Today, I want to share my long-term impressions of the DJI Air 3, as someone who has been flying it for the past two months—one month before its release and one month after—time has flown by. I aim to condense all my impressions into this video to help you decide whether the Air 3 is worth purchasing.
DJI Air 3 Longterm Review Video
First and foremost, let's discuss the camera. I never tire of emphasizing the 70-millimeter medium telephoto lens on the Air 3, which is identical to the one on the Mavic 3 Pro. This lens is the most innovative feature DJI has introduced lately. I'm enamored with its focal length and the distinct look it offers. Compared to the usual wide-angle lens, which has become mundane, this lens provides a refreshing change. Its unique perspective surprises the viewer, providing an element of novelty.
I initially experienced this thrill with the Mavic 3 Pro and am delighted to see it on the DJI Air 3. Consequently, I'm always exploring ways to integrate this 70-millimeter lens with the 24-millimeter wide-angle lens. The combination offers more compelling footage, making shots more dynamic and lively.
For those dismissing this lens as a mere gimmick, they're mistaken. Different lenses offer varied perspectives, and this is just another instrument for capturing captivating visuals. If one fails to leverage it, the fault lies with the user, not the equipment.
Another point I'd like to address about the camera is its lack of 5K resolution. While the DJI Air 2S had a one-inch sensor boasting 5.3K or 5.4K (I'm uncertain of the exact dimensions), the DJI Air 3 maxes out at 4K at 60 frames per second.
Generally, this isn't a significant concern for me. However, I do miss the flexibility that a larger resolution offers, especially when adjusting perspectives or adding subtle zooms to make footage more dynamic. While the absence of 5K isn't a deal-breaker, I do wish the DJI Air 3 supported it or even a higher resolution.
As I've used the drone daily, I've noticed minor details that significantly impact my overall experience. For instance, the DJI Air 3 weighs 720 grams—heavier than the DJI Air 2S but lighter than the DJI Mavic 3 Pro, my usual go-to drone.
Having a lightweight drone in my bag has been invaluable. It's also considerably more portable than the Mavic 3 Pro. The simple pleasure of fitting a few extra items in my backpack due to the drone's compact design is significant to me.
Additionally, because the DJI Air 3 is heavier than the DJI Air 2S, it boasts superior wind resistance. This feature has been particularly useful this summer, given the unpredictable weather. Despite the intense heat, there have been numerous days with strong winds.
Remarkably, the Air 3 performed admirably in these conditions. While the drone did sway from side to side, this movement was imperceptible in the recorded video, thanks to its top-tier gimbal. It's heartening to see that the DJI Air 3 outperforms smaller drones, which would've faltered in similar conditions.
Thus, the Air 3 excels at confronting wind challenges and continues to record seamlessly. As long as one doesn't take undue risks, the drone performs reliably in nearly all weather conditions, barring hurricane-level disturbances.
The long flight time, especially with the “Fly More Combo” which includes three batteries, has been a delight. The drone promises up to 46 minutes of flight time on paper, but in reality, it delivers between 35 to 40 minutes.
This duration depends on several factors, like the usage of sport mode or the prevailing wind conditions. Nevertheless, this flight time has been more than satisfactory for me. If you plan your shots and know your surroundings, you can maximize this time effectively. With these extended flight times, I never have to worry about missing a shot. Even during travel, the three batteries ensure I capture everything I need without constantly recharging.
DJI Air 3 Is a Versatile Drone
One of the standout features of the Air 3 is its versatility. I never feel it's lacking in any particular area. DJI recently released an update allowing users to adjust sharpness and noise reduction levels, enhancing the quality of the footage.
Coupled with the D-log M and HLG color profiles, users gain considerable control over the grading aspect of their footage. While I occasionally miss having D-lock on both lenses, D-log M is far simpler to grade, making the process smoother.
Now is an ideal time to mention the LUTs I've specifically designed for the Air 3, which you can find in the description below. They're incredibly effective for quickly enhancing your footage. With just one click, you can achieve an instant refined look.
From there, you might tweak a few settings for further customization, but even without those adjustments, these LUTs can significantly enhance your D-log M footage from the Air 3.
This ease of use means I don't find myself missing the D-log as much. D-log requires more fine-tuning to perfect, whereas with D-log M, achieving a crisp appearance is practically instantaneous.
While I acknowledge the merits of the normal color profile, I invariably prefer maximizing the dynamic range in my footage, preserving every detail, and then using my LUTs to make the visuals truly stand out.
Vertical video with the DJI Air 3 drone
Another feature of the DJI Air 3 that I appreciate is its vertical video capability. Although I don't use this function often, having it is undoubtedly beneficial.
Occasionally, I'll shoot specifically in vertical video mode, especially when planning content for platforms like YouTube Reels.
While most of my footage is intended for traditional YouTube uploads, it's handy to have the vertical option for specific projects. Moreover, switching to a vertical orientation offers a resolution boost, allowing me to frame shots more precisely.
DJI Air 3 with OcuSync 4 is amazing
In the two months I've used this drone, I've experienced no signal interruptions. This is the first time I've flown such extensive distances without any connectivity issues. I've traversed hundreds of kilometers with the DJI Air 3, and its consistent performance is a testament to its robust connectivity.
However, the Air 3 represents a leap beyond its predecessors. Even in densely populated urban environments, notorious for signal interference, the drone has remained unfailingly connected.
In the past, I've encountered occasional issues in such areas, but with the Air 3, the connectivity has been rock-solid. The enhancements are so substantial that I find myself wondering how DJI could possibly improve upon this in the future.
Speaking of OcuSync 4 and its remarkable signal strength, the remote controller is a joy to use. It closely resembles the original DJI RC controller. The newer RC2 version incorporates built-in antennas, which must be unfolded for optimal usage. Having a remote with increased range and strength of the signal is a trade-off I'm willing to make, even if it means having to deal with built-in antennas.
My overall experience with the remote has been positive, and I have no substantial complaints about it. One minor issue I've encountered is that I tend to scratch the display of my remotes. I often throw the remote into my backpack when moving from one location to another, making the display susceptible to scratches.
If you have a similar habit, I'd recommend purchasing a screen protector from Amazon. There are numerous options available, and it might help you protect the screen better than I did. Currently, I'm dealing with a few scratches on mine, which I regret and am looking into fixing.
A feature that initially seemed gimmicky but has since become invaluable allows me to transfer the remaining power from one battery to another.
For instance, if one battery is at 30% and another at 80%, by using the function button on the charging brick, you can transfer a safe amount of power from the former to the latter. This can quickly boost the 80% battery closer to full charge.
This feature is particularly handy when you have only three batteries and are transitioning between locations. If you've depleted some batteries, but not entirely, you can harness the residual power and transfer it to the batteries that need it more.
DJI Air 3 Long-Term Review and Conclusions
After using the DJI Air 3 extensively, my long-term impression is overwhelmingly positive. I believe it's one of the most remarkable drones DJI has ever produced, given its diverse features, intelligent flight modes, and other state-of-the-art attributes.
This drone is versatile, catering to myriad scenarios. With its extensive battery life, dual cameras, advanced flight modes, D-log M and HLG color profiles, active tracking, omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, and its affordability, the Air 3 is second to none.
While there are pricier options, like the DJI Mavic 3 Pro, which offers a few additional features, the Air 3's value for its price is unparalleled. In 2023, I'm convinced that there isn't a better drone available on the market.
The Air 3 stands out as one of DJI's most well-rounded products since its launch. It's consistently reliable without the need for extensive support or bug fixes.
I hope you found this video insightful and informative. To those who might label me a “DJI fanboy,” I'm simply someone who cherishes the act of flying drones and values the incredible technology available to us. Whether you agree with my assessment or not, I genuinely relish the experience this drone provides.
I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did, please leave a comment, like the video, and subscribe for more content like this. This is Mike from Drone Supremacy. Take care, and I'll catch you in the next video soon. Ciao!
Photos courtesy of Drone Supremacy.
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