DJI Mini 4 Pro – Low Light Footage and Night Video Mode

The DJI Mini 4 Pro camera has a wide aperture of f1.7, capable of gathering plenty of light. For users who post-process their footage, D-Log M is the color profile that gives the best results in low-light conditions. Normal is a good alternative when editing is not an option. Night Mode is a recent addition and requires further refinement

In this article, I will show how to get the best results in different low-light situations

I will compare the automated Night Mode to the color profiles Normal and D-Log M

You can check the prices for the different configurations of the Mini 4 Pro through the button below (commission earned)

Other related articles about the Mini 4 Pro you may find interesting:

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

Safety Tips for Night Footage

Footage by Vicvideopic

In low light the Obstacle Avoidance System of the Mini 4 Pro will not be active, therefore a lot of care is needed

I suggest carefully inspecting the scene and flying at a higher altitude than any surrounding obstacles

The Mini 4 Pro has two LED lights at the bottom of the two back legs to help spot the aircraft when bringing it back home. They are turned off when recording video, so make sure to stop recording when bringing the drone back home

The two LEDs are positioned behind the aircraft and are not always clearly visible, but the Mini 4 Pro has a feature to make it much easier to visualize it

DJI Mini 4 Pro - Settings for Auxiliary LED (by Vicvideopic)

In the Safety tab of Settings, it is possible to turn on a very powerful Auxiliary LED placed at the bottom of the aircraft

This is very effective for tracking the aircraft when returning home

Light Conditions

Footage by Vicvideopic

To test the low light capabilities of a drone or a ground-based camera, it is important to choose the correct light conditions

Urban Scenes at Night

I often see low-light tests made in a big city with powerful artificial lights as the only light source

Some of these scenes can be quite spectacular, but they don’t say much about the capabilities of the camera

These are extreme dynamic range situations with very bright lights and extremely dark shadows

The aim is to avoid overexposing the highlights, while the shadows will be black, like a silhouette, regardless of the camera’s low-light capability

After Sunset Before the Blue Hour

DJI Mini 4 Pro: Ideal low-light conditions (photo by Vicvideopic)
Photo by Vicvideopic

Much better results are obtained by shooting after sunset or before sunrise, with a bit of twilight acting as a fade light, and a few artificial lights as the main light source

It is important to have several natural areas with vegetation, the sea, or the sky to check the ability of the camera to maintain information in the shadows

Different Color Profiles

Let’s see how the Mini 4 Pro behaves under these conditions. I will compare the two color profiles Normal and D-Log-M to the Night Video mode


Footage by Vicvideopic

It is the most widely used as it requires minimal editing if any

For exposing I set the Shutter Speed at 1/50 of a second, the correct one for the frame rate I am using, 24 fps. I choose a low ISO value, 200, to avoid any loss of quality

By checking the Histogram, I can see that the clip will be underexposed by at least one stop, so I increase the exposure and lift the shadows while editing

The result is excellent: the colors are rich and very pleasing, there is plenty of detail in the shadows and the scene looks very organic

Some may think that these are not low-light conditions, but believe me, it was very dark. The f1.7 lens of the Mini 4 Pro can gather plenty of light

D-Log M

Footage by Vicvideopic

D-Log M is a flat profile, it requires a good dose of editing, and an LUT is needed

I have used the one made by DJI for the Mini 4 Pro, you can download it from DJI website

I use the same approach for exposure as before. The results in these light conditions are even better than the ones obtained in Normal mode

But, most importantly, the files respond very well to color grading, so it is easy to lift the shadow, modify the colors, or use a different LUT to adapt the footage to any color scheme

There is hardly any noise, but I am not overly concerned about noise. I use the excellent denoiser Neat Video to gently reduce luminance, chromatic noise, or flickering without introducing any artifacts

Here you find my article about Neat Video. You will find more info including the price through the button below


The Mini 4 Pro has another 10-bit color profile, HLG, but I will not analyze it here

It is a profile that can give good results, but it is more complex to use, as it is based on a different color space

You can find out more about HLG color profile in my article about the video color profiles of the Mini 4 Pro

Night Mode

DJI Mini 4 Pro: Night Mode in the Photo/Video menu (image by Vicvideopic)

In the Video/Photo menu, there is a Night Mode that automatically applies some noise reduction and sharpening to the footage

The ISO can reach a maximum value of 12800, versus 6400 for regular video mode

It is not as flexible as the regular video mode, as the maximum frame rate is 30fps, so it is impossible to apply slow motion

It works only with the 8-bit mode Normal. The 10-bit ones, D-Log M, and HLG are not supported

It is possible to expose using Auto or Manual mode

Night mode was introduced in the Mavic 3, and I found it disappointing, the denoising and sharpening are very aggressive and everything looks fake and plasticky

Footage by Vicvideopic

As often is the case, DJI seems to have improved this feature and the Gotham City effect is now less pronounced

In these twilight conditions, Night Mode cannot compete with D-Log M or Normal Mode. The colors are not as rich and there is little detail in the shadows and the buildings, probably due to the excessive denoising and sharpening

Let’s move to the other scenario I was describing earlier on. An urban scene where the only source is artificial light

Here again, Night Mode disappoints. The ISO value has been increased and the dose of denoising and sharpening is too aggressive

The shadows are crushed and the buildings don’t look organic. The colors are washed out

This mode has improved in the Mini 4 Pro compared to the first version in the Mavic 3, but  it is still a work in progress

In these conditions, much better results are obtained using Normal mode with manual exposure. The colors are much richer, there is a nice contrast and some detail in the shadow and the buildings in the village look like real buildings

If You Prefer to Watch it as a Video

Footage 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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