Is DJI Mini 3 Pro Worth the Upgrade over the Mini 2?

The Mini 3 Pro and the Mini 2 are the two models of the DJI line offering 4k video with a weight below the critical threshold of 250 grams. Still, they are very different and positioned for two different kinds of users. DJI has added the word Pro to the Mini 3 for a reason

  • The Mini 2 is suitable for beginners who want to wet their feet in drone videography and photography. It is basic in functionalities and offers decent video quality, basic photo capabilities, and excellent DJI reliability. The technology is a bit dated and the sensor is extremely small
  • The Mini 3 Pro does a lot of things very well. A big step forward over the Mini 2, also suitable for intermediate users. The ability to shoot vertical video attracts videographers active on social media platforms. It can also interest professional users as a second drone for urban usage, travel, and hiking
Mini 3 Pro and Mini 2 face to face

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 vs Mini 2, which lightweight drone to buy?

If You Prefer To Watch This As a Video

Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 2 Specs

Mini 3 ProMini 2
Sensor Size1/1.3″1/2.3″
Aperture f 1.7f 2.8
Video Resolution4k at 60 fps4k at 30 fps
Video Bitrate150 Mbps100 Mbps
Photo Resolution12 MP
(48 MP mode available)
12 MP
Color modesNormal
D Cinelike
Normal
Intelligent ModesActive Track
Spotlight
Point of Interest
Hyperlapse
Mastershots
Quickshots
Quickshots
Obstacle SensorsTridimensional
Battery Life34 min
(47 min + battery)
31 min
Source: DJI website

DJI Mini 2 Features

The Mini 2 was released in November 2020 as an upgrade over the original Mini, adding 4k video, RAW photo, zoom functionality, better transmission, and some basic Quickshots. But the design of the first Mini dates from 2019, a very long time ago in terms of drone technology

Example of footage taken with the Mini 2

At the time it was a great achievement to squeeze a decent 4k camera with a three-axis gimbal and performances up to DJI standards in such a small weight. So the Mini 2 had to do without any bells and whistles

The only intelligent mode for footage is Quickshot, while for photography there is a simplified version of Panorama. The sensor is way too small for today’s standards and this is not a good omen for dynamic range and low light footage. There are no obstacle sensors and only one color mode, the 8-bit Normal

Mini 3 Pro Features

The Mini 3 Pro was released in May 2022. Taking advantage of the advance in technology and internal research, DJI has been able to add an astonishing amount of functionalities, almost the same as in the Air 2S, while still maintaining a weight below 250 grams

The Mini 3 Pro has a much bigger sensor of 0.77”, an extremely wide fixed aperture of f1.7, and a video resolution of 4k with a frequency of up to 60 fps, which is useful for slow motion. Besides Normal, there is also a flat 8-bits color profile, D Cinelike, suitable for serious post-processing

The new model offers tridimensional obstacle sensors at the front, back, and bottom. The ability to detect obstacles is a crucial element of safety, even though the Mini 3 lacks sensors on the sides and above, therefore I don’t suggest using it for close-range tracking

Main video features of the Mini 3 Pro

Another important feature of the Mini 3 compared to the Mini 2 is Focus Track, which is the name given to the three intelligent flight modes Spotlight, Active Track, and Point of Interest. These modes offer tracking capabilities and are also useful to smoothly perform complex cinematic moves that would be very difficult to accomplish manually

More detail on these modes in my specific articles: Active Track, Spotlight, Point of Interest

The big novelty of the Mini 3 is the ability to shoot vertical video and photos and this is an important selling point, as it makes this model the perfect tool for users active on social media platforms

Other extra functionalities of the Mini 3 compared to the Mini 2 are a well-implemented Hyperlapse mode, MasterShots, and a more complete version of panorama photography

Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 2 In Flight

Noise level comparison

Here is a comparison of the noise level of the two models, taken from the same distance with the same microphone. The mini 3 is very quiet, and this is useful to avoid attracting unwanted attention

The announced horizontal speed is the same in the two models and there is little difference in wind resistance, but the Mini 3 certainly feels more powerful and agile

The gimbal of the Mini 3 has annoying jumps

Like other previous models of the DJI line, the Mini 2 has at times some very annoying jumps of the camera at the beginning or the end of a move, while the Mini 3 is always perfectly stable thanks to the different design of the fuselage and of the area around the gimbal

I have tested the battery life of the Mini 2 in normal flying conditions at 27 minutes, while with the Mini 3 Pro, I reached over 30 minutes

I shoot a lot of hyperlapses and the extra life of the battery is crucial for this technique. With the 3 Pro, it is also possible to purchase a special battery lasting well over 40 minutes, a hyperlapser dream. But sadly it is not available in Europe

The new RC controller with a built-in screen

The Mini 3 can be purchased with the new RC controller with a built-in screen. I got used to it and it is a joy to use it. No other device like a smartphone or tablet is needed, and no cables to attach. Just switch it on and in a few seconds, we are ready to go. For more details please refer to my specific article about the RC controller

Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 2: Footage Quality

Face to face footage taken with the two models

Let’s have a quick look at some face-to-face footage shot in Normal mode

Footage taken with the Mini 3

When the Mini 2 was released I was pleasantly surprised by the video quality but due to the tiny sensor and the basic lens, there is a serious degradation when shooting against the sun and in low-light situations. Frankly, night footage with the Mini 2 is a bit embarrassing by today’s standards

D Cinelike with the Mini 3 Pro

The Mini 3 has a second color profile, a flatter one, D Cinelike. A flatter profile should perform better in high dynamic situations and should be able to stand much heavier post-processing. It is therefore especially useful to adapt footage to the color scheme and the mood of a specific project

More details about Video quality with the Mini 3 and 3 Pro in my specific article

Mini 3 Pro vs Mini 2: Photo Quality

Mini 2 photos

I always found the Mini 2 better for footage than for photos. With still images, the images are noisy for today’s standards, the ungraded RAW files have a noticeable amount of haze, the colors are nothing to write home about and the files don’t respond very well to color grading

In shots in the direction of the sun better results are obtained by merging to HDR bracketed photos. In low light, the quality falls off a cliff

Mini 3 Pro photos

Photos with the Mini 3 Pro are good in all light conditions, the RAW files are very solid, the quality of the lens is much higher, and the colors are pleasant even though they lean slightly towards a warmish tobacco tint, I find that the best result is obtained by lowering the white balance value to 5000 Kelvins instead of the usual 5600. More details on my specific article about Photography with the Mini 3 Pro

The Mini 3 shines particularly in low light, thanks to the bigger sensor and the extremely wide aperture of the lens

Mini 3 Pro 48MP mode

There is a slight lack of detail in elements far away, probably due to the wide lens. The Mini 3 Pro has also a mode named 48MP. It adds a touch of extra detail over the normal mode in easy light conditions. It is obtained by splitting each of the 12m pixels into 4 smaller ones and should not be confused with a real 48MP resolution

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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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