Video drones have blown up in the past 7 years. With the advent of more affordable models that provide incredible image and video clarity, more and more people can enjoy this awesome hobby. Citizen drone pilots around the world can produce stunning photos and videos of cities, natural wonders, and events.
For those of you familiar with my YouTube work, you’ll know I’ve been a fan of the Mini series ever since I got my very first drone, the Mini 1, back in 2020. Fast forward three years and I’m now rocking the new and improved DJI Mini 3 Pro!
Each iteration of the Mini lineup has been a great upgrade over the previous model, while keeping the same small, travel-friendly design, and the Mini 3 Pro is no exception. Read on for my review of DJI’s newest travel drone.
Price: $900 ($1,200 with the Fly More Plus Combo)
Video Quality: 4K/60fps (also shoots in D-Cinelike, similar to Log)
Camera Quality: 48 MP (also shoots in RAW)
Range: Up to 10 km (6.2 miles)
Max Speed: 16 m/s (about 36 mph)
Max Altitude: 500m (1,650 feet)
Weight: 249 grams
Other Attributes: Forward and downward obstacle avoidance sensors; Vertical shooting mode for social media
As a traveler, one of the most appealing factors of the Mini lineup is its compact size. You can fold them up and tuck them into their carrying pouch, along with the controller, extra batteries, and other accessories, and it’s still not going to take up much space. At 249 grams, they weigh next to the nothing.
The Mini 3 Pro is virtually the exact same size as the previous two models (perhaps a smidge wider). The carrying case for the Mini 3 is virtually identical to the one used by the Mini 2.
Like its predecessor, the Mini 3 Pro shoots in 4K, but they’ve doubled the frame rate to 60 fps, which allows for much smoother shooting. Not only that, but they’ve finally added a “raw” format, D-Cinelike. D-Cinelike is most common to “Log” format, except it’s in 10-bit instead of 8-bit. This gives you incredible control over color correction with your footage.
You can get an idea for this kind of image quality in my YouTube video below:
The still camera is another huge improvement on the Mini 3 Pro. They’ve increased the camera quality from 12 MP to 48 MP. This is the first drone I’ve used where the image quality is truly what I’d call professional. With a little bit of color correction, the RAW photos come out stunning.
As with the older models, it can shoot in RAW format as well as JPEG.
One thing that’s new with the Mini 3 Pro, however, is the addition of Vertical Shooting Mode. The camera gimbal actually swivels 90 degrees, allowing you to get social media-ready vertical shots. It’s of course also better for capturing tall buildings:
DJI claims a 10km or 6.2-mile range for the Mini 3, which I’d say is about right. I myself tested out the drone’s maximum flight time using the regular batteries, and I did get just a hair under 10 km (9.69, to be exact) before the drone had to make an emergency landing. I have not yet tried the extended Plus batteries.
Battery life is one thing on paper and another matter entirely in the air. The Mini 1 advertised 30 minutes of flight time, and the Mini 2 advertises 31 minutes.
According to my DJI pilot profile, I have logged almost 25 hours of flight time between the two models, and not once have I gotten a full half-hour of flight from a battery. The best I’ve gotten from the Mini 2 is 23 minutes of flight time, which I’ve hit on several occasions. The best I ever got out of the old Mini was 21 minutes, so still a slight improvement.
I imagine that the full 31-minute flight time could only be achieved if you were just having it hover in one spot. In practice, 23 minutes is going to be what you can expect under normal operating conditions. May not sound like much, but it’s plenty for getting good footage if you’re not too far away from your subject. Keep in mind that if you spring for the Fly More Combo, you’ll be getting three batteries plus a smart charger. I would recommend getting those extra batteries.
It should also be noted that in the field you’re almost never going to run a drone down to 0% battery. It’s just not wise with such an expensive piece of equipment. I had a situation on the Blue Ridge Parkway where I forgot to account for high wind speeds (causing the drone to have to work harder to battle them) and ended up landing it with just 4% battery. In other words, it was literally less than a minute from falling out of the sky. I almost had a heartattack.
Pro Tip: You can NOT use Mini 1 and 2 batteries in the Mini 3 Pro.
Unlike the previous 2 versions of the Mini drone, the Mini 3 is NOT compatible with Mini 1 or 2 batteries. This kind of sucks, especially since the new batteries last about as long as the other 2 versions. However, I would recommend getting the Plus batteries, which deliver extended flight times. If you’re familiar with these drones, you’ll know that what they say on the package is NOT what you get (i.e., the Mini 1 and 2 batteries being advertised as lasting 31 minutes, when in over 2 years of flying I NEVER got more than 23 minutes out of them. The same is true of the Plus batteries, but they do offer extended flight times; they say 47 minutes, but I’ve routinely gotten 30-35 minutes out of each one without even wearing the battery all the way down.
The Fly More Plus Combo
If you just order the drone itself, you will get the Mini 3 Pro, the controller, and one battery.
If, however, you spring the extra money for the Fly More Plus Combo, you’ll also receive two additional extended Plus batteries, a smart charger for all three (that can also be used as a power bank in a pinch), four extra sets of propellers and screws, a mini screwdriver, a carrying pouch, AND the proprietary DJI controller, which comes with an HD screen so you don’t have to connect your phone.
In summation, the Mini 3 Pro is a definite improvement over the Mini 2, as reliable as that drone was. It has superior video quality, range, and speed, and takes RAW images that make for better photo editing. It is more expensive, but I think the extra price is worth it, especially the $1,200 Fly More Plus Combo.
If you found this article useful, please remember to Like and Share!