DJI Mini 3

 DJI Mini 3, the new drone for beginners with giant aspiration

With just a few weeks to go until the end of the year, DJI has officially introduced the DJI Mini 3 . A new drone weighing less than 250 grams –an increasingly popular category– that succeeds the Mini 2 –presented at the end of 2020 and accompanies the Mini 3 Pro –announced in 2022. In Hipertextual we have had the opportunity to put this interesting team to the test in recent days. And, in general terms, it complies with what is expected of it: great image quality, in a category – that of less than 250 grams – that is usually more affordable and, furthermore, is subject to more lax regulation. But the question we were most intrigued to answer is not whether or not this team will deliver as promised . It is, in fact, if this is the drone that we should recommend to most people who ask which one to buy. And, for this, a key factor is to determine how noticeable the difference is with respect to the Mini 2, the model it succeeds.

DJI Mini 3

DJI Mini 3: technical characteristics

Characteristic DJI mini 3
folded dimensions 148 x 90 x 62 mm
unfolded dimensions 251 x 362 x 72 mm
maximum rate of climb 5m/s
Max Descent Speed 3.5m/s
maximum horizontal speed 16m/s
maximum flight time 38 minutes with standard battery, 51 minutes with Plus battery (not sold in Europe)
Wind resistance Up to 10.7 m/s (Level 5)
maximum flight distance up to 18km
geopositioning GPS, GLONASS and Galileo
Camera 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor with an f/1.7 aperture lens and 82.1-degree FOV
ISO range 100 to 3200
Exhibithion time Between 2 and 1/8000 seconds
Maximum photo resolution 4000 x 3000 pixels
Supported photo formats JPEG and RAW
maximum video resolution 4K: 3840×2160@24/25/30 FPS
2.7K: 2720×1530@24/25/30/48/50/60 FPS
FHD: 1920×1080@24/25/30/48/50/60 FPS

Video in HDR as long as 30 FPS is not exceeded.

maximum bitrate 100Mbps
Zoom Up to 2X in 4K and 4X in FHD.
Photo and video modes Panorama, Dronie, Helix, Rocket, Circle and Boomerang
sensors lower vision sensor
video transmission system DJI O2 (up to 720p@30 FPS and a maximum transmission distance of 6 km)
Gimbal Three axis stabilization and 90 degree rotation capability.

An ideal drone for beginners

Equipment weighing less than 250 grams is ideal for entering the world of drones. They are generally cheaper, they can be transported more easily and, what is most important: the regulation is much more lax in the European Union. That does not mean that you can lift the DJI Mini 3 wherever you want without complying with a series of rules . An aircraft like this implies a certain responsibility and prior bureaucracy: you have to register as a pilot with AESA, comply with certain regulations during the flight, not enter areas where there are restrictions, etc. However, this entire preparation process –as well as the flight regulations– is simpler and painless than with heavier drones –which may even require tests for their use–. So even if you don’t have absolute freedom, you are on the friendlier side of regulation. The DJI Mini 3, by the way, does not have a C0 class marking , which would correspond to it due to its features. This is not a problem in the European Union, since the regulation also includes drones that do not have said certification, but it would be positive to bring it as standard.

In any case: the Chinese brand has launched this week a program through which the Mavic 3 can be certified -even those that have been sold in recent months-, so it would not be a surprise if, at some point, it could do something similar with the Mini series. The extreme portability of this DJI Mini 3, on the other hand, also makes it an ideal drone for beginners or people with little experience. It can be carried inside a backpack almost without realizing it while you are traveling , it is ready to fly in just seconds, etc. It is true that, being a team with a clear orientation for beginners, some extra obstacle detection sensor is missing , as we did find in its older brother . These types of elements alert the pilot of upcoming obstacles in different directions and make autonomous flight safer, which makes special sense for people who are just starting out. However, the inclusion of these sensors would also increase the price of the product, making it less affordable. Therefore, DJI’s decision to do without them is understandable.

The three main differences between the DJI Mini 3 and the DJI Mini 2

Compared to the DJI Mini 2 , its predecessor, the Mini 3 has three main differences:

  • An upper chamber.
  • Compatibility with the DJI RC.
  • Significantly better autonomy.

When it comes to the camera, the improvement is real . First of all, the DJI Mini 3 has a larger sensor and, additionally, a lens with a larger aperture. That is to say: it captures more light. In ideal lighting conditions, some improvement is noticeable, but where this new model makes the most difference is when the light becomes adverse (dark environments, sunsets, etc.). The changes, however, do not end there. Another difference is the HDR. The DJI Mini 2, let’s remember, allows you to take photos in HDR with the AEB function. It also offers the ability to take RAW photos and then refine the shadows or highlights using tools like Lightroom. However, the Mini 3 goes a step further by applying this technology to all images it takes by default . This simplifies the process compared to the Mini 2, which requires a minimum of post-work. The benefits of this default HDR extend to video as well (as long as you don’t go above 30 FPS), something the Mini 2 didn’t offer by any means. In scenes with contrast, that extra dynamic range provided by this technology is appreciated . In general, the results are quite good in terms of treatment of detail, lighting and color. My only gripe: the Mini 3 can sometimes be a little more cluttering than I’d consider fair , though it’s never quite garishly aesthetic. To this step forward in camera performance we must add the inclusion of the same gimbal with rotation capacity that we saw in the DJI Mini 3 Pro . This can rotate 90 degrees to take vertical images or videos – ideal for social networks.

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