Gear Reviews

DJI Mini 3 Pro v Mini 2, which compact drone should you buy?

Both are compact and lightweight drones, but what are the key differences?

DJI has pulled the covers off its latest drone from its Mini range; a line up of super lightweight models that pack huge features despite tipping the scales at only 249g. Now photographers and videographers have even more choice, but what exactly is different between the new Mini 3 Pro or the slightly older Mini 2?  Well, we’re drilling down deep into the specification sheets to find out all the key differences and help you male an informed buying decision…

One – Sensor size:

Obviously on a lightweight drone that tips the scales at 249g, you’re never going to get the same size sensor like you’d find in a full-frame mirrorless camera. However, this is an area where there is a noticeable difference between the two drones. While the DJI Mini 2 delivers a 1/2.3-inch chip, the Mini 3 Pro improves on this, offering a larger 1/1.3-inch sensor. The larger sensor should result in increased detail and a bump in overall quality of your photos and video.

The Mini 3 Pro boasts a larger sensor than the Mini 2.

Two – Stills shooting:

While many think drones are just for video, but these amazing devices can produce amazing stills imagery, showing even well known locations in a whole new light. And, stills imagery is another key area of difference between these two drones. While the Mini 2 serves up 12-megapixel images in either JPEG or RAW file format, the Mini 3 Pro goes much further and delivers 48-megapixel stills in JPEG or RAW. That’s a huge leap and to put this into perspective, the Mini 3 Pro gives photographers a maximum file size of 8064×6048 pixels, which will be more than enough resolution to make prints in excess of A3 or to allow for cropping without compromising image quality. The Mini 3 Pro also allows photographers to shoot HDR imagery, which is unavailable on the Mini 2.

The Mini 3 Pro can shoot huge 48-megapixel stills photos.

Three – Video resolution:

As you’d expect, the huge majority of people who buy a drone want to capture amazing video footage from the skies. The good news for these videographers is that both the Mini 2 and Mini 3 Pro capture ultra high-quality 4K footage, but this isn’t the full story as there is a difference to the frame rates on offer at this resolution. So, the Mini 2 tops out at 4K 30p, while the Mini 3 Pro delivers 4K 60p. Why is this important? Well, one reason is that Mini 3 Pro videographers can use that 60p footage at half speed for a slow motion effect, taking advantage of all that resolution.

Four – Obstacle detection: 

If you’ve ever crashed a drone, you’ll know it’s a horrible feeling. This is why obstacle detection and avoidance are so important and again, this is another difference between the two models. While the Mini 2 offers downward-facing sensors, the newer Mini 3 Pro sports a far more advanced obstacle avoidance system with backwards and forward sensors offering far more protection.

The Mini 3 Pro offers an advanced obstacle avoidance system.

 

Five – Flight time:

Flight time is an important area to look at when diving deep into the spec sheets. Flying a drone is great fun, so you want to keep that fun going as long as you can. There’s a difference between the two drones, although again this doesn’t tell the whole picture. While the Mini 2 offers a maximum flight time of 31 minutes, the Mini 3 Pro increases this maximum flight time to 34 minutes, but this is only when using the standard battery. If you opt to use DJI’s Intelligent Flight Battery, this figure dramatically rises up to a whopping 47 minutes, putting it on par with flight time figures from far more professional and expensive models.

The Mini 2 offers a max flight time of 31 minutes but the Mini 3 Pro can offer up to 47 minutes.

Six – Colour profiles:

One of the impressive features that has been included with the new Mini 3 Pro that will be welcomed by videographers and may make existing Mini 2 users think about upgrading is the inclusion of a D-Cinelike colour profile. This flat profile aims to deliver more dynamic range and will give videographers more tolerance to colour grade the footage in software such as Adobe Premiere. This D-Cinelike profile has been seen before on DJI devices such as the Osmo Action camera.

Seven – Portrait shooting

More and more content creators are shooting in portrait format so that they can use that footage on social media platforms. So, it will come as great news that the Mini 3 Pro allows the camera to turn 90 degrees and switch from landscape to portrait format. What’s more, the Mini 3 Pro offers a dedicated slow motion mode that’s unavailable on the Mini 2 – enabling videographers to capture Full HD footage at 120p for 4x slow motion sequences.

Content creators can take advantage of a true portrait shooting mode.

Eight – Transmission distance

Lastly, let’s finish up by comparing two more technical specifications. First up is the distance the drone can transmit from (Highest Image Transmission Quality). With the Mini 2, this is 10km, 720p, but with the new Mini 3 Pro, this increases to 12km, 1080p. What’s more Mini 3 Pro also has the edge when it comes to Max Wind Speed Resistance, offering 38.5 kph compared to 29-38kph from the Mini 2.

Both models weigh in at 249g.