DJI just keeps on pushing out more and more drones and further expanding their lineup. There might just be a drone for everyone now.
The latest release, the Mini 3 Pro, fills an interesting gap in their lineup that promises loads of upgrades in image quality over the regular mini, but in a smaller size than the Air 2S. Also, the Mavic 3 still holds its own as the best consumer drone for filmmaking.
If you are in the market and curious where these drones stack up from an image quality angle you should check out this quick comparison from Illuminationsfromtheattic.
The footage that is shown off in the comparison is a great test. It is a partly cloudy day which will show off the dynamic range of the scene and push the limits.
Before we dive into how the clips compare, we should talk about the differences between the camera systems.
Starting with the smallest and newest we have the Mini 3 Pro:
- 48MP 1/1.3” CMOS
- 24mm equivalent f/1.7 lens
- UHD 4K up to 60 fps in HDR
- 8-bit 4:2:0 video with 150 Mb/s max bitrate
- Vertical shooting mode
The next step up would be the Air 2S
- 20MP 1” CMOS
- 22mm equivalent f/2.8 lens
- 5.4K up to 30 fps in HDR
- UHD 4K up to 60 fps
- 10-bit D-Log and HLG HDR at up to 150 Mb/s
And finally we have the Mavic 3 (though not the even better Cine version):
- Dual Camera System
- 20MP 4/3” CMOS w/ 24mm equivalent f/2.8-11 lens
- 12MP 1/2” CMOS w/ 162mm equivalent f/4.4 lens
- Main Camera: 5.1K up to 50 fps, DCI/UHD 4K up to 120 fps
- Tele Camera: UHD 4K up to 30 fps
- 10-bit D-Log and HLG HDR at up to 200 Mb/s
On paper this scales up as you would expect. The bigger and more expensive the drone gets the bigger the sensor and camera system and supposedly the better image quality. The Mavic 3 even manages to fit two different cameras on its gimbal. Plus, the bigger the drone the more sensors and the more resistant to wind they are which can help get shots in varying weather conditions.
Looking at all the footage side-by-side or one after the other you can tell the differences between the drone quality. But first, they all look very good. Drone cameras have come a long way.
The Mini 3 Pro has a much more limited dynamic range than the others and you can see where the detail in the sky is lost. It also is a bit more contrasty and saturated, which is a more consumer look than filmmakers may prefer.
Moving on from that you have the Mavic 3. This image easily wins for dynamic range and has a slightly flatter look. This should give users a lot more to work with in post to tweak the image to their liking. Colors are much more natural as well.
With the Air 2S we are splitting the difference. The sky does lose some detail in the brightest highlights, but overall looks quite good. There should be more control in post for pro users with this image compared to the Mini 3 Pro.
No real surprises here to be honest. The bigger and more expensive the better the image. The only surprise might be once you look at these deciding that a cheaper drone might be just fine for your needs since even the Mini 3 Pro when used right can create a stunning image.
Which drone would you pick up?
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