The new DJI Mini 3 Pro is finally out, and most people can’t wait to get their hands on it. I’ve owned the DJI Mini 2 for some time, though I only got it for fun and to make money from it here and there.
If you’re thinking of what you can do with the Mini 3 Pro, today I’ll be looking at some of the best DJI Mini 3 Pro tips and tricks to help you get the most out of it.
DJI Mini 3 Pro Features Brief Overview
The DJI Mini 3 Pro came as an upgrade to the DJI Mini 2. As such, it has everything the Mini 2 lacked and even more features.
For instance, the Mini 2 lacked obstacle detection and avoidance, but the Mini 3 Pro has 3-directional obstacle avoidance.
Secondly, the DJI Mini 2 lacks the Follow Me feature, which you can unlock with third-party apps, but the Mini 3 Pro comes with a dedicated FocusTrack feature, which now works perfectly alongside the obstacle avoidance and detection features.
Other features include:
- Vertical gimbal function that allows you to take portrait images.
- Controller with an inbuilt screen, so you don’t need to use your phone.
- 1/1.3 Inch Sensor, 48MP RAW photo resolution, and 4k/60fps video resolution. It also allows you to switch between 12M and 48MP.
- 34-minute flight time, which you can extend up to 47 Minutes with the larger battery.
- It’s still under 249 grams, so you don’t have to register it.
- QuickTransfer to quickly move images and videos from the drone to your smartphone.
17 Useful DJI Mini 3 Pro Tips and Tricks
Now that we know the main features this drone packs, let’s see how you can get the most out of this drone.
Tip 1: Make Sure the Controller Is Connected To Wi-Fi
As mentioned earlier, the DJI Mini 3 Pro has a smart controller with a built-in screen. While it comes at an extra cost, I’d recommend you get it so that you will have access to your smartphone throughout the flight.
Having the controller connected to Wi-Fi is a good idea because the Maps need an internet connection to function.
This doesn’t mean, however, that you need to be close to home. A hotspot from your smartphone will suffice in this case.
Tip 2: Use Obstacle Bypass Mode
The DJI Mini 3 Pro has three obstacle avoidance and detection settings.
- Off – In this setting, the drone will not sense any obstacles and will fly directly into them. This setting isn’t a good option unless you fly in very open areas.
- Brake – With this setting, the drone stops when it senses an obstacle. This feature is okay but could ruin your footage, especially when using the FocusTrack feature.
- Bypass – The drone will swerve or bypass obstacles and keep flying. It’s the perfect setting for most use cases.
You will find these settings in the DJI Fly App’s settings under Safety. Once you switch on the Bypass mode, another setting, Disable Sideways Flying, appears. You can opt to switch this mode off since the Mini 3 Pro lacks side obstacle sensors.
As a result, when flying manually or when the drone is in Bypass mode, it may hit objects on its side since neither you nor the drone can see these obstacles.
Switching off sideways flying prevents the drone from drifting sideways, utilizing the available obstacle avoidance sensors fully.
Tip 3: Use the Return to Home Feature
RTH is one of the best features modern drones have. It allows the drones to fly back to the home point in case of an emergency or a lost connection.
However, each drone reacts and executes the RTH differently.
Instead of waiting for something to go wrong to see how well the RTH feature works, fly the drone a short distance from you and initiate RTH using the button next to the left stick.
This button has an H and two orange strikes.
Doing this will help you be confident that the drone will be safe whenever it uses this feature.
Tip 4: Try Out the Extra Vertical Gimbal Rotation
Another cool feature of the Mini 3 Pro is the ability of the gimbal to move vertically within 180 degrees. This feature allows you to get creative with your shots.
As Mathew Brennan shows, you can use this feature to produce perfect sky transitions.
What you do is first fly towards the target with the gimbal facing forward, then move the gimbal up towards the sky using the gimbal dial button at the front of the controller.
You can also do this by tapping and holding your finger on the screen, then sliding it up or down. After that, take another shot with the gimbal facing the sky and bring it down to reveal the subject of interest.
You can cut, merge, and modify these two shots with a video editor. Too bad the Mini 3 Pro’s gimbal doesn’t move horizontally like in other DJI drones.
Tip 5: Maximize the FocusTrack
Below are some tips to get the most out of ActiveTrack.
- Smooth Zoom – When you set the drone to follow a subject, tap on the zoom button, and it will slowly zoom in and out in a cinematic way, producing some smooth footage. However, this only works when tracking.
- Reposition The Drone – Don’t just have the drone follow you at a fixed height. The Mini 3 Pro enables you to experiment with different heights and distances, allowing you to create cinematic shots.
Tip 6: Record Using the SPOTLIGHT Mode
Unlike the tracking feature that follows you at a fixed height, the SPOTLIGHT feature allows the drone to rotate while keeping the object of interest within the frame.
Even when using this feature, manually control the drone to develop advanced drone shots.
The good thing with the Mini 3 Pro is if you attempt to use the drone manually when using the intelligent flight modes, it’s really good at keeping the object of interest in the frame.
Tip 7: Utilize the Vertical Mode
The DJI Mini 3 has been dubbed the creator’s drone, meaning it works great for people who post their photos and videos on social media. And this is thanks to the vertical shooting.
With most drones, for you to post images and videos taken with them, you had to crop them or get creative to take portrait shots, which was sometimes quite tricky.
But with the vertical mode on the Mini 3, you can take portrait images that you can post directly on social media without having to crop.
Too bad you can’t use this mode when tracking a subject.
Tip 8: Record at 30 FPS
It’s a good idea to shoot at 30 FPS to create better footage, especially when the drone is moving faster.
If by any chance, you need a lower fps, you can edit that during post-production.
In addition, Vic Barry advises photographers to use 4K/60FPS for slow-motion, which you can still do at 30FPS.
Tip 9: Smart Photos for Smaller photos and 48 MP for Larger Photos
Smart Photos produces sharp images that you can directly publish to your social media pages. So choose this option if you just want to snap and share quickly.
But if you want to zoom in and conduct other post-processing activities, use the 48 MP feature.
Tip 10: Avoid Shooting When It’s Very Bright Outside
When the sun is too bright, it may ruin your footage due to shadows and reflection. To avoid this, shoot during sunrise, sunset, or when it’s a bit cloudy.
Use the histogram feature to know whether your footage is overexposed.
Tip 11: Always Fly Forward
While some drone pilots may fly backward for a cinematic shot, flying forward is ideal for the best performance of the drone itself.
If you want to fly back for a reveal shot, it’s easier just to stop and rotate the drone rather than fly backward.
Tip 12: Utilize the Framing and Exposure Camera Settings
One handy feature of the Mini 3 Pro is the ability to apply grid lines. As a result, you can overlay the grid lines on your shot, making it easier to come up with high-quality images.
Other features that come in handy are the overexposure warning and histogram, which show you overexposed areas so you can adjust, allowing you to adjust them to come up with better image composition.
To quickly adjust the exposure, tap on the screen, and a yellow box will appear. Move the box to the section highlighted to have overexposure, then drag the sun icon up or down to increase or decrease exposure, respectively.
Other camera options, such as moving the camera up and down, changing from landscape to portrait shooting, zoom, switching between AF and MF, etc., can also be accomplished through the screen without using the controller buttons.
Tip 13: Use the D-Cinelike Picture Profile
When comparing the Mini 3 Pro and the Air 2S, one of the main deal-breakers was that the Air 2S could achieve 10-bit color video, but the Mini 3 Pro could only achieve 8-bit.
DJI later released a firmware update that allowed the Mini 3 Pro to shoot in 10-bit in the D-Cinelike color profile. So if you want to produce the best footage with just a few clicks, use D-Cinelike.
You can access this feature by going to Settings > Camera.
Tip 14: Customizable Buttons
The DJI Mini 3 Pro has two customizable buttons that allow you to create shortcuts for your favorite drone features.
They only briefly mention this in the manual, but if you go to “Control” on your DJI Fly App, you can select the features you want to set to the C1 (on the right) and C2 (on the left) buttons.
Tip 15: You Can Use Your DJI Mini 2 Controller
That’s right. If you are upgrading from a Mini 2 and don’t mind using your smartphone for the display, this can be a cool trick. Besides, you save on costs.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro with the RC (with inbuilt screen) goes for $909, with the regular controller (no inbuilt screen), it goes for $759, and without any of the controllers, it costs $669.
Tip 16: Charging Options
Below are some charging tips that come in handy when the batteries get depleted.
- You can use a DJI-approved fast charger to charge the battery to full capacity in less than 2 hours.
- You can charge your drone on the go using a standard power bank as long as you have a USB-C charging cable.
Tip 17: Gimbal Settings
Now, most of these settings are more about preference, but there are proven ways to get better footage just by adjusting the gimbal settings.
Below are some ideal settings for the various modes.
- Pitch Speed – This is the gimbal rotation speed which comes at a default of 15%. You don’t have to change it since that setting causes the ideal buffering necessary for cinematic footage.
- Pitch Smoothness – This refers to the gimbal rotation smoothness. An ideal setting when in Normal mode would be between 15 and 20 or higher. That means that when you release the gimbal dial, the gimbal will smoothly and cinematically transition to a horizontal position instead of coming to an immediate stop. But if the setting is too low, the gimbal will immediately stop, causing choppy video.
- Yaw Rotation Speed – To add a cinematic touch to your videos, set the yaw rotation speed to a speed ranging from 50 to 60 in Normal Mode. With this, when you yaw the drone, it will turn faster to ensure mobility, but not so fast that it ruins the footage.
- Yaw Smoothness – Like with Pitch smoothness, set this to a higher number (15 to 20) to ensure the drone buffers the footage when you release the controls.
You can use the same settings as in Sport mode except for Yaw rotation speed since you’d want the drone to turn towards the subject as fast as possible. So you can set that to between 100 and 150.
With Cine Mode, you’d want most of these settings to be slow since Cine mode produces some of the most cinematic features.
Below are the settings you can use in this mode:
- Pitch Speed – 10
- Pitch Smoothness – 25
- Yaw Rotation Speed – 15
- Yaw Smoothness – 25