DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 2 Photo Image Quality

Even though the Mini 2 performs decently in easy light, I would only recommend it to users on a budget. The Mini 3 Pro not only offers a lot of useful functions, like vertical photos, 48MP mode, and hyperlpse but it is also a big step up in terms of photo quality, especially in low light

Many users have asked me if it is worth upgrading from the Mini 2 or the Mini SE to the new Mini 3 Pro, and which of the two models to buy as a first drone

There is a big difference in terms of functionalities between the two drones, in this article I will put them face to face focusing only on the quality of the photos in all different light conditions

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?

Other articles you may find interesting:

Mini 3 Pro and Mini 2 face to face
Mini 3 Pro and Mini 2 face to face (photo by Vicvideopic)

If you prefer to watch this as a video, you will find my YouTube version at the end of this article

Photo Specs

Mini 3 ProMini 2
Sensor size1/1.3″1/2.3″
Aperturef 1.7f 2.8
Field of view82.1° (24mm equivalent)83° (24mm equivalent)
Photo resolution12 MP (48MP mode available)12 MP
Photo formatJPEG + RAWJPEG + RAW
Source: DJI website

The Mini 2 was released in November 2020, more than three years ago, which in terms of drone technology is a very long time

Mini 3 Pro and Mini 2 side by side
Mini 3 Pro and Mini 2 side by side (photo by Vicvideopic)

The sensor is tiny by today’s standards. Due to sensor size and aperture, we should expect much better performance in low light and high dynamic range situations from the Mini 3 Pro

Video by Vicvideopic (photo by Vicvideopic)

In the specs, the photo resolution of the Mini 3 Pro is often stated as 48 MP, but that is misleading

The Quad Bayer sensor is capable of splitting each pixel into four smaller ones, therefore creating a sort of 48 MP resolution, but the size of each pixel is so small that the benefits are limited to an increase in detail in easy light conditions

Mini 3 Pro single image vs 48MP
Mini 3 Pro single image vs 48MP (photo by Vicvideopic)

In low light and high dynamic range situations, better results are obtained with the regular 12 MP resolution

For more information please refer to my article about photography with the Mini 3 Pro, or to the one about the 48MP mode of the Mini 3 Pro

The Mini 3 has the added benefit of shooting vertical photos and video

It is a feature mainly meant for video, but I also appreciate it for extra creativity in photography

It can also be interesting for manual panoramas using vertical images

Mini 3 Pro vertical image
Mini 3 Pro vertical image (photo by Vicvideopic)

Both models can shoot photos in Automatic Exposure Bracketing

The Mini 3 Pro in this mode can take 5 shots like the bigger models in DJI prosumer line, while the Mini 2 can only take 3, which slightly reduces the use of this functionality

I tend to shoot always in AEB to avoid the risk of a slightly wrong exposure

In situations of high dynamic range with both models merging several photos to HDR often yields better results compared to single shots

In this article, you will find plenty of examples of AEB photos with the Mini 3 Pro

Photo Quality

Easy Light Conditions

Video by Vicvideopic

Let’s start by watching some images taken with both models in friendly light conditions

The RAW images taken with the Mini 2 look a bit hazy, probably due to the lens

DJI and Hasselblad have recently put a lot of effort into the lens design, and the ones that equip the Air 2S, Mavic 3, and Mini 3 Pro are a big step up compared to previous models

But the RAW files are not meant to be used out of the camera and in post-processing in most cases we can get rid of the haze

In most cases, the rendition of the two models is similar, with just a touch of extra noise in the Mini 2

We also notice that there is no degradation in the edges of the images with any of the two models

For editing and color grading I have used the excellent Luminar Neo, click on the link for an in-depth analysis


Video by Vicvideopic

By turning the camera down the sky is taken out of the equation to focus on detail and color rendition

The Mini 3 Pro and the Mini 2 have a similar amount of detail

At 200% magnification, the Mini 3 Pro shows just a touch of extra detail

The major difference between the two models is in color rendition: the Mini 3 Pro shows a much richer color space  

Against the Sun

Video by Vicvideopic

Shots in the direction of the sun with extreme dynamic range are the real stress test for drone photography

These conditions put under pressure not only the sensor but also the quality of the lens and the resistance to flare

Against the sun, the Mini 3 performs much better than the Mini 2: the sky looks more natural, there is more detail in the shadows, and the colors are much richer

The tiny sensor of the Mini 2 shows its limits: there is little detail in the shadows, loss of contrast, some color banding in the sky, and a limited range of colors

Both models benefit from shooting several images and merging them to HDR, especially the Mini 2

With the Mini 3 Pro, I would recommend getting a set of ND filters

Due to the very large aperture, in shots against the direction of the sun, we often reach the limits of exposure: even when using the base ISO and the faster shutter speed, too much light enters the sensor and the image can be overexposed 

Low Light

Video by Vicvideopic

Low-light photography is a strong point of the Mini 3 Pro

The relatively big sensor paired with the very wide aperture gathers plenty of light while keeping the ISO value down

The noise is contained, the shadows contain plenty of information and the color rendition is excellent

More examples of low-light photography with the Mini 3 Pro are in this article

In low-light photography, the Mini 2 shows its age and the extremely small size of the sensor

There is a noticeable amount of luminance noise in the sky, very little detail, and plenty of chromatic noise in the shadows. The color rendition is poor

For low-light photography, this model is not up to today’s standards

If You Prefer to Watch This as a Video

Video by 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): My other channel is Drone Mitico, the Italian version.: 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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