Hey folks, today I’ve got 17+ differences between the DJI Mini 3 and the Mini 3 Pro. While these two drones share the same name, the reality is that there’s actually quite a bit of difference between them. Now in this video, I’m going to focus exclusively on those differences.
I have a full, in-depth review, up in the corner there, of both of these units by themselves, but this is all about how they differ from each other.
First off, though just very briefly, here are all the ways they are the same. On one single screen, because I don’t really want to go through all these one by one, but all these things are the exact same on both drones.
Instead, it’s the other 17 things, that we’ll talk about, that are different.
Price difference between the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro
First off though, before we get to those 17 things, that number zero, which is the price.
The price of the Mini 3 base unit is $469, versus the Mini 3 Pro base unit is $669. Those are without the remote controls. So basically a $200 difference. And then you can get two different remote controls for both units.
So, you’ve got the DJI RC-N1. In this one, you take your phone, you stick it up top like there pretty straightforward. And then in the other one here, the DJI RC. The entire thing is built-in, so you don’t need anything else with it.
This is my personal preference just because, Like, it just works. It just works, and the factory quality is super high. And since I don’t deal with my phone at all, I’m pretty happy with this.
Mini 3 lacks obstacle avoidance sensors
Now, starting off, with the very first difference right here, it is the lack of obstacle avoidance sensors. So we’ve got these two drones side by side right here, you see on the Mini 3 Pro on this side you’ve got the optical avoidance sensors on the front.
Those two, right there. This here is just simply like fan grates. That’s all that is.
And then, on the back, here, the rearward-facing ones are actually built into the back. So these two there face rearward so it avoids obstacles going backward. And then, on the bottom here, there are also downward obstacle avoidance sensors.
They’re not really so much for obstacle avoidance but more about keeping the drone over a spot of land. So they’re basically image recognition, and they keep it over the exact same spot.
Both drones do have ground detection technology. These two dots right there that helps it figure out how high above the ground it is. So when it lands automatically, it doesn’t like plunk into it and kill your drone.
No Active Track on the Mini 3
Now, the reason why these obstacle avoidance sensors matter is obviously to avoid obstacles, but they also matter for the next item, which is the lack of Active Track.
So, with the DJI Mini 3 Pro, you get Active Track. That’s the ability to go ahead and choose something, for example a runner, a cyclist, whatever you want. A car, or a boat, you name it, you choose the item on the screen, and the drone will actually fly behind you, going along its merry way.
And then you use those optical avoidance sensors to again try to avoid hitting trees and whatever else the case may be. Now that does not mean that there’s no Active Track technology at all in the Mini 3 base.
To be clear there is no Active Track function here but you can use the quick shots feature for that for small short durations, about 15 to 30 seconds.
So, if you look right here, this is what the Mini 3 base unit – I just filmed this a couple of days ago – in this case, I am on my bike, and I’ve tapped myself on the screen it recognizes me as an object I choose that, and then in the Quick Shots menu, I’m choosing one of the five different Quick Shot options.
Now, in this case, it’s the dronie, so it’s going to basically slowly pull back like this up and away from me, and then as it does that it’s going to actually track me with the camera.
And this is kind of the cool little hack to this. So in this case I’m going to keep on pedaling, and it’s going to simply follow me the entire time. Which is a pretty nice way to do this you can see it keeps on going and going and going and it actually kept me the entire time.
Now, reality check, the downside of this was like one of 12 attempts to get this to work right. It takes a lot of practice if you’re going faster. If you’re just walking and running, it’ll work virtually every single time perfectly. But there’s a lot of nuance to this.
I’ve got an entire video on how to do this on the Mini 1, the Mini 2, and probably soon on the Mini 3 up in the corner there.
No Spotlight and Point of Interest for the Mini 3
Now the next item on the list is in addition to no action track modes. There are no Spotlight modes or POI modes.
Those use the same underlying technology and what that allows you to do is to go ahead and choose an object for example windmill or whatever the case may be.
And what the drone will do is that the camera and the gimbal will stay locked on that object will you fly the Drone around it. So, you can fly whatever the heck you want, and up down left right you name it, and it’s going to keep focused on that particular object.
That object can also be moving as well so again a boat or a person or whatever the case may be. So it’s essentially kind of like the opposite of Active Track. In this case, it’s not flying the drone. it’s you flying the drone, and it like flies the camera if that keeps the camera focused. It’s why it’s called Focus Track.
Now speaking of keeping yourself focused. If you’re finding this video instantly useful this is a great time to whack that like button in the bottom there it really does help out this video and the channel quite a bit.
The DJI Mini 3 does not have Master Shots
Now the next item on my list is the lack of Master Shots. So what Master shots does on the Mini 3 Pro is it takes all of those skills from the Quick Shots area, and it basically rolls them together into giving you a giant b-roll compilation. I think this is one of the most misunderstood things out there in the entire DJI series.
Master Shots isn’t something you’re just going to give this like 30 seconds to two-and-a-half-minute-long clip to someone and say; here watch this two-minute boring clip of this windmill for two and a half to three minutes.
Instead, the real key is to use those shots that it creates and it creates almost a dozen different shots for you they’re all perfect.
They’re all focused on the subject and then roll them into whatever project that you have. So again, now you’ve got all these little slices that are basically an entire b-roll done in three minutes. And the Mini 3 base unit does not have that.
Now the next three items are all related to each other, so I’m going to kind of iterate through them.
First off, there is no ability to change a color profile. So on the Mini 3 Pro, you can go from normal to D-Cine.
Like, that’s if you want to grade the color afterward, and the reason why that matters is that you cannot go to 10-bit recording on the Mini 3 base unit.
So the Mini 3 Pro if you’re in a D-Cine. Like with that mode enabled, you’ll get automatic 10-bit recording, versus the Mini 3 base doesn’t have that option.
And then, finally, tied into that same settings pane is the ability to go from h.264 to h.265 or back, depending on what you want.
Practically speaking, I don’t think that really matters too much in 2022. Look if you’re buying one of these drones and your computer, sorry drone, can’t handle h.265, which has been out for almost a decade now, you probably shouldn’t be buying this drone. First, focus on a different computer, a different phone, a different whatever the case is.
Now the next item on the list here is that the frame rates are slightly different. So in the case of the Mini 3 Pro, you can get up to 4K at 60 frames per second, and in the case of the Mini 3 base, it tops out at 4K at 30 frames per second.
And the same is true when you look at some of the slow-motion modes. So, in that case, the Mini 3 base tops out at 60 frames per second in either 2.7 K or 1080p, whereas a Mini 3 Pro goes all the way up to 120 frames per second in 1080p.
And now, of course, you are taking a bit of a resolution hit for that, but you do get that 120 frames per second. You can see an example of it right here. Just doing like waves or whatever the heck I decided my example to be. Again this is something that I would not let this particular item be the deciding factor for you. I very rarely use 120 frames per second in drones I use it more in action cameras but not so much in my drone usage.
Next, we see similar limitations on the photo side. So in the case of photography, you have all the base same resolutions, however, you do not have a dedicated 48-megapixel option on the mini 3 base, like you do on the mini 3 Pro.
Now there are plenty of debates on whether or not it’s actually a true 48-megapixel option or a megapixel photo. And that’s something that you could spend a lot of time talking about. But the point of the matter is, that when it comes to the menus, there is no option for that on the Mini 3 base.
Now, likewise, there’s also no option for burst photos on the mini 3 base like there is on the mini 3 Pro. So the ability to take a whole bunch of photos over a very short period of time is ideal primarily in sports kind of photography.
Maybe something going off a giant ski jump. And you want to you want to do that, that’s certainly there. But again, I think most people these days would probably go towards using simply just the resolution at a higher frame rate and then capturing the stills from that.
There’s obviously differences there, but that’s where most people tend to be. But it is worthwhile noting, though that in that case if you do that you’re not going to get raw images. And both drones do shoot raw imagery so you can use the raw images from virtually all the different modes if you want to both current jpeg as well as raw.
Hyperlapse is absent on the Mini 3 camera drone
Now the next feature is combining both video and photos, which is hyperlapse. And that is not offered on the mini 3 base, but is the Mini 3 Pro.
The idea behind a hyperlapse is that you’re moving somewhere, so it’s like a time-lapse but you’re adding movement to it, and it makes it all nice and smooth.
In fact, you can even set the waypoints and altitudes and camera angles and all kind of fun stuff as you go along so that you’re making, for example, a hyperlapse around something or whatever the case may be. That is not something that’s offered on the Mini 3 base.
Likewise, well, both of the Mini 3 units do have Quick Shots. Those are the pre-programmed shots in them that things like the dronie, or the orbit, the helix, etc. Basically, the ability to go ahead and have the drone fly a certain path for you. Getting that perfect shot that could be kind of complex for a beginner to do manually. There’s one Quick Shot that the Mini 3 base does not have, which is the asteroid Quick Shot.
Ocusync 2.0 versus 3.0 for the Mini 3 Pro
Now the next difference gets into a lot of the transmission stuff, and this is pretty notable. In the case of the DJI Mini 3 Pro, it’s using a DJI’s Occusync 3.0, versus the Mini 3 Base, which is using 2.0 from the previous generation.
Now, there are two ways this manifests itself. First is the claimed range. The Mini 3 pro has a claimed range of 12 kilometers, compared to the Mini 3 base at 10 kilometers. But that’s only for certain Countries. For example, the US is part of the FCC rule set which means in that case, you get the full range.
Versus me here in Europe, I get like half of that as is a spec claim and then even a fraction that again as a real-life claim. Practically though, from a range perspective, both of those are kind of a wash, to be honest.
What’s not a wash, though is what you’ll see from a streaming resolution on your controller. So, no matter which controller you have. Whether it’s this one here, sorry, this one here. Or this one with your phone it’s streaming a copy of your video in real-time from the drone to your controller.
It’s also, of course, recording that 4K files on the drone itself or whatever resolution you’re shooting at. But in the case the Mini 3 Pro is streaming a 1080p copy to your controllers versus the Mini 3 base, it’s streaming a 720p stream.
Now by itself, you probably wouldn’t notice this difference. So if I just stuck you out in the field as one of these controllers and said, what do you think you’d be like yeah. But if you have both controllers side by side, you’ll see that the 720 image is just a little bit softer it’s not quite as sharp.
The very first flight I had both controllers side by side, my wife was with me, and looking at I’m like, that just looks fuzzy. Like it’s out of focus slightly compared to the other one. In reality, the footage was perfectly the same on both of them.
You can see what this footage looks like side by side here out of the actual units, but that streamed copy wasn’t quite as sharp. And that doesn’t matter which controller to use it’s all the same because it’s the broadcasting from the drone itself as opposed to the controllers.
Remote controllers for the DJI Mini series
Speaking of controllers, as I mentioned earlier, the mini 3 Pro is currently compatible with the DJ RC Pro Edition versus the base it’s not. I expect that will probably change over time.
I do appreciate, I love the idea of what DJI is going to of having basically three controller options. Good, better, best. This is a smart controller. I’m too lazy to go across the room and get the fancy one.
But, essentially, three controllers in all drones uh that are released are compatible with all three controllers, and you just pick and choose what controller you like based on how much money you have in what use cases you have.
DJI Mini 3 battery performance
Now that gets us to the very last feature, which is the batteries. Both drones are compatible with both sets of batteries. And there’s two different types of batteries you can see this right there.
This one says 249 grams on it this one says nothing. And that’s because this is the Plus battery, the heavier battery. Now in the case of the base unit that’s included in your drone.
On the Mini 3 Pro, you’re gonna get 34 minutes. However, on the Mini 3 base unit, you’re gonna get 38 minutes. Four extra minutes I guess you’re saving and processing from the opposite avoidance sensors and all the extra goodness.
You actually get better battery performance just slightly on the Mini 3 base. And that’s also true with the plus size battery so in the case it’s 47 minutes for the pro and 51 minutes for the base unit.
Practically speaking estimate about 80 percent of that time, so for me, in the Mini 3 Pro in like warmish summer conditions, not like hot, just warm summer conditions, I’m getting about 35 ish or so minutes on the plus battery.
So kind of a bit short of that 47 minutes claimed that’s just kind of reality check. And also, of course, you can’t buy the plus batteries in Europe.
But they do work in these drones anywhere in the world as long as you are licensed uh for that particular weight class. In my case, I am so no particular concerns there
That, at this point, is it. That’s all I got folks.
I’ve completed my entire Roundup of 17 things to know. 17 differences, not things to know. 17 differences between these drones.
Difference number 18!
Okay, so we got to update the count to 18 differences now, because I just found another one while shooting this thumbnail.
There are no legs on the Mini 3 Pro. Like the front legs. Like there is on the Mini three, look at this they added a little front raiser. I did not notice this at all until right this second.
This makes it a little less tippy, right. So I can press down on this it’s not going anywhere I press down on this. Practically I haven’t really noticed a big deal here. I could see though, in windy conditions. But again, I’ve done the most wind condition tests out there on YouTube and didn’t really notice it there either. On the ground, it stays kind of put, but hey, there you go number 18. Back to the table thing.
If you got other questions, drop them down at the bottom there. I’m losing my voice, so we’re just going to kind of call this video done.
So, as usual, if you found this video interesting or useful, whack that like button. The bottom there, or hit subscribe for plenty more sports technology goodness.
I’m planning on dropping a complete Mini 3 beginner’s guide. I’ve already got one out for the Mini 3 Pro, but they’re so different as we just learned, that they’re not quite the same guide.
So hit the subscribe button for that. And again, have a good one!
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