll just end up capturing photos at 12 megapixels because it's easier to deal with that smaller file size. So that's kind of an area where this drone over-delivers.
Also, look at the flight time, 47 minutes. Again, there are times when I'm doing a drone job, and I can just use half or a quarter of the battery and get everything I need to.
So it over-delivers in that regard as well. And the final thing I wanna bring up is the range on this drone. I mean, how often are you going to take advantage of the full range that O3 delivers? Probably never, but what's great about that is it gives you a nice, strong signal at those closer distances so that you get a better overall flight experience.
And for those reasons and more, I really have a hard time recommending the Air 2S or the Mavic 3 because the Mini 3 Pro does so much. Especially for the price.
So with that being said, after having crashed two of my more expensive drones and having to pay to fix them, my go-to drone that I've been reaching for on the daily is the Mini 3 Pro.
Even this home right here that I captured for a client of mine, which I also featured in my previous video, was listed at 3.2 million. And despite it having a very high asking price and being a luxury property, I still chose to use my Mini 3 Pro, which allowed me to get creative, fly low around obstacles, and overall capture some amazing clips that are completely usable.
Like in that case, nobody watched that video and was like, Ugh, He used the Mini 3 Pro to capture this video. Why would he? No, nobody said that. The video looked great. It got the job done, and guess what? I didn't need to risk my $5,000 Mavic 3 Cine. Instead, I could use my tiny Mini 3 pro, which got me great results.
When a larger drone might be more beneficial than the Mini 3 Pro
Now, with that said, because I own multiple drones, there are some scenarios where I would reach for a larger, more substantial drone. It's not to say that the Mini 3 Pro wouldn't be able to fare in these scenarios, but this is just where like I'd say, having a larger drone would be more beneficial.
So, for example, if I'm flying on a windy day, having a bigger drone can just handle that wind a little bit better. Uh, also, if I was say, capturing photos or videos of a really large property for sale.
Like, recently, over the summer, I was taking photographs of a 300-acre farm. In that regard, I went with my Mavic 3 Cine because it was faster and let me get from point A to point B in a more timely fashion so I could get the job done and move on to my next one. The Mini 3 Pro could, of course, handle it. It could make it around the farm. It could take great photographs, but again, it just helped me get the job done faster, being able to use a larger, more substantial drone.
I also think I'd probably use my Mavic 3 in favor of the Mini 3 if I'm down at the shore, just because it can get windy down there. Sometimes flying out over the water, the wind really picks up. So again, I'd probably use a larger, more substantial drone in that scenario.
If I'm on a construction site, I might also use a larger drone just because it kind of fits that narrative. Like having a larger drone on a big construction site and those construction sites sometimes can be big. So using a big drone that's faster could be more helpful to kind of around and take your images.
And the final reason would just be to like impress somebody, right? Like if I was meeting a client for the first time, I'd probably be bring a bigger drone and fly that drone rather than this little thing. Because to them they don't fly drones. They probably look at this and think this is a toy, but they see a bigger drone and they kind of will equate that to more quality.
Um, yeah. So the Mini 3 Pro, all you need in my opinion. Great little drone, does awesome. I can't believe that DJI would release a drone that is so low in their lineup at the very bottom. That is so good. I mean, again, it's pushing on the heels of the Air 2S and the Mavic 3, and to me, it just honestly doesn't make sense why they made it so good, but hey, they did. It's priced well. And it can get the job done for you no matter what you need to do.
Anyway, thank you guys so much for watching. Let me know your thoughts on the Mini 3 Pro down to the comment section below, and as always, I'll talk to you later.
Photos courtesy of Billy Kyle.
Stay in touch!
Get your Part 107 Certificate
Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.
Copyright © DroneXL.co 2023. All rights reserved. The content, images, and intellectual property on this website are protected by copyright law. Reproduction or distribution of any material without prior written permission from DroneXL.co is strictly prohibited. For permissions and inquiries, please contact us here.
FTC: DroneXL.co is an Amazon Associate and uses affiliate links that can generate income from qualifying purchases. We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email.