DJI’s Mini, Mini 2, Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro – which light-weight drone is best for you?

From left to proper: the Mavic Mini/SE, Mini 2, Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro.

On October 30, 2019, DJI introduced its first-ever sub-250g drone, kicking off the DJI Mavic Mini household. Notably, a drone weighing lower than 250g does not must be registered with the Federal Aviation Administration within the US or with equal businesses in lots of different nations, as long as the distant pilot is not utilizing it for business functions.

With a complete household of Mini fashions to select from, it is a problem to maintain them straight. On this article we’ll examine them head-to-head that can assist you reply an crucial query: which sub-250g DJI Mini mannequin is best for you?

The unique Mavic Mini was revolutionary for DJI, but it surely solely provided as much as 2.7K/30p video seize and had a restricted vary of how far it may fly. Launched roughly a 12 months later, the Mini 2 got here geared up with a 4K digital camera and added 5 QuickShot modes together with 3 ways to seize a panorama. Whereas it included important enhancements, the digital camera nonetheless had a smaller Sort 1/2.3 (6.3 x 4.7mm) sensor.

The Mini 3 Pro and Mini 3 (left) have near-identical our bodies, whereas the Mini 2 and Mavic Mini (proper) are precisely the identical. The Mini 3 Pro is the one one that features impediment detection and avoidance sensors.

Earlier in 2022, the Mini 3 Pro was launched, changing into the primary sub-250g drone from DJI to supply impediment avoidance, with sensors on three sides. It added an improved digital camera, with as much as 4K/60p video and the power to seize 48MP photos. It additionally labored with DJI’s RC Pro distant, eliminating the necessity for a smartphone to manage the drone. But it surely additionally lived as much as its ‘Pro’ billing by being nearly as expensive as drones in a category above.

This week, DJI introduced the Mini 3. Very similar to the current Mavic 3 Basic launch, this mannequin serves to fill a niche between the highest-end mannequin in its class and a predecessor that’s greater than two years outdated. On this case, it wedges itself between the extra superior Mini 3 Pro and the long-in-the-tooth Mini 2.

Breaking it down

It ought to be apparent, after viewing this comparability chart, that the unique Mavic Mini, that was examined for this text, and its SE counterpart, have simplistic, bare-bones choices by at present’s requirements. A extra fascinating selection considerations the Mini 3 Fly Extra combo with RC-N1 distant, which is simply barely costlier than the Mini 2 combo.

Mavic Mini/SE Mini 2 Mini 3 Mini 3 Pro
Worth

$299

$379 (Fly Extra combo)

$449

$599 (Fly Extra combo)

$409 (with out distant)

$499 (with RC-N1 distant)

$639 (with DJI RC distant)

$658 (RC-N1 Fly Extra combo)

$798 (DJI RC Fly Extra combo)

$669 (with out distant)

$759 (with RC-N1 distant)

$909 (with DJI RC distant)

Fly Extra Equipment an extra $189

Digital camera 12MP, Sort 1/2.3
(6.3 x 4.7mm)
12MP, Sort 1/2.3
(6.3 x 4.7mm)
12MP, Sort 1/1.3
(10 x 7.5mm)
48MP, Sort 1/1.3
(10 x 7.5mm)
Lens 24mm (equiv.) F2.8 24mm (equiv.) F2.8 24mm (equiv.) F1.7 24mm (equiv.) F1.7
Portrait Orientation No No Sure Sure
Photograph Format JPEG JPEG+ Uncooked JPEG+ Uncooked JPEG+ Uncooked
Digital Zoom None

4K:2x, 2.7K:3x, 1080p:4x

4K:2x, 2.7K:3x, 1080p:4x 4K:2x, 2.7K:3x, 1080p:4x
Max Video Decision 2.7/30p 4K/30p 4K/30p 4K/60p
Video Profile Regular Regular Regular

Regular

D-Cinelike

Video Bit Charge 40 Mbps 100 Mbps 100 Mbps 150 Mbps
Video Tranmission Enhanced Wi- Fi, 720p/30p, 4km DJI O2, 720p/30p, 10km DJI O2, 720p/30p, 10km DJI O3, 1080p/30p, 12km
Core Clever Capabilities QuickShots QuickShots, Panorama

QuickShots, Panorama

QuickShots (together with Asteroid), Panorama MasterShots, Hyperlapse, APAS 4.0

Max Flight Time half-hour 31 minutes

38 minutes or 51 minutes*

34 minutes or 47 minutes*
Impediment Detection Sensors Downward Imaginative and prescient System Downward Imaginative and prescient System Downward Imaginative and prescient System Ahead, Backward, Downward Impediment avoidance
Dimensions 138x81x58 mm 138x81x58 mm 148x90x62 mm 145x90x62 mm
Weight 249g 249g 249g** 249g**

*The Clever Flight battery provides the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro 37 or 34 minutes of battery life, respectively. The Clever Flight Plus battery provides every drone both 51 or 47 minutes. They’re interchangeable however not obtainable in all nations.

**Utilizing the Clever Flight battery Plus will put the drone’s takeoff weight above 250g. It should must be registered with regulatory our bodies.

The Mavic Mini and SE: The unbelievable shrinking drone

The Mavic Mini, which was examined for this text, and the Mini SE embody a digital camera able to capturing 2.7K/30p footage.

The Mavic Mini is now not in manufacturing, however it will possibly nonetheless be discovered at quite a lot of retailers. Nonetheless, the Mini SE remains to be on the market on DJI’s web site. The SE has the identical physique because the Mini 2 and each fashions home a 12MP digital camera with a Sort 1/2.3 (6.3 x 4.7mm) sensor, much like that discovered in lots of smartphones. It encompasses a 24mm (equiv.) lens with an 83º area of view and a set F2.8 aperture. It can’t seize Uncooked recordsdata.

The Mavic Mini and SE embody a really primary distant and set of options.

Video could be captured at a most decision of two.7K/30p at a bitrate of 40 Mbps utilizing the H.264 codec. Solely .MP4 recordsdata are supported. It is vital to notice that Auto Publicity Bracketing (AEB) isn’t obtainable for capturing nonetheless photos. Video capabilities are restricted as properly. There aren’t 10-bit or D-Cinelike profiles, so that you’re caught with much less versatile video clips. Slo-Mo recording can be not obtainable. Whereas DJI’s signature QuickShots together with Dronie, Helix, Rocket and Circle (these let the drone execute preprogrammed forms of photographs) are a part of the software program package deal, Hyperlapse (primarily a time-lapse sequence with the added aspect of movement) is lacking from each Mini and Mini SE fashions.

Solely a primary distant, which attaches to a smartphone, is appropriate with the Mavic Mini and SE. This controller has an influence button on the right-hand facet, a ‘Return to Dwelling’ button on the left, and gimbal wheels on high. As a result of the distant depends on Wi-Fi, vary is restricted to 4km (2.5 miles) and the reside feed can look a bit grainy in comparison with the ultimate footage. The utmost smartphone size is 160 mm (6.3″), which signifies that bigger smartphones, together with my iPhone 12 Pro Max at 160.8 mm, will not match comfortably into it. Flight time for the Mini/Mini SE, with a full battery in probably the most preferrred situations, is half-hour.

The Mini 2: The arrival of 4K video

The Mini 2 was the first-ever sub-250g drone to boast a 4K digital camera.

Launched in November 2020, the Mini 2 was the primary sub-250g drone to supply a 4K digital camera. With a 24mm equal lens, F2.8 fastened aperture and 83º FOV, it will possibly seize 12MP photos with its Sort 1/2.3 (6.3 x 4.7mm) sensor. AEB is out there for as much as 3 photographs and people could be mixed into an HDR picture. Panorama mode helps wide-angle, 180º and sphere. These photos will must be stitched collectively in post-processing. Each JPEG and Uncooked photos are supported.

As much as 4K/30p video could be captured at 100 Mbps with a H.264 codec. You’ll be able to digitally zoom in on topics as much as 2X at 4K/30p, 3X at 2.7K/20p and 4X at 1080p/30p. Dronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket and Boomerang QuickShots can be found, however Hyperlapse is not. Video can solely be recorded in .MP4 format and a Log profile isn’t obtainable.

The Mini 2 comes with the RC-N1 distant however may also be used with a DJI Good Controller. The Good Controller is appropriate with all drones working on OcuSync 2.0. For the reason that Mavic Mini, Mini 2 and Mini 3 do not have impediment avoidance, a light-weight propeller cage could be snapped on for additional safety.

The Mini 2 is appropriate with DJI’s RC-N1 distant controller. The distant itself is bigger than the drone and a smartphone clamps in on high. It has no LED display screen however gives pertinent options together with the power to toggle between flight speeds (Sport, Regular, Cinematic) and recording buttons. DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 transmission provides the drone a spread of as much as 10km (6.2 miles). When you do not wish to use your smartphone, DJI’s Good Controller can be appropriate.

Flight time works out to a most of 31 minutes per battery, not a lot completely different than the Mavic Mini or SE. Whereas specs will let you know that these smaller machines have an identical wind resistance in comparison with the extra aerodynamic Mini 3 fashions, it merely is not true. I discovered each to float a bit whereas modern successors held regular.

The Mini 3: Larger sensor

DJI’s Mini 3 brings trendy updates to its predecessor, the Mini 2.

The Mini 3 is a pricier and extra refined entry-level sub-250g drone. Like its Mini 3 Pro counterpart, it gives a Sort 1/1.3 (10 x 7.5mm) sensor. A 12MP digital camera with a 24mm equal lens (82.1º FOV ) and stuck F1.7 aperture is mounted on a 3-axis gimbal that can be able to rotating for vertical (portrait) photographs – no cropping vital.

AEB is current and captures in another way uncovered photographs in units of three. You may also seize stills as wide-angle, sphere, and 180º panoramas. DJI is utilizing a Quad Bayer sensor to create 12MP photos, with pixels as giant as 2.4μm (micrometer) for enhanced low-light efficiency. JPEG and Uncooked codecs are each supported by the Mini 3.

4K/30p video in .MP4 format could be captured at 100 Mbps with an H.264 codec. You’ll be able to zoom in on topics as much as 2X at 4K/30p, 3X at 2.7K/20p and 4X at 1080p/30p with 2X zoom. As with the Mini 2, Dronie, Circle, Helix, Rocket and Boomerang QuickShots can be found, however Hyperlapse nonetheless is not. Lastly, pilots who care about getting each ounce of element from video ought to notice that the Mini 3 does not allow you to shoot with DJI’s Log profile.

The Mini 3 works with each DJI’s RC-N1 distant and the DJI RC.

The Mini 3 is appropriate with the RC-N1, DJI RC, and Good Controller remotes. DJI’s RC distant options all of the buttons and wheels you want, plus a 5.5”, 700-nit touchscreen. DJI’s OcuSync 2.0 transmission provides the drone a spread of as much as 10km (6.2 miles).

Two various kinds of battery can be utilized with the Mini 3: the Clever Flight battery, which provides the drone as much as 38 minutes of flight time, and the Clever Flight Plus battery, which maxes out at as much as 51 minutes. Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro batteries are interchangeable. Utilizing Clever Flight Plus batteries will put the drone at a takeoff weight above 250g, nonetheless, which suggests it can must be registered.

The Mini 3 Pro: Small measurement with extra superior options

DJI’s Mini 3 Pro is top-of-the-line within the Mini household with impediment detection and avoidance sensors, together with a 48MP F1.7 digital camera.

The Mini 3 Pro, launched in Might 2022, is DJI’s top-of-the-line sub-250g drone. It features a few options present in fashions a category above it together with APAS 4.0, which lets you monitor topics and bypass or keep away from objects. In contrast to the cheaper choices, the three Pro contains Hyperlapse, MasterShots and all QuickShots, together with Asteroid, supplying you with most artistic alternatives. Ahead, backward and downward impediment detection and avoidance is inbuilt as properly.

The Mini 3 Pro has a 48MP digital camera with a Sort 1/1.3 (10 x 7.5m) sensor and twin native ISO (two conversion acquire modes), and it helps tone-mapped HDR footage (which DJI says places higher vary into an SDR video). It might probably seize each 12MP and 48MP photos utilizing a 24mm (equiv.) F1.7 fixed-aperture lens with an 82.1º FOV. AEB gives brackets of three or 5 photos. All panoramic modes are included, together with the addition of Vertical.

DJI’s Mini 3 Pro is the one mannequin within the sequence that provides the power to brake in entrance of or bypass obstacles.

4K/60p video could be captured at a bitrate of 150 Mbps with each H.264 and H.265 codecs. As with the Mini 2 and three, you may zoom in on topics as much as 2X at 4K/30p, 3X at 2.7K/20p and 4X at 1080p/30p, with 2X being marketed as ‘lossless.’ 10-bit colour and DJI’s D-Cinelike profile have been included shortly after the Mini 3 Pro launched.

DJI’s Mini 3 Pro is appropriate with the RC-N1, DJI RC and RC Pro distant controllers. Clearly, you would not wish to buy the latter distant for $1,199 except you completely wanted a third-party app and did not wish to use your smartphone to assist management the drone. That being mentioned, in the event you already personal a Mavic 3 Cine or different high-end DJI mannequin, then you could possibly buy the Mini 3 as a standalone unit.

DJI’s O3 transmission provides the drone an extended vary of 12 km (7.5 miles) and a transparent 1080/30p reside stream with low latency. Battery life is respectively 34 minutes with an Clever Battery and 47 minutes with the Clever Battery Plus. As with the Mini 3, the Plus battery will sadly put the drone over the 250g weight restrict, making it require registration to fly. Each the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro even have Degree 5 wind resistance, which means they’ll robotically stand up to wind speeds as much as 38.5 km/h (about 24 mph).

Who’s every mannequin finest for?

As you may inform from the pattern clips and pictures, you get what you pay for.

The Mavic Mini and SE are undoubtedly probably the most bare-bones drones of the Mini household. They do not have most of the fancy options or settings that enable you to seize superb video or stills. This makes them an reasonably priced entry level into the DJI ecosystem, although, they usually’re doubtlessly good for somebody beginning out who might not be certain if they need a drone long-term.

The Mini 2 is a good match for somebody with a funds within the $500 – $600 vary. This mannequin is able to taking decent-looking pictures and video clips. It is the perfect choice for hobbyists or funds travellers to tackle trip with their digital camera gear.

The Mini 3 is a bit pricier; nonetheless, you get a contemporary entry-level drone. Distant pilots needing a sub-250g drone with a bigger sensor and crisper, cleaner imagery that they’ll share on social channels will take pleasure in this providing. Simply make sure you do not thoughts that a few of DJI’s extra superior options are lacking.

As its identify signifies, the Mini 3 Pro is geared towards extra demanding drone pilots seeking to create polished pictures and video clips. Impediment detection and avoidance means customers can carry out inspections or maneuver in tighter areas with out fear. It is a drone appropriate for high-end pastime flying or commercial-grade work.

A number of hundred {dollars} separates every tier, however the variations are significant. Hopefully this text gave you some readability on which mannequin, given your funds and wishes, is the perfect match. Blissful flying!