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DJI Mini 3 – 13 Tips and Tricks for Your New Drone

Seemingly out of nowhere, the DJI Mini 3 was released. Dubbed The premium entry-level drone by DJI and as the successor to the wildly popular DJI Mini 2, the Mini 3 sits squarely between the Mini 2 and the Mini 3 Pro.

Image Credit: DJI

Like the Mini 3 Pro, the Mini 3 has quite a few new notable features and a brand-new remote controller.

We’ll be looking at 13 tips and tricks related to the DJI RC controller, such as changing the essential controller settings and using the screen recording option, then moving to the newly designed camera, from shooting vertically to transferring pictures and videos to a smartphone/device.

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DJI RC Related

When the DJI Mini 2 came out, owners were treated to a redesigned remote controller, RC-N1, which would also later work with the Mavic Air 2, Air 2S, Mini 3 Pro, and Mavic 3 line of drones.

Fast forward to May 2022 and the newly designed 5.5-inch-screen Smart Controller, DJI RC, was released with the Mini 3 Pro and is also included in one of many Mini 3 package options.

At first glance, the DJI RC looks like a simple, unassuming piece of equipment. However, a few tips and tricks related to the remote controller will make shooting more convenient.

Essential Settings

Like many smartphones, the DJI RC is an android-based smart device. As such, many of the essential settings, such as Screen Brightness, Volume, and WiFi, are just a few swipes and button presses away.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

To access these settings, simply swipe down twice from the top of the RCs screen. You will then be presented with the following screen.

Note: A single swipe down will show display the WiFi status and exact RC battery percentage.

The functionality of the settings screen is like any other android device, and also functions like any iOS device would.

You can easily change/enable/disable the following settings:

  • WiFi – Choose the network to automatically join, including mobile hotspots
  • Bluetooth – Pair headphones to hear RC sounds
  • Airplane Mode – Disables WiFi and Mobile networks
  • Mute – Mutes all remote controller volumes
  • Record Screen – More on this below
  • Screenshot – Take a screenshot of the current screen
  • Mobile Data – Future updates will allow a cellular dongle to be connected to the USB-C port
  • Screen Brightness – Brighten the screen to the maximum 700-nit sustained brightness
  • Volume – Enables the volume of the DJI RC to be turned up and down

Screen Recording

For those that post their flights or even drone-based tutorials to social media, YouTube, or Vimeo, there is the option to enable screen recording.

For those new to this concept, the DJI RC allows you to turn on screen recording, thus recording the remote controller screen, along with every button press and swipe.

To facilitate longer screen recording times, an SD card of up to 512GB can be used, per DJIs recommended SD card list on their DJI Mini 3 Spec website.

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03/02/2024 10:31 am GMT

To begin screen recording:

STEP 1: Swipe down from anywhere on the top of the screen. This will bring you to the screen menu.

STEP 2: Locate and tap the screen recording option. Once activated, you will see a recording symbol on the bottom center of the screen with the current recording time.

STEP 3: To stop screen recording, tap the Stop button on the recording option.

STEP 4: Go to the Settings screen (by double swiping down, and you will see your new recording in the Notification screen on the left. See the screenshot in the essentials section above.

STEP 5: To access your video and manipulate it in video editing software, turn off the DJI RC, remove the SD card, and insert it into your PC or Mac using an SD card reader.

» MORE: How to Download Video from Mavic Air 2 & Air 2S to Mac (the process concept works with the Mini 3 DJI RC SD card as well)

Screenshot

Similar to the screen recording option, you are able to take a snapshot of whatever screen you are in.

To take a screenshot:

STEP 1: While on the screen you would like to take a screenshot of, swipe down from anywhere on the top of the screen. This will bring you to the screen menu.

STEP 2: Locate and tap the Screenshot option. This will exit the options screen, return to the screen you want a screenshot of and then take the picture.

STEP 3: To see your screenshot, go to the Settings screen (by double swiping down, and you will see your screenshot in the Notification screen on the left.

STEP 4: To access your screenshot and manipulate it in photo editing software, turn off the DJI RC, remove the SD card, and insert it into your PC or Mac using an SD card reader.

Downloading Offline Maps

With the DJI RC being a stand-alone unit without current cellular capabilities, there is a trick to downloading offline maps, prior to going to your flight location.

Why would one want to do so?

Downloading maps prior to heading to your destination will allow you to have full map information without having to connect to your phone’s hotspot. Also in rural areas, it might be difficult, if not impossible, to get a cell signal, leaving the drone operator without in-depth map information.

To download offline maps:

STEP 1: While still on a WiFi network (while at home), turn on both DJI RC and the Mini 3.

STEP 2: After both the drone and the RC have connected, go to the map in the lower-left corner of the DJI RC. If it is in radar view, change it to map view by tapping the bottom right of the radar.

STEP 3: In map-view, locate the area you are wanting to fly in. Tap and zoom into the area, as far as you can. You will then begin seeing restaurant info, gas stations, park names, etc. That information is now stored in the DJI RCs memory.

Once you get to your location and are off WiFi/Cellular hotspot data, you will still have access to full map features, including street names.

Customize the Right Scrollwheel

One of the nice additions to the newly designed DJI RC is the right-scroll wheel. The right-scroll wheel is a feature also seen on the significantly more expensive DJI Smart Controller and the DJI RC Pro.

The right-scroll wheel customization options are as follows:

  • Zoom In/Out
  • Adjust Focal Length
  • Adjust EV
  • Adjust Shutter Speed
  • Adjust ISO

In addition to customizing the right-scroll wheel, the right-scroll wheel with C1 button combinations can be customized to the following, as well:

  • Zoom In/out
  • Adjust Focal Length
  • Adjust EV
  • Adjust Shutter Speed

Camera Related

Of course, one of the great things about having a GPS drone like the Mini 3 is the ability to take and record nice images and videos.

We will go over a few tips and tricks created to get the most out of the Mini 3s camera.

Vertical Shooting

Not since the 2016 DJI Mavic Pro has there been a foldable DJI drone capable of shooting vertically. With the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro, this is now possible.

This is a great selling point, especially for those who like to post pics and videos to social media (Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, etc.), without having to do any cropping in video and editing software.

The advantage of having the camera rotate for vertical shooting is that the entire camera’s image sensor is used for the photo or video, meaning higher resolution photos.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne

To take vertical pictures and videos:

STEP 1: Ensure your C2 button is set to Portrait/Landscape Mode Switch.

  1. To verify, press the options button in the upper right-hand corner of the LiveView screen.
  2. On the Control tab, go down to Button Customization
  3. Set the C2 button to Portrait/Landscape Mode Switch.

STEP 2: When you’d like to capture a portrait/vertical image, simply press the C2 button on the bottom of the DJI RC. To switch back to Landscape, press C2 again.

Note: You can easily determine which mode the camera is in, as the LiveView will show either a vertical or landscape live image.

Easy Zooming

We touched on the ability to customize the right scroll wheel and C2-button combinations. If you are one who likes to use the digital zoom feature when taking pictures or videos, this can be done easily, by following the earlier-mentioned steps to customize the wheel to zoom.

After the right scroll wheel is set up, simply slide your finger right or left across the scroll wheel to quickly zoom in and out.

Composition/Framing Options

Some people have an eye for good composition, while others need some assistance in doing so.  I fall into the latter category.

Just like with any DSLR or Mirrorless camera on the market today, there are built-in settings that can aid in achieving proper composition and framing (like the rule of thirds).

One effective tool would be gridlines, which can be set to show:

  • Rule of thirds
  • Diagonal
  • Center Target

To enable gridlines, you can do the following:

STEP 1: Go into Settings, then into the Camera tab.

STEP 2: Choose and select the gridline pattern you’d like to use (diagonal, rule of thirds, center target, or all three).

You will see your choices on the DJI RCs LiveView.

Exposure Tools

In addition to framing options and settings to aid in getting the perfect shot, there are also 2 tools available to ensure that the Mini 3 nails exposure.

There is the option to turn on the Histogram and also the Overexposure Warning.

Histogram

Briefly, a histogram gives a visual representation of the overall exposure coming out of your drone’s camera. 

The left side represents the shadows and blacks, the right side represents the highlights and whites, and the center represents the mid-tones.  

A properly exposed shot should look similar to a mountain, more towards the middle of the histogram, without bars elevating too high on the far right and left extremes. 

Below is a histogram showing a photo that is slightly overexposed.

Histogram

To turn on the Histogram:

STEP 1: Go into Settings, then into the Camera tab.

STEP 2: Under the General section you’ll see a slider to enable/disable Histogram. Enable the histogram with the slider.

You’ll now have the histogram onscreen. Once there, you are free to drag it anywhere you’d like on the LiveView screen.

Overexposure Warning

Like the histogram, the overexposure warning is a useful tool in visually accessing whether your screen is too bright.

Overexposure Warning

To turn on the Overexposure Warning:

STEP 1: Go into Settings, then into the Camera tab.

STEP 2: Under the General section you’ll see a slider to enable/disable the Overexposure Warning. Enable the Overexposure Warning with the slider.

Note: The Overexposure Warning is a screen overlay that presents itself as zebra stripes in areas of the screen that are blown out or over-exposed.  The zebra stripes show on-screen, although they do not appear in your shots. 

Miscellaneous

Manually Update the Home point

This is a great tip for individuals that may be shooting while on the move, more specifically, while on a boat. Why would updating the home point be necessary?

If the drone was hand launched from a moving boat and RTH (return to home) is initiated, the drone will fly back to the launch point and land in the water, most likely.

Updating the home point will ensure the drone returns to its current specified position.

To Update the Home Point:

STEP 1: Go into Settings, then into the Safety tab.

STEP 2: Click on Update Home Point.

Note: If there is interference with the GPS (No GPS location data available), this option will not work until a solid GPS lock has been established.

Quick Transfer (DJI RC)

Although flying with the DJI RC is a convenient and fun experience with the Mini 3, you are not able to transfer photos from the drone through the DJI RC to your smartphone.

If you are using a DJI RC, and not the RC-N1, you’ll need to have the DJI Fly application installed on your phone to transfer photos and videos onto your smartphone.

» MORE: DJI Mini 3 Pro App – read this before downloading (this article also applies to the Mini 3)

Once you have the DJI Fly app installed on your phone, you can use the following steps to download your Mini 3s photos and videos to your phone.

I am using a Mini 3 Pro to show this process:

STEP 1: With your Mini 3 on, open the DJI Fly app on your smartphone.

STEP 2: Switch to Quick Transfer Mode

STEP 3: Enable local network permissions, if the DJI App does not already have them enabled. DJI Fly should automatically bring you to these settings within your phone.

STEP 4: Switch to Quicktransfer Mode. You will then need to Press and hold the Mini 3s power button for 2 seconds, which will then pair it with your phone.

STEP 5: Allow the Mini 3 to join the Mini 3 WiFi Network.

STEP 6: Enter the Quicktransfer screen by choosing View Album.

This will bring you to the transfer screen.

STEP 7: Select all of the photos and videos you’d like to transfer over to your cell phone. This can be done by selecting the check-in-the-box in the upper right-hand side of your screen.

Once this is completed, press the download button on the bottom right hand side of the screen to transfer files.

STEP 8: After the files have been transferred to your phone, close out the transfer screen by clicking the arrow in the upper-left hand of the screen.

STEP 9: Exit Quicktransfer mode and go back to flight mode. Click GO FLY. Then SWITCH.

You should now be disconnected from your smartphone and ready to fly using the DJI RC once again.

Downward Vision Sensor Tip

Although the DJI Mini 3 does not have tri-obstacle sensing like the Mini 3 Pro, it utilizes downward position sensors for landing.

Something that you might notice when flying low over objects or water is that the Mini 3 will slightly raise elevation when it goes over these things.

This cannot be turned off, even if you disable the sensors.

To get around this, sadly, the only way to avoid that “bob”, or even constantly “bobbing” when flying over water, is to raise the drone 7 inches to a foot or so.

For those of us that like to fly through tight spaces, this might be a little inconvenient for getting that perfect shot, but that is the slight trade-off for getting close to ground objects with the Mini 3 (and Mini 3 Pro as well).

In this article, we’ve only scratched the surface with the various tips and tricks one can use for bettering their flight and photo-taking experience with the Mini 3.

As more features are discovered and used for the Mini 3, we will be sure to cover these in the future.