Mini 4 Pro Vs. Air 3 Vs. Mavic 3 Pro: Which DJI camera drone is right for you?

Mini 4 Pro Vs. Air 3 Vs. Mavic 3 Pro: Which DJI camera drone is right for you?Photo from Unsplash

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DrDrone’s Verdict

At first glance, when we took the Mini 4 Pro out of the packaging it looked very similar to the DJI Mini 3. Upon closer inspection, you can see the differences clearly in the obstacle avoidance sensors and the smaller more subtle changes DJI made in the design. The redesigned gimbal protector is a lot easier to take off and put back on than the predecessor. We noticed that the Mini 4 Pro was able to manage its temperature a lot better through the firmware update process than the previous generation. The carrying case, the batteries and the charging hub are identical in looks to the Mini 3 version. The RC2 design is quite different but also very similar at the same time to the DJI RC. The RC2 has foldable antennae and features video output over the USB-C port using a USB-C to HDMI converter. As far as flight goes, the Mini 4 Pro flies smooth, maintains position precisely even in windy conditions and the gimbal camera unit is incredible at absorbing any vibration that may present itself.

The DJI Air 3 finally replaces the aging Mavic Air 2 and also the DJI Air 2S. The Air 3 has a revised design that is more in-line with DJI’s current design language with its light grey colour and the overall shape. We tried the Air 3 camera system out and it works really well. Especially when using the quickshots and ActiveTrack 360, the camera unit really does its best. The 70mm telephoto lens provides a tight field of view which lets you isolate the subject against the background in a way that has never been done before on a Air series drone. Flight is super smooth and stable, as is expected from DJI drones of this generation.

The Mavic 3 Pro has a very familiar design, since it uses the exact same airframe as the Mavic 3, Mavic 3 Enterprise series, Mavic 3 Classic, and the Mavic 3 Multispectral. The camera unit however, is like nothing else DJI’s done before. A triple camera setup with three different focal lengths and three separate image sensor. The main camera is the tried and tested 20 megapixel 4/3 sensor that shoots gorgeous imagery, the second is a 12mp sensor behind a 166mm telephoto lens and the third is a 48 mp sensor behind a 70mm medium telephoto lens. The result is a seriously powerful camera system that can shoot a wide range of shots. In our testing, flight characteristics were very similar to the other Mavic 3 series drones. We used the DJI RC Pro in our testing and this combination works really well, especially with an external display connected to the controller.

All three of them now sport omnidirectional obstacle avoidance systems which use fisheye lenses on the obstacle avoidance sensors to widen the field of view. All three drones performed really well in our obstacle avoidance testing with the usual limitations of them struggling with small twigs and branches or thin power or telephone lines. So depending on what kind of flying and what kind of imagery you are looking for, one of the three should meet the requirements of all kinds of users. Choose the Mavic 3 Pro for best in class, no compromise imaging, the DJI Air 3 for a mid-range system that offers multiple focal lengths or the DJI Mini 4 Pro for general aerial imaging but with more freedom to fly.

Mavic 3 Pro Air 3 Mini 4 Pro
Starting Price CAD $2,849.00 | US $ 2,199.00 CAD $1,429 |US $1099 CAD $1,059.00 | USD 759


231.1×98×95.4 mm Folded

347.5×290.8×107.7 mm Unfolded

207×100.5×91.1 mm Folded

258.8×326×105.8 Unfolded

148×94×64 mm Folded

298×373×101 mm Unfolded

Weight Mavic 3 Pro: 958 g
Mavic 3 Pro Cine: 963 g
720 g Less than 249 g
Image Sensor size Main Camera: 4/3 CMOS 20MP

Medium Tele Camera: 1/1.3″ CMOS 48MP

Tele Camera: 1/2″ CMOS 12MP

1/1.3-inch sensor Dual Camera 1/1.3-inch sensor
Max Photo Resolution 48 MP 48 MP 48 MP
Max Video Resolution 5.1K/50 fps 4K/100 fps 4K/100 fps
Video Transmission OcuSync 3+ 15km 1080p@60fps O4 – 20km 1080p@60fps O4 20km 1080p 60fps
Vision System Omnidirectional Omnidirectional Omnidirectional
Max Flight Speed 68.4 kph (S-Mode) 75.6 kph (S-Mode) 57.6 kph (S-mode)
Max Flight Time 46 Minutes 46 Minutes Regular battery: 34 Minutes

Plus Battery: 45 Minutes

Max Wind Resistance 43.2 km/h 43.2 km/h 38.5 km/h
Internal Storage Mavic 3: 8GB

Mavic 3 Cine: 1TB

8 GB 2 GB

DJI has steadily released stronger and more advanced drones with each new release, from the micro Mini 4 Pro to the versatile Air 3 to the powerhouse Mavic 3 Pro. Each drone is meticulously designed for distinct needs, with varying flight performances, intelligent features, and camera systems. From the feather-light portability of the Mini 4 Pro to the Air 3’s fusion of power and agility, each drone is tailor-made to explore the skies. Take a look at these three DJI drones to see which one is best suited for you.


Design and Portability

The Mini 4 is the lightest of the three, weighing under 249. Its light weight makes it incredibly portable and also puts it under the 250g limit set by Transport Canada, allowing you to fly without the need for registration or training.

The Air 3 is a slightly larger drone at 720g, featuring an advanced propulsion system and intelligent flight algorithms to help you maintain stability and control throughout your flight. Its larger size allows for additional features, but it is still compact and foldable to allow for easy portability.

Lastly, the Mavic 3 Pro drone is the largest of the three, weighing around 958g (or 963g for the Mavic 3 Pro Cine). This extra weight holds its advanced triple camera system, giving you endless creative possibilities in one compact drone. Though its weight may be heavy compared to the Air 3 and the Mini 4 Pro, it is still quite compact and portable. You can easily fit it in a small bag or backpack to transport it to the farthest reaches in search for that perfect shot.

Flight Performance

DJI Mini 4 Pro

The Mini 4 Pro boasts a 34-minute flight time, which can extend to 45 minutes with the optional Intelligent Flight Battery Plus. With O4 video transmission, you’ll get 1080p/60fps FHD live feeds from distances of up to 20 km, a great improvement upon previous Mini drones. The Mini 4 can achieve speeds of up to 16 m/s and features a wind resistance of 10.7 m/s, allowing you to fly further and farther than ever before.

DJI Air 3

The Air 3 features an even higher flight time of 46 minutes, allowing you to explore your surroundings and perfect your shots all in one flight. Like the Mini 4 Pro, the Air 3 is equipped with the advanced O4 video transmission system. The drone can go slightly faster than the Mini 4 with a Max Horizontal Speed of 21 m/s. Its wind resistance is also slightly higher at 12 m/s, making it even more sturdy in areas with high wind and inclement weather.

DJI Mavic 3 Pro

The Mavic 3 Pro features the same extended flight time as the Air 3 at 46 minutes, giving you plenty of time to do route planning, composition, and even filming hyperlapse videos. The flight range is slightly less high than the Air 3 and Mini 4 Pro, as the drone is equipped with Ocusync 3+. Still, this gives you a max transmission range of 15 km, which should be plenty to get the job done. The Mavic 3 Pro has the same maximum speed and wind resistance as the Air 3 (21 m/s and 12 m/s respectively), so it’s pretty comparable in terms of flight performance.

Camera Performance

DJI Mini 4 Pro

With its small size, the Mini 4 Pro has the least room for camera features, but it still manages to pack an incredible punch. The camera is powered by a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor that features Dual Native ISO Fusion, f/1.7 aperture, and 2.4μm 4-in-1 pixels. These factors all combine to give you crystal clear details and greater highlight and shadow details.

The Mini 4 Pro can shoot in 4K/60fps HDR, and even shoots Slo-Mo videos in 4K/100fps. It also includes an impressive Night Shots feature that uses a noise reduction algorithm to suppress noise and make footage cleaner in low-light scenarios. 10-bit D-Log M allows you to capture over a billion colors and create picture-perfect footage with every shot.

The camera even has a Digital Zoom function that allows you to capture photos with up to 2x zoom and videos with 4x zoom. Lastly, the True Vertical Shooting Function lets you film vertical videos perfect for social media, while Large-Angle Tilt helps you achieve a smoother camera motion with a 60° max tile angle.

DJI Air 3

In terms of camera performance, the Air 3 is a clear step up. The drone has a dual-primary camera system that uses both a 1/1.3-inch CMOS wide-angle camera and a 1/1.3-inch CMOS 3x medium tele camera. These two cameras may have identical sensor sizes, but their differing focal lengths give you uniform image quality and limitless creative possibilities.

With the wide-angle camera, you can capture sweeping landscapes and immersive shots of nature. The 3x medium tele camera introduces lossless 3x optical zoom, allowing you to get a closer look at your subjects within visually compelling compositions. Each camera produces 48MP photos with crystal clear details, allowing you to easily fine-tune and crop the photos during post-processing.

The Air 3’s dual-camera system records 4K/60fps HDR videos as well. Both CMOS sensors support Dual Native ISO, giving you stunning video footage without any cropping. Like the Mini 4 Pro, the Air 3 supports 10-bit D-Log M and HLF to further enhance dynamic range and color depth.

DJI Mavic 3 Pro

Of the three drones, the camera performance of the Mavic 3 Pro is the clear winner. The drone contains a triple camera system consisting of three highly advanced cameras. The first is the 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad camera, which creates both 20MP photos as well as 12-bit RAW photos that any professional photographer will love. The larger sensor improves resolution and noise suppression in low-light environments. It also features a dynamic range of up to 12.8 stops, giving you much more detail in highlights and shadows as well as more natural transitions between the two.

The Hasselblad camera also includes aperture adjustment to be used to cater to any kind of lighting situation. The 24mm equivalent autofocus lens has an 84° field of view, giving you a wider range of detail in your shot. The camera also uses VDAF technology that uses multiple vision sensors to calculate distance data and optimize focusing speed. Lastly, the Hasselblad Natural Color Solution (HCNS) better captures natural colors to reduce the need for post-processing.

The second camera is the 70mm medium tele camera. This camera compresses the depth of the field and focuses on the subject, giving each shot a visual center of gravity and imbuing the camera movement with a greater sense of space. The 70mm focal length creates a unique spatial compression effect, making your photos look more cinematic and professional. You can even use the camera to shoot timelapse videos via 3x optical zoom.

The third and final camera is the 166mm tele camera, an upgraded tele camera with a wider f/3.4 aperture and higher resolution. This camera captures 12MP photos, records videos in 4K/60fps, and includes a powerful 7x optical zoom. The hybrid zoom function reaches as high as 28x, allowing you to film great distances while keeping the drone safe.

Obstacle Sensing

All three drones feature omnidirectional obstacle sensing, with four wide-angle vision sensors and a pair of downward vision sensors to detect obstacles from any angle. The drones also use Advanced Pilot Assistance Systems (APAS 5.0) to perform automatic braking and bypassing during flight. This is particularly notable for the Mini 4 Pro, as it is the first micro drone from DJI to include omnidirectional obstacle sensing.

Software Features

DJI Mini 4 Pro

Software features is another area in which the three drones differ greatly. Even with its small size, the Mini 4 still manages to fit in a ton of really cool abilities. WayPoint Flight allows you to set automatic routes, capturing the same video on multiple flights. Cruise Control reduces operation fatigue and camera shake during long-distance, steady state flight. Advanced RTH will automatically plan a safe flight route back if the drone loses signal or battery.

The Mini 4 Pro also comes with a few camera features that help you get the shot you need. Spotlight, Point of Interest, and ActiveTrack 360° use improved subject tracking capabilities to keep the subject in frame while you fly the drone. MasterShots and QuickShots both come with several dynamic camera movement templates at the tap of a button. MasterShots are tailored for portrait, close-up, and long-range shots, while QuickShots send the drone flying in motions like Helix or Boomerang to film cool videos for social media.

The Hyperlapse function allows you to shoot a moving time-lapse video in multiple different ways, and even supports compositing while shooting to allow you to perfect your video on the go. Lastly, the Panorama function supports shooting 180°, Wide Angle, Vertical, and Sphere panoramic photos to capture a wider field of view.

DJI Air 3

The Air 3 features its own variety of intelligent flight modes. Like the Mini 4, it includes features such as WayPoint, Advanced RTH, MasterShots, QuickShots, Spotlight 2.0, and Point of Interest 3.0. While the Air 3 also includes ActiveTrack 5.0, its version of ActiveTrack is slightly less advanced than the Mini 4’s ActiveTrack 360°. However, the Air 3 features a Night Mode for optimal nighttime flying as well as SmartPhoto 3.0 to automatically switch to the best shooting mode for your environment.

DJI Mavic 3 Pro

The Mavic 3 Pro doesn’t have quite as many intelligent flight features as the other two drones, as most of its size is taken up by the powerful triple camera system. But the drone does have a few goodies, including Advanced RTH. One cool feature is Apple ProRes 422 HQ, which is only available with the Mavic 3 Pro Cine. This professional-grade tool gives you more options for video recording and includes a built-in 1TP SSD and a 10Gbps lightspeed data cable that allow you to manage and transfer your files in a flash. The Mavic 3 Pro is also compatible with the LightCut app, which wirelessly connects the Mavic 3 Pro with your phone to allow you to preview and edit your footage with the tap of a button.

Which DJI DRONE Is Right For You?

DJI Mini 4 Pro

The Mini 4 Pro sells for $759 USD ($1039 CAD), making it the least expensive of the three. This drone is the most powerful micro drone that DJI has to offer, and it definitely holds its own against other larger drones. If you’re a novice pilot, you’re looking to avoid dealing with registering your drone, or you’re looking for a cheaper option, this drone is a great beginner drone. You won’t be sacrificing anything in terms of flight performance or camera, as the Mini 4 Pro has more than enough imaging capabilities to make it worth the cost.

DJI Air 3

The Air 3 costs $1,099 USD ($1504 CAD), making it the second most expensive option of the three. This drone has a more powerful camera thanks to its dual-primary camera system, which offers stunning photographs and videos that seem quite professional. This drone is suitable for amateur or professional photographers looking for an affordable drone that doesn’t skimp on image quality.

DJI Mavic 3 Pro

The Mavic 3 Pro is the most expensive option at $2,199 USD ($3009 CAD). This drone definitely blows the other two out of the water when it comes to image quality, so it’s a good choice for professional photographers who want only the best camera at their disposal. With the impressive quality of the Hasselblad camera and the versatility between the three sensors, the Mavic 3 Pro is the ultimate in drone camera quality.

About the Author

DrDrone is Canada’s top provider of drone technical services, having been in the business for more than ten years and being the first to service and repair drones in the nation. We are the largest drone vendor in Canada and the primary provider of Remotely Piloted Air Systems (RPAS) to the Canadian government. Every team member is well-versed in the technical specifications of each drone and has a wealth of practical experience. For over ten years, we have been dismantling and reconstructing these drones.

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