In May this year (May 2022), the extremely compact DJI Mini 3 Pro was launched, and even considering its compact size, this drone instantly impressed with fantastic image quality and features. Now in the depths of -5 winter temperatures and Christmas fast approaching, the DJI Mini 3 has arrived. DJI’s timing really is impeccable!
The DJI Mini 3 is the lite version of the DJI Mini 3 Pro, with fewer features but a little faster, and can stay airborne for a little longer, if your neck and eyesight allow it. The Mini 3 is also quite a bit cheaper but still falls into the same sub 250g drone category that many enthusiasts and professionals have come to love.
Before I delve into the release and what DJI has to say about the drone, I’ll give you a quick run-through of what differs between the DJI Mini 3 and DJI Mini 3 Pro and what the £200 saving actually gets you.
Firstly and this is the important factor, the Mini 3, like the Mini 3 Pro, has a take-off weight of less than 250g, 248.5g to be exact. This means it’s exempt from the usual drone restrictions, although it’s still worth doing the drone awareness course if you’re thinking of flying one. Read more about that here https://register-drones.caa.co.uk/individual/register-and-take-test-to-fly.
OK, so an initial look at the two drones side-by-side and you would think that they are the same, but like any good spot, the difference image after a few moments the difference start to jump out at you. The first visual difference is the sensors at the front, or lack of them on the Mini 3, which has two eyes that initially look like sensors but are just there for decoration, they may be a function, but there’s nothing in the release that states that. Then if you flip the drone over, you’ll see that there are again no downward optical sensors. Rather there is just a simple downward sensor. Likewise, there are no backward sensors. Already you get the picture the Pro is a level up on object avoidance, as far as it has it and the DJI Mini 3 doesn’t.
Then there are the hidden specifications, the camera looks the same and has the same 24mm (Equ) f/1.7 lens, but it’s limited to 4K@30fps rather than the 4K@60fps of the Pro. I have yet to find out whether this is limited in the software or the sensor is different.
There are a few other differences; the video transmission system is scaled back, offering the DJI O2 at 10km rather than the DJI O3 at 12km; as you can’t use this in the UK anyway, that’s not an issue. Then there are the intelligent flight features with just the QuickShots (But no Asteroid), and Panoramic, MasterShots and Timelapse have also been omitted.
The removal of these features to drop the price between the two models makes sense, and while the Mini 3 might initially seem like a stripped-down version of the Mini 3 Pro, there are a few additional features regarding the flight. The first is that the drone is marginally faster, possibly due to the reduction of electronics and sensors, and the Mini 3 has slightly extended flight times. Seeing as how the Mini 3 Pro was pretty quick for its size and the flight times were quite incredible, these two enhancements are nice, but I’m not sure you’ll notice them too much.
Essentially I thought the DJI Mini 3 Pro was outstanding, and the image quality from that small camera blew me away. Now I’m excited to see what the DJI Mini 3 offers, but my main thoughts are for £200 less if the image quality is as good, but with a slightly reduced framerate, I’ll take that and try to avoid the trees; this time; here’s what DJI has to say about their new drone.
“DJI Mini 3 arrives as a welcome addition to our growing compact drone lineup,” said Ferdinand Wolf, Creative Director at DJI. “It follows in the footsteps of its sibling, Mini 3 Pro, and offers many of the same high-performance features as a worthy alternative. We created Mini 3 to invite even more new users to take off for the first time, and we can’t wait to see the moments they create with it.”
Sounds good, so the big features here are that the new DJI Mini 3 weighs in at less than 249g, is compact and ultra-portable, and is exempt from most drone regulations worldwide. It features a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor that can capture 4K video and photos at 12MP with True Vertical Shooting for social media, essentially like your phone but with wings (Props).
Lightweight, compact and Portable
DJI has designed the Mini series and the latest incarnation, the DJI Mini 3, to weigh in at under 249g. This means that in many, but not all, locations worldwide, the DJI Mini 3 is exempt from the drone regulations that limit the flight of larger and heavier drones. The lightweight is matched with a compact design, so the Mini 3 easily slips into a backpack pocket, ready for flight whenever you need it.
Vertical and social media ready.
The Intelligent flight modes have enabled DJI drones to capture some stunning scenes, and now the small drone is completely social-ready. A quick tap of a button on the controller and the small camera flips to the vertical position in line with what you’d expect from social imagery. What’s more, with the 4K/30fps video capture on the 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor fronted by the f/1.7 aperture 24mm (35mm equiv) lens, you can be sure of capturing high-resolution images with a decent depth of field and low image noise in all conditions.
The camera features 4-in-1 pixel technology that can create photos from 48MP to 12MP with individual sensor pixels that are as large as 2.4 μm to improve low-light performance. A Dual native ISO and chip-level HDR tech helps create stunning imagery in both the traditional landscape and social media-friendly portrait orientation.
Fly Longer, faster and smoother
As with previous DJI Mini releases, the DJI Mini 3 features a standard Intelligent Flight Battery that supplies up to 38 minutes of flight time.
A feature that will appeal in some territories is the DJI O2 digital video transmission that delivers a 72-p/30fps live feed up to 10km and utilises powerful anti-interference technology to deliver a clear stream directly from the drone.
Although the Mini 3 is small and lightweight, the powerful motors and design mean that it has a wind resistance of up to 10.7m/s. This resistance means it can cope with being buffeted by the wind and still capture stable shots when hovering.
Cinematic Shots in a Tap
The DJI Mini 3 may be the baby of the family, but it can still pack a punch with features designed to make the most of its imaging potential. Content creation features such as QuickShots that feature pre-programmed flight and filming paths enable anyone to capture stunning drone shots like the pros. Some of the effects are as follows:
Dronie: The aircraft flies back and up with the camera locked on the subject.
Helix: Aircraft flies up and spirals around the subject.
Rocket: The aircraft flies up with the camera facing down.
Circle: Aircraft circles around the subject.
Boomerang: The aircraft flies around the subject in an oval path, ascending as it flies away and descending as it returns.
For those new to flying drones, the DJI Mini 3 is an ideal first choice, with plenty of features that will ensure you fly safely. Auto take-off and landing, as well as a Return to Home feature, kicks in whenever you need, and as default, the drone is set with Smart RTH, Low Battery RTH and Failsafe RTH, so there is little chance of losing the drone.
For ultimate stability and flight control, the DJI Mini 3 combines GNSS with the downward vision system, enabling the drone to hover stably.
Accessories for the DJI Mini 3
DJI RC is a lightweight, easy-to-use remote controller with a built-in screen. Thanks to the built-in DJI Fly app, it is ready to use without the need to connect to a smartphone, making take-off more focused and aerial photography more enjoyable.
Intelligent Flight Battery ensures a smooth and worry-free flight for up to 38 minutes.
Two-Way Charging Hub charges the remote controller and three batteries in sequence, serves as a mobile power source, and stores batteries for convenient carrying.
ND Filters Set adapts the Mini 3 camera to strong lighting conditions with ND16/64/256 filters to always be ready for the perfect shot.
360° Propeller Guard fully covers the propellers and is easy to attach and detach, ensuring flight safety simply and efficiently.
Propeller Holder binds the front and back propellers when the aircraft is folded for more convenient storage.
Additional DJI Mini 3 Features
180° Wide and Sphere panorama, with Sphere Panorama Viewer 2.0 in the DJI Fly app offering a 720° view to drag and zoom a Sphere panorama.
QuickTransfer with a max download speed of 25 MB/s
Supports large-angle tilt to introduce more creative possibilities.
Digital zoom at 2x in 4K/30fps, 4x in 1080p, and 2x in 12MP photo
Price and Availability
DJI Mini 3 is available for purchase from store.dji.com and authorised retail partners in five configurations:
DJI Mini 3 (Drone Only) does not include a remote controller or charger and is ideal for owners of existing DJI drones. It will be available in early 2023 for the retail price of 439 GBP/ from 489 EUR.
DJI Mini 3 includes the DJI RC-N1 Remote Controller. It will be available in early 2023 for the retail price of 519 GBP/ from 579 EUR.
DJI Mini 3 (DJI RC) includes the DJI RC Remote Controller. It will be available in early 2023 for the retail price of 669 GBP/ from 749 EUR.
DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo includes the DJI RC-N1 Remote Controller, Shoulder Bag, Two-Way Charging Hub, and two extra Intelligent Flight Batteries. It is available today for the retail price of 678 GBP/ from 768 EUR.
DJI Mini 3 Fly More Combo (DJI RC) includes the DJI RC Remote Controller, Shoulder Bag, Two-Way Charging Hub, and two extra Intelligent Flight Batteries. It is available today for the retail price of 828 GBP/ from 938 EUR.
For more information on all the new features, accessories, and capabilities, please visit https://www.dji.com/dji-mini-3.