Today, we're doing a complete, in-depth review of the new DJI Mini 3. Now all the footage that you see right now on the screen is coming directly out of the camera itself. So there's no editing or tweaking to that footage. It's straight out of the drone.
Now in this review, I'm going to cover everything that's new between the Mini 3 compared to the Mini 2. But I'm also going to briefly touch on the differences between the Mini 3 and the Mini 3 Pro. Because, while they share the same name and there are some similarities, there's also a bunch of differences.
But because there are so many differences there, I'm also going to have a separate video up in the corner here, in the next day or two, that dives into all the nuanced differences. All the little quirky things that the marketing site doesn't tell you.
Also, apologize; my voice is a bit rough today. Just kind of wrapping up a bit of a cold here. So with that, let's just dive straight into it.
Three offerings of the DJI Mini 3
Now there are three basic ways you can buy this drone the first is just the drone itself.
So if you have an existing controller, either the DJI RC or the RC-N1 from the last couple years, then you don't need to buy a controller, and you can save some money.
The next way is with this DJI RC-N1 in that case you've got this you put your phone on the top of it in a little slot right there and you're good to go.
And the third way you can buy it is with the DJ RC. Now, in this case, this RC is a fully self-contained controller. As you can see right there you have a screen on it, and it can basically run the version of Android.
It's relatively similar to the smart control or the DJI RC Pro of years past.
DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo
Now within those three categories of no controller this controller or that controller, you've also got the ability to get the Fly More Combo.
Now the Fly More Combo essentially comes with a couple extra batteries and there's a battery charging bank.
This is arguably the best battery bank the DJI has done ever. They've done a lot of banks like every drone gets a ridiculous new battery style.
This one is awesome. USB-C charging there you also got a regular USB-A port, so you can charge up the controller by just plugging in the side of it.
And then the three batteries just slide in and they lock. So you can throw this in a bag with a battery bank or whatever the case may be, and kind of top them off as you go.
Now there is one battery in the drone itself. And then you get two additional batteries. However, while I said there was a Fly More Combo, there's also Fly More Combo Plus in certain regions. Europe is not one of the regions.
And in the Fly More Combo Kit Plus, you get the bigger batteries. So these bigger batteries are the same physical size, but they have much longer battery life. I'll talk about that in just a second.
DJI Mini 3 versus Mini 2
The first thing is a camera bump, in a good way by the way. So first off the sensor size has increased from 1/2.3 inches to 1/1.3 inches. which, I know, sounds smaller, but it's actually bigger the way cameras work.
And they've also gone from an F/2.8 down to an F/1.7, and that's a huge deal for low-light performance in particular.
DJI Mini 3 versus Mini 3 Pro
Next, they've increased the quality from 4K to 4K HDR, though you don't have any of the options for things like the Cine Profile, that you do on the Mini 3 Pro.
And then from a frame rate standpoint, I've tossed those on the screen, more or less the same as a Mini 2.
The main difference here between the Mini 3 and the Mini 3 Pro is, there's no 60 frames per second in 4k, like there is on the Mini 3 Pro. And there's no 120 frames per second in 1080p. like there is my Mini 3 Pro as well.
True vertical shooting with the DJI Mini 3
Now well the intros of the camera have been upgraded I think actually the bigger deal is the externals of the camera in particular to the new gimbal style.
The gimbal and the camera setup is the same as on the Mini 3 Pro and with that allows true vertical shooting.
The entire camera lens will rotate 90 degrees and allows you to shoot natively in that vertical format.
That's notable because, while you can certainly make a vertical crop out of a horizontal picture the reality is that's just simply not the same.
The other thing that this new gimbal allows you to do is to go upwards to 60 degrees versus previously is limited to 20 degrees.
While, I don't tend to use the ability to shoot all the way up to 60 degrees a lot, there are certainly some cool shots you can do with that. Especially on like tall buildings or structures that may be towering above you.
The last thing to note is that the quick shots feature has been updated to allow vertical shooting. You can see that right here, where I shot this lighthouse. In the quick shots mode doing an orbit around it. That's all natively done in the vertical shooting mode, in Quick Shots.
Okay, in a quick note if you're finding this video and share useful that was an awesome time to whack that like button. It really does help with this video channel quite a bit.
DJI Mini 3 battery life and flight time
Next, there's both the change in the batteries and an increase in battery life. With the base batteries, you go from 31 minutes up to 38 minutes.
However, with the plus batteries in the regions that support that, you go up to 51 minutes. Which is actually more than the Mini 3 Pro, just by like three minutes or so.
No obstacle avoidance on the DJI Mini 3 Pro
Likely because you're not powering those obstacle avoidance sensors on the Mini 3 Pro. Which is a good thing to note there is no obstacle avoidance sensors on the Mini 3 base.
No Active Track on the DJI Mini 3
As a result of that, it doesn't have Active Track either. Still, Active Track components are actually built into the Quick Shots feature.
See this right here, where I'm using one of the Quick Shot options to actively track me as I'm riding along.
Now, this is the same as a Mini 1 (Mavic Mini) and the Mini 2 and I've actually done full videos on how to create these exact same shots.
I'll put one of them up in the corner there, and I'll probably reshoot it on the Mini 3 as well.
But again, it's the exact same feature. Just, leveraging the Quick Shot functionality, and this is completely automated. What you're seeing right there. I am not touching the controller at all it is simply doing its own thing.
DJI Mini 3 weighs less than 250 grams
Now, as I noted earlier on the Plus Battery, that's the one that does not have the weight printed on it, right there.
So you see, Plus has no weight. The regular battery has the weight printed on it, so that way when it's in the aircraft it shows that it's a sub-250-gram aircraft, because that is a core thing with the entire DJI Mini series to keep it under 250 grams. Which is really notable for certain regulatory bodies in terms of regulations and licenses and stuff like that.
Which is why this battery is not actually offered in Europe. DJI says that by having this battery, it puts it over the weight limit. And it does, it puts it about 287 grams versus roughly 246 grams of the regular battery.
Still, that doesn't really make sense to me because obviously, they sell plenty of other aircraft that are above that weight limit. And they still sell those even though they require additional licensing in Europe.
Nonetheless, if you travel to somewhere like the US you can buy the Plus size batteries, and you can bring them back to Europe and fly them quite legally, as long as you have the right license to do so.
There's nothing in the aircraft stopping you from doing that, and it works just fine. I've done it myself just fine. So that is at least nice to know now.
Obstacle avoidance sensors on the DJI Mini 3
Now next, one thing this does not have is those obstacle avoidance sensors, like I mentioned.
So if we look on the Mini 3 Pro on the top right here you have those two sensors that are forward-facing.
Those are also two sensors right there, that are backwards facing, so it doesn't run into trees or forward and trees.
And even on the bottom, there are two additional sensors used for obstacle avoidance.
This is in addition to the single set of downward-facing sensors right there that the Mini 3 base has. And that's primarily just to keep it from hitting the ground when it lands.
So, they're simply ground proximity sensors. They're not actually obstacle avoidance sensors like you see on the Mini 3 Pro.
Similarities between the DJI Mini 3 Pro and the non-Pro version
Now, let's talk through a quick list of what has not changed. What's still in this drone, because I think that's super important.
Number one, it still has Quick Shot modes as you can see right here.
Quick Shot modes are a set of series automated drone moves. Basically, they make it easy to get really complicated shots with a single tap of the button.
In this case, I selected a boat, but it could be a person a tree a building or whatever it may be. And now it's going off and doing and grabbing this particular shot.
This happens to be in orbit. A little more challenging, given the wind and the boat speed, but it's slowly getting there.
Number two, obviously, it's still under 250 grams as long as you have the base battery.
How does the DJI Mini 3 withstand the wind?
Number three, it still is a pretty high wind resistance level 24 miles per hour. 38 kilometers per hour is the official spec.
In reality, you can go above that. I've tested the Mini 3, the Mini 2, the Mini 1, the Spark. All these drones in higher winds than that.
In fact, this very drone right here was about two days ago in 50-kilometer-hour winds, over water. Zero problems at all. And either control and of course, the imagery from that looked pretty stunning too.
DJI MIni 3 shoots RAW
Also, in the list, it still has all the same photo modes as in the past. So it's got still shots at both jpeg as well as raw.
You can do timer mode. So basically, every two seconds, five seconds, whatever the case may be.
You can do auto-exposure bracketing, where it shoots a bunch of different photos at once in different brackets.
And you can do panoramas both 360, 180, and wide shots, and then it just simply stitches those all together after the fact.
How to fly the DJI Mini 3?
So with that, we'll just talk through a simple flight outside is going to unfold the arms just like this to get it all expanded.
Out blocks in place, and then you just press this button here once and then long hold to go ahead and turn it on.
The same is true for the remote control. You'll press it once there and then long hold to turn it on.
In all the flights I did, it took generally between 25 and like 40 seconds or so so for the fine GPS, which is about where I want it to be. Pretty quick and easy.
It uses GPS both in the air as well as to set the Home Point. In case the drone loses connectivity, it'll know where to fly back to and automatically land.
And when it does the automatic landing, again, it uses those sensors on the bottom of the drone. Those two right there.
To go ahead and basically ensure it doesn't, like, plummet into the ground and cause any damage.
Now taking off is pretty easy. You have to press the button on the side right there to go ahead and take off.
Or you can bring the sticks in like this, and that'll go ahead and start the props as you see right there.
There we go. Stop that before I hurt myself. Anyways, with the drone up in the air, you're gonna start flying around.
Photo and video modes on the DJI Mini 3
Now, on the right-hand side of the screen, you've got basically a panel for controlling different photo and video modes.
There's essentially two kinds of categories of stuff. Video stuff and photo stuff.
So in the video stuff, for example, in the lower right-hand corner, you can change the resolution, and that's noble, because by default it probably is not going to be the highest settings.
So you can tap that, for example, and change the resolution as well as the frame rate.
Now that's notable, especially if you go to the Quick Shots menu because the very first time you go into the quick shots menu, it'll bring that back down to 1080p. So make sure you pop it up to 4K. It'll stay there for all future shots.
Now in terms of just shooting regular video, you can tap the record button to get on going, but you'll also see next to that the ability to rotate the gimbal.
Let's go ahead and put it into vertical shooting mode from horizontal shooting mode.
Below that is the ability to zoom in this is a digital crop. So it's basically just taking that 4K frame and then cropping it into, what is effectively a 1080p image.
Still, it works pretty good, in some cases. You can see right here where I've got a full wide shot, and then I crop in.
And the case of YouTube, if you're watching this on your phone in 1080p, you probably don't notice the resolution or the quality difference at all.
It still records the file as 4K, but ultimately it is a bit of a cropped-in image. I find it handy, though. From time to time, I just want to do something very quickly and not have to deal with it in post-production.
Next, if we switch over to the photo modes, you can see I can take photos there again just like before with choosing a 4K resolution.
You do want to make sure that if you want those raw images after the fact that down the bottom there, you choose a format and choose jpeg plus raw.
Otherwise, you'll just get the jpegs. Which is fine but again if you went out and shot some amazing shots and got back and they're like oh I wish I had the raw images, so I could tweak them a bit better in photo apps.
Well, at least make sure you do that before you get going.
Change the DJI Mini 3 up to Pro
Speaking of tweaking, down at the very bottom there, there's the option to go ahead where it says auto? Change that to Pro. And this is true of both the video and the photo side.
It allows you to tweak things like the white balance, the shutter speed, the ISO, the f-stop, etc. All are offered right there.
The core difference between the Mini 3 and the Mini 3 Pro from a photo standpoint is a lack of a 48-megapixel photo. This just pops out a 12-megapixel.
Still, I'm getting great photos from it. You can see some of these shots right here on the screen. These are all just straight out of the Drone Photos.
No tweaking. Nothing else. All in auto mode, by the way. And so again, seeing some pretty good results there.
DJI Mini 3 streams 720p with Ocusync 2.0
Now, there is one area, however, that I do notice a quality difference between the Mini 3 and the Mini 3 Pro, and that is on the controller itself.
So the very first flight, I went out my wife and I were side by side with both drones then looking at two controllers, and I'm like this just seems a little bit softer.
The image on this seems softer, and the reason is that the Mini 3 base has the DJI slightly older transmission technology.
And within that, it tops out at 720p stream from the drone to the controller.
It's still recording at 4k on the drone, but on the controller itself, you're only seeing a 720p stream from the drone as opposed to the 1080p stream on the Mini 3 Pro.
In reality, on the SD cards, it's just as sharp side by side. Again look at these two images side by side between the drones and you can see they're virtually identical as best I can get them.
And I don't think like that should be a singular reason why you go for the Mini 3 or the Mini 3 Pro.
It's just like one interesting little difference I noticed when you are having them side by side. To go, oh, it looks just a little bit softer on this particular controller.
DJI Mini 3 transmission range
Which then gets you just general transmission range uh in my case, because I live in Europe and all my testing this time around is in here, I'm already limited on range.
I'll put the official specs on the screen right now, but in reality, you're kind of nowhere near that.
In my testing, I have a DJI RC with the Mini 3 base, and I was like 1000 meters, give or take, before I started seeing some signal degradation issues.
This is over water with nothing in between me on a relatively clear day. I personally don't have much of a reason to fly drones beyond that range.
From like a Legal standpoint or anything else, but if you do that may be something to consider.
Most people have had better results with this controller (RC-N1) versus this one for range reasons, but again my testing is under EU or CE rules, which reduces the power from a transmission standpoint.
If you were in the US or other Countries that followed basically the US side of the rules, then you get longer transmission.
This is automatically switched in the controller in the drone itself based on the GPS location you're at that point in time.
There are no separate versions of the drone from like the US versus Europe.
It's all the same drone. All the same hardware. You're just simply unlocked based on the GPS location at that exact point in time.
Meaning if I take this drone and fly across the ocean to America, then in that case, I get the full range as any other drone in the US.
DJI Mini 3 battery life and performance
And then, finally what about battery life and performance? Well, it's going like snow today and it's been really cold all week. Which is the worst possible scenario for testing battery life.
All of DJI's battery life claims are done indoors, in a lab environment at room temperature in a wind tunnel where they're basically flying forward at a certain, you know, speed.
Because it's actually more efficient to fly forward than to hover. So, I don't have a good way to test that.
I would say, obviously it's winter right now and I would mostly in windy conditions so my battery life is a lot less.
If I look though where the Mini 3 Pro battery life has been for the last nine months or so of me using it I'd say you're looking about 80 percent of their total claimed range.
So, for example, if I have the Plus Battery which claims at like 45 or so minutes on the Mini 3 Pro I get like 35 to 38 minutes give or take on a flight.
DJI Mini 3 pricing information and conclusion
Okay, so where do they stand overall with the Mini 3?
Well, for the price for the drone itself, it's a solid deal. It's got a bunch of amazing features in it and it really ups the game. Especially in the battery life realm.
I have no, like real complaints about this drone. It's pretty good.
The one thing when it comes to recommendations though, is that, I would largely recommend that you just spend the extra money now for the Mini 3 Pro. The extra 220 bucks if you can make that work.
And the reason, as I mentioned earlier on is the obstacle avoidance sensors in particular, will probably save you that money longer term from like crashing into things if you're brand new to drones.
If, however, you've already got something like the DJI Mavic 3 and other drones and you just want a sub 250-gram drone for like kind of fit into your overall portfolio of drones in your house, then in that case, this probably makes a bit of sense if you have that flying experience and can avoid, you know, slamming into the side of your house on your first drone flight.
I love the DJI RC for the DJI Mini 3
And then, when it comes to the controller side of it. I have absolutely loved the DJI RC over the last nine months with the Mini 3 Pro.
I use it as my daily everything, for example, this past summer I went on an eight-day hike with it. 180 kilometers. And I just took basically these two things. That's it.
And the reason why is that everything is then self-contained. I don't depend on anything on my phone. I just know it all works as a single package here, the batteries are there. I don't have to deal with anything else it's just like an easy button for me.
I should soon have a full beginner's guide, as well as a complete comparison between these two drones, a side by side, including all those nuanced differences. There's there's a lot of them, that are in there.
With that, have a good one. Thank you!
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