Dji mini 3 pro is the tiktok creator's dream drone

Andrew is pgdngochoi.edu.vn"s go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.

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Expertise Smartphones, Photography, iOS, Android, gaming, outdoor pursuits Credentials Shortlisted for British Photography Awards 2022, Commended in Landscape Photographer of the Year 2022

With a light weight, incredibly small pack size and solid 4K image quality, DJI"s latest micro drone has a lot to be excited about, but the camera"s ability to flip over and shoot true vertical video is what makes it particularly exciting for the social media creators among us.



Along with its new vertical camera, the drone has new sensors for automatically avoiding obstacles, boasts a flight time of up to 34 minutes and can shoot great-looking 4K HDR video. Not bad for a package that weighs just 249 grams (8.78 ounces) with the battery. It goes on sale on May 17 starting at £639 with no controller -- in case you already own a compatible one -- or £709 with a controller. US and Australian pricing is yet to be confirmed, but those prices convert to about $669 or AU$1,135 and $759 or AU$1,475 respectively.



The huge rise in vertical videos on TikTok and Instagram Reels means that it"s just as common to see people shooting with their phones held upright, rather than on the side. And that"s fine, but most of DJI"s recent drones like the Air 2S or the Mavic 3 have had cameras fixed in the horizontal position. So if you want to do some video for the socials, you"ll need to crop that footage in post right down the middle and sacrifice a ton of resolution in the process.


But with the tap of an onscreen button the Mini 3 Pro can flip its camera over, letting you take vertical videos and still images using the full resolution of the sensor. Lovely stuff.



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And the footage looks great too. You can shoot in 4K at up to 60 frames per second, it has a wide f1.7 aperture and it can use HDR techniques to maximize the dynamic range. It has a 1/1.3-inch sensor size, which is smaller than the 1-inch type you"ll find in the Air 2S, but I still found I could capture well-exposed footage even in high-contrast situations. I found colors to be true to life and there was plenty of detail too thanks to that 4K resolution.

It"ll shoot 48-megapixel still images too, including in DNG raw format, which gives photographers like me much more scope to make all kinds of lighting and color adjustments in apps like Adobe Lightroom.



On the left is the raw DNG file taken straight out of the drone"s camera. On the right is the same image after I applied various exposure and color edits in Adobe Lightroom.

Andrew Lanxon/pgdngochoi.edu.vn

But it"s not just the flippy camera that"s new here. The drone"s been given additional sensors covering forward, backward and downward, meaning it can do a better job of avoiding obstacles when you"re not paying attention and flying too close to walls. Those sensors also allow for automatic flight modes for those times you want to put yourself in the frame and have the drone follow your movements. These modes weren"t yet active on my early access review model, but will be available on the final release and I"ll be retesting once my model gets an update.


At any rate, I love how small it is. At a little over half a pound and not much bigger than a standard can of Coke, it"s so easy to chuck into your bag and take out and about -- just in case you want to get some beautiful aerial footage wherever you end up. That"s great if you"re a solo video creator, as it"ll sit alongside your lenses and camera bodies and tripods without adding any real weight to your pack.


That 249g weight also means it falls under the minimum requirements for drone licensing and registration in many areas, although always make sure you"re flying within the laws wherever you go.

It"s incredibly quick to both fold away and to unfold when you get to your location, so you can be up in the air in a matter of moments. The little propellers fold inward for easier storing and it means they"re less likely to shatter if you crash into something. Swapping the battery out is also dead simple, as you can just pull it straight out of the back of the drone and swap in a fresh one.


Andrew Lanxon/pgdngochoi.edu.vnIt supports high-speed microSD cards up to 512GB in size, which is more than enough room for all the beautiful footage your TikTok fans can handle.


Despite its small size, DJI reckons you"ll still get up to 34 minutes of flight time with the standard battery. From my own experience I"d say that might be a little ambitious, particularly if you"re flying in windy conditions, as the drone"s low weight means it has to fight even harder against the wind to stay in place and not be blown off course. It also depends on how you fly it -- if you use it in its fastest Sport mode, hitting its maximum 16 meters-per-second top speed, then you"ll find its battery draining quicker.

Even so, I reckon you can comfortable get 25 to 30 minutes per charge and with the Fly More combo that includes three batteries, you can comfortably get well over an hour each time you go out.

It uses the same chunky controller seen on recent DJI drones, so actually flying the thing is identical to flying any other DJI drone. That"s great, as it means there"s no learning curve for any of you who are already familiar with the flight controls. Even so, it"s so easy to fly that even total novices will be up and running in no time.


Andrew Lanxon/pgdngochoi.edu.vnYou can also buy it without a controller if you"ve already got one from a previous generation, or there"s a new controller you can buy as an optional extra with a built-in screen if you don"t like having to attach your iPhone or Android phone to use as the display.


I haven"t spent long with it yet, but already the Mini 3 Pro is one of my favorite drones DJI has launched in recent years. I love being able to pack it up with the rest of my photography gear so easily, and being able to shoot vertically is a real bonus for landscape photographers, like me, who sometimes want those portrait-orientation pictures. And, sure, it"s good for the TikTok kids too.

It might not have the same image quality as bigger, pricier DJI models, but if you"re after a lightweight model to take on your travels and fill your Instagram page on your return, the Mini 3 Pro is a great option to consider.

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