DJI Mini 3 and 3 Pro Drone Mistakes to Avoid

The Mini 3 and 3 Pro are excellent drones both for video and photography. There are some common mistakes to avoid and best practices to be aware of when starting to use these models, in order to avoid unnecessary risks or to get better results with your footage and photos

More useful details can be found in my articles:

If You Prefer To Watch This As a Video

1 – Mini 3 and 3 Pro Obstacle Avoidance

The Mini 3 doesn’t have any obstacle detection sensors and this is one of the main differences between the two models. A lot of care is needed when flying: always maintain a reasonable distance from obstacles and avoid very low flying

The Mini 3 Pro has a tridimensional obstacle avoidance system with sensors in the front, at the back, and at the bottom. It is possible to turn it on in the settings and to choose whether the aircraft should stop when encountering an obstacle or try to find its way around it

I use the obstacle avoidance system a lot, it gives me a good amount of peace of mind and has saved my drones from crashing on countless occasions. But some care is still needed when flying, as the system is not omnidirectional

The Mini 3 Pro lacks sensors at the sides and at the top, therefore it is not protected when flying sideways or upward. I would not suggest using it for close-distance tracking, unless in an area totally free from obstacles

Tracking with the Mini 3 Pro from above the obstacles zooming in

When circling or tracking it is suggested to maintain the aircraft above all obstacles and maybe use the zoom function to get closer to the action

Obstacle sensors of the Mini 3 encountering bare branches

The obstacle sensors of the Mini 3 Pro work remarkably well, but cannot be fully trusted with wiry obstacles like bare branches and cables. Also, remember that the obstacle sensors are not active when flying in Sport mode 

More details in my article about the Obstacle avoidance system of the Mini 3 Pro

2 – Flying the Mini 3 and 3 Pro in Strong Wind

Even though the Mini 3 and 3 Pro are more powerful and have better aerodynamics compared to the Mini 2, they are still lightweight models below the important threshold of 250 grams and don’t have the same wind resistance as bigger models like the Air 2s or the Mavic 3

It is better to start by flying into a strong wind

Always check the wind conditions before flying. In case of medium to strong wind, if you decide to take your chance, always start your session by flying into the wind. If you notice that the drone can only advance very slowly, you will still be able to return to the home point and land. If you start flying with a strong tailwind, the aircraft will quickly fly very far and you might be unable to bring it back home

When trying to bring the aircraft back into a strong wind it helps to lower the altitude and fly closer to the ground where the wind is less severe

A useful tool to check the wind condition at a high altitude is the Attitude mode in the Radar Map, as explained in my in-depth article

3 – Return to Home

Many users wrongly believe that when hitting the RTH button, the aircraft will return to the position of the remote controller, but this is not always the case 

The Home Point is updated as soon as the satellites are connected
The Home Point is updated as soon as the satellites are connected

The return to home point is set after the connection of the drone to the different satellites. It is generally quite close to the position of the operator unless the drone started flying before the home point was set

If the operator is moving during the flight, for example, on a car, a boat, a bicycle, or trekking, in case of return home, the aircraft will head toward the home point set at the initial position, which might be very far from where the operator is currently, even in the opposite direction. This may be dangerous, especially if there is little battery life left

Update Home Point in the Safety tab of the Setting
Update Home Point in the Safety tab of the Settings

In the settings, it is possible to update the return home point to the position of the controller. It is recommended to do so when the operator is moving while the drone is flying

In the Safety tab of the Settings it is possible to choose the Auto Return to Home Altitude. In the case of a Return To Home, the aircraft will rise to that altitude before flying in the direction of the home point. Once the home point is reached, it will start descending

It is important to set the RTH altitude above all the surrounding obstacles, but not too high, as it will take time to ascend and then lower the altitude for landing, this can be dangerous when battery time is short 

More info can be found in my article How to find find a lost drone and how to avoid losing it Andin this other one: All you need to know about Return To Home with the Mini 3 and 3 Pro

4 – Control the Battery Level Before Flying

After charging a battery, the full level is kept only for a couple of days, after that the charge goes down to about half, in order to preserve the life of the battery

The battery level is displayed at the top of the screen
The battery level is displayed at the top of the screen

So, when taking off it is better to check immediately the battery level instead of assuming that it is fully charged to avoid bad surprises. Running out of battery is one of the most frequent causes of drone crashes 

5 – Flying a Drone Over Water

The Mini 3 and 3 Pro are not waterproof

The Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro, like most other drones, are not waterproof. They can stand very little rain for a couple of minutes, but that is about it. They don’t like salty water, especially the battery, so it is very important to avoid splashes from sea waves

Also, the downward sensor doesn’t work properly over reflective surfaces, so it cannot be trusted to prevent the drone from entering the water, and even the altitude shown on the screen is not always accurate

Flying close to the water with the DJI Mini 3

So, when flying over water, avoid being too close to the surface and carefully monitor the distance of the aircraft from the waves on the screen

6 – Use Manual Exposure and White Balance 

When shooting video beginners tend to use automatic exposure. There are many reasons why it is important to get used to manual exposure as soon as possible

A noticeable shift of luminosity when using auto exposure with the Mini 3

With manual exposure, whenever there is a variation in luminosity in the scene, there will be a very noticeable progressive adjustment of the brightness in the resulting clip. This is one of the most obvious signs of amateur footage

These variations of luminosity are much more pronounced when filming in the central hours of a sunny day, which is carefully avoided by experienced users whenever possible

Other situations involving changes in the amount of light in the scene are when rotating the camera progressively towards the direction of the sun, or when tilting the gimbal up from a downward position to include the sky in the scene

There are several methods used by experienced users to avoid unpleasant shifts of luminosity and all of them involve planning the shots in advance

Manual exposure settings with the DJI Mini 3
Manual exposure settings with the DJI Mini 3

The first thing to do is to set the exposure to manual (Pro mode). When filming around sunset or sunrise or with the sun covered by clouds the changes in luminosity will be reduced to the point of not being noticeable

Avoid turning the camera towards the direction of the sun during the same clip. When planning a shot tilting the camera up from the ground to a position including the sky, it is suggested to expose for the sky to avoid burning the highlights, it will be then possible to raise the shadows while editing if needed

Using auto white balance causes shifts in color

Using auto white balance is to be avoided at all times when shooting footage, as it may lead to very bad shifts in color when the luminosity change. It also makes it very hard to adjust the colors while editing

Check my article Camera settings for video with the Mini 3 Pro to go deeper on this topic

7 – Avoid Flying Indoor

When flying indoors the GPS signal doesn’t work, the drone drifts much more than usual and the sensitivity to the sticks of the remote control is lower. In most cases, there will be plenty of obstacles all around

Flying indoors should be done only by experienced users, with a lot of attention and possibly using propeller guards   

8 – Plan the Moves in Advance

Another beginner mistake is to repeatedly modify the direction of the fly and the camera angle during a clip. For cinematic footage, better results are obtained by planning the shot in advance and making a continuous smooth move while maintaining the same direction, like what happens in Quick shots and Mastershots

Smooth moves using intelligent flight modes with the Mini 3 Pro

The Pro model has the excellent intelligent flight modes Spotlight and Point of Interest, very useful tools to produce smooth cinematic moves 

More info about the automated moves of the Mini 3 Pro in he following articles

9 – Flyings Always at High Altitude

Beginners tend to shoot footage and photos only from a high elevation. It is often interesting to film the same landmark from different heights and at varied distances

Low-flying footage can be very cinematic

Low-flying footage can often be very cinematic, although more planning is involved to make sure to stay clear of obstacles

Learn about My favorite 9 drone moves for cinematic footage in this article

VicVideoPic

I am Vittorio Caramazza, aka Vicvideopic, the founder of this website and author of all the posts. I am a videographer and photographer contributing to several stock agencies. I am an Adobe Certified Expert in Photoshop and Lightroom. I have 10 years of experience with dron videography and photography. I was struck by drone syndrome in 2013. I have owned and tested in depth the following drones: Phantom 3, Phantom 4, Phantom 4 Pro, Mavic 2 Zoom, Mavic 2 Pro, Mavic Mini, Mini 2, Air 2, Air 2s, Autel Evo Nano Plus, Mavic 3, Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3. My home has turned into a breeding ground for drones. I am the owner of two YouTube channels specializing in Videography and Photography, with a focus on drones My main channel is VicVideopic (in English): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgaBlrFDONJ4BSEUHa2cLKg My other channel is Drone Mitico, the Italian version.: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkeoY8rPPj-fypUKHckTtwQ I am currently based in Sicily (Southern Italy), but I tend to move quite often. After all, this is one of the main benefits of being a digital nomad…

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