DJI adds cheaper 4K camera drone to sub-250-g Mini family
We've known of the impending arrival of the Mini 3 ever since the launch of the featherweight Mini 3 Pro in May, but it still looks like it's been worth the wait. Though missing a few premium Pro features, the 4K camera drone flies with a much cheaper price tag.
The Mini 3 looks pretty much the same as the Pro model, and like that pricier flyer it tips the scales at just 248 g (8.75 oz), which means it can be flown without registration in "several parts of the world" – including the US.
The most notable sacrifice that DJI has made with the follow-up to the Mini 2 is opting for a 12-MP 1/1.3-type CMOS image sensor fronted by a 24-mm (equiv) F1.7 lens, which has much lower resolution than the sensor in the Mini 3 Pro model. The company does say that photos from 48 MP to 12 MP are possible though, thanks to the use of 4-in-1 pixel technology, which also helps improve low-light performance.
As well as snapping RAW/JPEG still images, the camera is also capable of shooting 4K (3,840 x 2,160) HDR video – not at 60 frames per second like the Pro, but at a still healthy 30 fps. The Mini 2 also lacks the 10-bit color and D-Cinelike profile of its sibling, but does feature vertical video chops "to create content that is perfect for social media platforms."
The drone benefits from an automatic takeoff feature, plus return-to-home functionality. GNSS combines with a downfacing vision system and IR sensors for hovering stability, even in wind speeds up to 10.7 m/s. And the pilot can tap into pre-programmed flight paths for capturing creative footage while locked on a subject.
Obstacle detection sensors are missing from the Mini 3 though, but handy 360-degree prop guards can be optioned in for safer flying in tight spaces. The standard battery offers a per-charge flight time of up to 38 minutes, or 51 minutes with the optional Plus flavor.
And so to the pricing. If you want a Mini 3 now, it will cost you US$499 with a RC-N1 controller bundled in. But if you already have a compatible remote and can wait until early next year, the drone will be available on its own for $409. The video below has more.
Product page: DJI Mini 3