Dji Mini 3 vs 3 Pro Photo Quality

Since DJI released the more affordable version of the Mini 3 Pro, named simply Mini 3, many users asked me which model is more suitable for their needs

For most users, I suggest the Mini 3 Pro model, due to the powerful functionalities which are mostly for filming. For users interested only in photography, the basic Mini 3 is an affordable alternative to consider, as long as they can do without the obstacle avoidance and the hyperlapse functionalities

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?

In this article, you can compare it to the photo quality of the new model, the Air 3

If You Prefer To Watch This As a Video

Differences Between the Mini 3 and the 3 Pro for Photo

There are several pricing options for the two models, according to the remote controller and the combo version. In all of them, the basic Mini 3 is about $200 (or euro) cheaper than the Pro

Physical Differences Between the Mini 3 and the 3 Pro

The hardware is almost identical in the two models, with only two differences. One of them is very important

The basic Mini 3 doesn’t-t have obstacle sensors

The basic Mini 3 is not supplied with the tridimensional obstacle sensor system of the Pro model. It is certainly a major difference as obstacle detection is a very important safety issue, but it is more crucial when shooting video, as the aircraft has to perform specific moves while filming, while photos are static, so less risk is involved

The lack of obstacle sensors rules out crucial features for video like tracking and other intelligent modes

The basic model has two legs below the propellers

The other physical difference between the two models consists of the two small legs below the propellers in the basic Mini 3. This is where the antennas are now located, as in the Mini 2

This is probably due to the poor performance of the Mini 3 Pro in terms of signal transmission, the only main fault of this excellent drone, arguably due to the location of the antennas inside the wings. To solve the issue the antennas have been repositioned to the previous location

The sensor is the same 1/1.3” one and the lens is also identical. Both models can save both RAW and JPEG files and the true photo resolution is 12 MP, although they offer a 48 MP mode that I will analyze later on

Differences in Features Between the Mini 3 and the 3 Pro

The difference in price between the two models is due mostly to functionalities that have been taken away in the new model. The great majority of them are useful only for filming and I have analyzed them in my comparison of the two models for video

The settings for photography are basically the same. There are some minor differences

  • in the Mini 3 there is no burst mode, to take several photos in rapid succession, a feature rarely used with drones
  • the Auto Exposure Bracketing can take a maximum of three photos, instead of five
  • Panorama photography has three of the four modes and lacks Vertical Panorama
  • The maximum ISO value in the basic Mini 3 is 3200 vs 6400 for the Pro, but this can be disregarded as both models have excellent capabilities in low light and can take sensational photos at much lower ISO values

In this article, you will find 9 tips for amazing photos with the Mini 3 and 3 Pro

The basic Mini 3 lacks the hyperlapse mode

A major limitation of the Mini 3 is the lack of the excellent hyperlapse functionality of the Pro model, as many fans of photography are also addicted to this technique, like me. It is still possible to take time lapses with a static point of view, using timed shots

A technique very similar to the one used for time lapses also applies to Long-exposure photography with the Mini 3 or 3 Pro, it can be done with both models. You can watch my dedicated article for more details and for creative photography ideas

This other article explains in depth How to expose video and photos with the Mini 3 and 3 Pro

In theory, it is possible to add some movement using the sticks of the remote controller in timed shot mode, after having set the maximum speed to a very low value, thus achieving a sort of homemade hyperlapse

But the resulting short movie will have some abrupt changes in direction and the process is incredibly tedious. For someone who is into hyperlapses, the Pro model is the way to go, without any doubts

Mini 3 and 3 Pro: 12MP vs 48MP

Let’s compare some images taken in 12 MP mode, which is exactly the same in the two models, to the 48 MP mode that is only available on the Pro version

12MP vs 48MP mode

The Quadbayer sensor has a real photo resolution of 12 MP, but it is capable of splitting each pixel into four smaller ones, thus creating a sort of 48MP resolution. This should be useful to increase the detail and for better results in large prints. But the resulting pixels are much smaller, so in theory, the ability to gather light should be reduced, therefore this mode is to be used only in easy light conditions

When the Mini 3 Pro was released the 48 MP images had slightly more detail in elements in the background compared to the ones in 12 MP, but in high dynamic range scenes or in low light the shadows were too dark and contained some chromatic noise

More details in my article about the 48MP mode of the Mini 3 Pro

Both modes have been constantly improved in different firmware updates. The detail in the 12 MP mode has considerably improved and the shadows in the 48 MP mode have now more info and less noise. It is in my opinion very hard to find any major differences in these images taken in different light conditions even in deep crops. In my opinion, the lack of the 48 MP mode in the basic Mini 3 is not something to worry about, and certainly not a deal breaker. 

Luminar Neo, the program I use to edit and organize photos

To edit and organize my library of photos I use Luminar Neo. It is an excellent program with a host of interesting functionalities, very fast and easy to use. It has a tool to control the small, medium, and large detail that works really well and can be applied only to a part of the image using masks. 

You can watch my detailed article about Luminar Neo by clicking on this link 

DJI Mini 3 and 3 Pro Photo Samples

Click on this link to download the JPEG file

Click to download the JPEG file

And now some more images in 12 MP mode to appreciate the outstanding photo capabilities of both the Mini 3 and the 3 Pro in low light, due in part to the extremely wide aperture of f1.7, capable of gathering plenty of light

More details in my specific article about Photography with the Mini 3 Pro

Click to download the JPEG file

Click to download the JPEG file

Click to download the JPEG file

Click to download the JPEG file

Click to download the JPEG file

Click to download JPEG file

Click to download JPEG file

Both models are capable of taking photos in vertical format, useful functionality for extra creativity, and for interesting manual panorama

Vertical photos taken with the Mini 3

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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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