The DJI Mini 3 Pro has finally broken cover after months of rumors, appearing in a leaked video that gives us a first clear look at the exciting beginner drone.
The video below, published by @DealsDrone on Twitter, showing off what looks like a Mini 3 Pro and helping answer a few questions about the highly anticipated flying camera.
Like the DJI Mini 2 expected to succeed, a label on the base of the Mini 3 Pro shows it will tip the scales at just under 250 grams. This is important, because in many regions you can fly drones of less than 250 grams without having to register them with the local aviation authorities.
DJI Mini 3 First leak video pic.twitter.com/NgskqONf8wApr 2, 2022
But while it weighs just a few grams more than the 242g Mini 2, the DJI Mini 3 Pro seems to have plenty of new features to justify that new ‘Pro’ moniker.
Up front, there’s a redesigned three-axis gimbal to keep the footage smooth, dispelling rumors it could switch to a more electronic form of stabilization instead. This gimbal design looks unusual in the videos, with an attachment on only one side, but this probably allows it to support vertical video.
This gimbal has a camera with a much brighter f//1.7 lens than the f/2.8 Mini 2, which should help improve low-light performance. Judging by the markings on the front of the lens, however, it appears to have the same focal length of 24mm.
One of the main drawbacks of super-compact drones is their battery life, but the DJI Mini 3 Pro should offer a big improvement here. The leaked video shows that it will have a 2,453 mAh battery, which has about 10% more capacity than the Mini 2. This means we can expect an official flight time of about 35 minutes.
(Image credit: @DealsDrone)
Perhaps the biggest new additions to the Mini 3 Pro are the new sensors. The leaked video shows that the drone will have large front and ground sensors to avoid obstacles.
This would be a big improvement over the DJI Mini 2, which doesn’t have to avoid obstacles to help it navigate around trees in flight. The Mini 2 only has ground-sensing sensors on the bottom (which aren’t intended for obstacle avoidance) and lacks sensors on the front, despite the inclusion of front vents.
There are still a few details we don’t know about the DJI Mini 3 Pro yet, including sensor size, frame rates, the inclusion of software features like ActiveTrack, and whether or not there will indeed be a new controller (sort of a stripped-down version of the DJI RC Pro), which appeared in a previously leaked package.
These questions are likely to be answered in the near future with the DJI Mini 3 Pro expected to officially land within the next few weeks.
Analysis: Fixing the Mini 2’s Weaknesses
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(Image credit: @DealsDrone)
This DJI Mini 3 Pro leak shows that the compact drone is likely to fix the main weaknesses of the already excellent DJI Mini 2, which are a lack of obstacles, limited battery life and an outdated camera. But how much will these features add to the cost?
Unless DJI also plans to release a standard Mini 3, the addition of ‘Pro’ to the name suggests this new drone will be a more premium option alongside the Mini 2, which costs $449 / £419 / AU. costs $749.
This means the Mini 3 Pro could effectively replace the larger Mavic Air 2 in DJI’s lineup, a drone that cost $799 / £769 / AU$1,499 when it arrived in 2020. If so, this would come between the Mini 2 and the DJI. Air 2S ($999 / £899 / AU$1699), which currently tops our guide to the best drones money can buy.
Despite the likely price hike, the Mini 3 Pro is an exciting drone for beginners and experienced photographers alike. Its weight and size of 249g would make it ideal for hiking or landscape photography trips, with the sensor size expected to increase to a 1/1.3in CMOS chip (versus 1/2.3in on the Mini 2).
Avoiding obstacles is also a big deal for beginners, as it should make the drone much more usable out of the box and while flying in DJI’s automated modes.
What isn’t clear yet is how DJI plans to differentiate the Mini 3 Pro from its more premium drones. But the addition of that ‘Pro’ name suggests it’s simply the best mini-drone it can do – for a price.