DJI Mini 3 and 3 Pro Video Quality

The new DJI Mini 3 is a cheaper version the Mini 3 Pro, with several functionalities missing. Most of these features relate to video. For most users, I would recommend going for the Pro model if the budget allows for it, as the very useful features are certainly worth the $200 difference in price

For users interested mainly in still images, I have made a specific comparison of the Mini 3 vs 3 Pro for photography

Recently DJI has lowered the price of the Mini 3 and added the 48 MP mode. My analysis in the article: Mini 3 vs 3 Pro, which lightweight drone to buy?

Differences between the Two Models

The engine, body, gimbal, and camera in the two models are the same, so there is no difference in in-flight performance, speed, stability, and wind resistance

The Sensor Size is 1/1.3” and the Video Resolution is 4k

Body, gimbal, and camera of the Mini 3 Pro (photo by Vicvideopic)

Obstacle Sensors

The new model is not supplied with the three-directional obstacle sensor of the Pro model

The lack of an obstacle detection system is a major limitation in terms of safety, not only for beginners

When shooting footage professionally in all different conditions, the excellent APAS system of the Mini 3 Pro has saved my drone from crashing on many occasions

It is a crucial feature that by itself might justify the difference in price between the two models for many users

More details about the obstacle detection system of the Mini 3 Pro in my articles How to use follow me and tracking and obstacle avoidance system in the Mini 3 Pro

Video Bitrate

Another difference between the two models is video bitrate. In the Mini 3, it has been reduced to 100Mbps from 150Mbps in the Pro model. A higher bitrate means less compression in the video file and thus more info retained and better performance in heavy post-processing

But the 100 Mbps of the Mini 3 is already a relatively high value and the difference does not seem to affect image quality

Frame Rate and Slow Motion

Examples of slow motion using higher frame rates (video by Vicvideopic)

The Mini 3 has a frame rate of up to 30 fps at 4k for video, vs 60 fps for the Pro. The cheaper model cannot apply slow-motion

More details about frame rates and slow motion with the Mini 3 and 3 Pro in this article

It is a limitation, as slowing down the footage is an excellent way to add interest, especially when filming close to a moving subject, but probably not a deal breaker for most casual users

I have done a specific article on how to use higher frame rates for slow motion

Intelligent Modes

The Mini 3 doesn’t t have the three intelligent flight modes grouped under the name Focus Track:

This is a major difference for two reasons:

  • There are no tracking capabilities, very useful for following moving targets or for vlogging
  • Using the modes Spotlight and POI it is possible to maintain a static target in the same position in the frame while performing all sorts of moves. I use these modes constantly and I find them invaluable for producing flawless cinematic footage
The intelligent flight modes of the Mini 3 Pro (video by Vicvideopic)

MasterShots has also been taken away from the Mini 3. The only automated mode available in the basic model is QuickShots

The basic Mini 3 doesn’t have hyperlapse

Signal Transmission

The only major flaw I find in the Mini 3 Pro is the signal transmission in areas with strong interference

This is probably due to the antenna housed inside the arms. With the basic Mini 3, DJI has added a couple of feet at the end of the arms where the antennas are now housed, like in the Mini 2

In the DJI Mini 3 the antennas are placed inside the pair of feet at the end of the wings
In the Mini 3, the antennas are in the same position as in the Mini 2

Even though the Pro model has a more recent transmission system, my impression so far is that the basic model has a slightly better signal, due to the location of the antennas. However, the signal quality varies a lot according to the geographic location

More details in my article about Signal range of the Mini 3 Pro

Battery Life

This is a department where the more affordable Mini 3 outperforms the Pro model

Due to the energy saved by the lack of obstacle avoidance and other functionalities, the Mini 3 has an announced battery life of 38 minutes (51 with the Plus battery) vs 34 minutes for the Pro model (47 with the Plus) 

Other Differences

The maximum ISO value in the Mini 3 is 3200, versus 6400 for the Mini 3 Pro, but such a high value is not needed with the extreme f 1.7 aperture of the lens. More details in my article How to expose video and photos with the Mini 3 and 3 Pro

The cheaper model is not compatible with the RC Pro, the luxury controller priced at around $1,000, this will only impact users who already own the RC Pro and use it with another DJI Drone

The transmission system in the Mini 3 is Ocusynch 2 which displays a resolution of 720p on the controller, versus Ocusynch 3 with a 1080p resolution in the Pro model. The footage on the controller looks crispier on the Pro model, but this is not a deal-breaker

Both models can rotate the gimbal to shoot video and photos in a vertical orientation, a big selling point for users active on social media

Footage in Normal Mode

The only color mode available in the basic MIni 3 is Normal. It is an 8-bit mode to be used right out of the camera with little or no color grading

The results are the same in the two models, this is not surprising, since they have the same camera

Video quality of the Mini 3 in Normal mode (video by Vicvideopic)

The quality is remarkable, although a slight increase in contrast and saturation is needed

I find a slight tendency towards yellowish tones, so I set the white balance just above 5000 Kelvins, while with other DJI models, I prefer 5600

When lowering the angle of the camera to take the sky out of the equation, detail and color rendition are good. Footage taken in Normal mode with both models is excellent for social media usage

High dynamic range footage with the Mini 3 (video by Vicvideopic)

An area where the two models suffer a bit compared to the Air 2s and the Mavic 3 is footage shot in the direction of the sun. The dynamic range is certainly not as extended as in the more expensive models and this is not surprising, due partly to the smaller sensor and partly to marketing reasons

When exposing to preserve the highlights, the shadows remain too dark and there is some flare near the position of the sun. Not too bad, but again not as good as with the bigger models

Night footage (video by Vicvideopic)

A department where the Mini models really shine (forgiving the pun) is night footage. Thanks to the extremely wide aperture of 1.7, the performance in low light is astonishing, it can even rival the one of the mighty Mavic 3

Even in the darkest scenes, the level of noise is acceptable and can be perfectly managed using Neat Video, the excellent denoiser that I use constantly, more details about Neat Video in my specific article  

Vertical footage (video by Vicvideopic)

In footage taken in vertical format, there is practically no difference in quality compared to the traditional format

More details about Normal and D Cinelike profiles are in this article

D Cinelike

The Mini 3 Pro has the 10-bit flat profile color mode D Cinelike, meant for serious color grading

D Cinelike is only available in the Mini 3 Pro (video by Vicvideopic)

A 10-bit profile can display over 1 bn color, vs 16.7 ml for an 8-bit one, the wider color spectrum prevents color banding in uniform areas and other artifacts

This profile has a wider dynamic range, it is meant to perform better in situations with a lot of difference in luminosity. Since D Cinelike is more solid in post-processing, it is a better choice to adapt the footage to the specific color range of a project

On the first version of the Mini 3 Pro, I found D Cinelike a bit disappointing. At the time it was an 8-bit profile and the shadows were a bit crushed. But it has been constantly improved by firmware updates and it is now a true good-quality 10-bit mode

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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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