DJI Mini 3 Pro Drone Review and Flight Test

DJI has dominated the consumer drone market by constantly innovating category-leading models like the new Mini 3 Pro. This lightweight folding flyer packs an almost unbelievable amount of professional filming functionality into a barely 400 gram airframe. In our comprehensive review, we flight tested the Mini 3 Pro to push its extended flight time, video/photo capabilities and intelligent shooting modes to their limits across multiple sessions. Spec Showdown – What’s New in the Mini 3 Pro? With a tidy footprint that slips into any camera bag, the Mini 3 Pro somehow houses:
    • 1/1.3-inch CMOS Sensor
    • f/1.7 Aperture Lens 4K 60fps + HDR Video 12MP Raw Photos Tri-Directional Obstacle Avoidance 35 minutes maximum flight time!
This represents massive leaps over past Mini models like 4K resolution with HDR recording, Raw stills photography and almost doubling of flight endurance through more efficient motors. DJI has achieved the impossible by keeping weight below 250 grams for most countries’ lax drone regulations while heavily enhancing performance that rivals the leading Air series models in this tiny form. Let’s examine exactly how it performs in the field! Flight Performance and General Aerial Handling As you’d expect from a high-end DJI drone, actually getting airborne and controlling the Mini 3 Pro via the intuitive controller couldn’t be easier. Like riding a bike, the thumb sticks double as virtually Lenient flight settings make it very forgiving for beginner pilots first learning but you can enable higher Manual responsiveness for sportier agility zipping between tight gaps when mastered. The folded design with integrated propellor guards makes a very compact footprint for transferring between sites in a small shoulder bag. Excellent overall build quality feels like it could withstand some good knocks too thanks to lightweight & durable materials used. Buttons for critical functions like Return-To-Home are reassuringly prominent for quick activation without taking eyes off the aerial perspectives ahead. At just 249 grams on our test unit, very calm conditions saw 35 minute flight times which is incredible endurance that simply wasn’t possible from older Mini’s. More practically in wind you can expect 20-25 mins still which opens lots of opportunities for covering ground shooting varied footage compared to similar sized ‘toy’ drones lasting 5-10 minutes only. Strict speed/height restrictions don’t apply here! Obstacle avoidance sensors make exploring tight spaces like winding tree lines completely non-nerve-wracking! Our test flights pushed back and forth mere meters from objects all over with the Mini 3 Pro smoothly auto-avoiding at last second. Landscapes shots therefore quickly build some highly cinematic movements. So capturing unique perspectives right amongst subjects is made very possible. 4K 60FPS HDR Video Footage Quality Let’s talk real world performance – with a brand new 48mp 1/1.3″ sensor, footage is staggeringly stable with immense clarity unique for a drone so compact physically and priced affordably. While older Mavic Mini’s capped out at 2.7K resolution, the sharpness leap to full 4K makes the Mini 3 Pro’s footage hold up beautifully even viewing on giant TVs. You’ll be amazed at the stability too thanks to tried & tested DJI algorithms. Shooting handheld gimbals can’t compete! Subjectively colors also receive a nice boost from HDR capabilities without appearing oversaturated. Automated exposure keeps compositions nicely balanced through lighting transitions. This helps avoid suddenly blown-out bright skies if panning upwards. Definitely impressed how DJI fit such a vastly improved sensor/lens assembly into the still petite Mini form factor. Raw Photo Quality Still grabs from the 20MP mode or standalone 12MP Raw photos contain loads of detail while colors stay naturally represented too for great post-processing flexibility later. JPEG’s straight out of camera already impress but being able to pull dynamic range out of Raw files taken across days of changing conditions is invaluable for commercial projects. We found detailing remains very clean on landscape scenery shots with no unsightly image noise clouding details. Coupled with the gimbal stabilization, stills stay crisply composed during faster movements as well unlike previous Mini’s. This allows more intrepid flight while tracking subjects confidently. Surprisingly good low light sensitivity too retaining fine clarity as the sun dips. Through DJI’s app you can instantly review samples with zoom capability feeling very responsive thanks to lower latency. We found the additional resolution over older 2.7K Mavic Mini’s extremely beneficial for framing subjects accurately through digital zoom without losing detail like before. This takes a lot of guesswork out of composition when farther away from subjects. Intelligent Capture Modes On the automated capture front, DJI helps first-person pilots maximize results through. MasterShots now creates an entire video production framing multiple angles around a central point of interest you designate. With a couple taps, the drone will automatically rotate 360 degrees while varying height/distance to nail classic cinematic viewpoints. Edit together after and you’ve got an instant stylish showreel! Other clever modes now include SmartPhoto for HDR stills or even removing strangers from busy vista compositions automatically. Plus Hyperlapse LE that adds slick motion timelapses impossible to achieve manually. Very handy for spicing up property tours or conveying passages of time creatively. Set your points of interest and let DJI’s digital skills do the rest! Mini 3 vs Mavic Air 2S The leading mid-sized alternative, DJI Mavic Air 2S remains a very compelling offering too thanks to high performance across all fronts from its 1-inch camera sensor and 3500mAh battery granting superb flight endurance. But within a travel-friendly package, Mini 3 Pro gets so much closer now at just under 250 grams while retaining 4K+ quality pilots yearn for. Air 2S still goes further on open range thanks to higher resistance pushing through gusts that blow Mini 3 Pro around easier. But for 99% hobbyist usage, Mini 3 Pro flights just as beautifully. And object avoidance gives huge confidence flying so tightly through scenery. It’s undoubtedly the ultimate travel drone now over Air 2S if every gram counts! And cheaper packages mean you can kit out the Mini 3 Pro with multi-battery charger packs and cases while staying under Air 2S’s cost. This makes it a no-brainer favorite for photographers constantly on the move. DJI has achieved the perfect balancing act catering precisely what aerial creators demanded from a Mini series drone now matured tremendously.

Final Verdict – Best Drone Under $1000?

DJI impresses immensely fitting seriously professional grade imaging abilities into the amazingly portable form of Mini 3 Pro while lowering cost barriers further for casual content creators. Footage quality is astonishing with 4K HDR clarity and Raw photos retaining loads of editable detail – huge improvements caliber over past Mavic Mini’s that struggled occasionally shooting bright scenes. For all Skill levels, everything has been improved for capturing cinematic masterpieces smoothly which feels incredibly refined for the entry-level price point compared to pro lines. Automated shooting modes make snazzy clips accessible for complete beginners as well. But advanced manual controls await mastering down the road too. While the bigger Foldable DJI Air series drones will keep aspirational appeal for their larger sensors and flight endurance gains, Mini 3 Pro gets so shockingly close at under 250 grams now. This really shifts dynamics making it the ultimate traveling drone for creatives constantly on the move. Paired with sufficient batteries, you’ve got incredibly deep capabilities always on hand exactly where larger drones couldn’t follow. In every regard, Mini 3 Pro therefore sets the new benchmark for sub-250 gram drones in 2023. DJI has achieved the impossible feat delivering a properly professional tool now so perfectly portable for all aerial enthusiasts. We can’t deny the Mini 3 Pro deserves our highest recommendations as the new must-have flying camera!

Leave a Comment