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DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Air 3 (Here’s My Choice)

Thanks for checking out my article on which I would choose, the DJI Mini 4 Pro or the Air 3.

As the owner of a small media and production house for more than half a decade, I have come to rely on drones of various shapes and sizes for my client’s needs.

I’ve been using the Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 almost exclusively for the past month, putting a few miles on each of them.

In this article, we will go over the similarities and marked differences between the Mini 4 Pro and the Air 3, some of their upgrades over previous models, their performance, as well as why I prefer the Air 3 over the Mini 4 Pro.

Okay, let’s find the drone that will fit your particular needs and purposes.

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Overview

DJI Mini 4 Pro

Released in the summer of 2023, the Mini 4 Pro is the newest “advanced drone” in DJI’s Mini Pro line.

dji mini 4 pro

Retaining a similar size, footprint, and weight to the much-loved Mini 3 Pro, the Mini 4 Pro is an incremental upgrade to its predecessor, with upgrades in many of the areas the target market for the Mini 4 Pro would appreciate.

  • Omnidirectional obstacle sensing to ensure the safety of the Mini 4 Pro while in flight
  • OcuSync 4 Video Transmission System for stronger, interference-free video signals
  • Enhanced tracking and added flight modes for those looking to film themselves or particular subjects
  • New image processing platform used to improve the overall imaging performance

» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro Review (Is It Worth to Upgrade?)

DJI Air 3

Also released in 2023, the Air 3 was a highly anticipated upgrade to the very popular and much-used Air 2S.

dji air 3

The Air 3 is a strong choice for pilots looking to accomplish various commercial projects for clients, without reaching for the more expensive Mavic 3 line. While the Air 3 has a smaller main camera than the DJI Air 2S, it has much-needed upgrades in other aspects.

  • Dual-camera system gives viewers superb parallax effects
  • Omnidirectional obstacle sensing to ensure the safety of the Air 3 while in flight
  • OcuSync 4 Video Transmission System for stronger, interference-free video signals
  • Enhanced tracking and added flight modes for those looking to film themselves or particular subjects

» MORE: DJI Air 3 Review – Is This the Drone for You?

Quick Verdict

I put in dozens of hours and miles testing out the Mini 4 Pro and Air 3, as well as putting both drones through their paces. I thoroughly went through all of their features, with the intent of choosing one solely as a backup to our commercial fleet.

The Air 3, while being larger than the Mini 4 Pro and released prior to the Mini 4 Pro, does everything the Mini 4 Pro does, with the added benefit of having a dual camera system.

Though similar in features, the slightly more expensive Air 3 edged out the Mini 4 Pro in the performance department, particularly regarding weight and speed.

While the Mini 4 Pro is perfect for those wanting to use an advanced drone for travel and to film themselves as solo creators, the Air 3 is a go-to for many regarding commercial work and clients.

Which drone pilot are you?

» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro vs. Mini 3 Pro (Here’s My Choice)

What are the Main Differences?

When you look at the Mini 4 Pro and the Air 3, both released in 2023, they have the same cameras, obstacle avoidance systems, and upgraded video transmission systems (O4).

What the Air 3 has over the Mini 4 Pro, for those looking for a commercial workhorse, is:

  • Dual camera system: While the 24mm equivalent wide-angle lens does most of the heavy lifting (shared with both the Mini 4 Pro and Air 3), the additional 70mm lens is perfect for videographers looking for new perspectives to tell their story. Photographers looking to get closer to their subject or point of interest will likewise appreciate the new 70mm medium-tele camera.
  • Larger and stronger motors: Being a larger drone, the Air 3 benefits from larger and more powerful drone motors, propelling the Air 3 forward to a maximum speed of 46.9 mph, 11 mph faster than the 35.7 mph of the Mini 4 Pro.
  • Larger and heavier frame: The fact that the Air 3 is larger and heavier at almost 500 g more than the Mini 4 Pro might seem to be a negative, especially for those not wanting to register their drone. However, if looking to purchase an Air 3 for commercial purposes, its heavier weight will ensure it is more stable in windier conditions during a variety of shoots.

With these differences in mind, as both the Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 are indeed similar in most aspects, below are our recommended use cases for each:

  • Mini 4 Pro is ideal for the travel blogger and solo content creator. Having such a small footprint, being under 250 g, and having advanced level specs gives the Mini 4 Pro the edge over equally powerful drones, in that it is convenient to carry and won’t need to be registered in the United States (if only used recreationally) due to being a sub-250 g drone.
  • Air 3 is a great, lower-cost option to the Mavic 3 series for those looking to do some commercial work on a budget or use the Air 3 as a backup drone to a Mavic series drone. Sitting squarely between the size of the Mavic 3 and Mini lines, the Air 3 is both portable and advanced level.

» MORE: DJI Air 3 vs. Mini 3 Pro (Here’s My Choice)

DJI Mini 4 Pro

The Mini 4 Pro is the upgrade to the Mini 3 Pro and is currently the top-tiered advanced-level DJI Mini Pro drone.

With its small footprint, weight, and professional features, it is great for the outdoorsy types who like to film themselves mountain biking, climbing, or enjoying watersports, as well as travelers and solo content creators.

The Mini 4 Pro could be considered an incremental upgrade over the Mini 3 Pro, for many.

Thankfully, it retains its 250 g weight while adding advanced subject tracking due to 360-degree protection from an omnidirectional obstacle-sensing system.

Add in physical vertical shooting and a stronger transmission system, and the Mini 4 Pro is a worthy upgrade to the Mini Pro line.

DJI Mini 4 Pro key features include:

  • Sub 250 g
  • True (physical) 4k 60fps video shooting
  • Omnidirectional obstacle sensing
  • OcuSync 4.0 Video Transmission System (12.4 miles)
  • Extended battery life in the form of Standard (34 min) and Plus (45 min) battery options
  • Active Track 360

» MORE: DJI Mini 4 Pro – Initial Setup

Our Pick
DJI Mini 4 Pro Fly More Combo with DJI RC 2 (Screen Remote Controller)
$1,099.00
  • 4K HDR Video Camera
  • Under 0.549lbs/249g
  • 2 Extra Batteries for 34-Min Flight Time
Buy from Amazon
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03/07/2024 08:11 pm GMT

DJI Air 3

The Air 3 is the logical successor to the popular consumer-level commercial workhorse, the Air 2S.

It appeals to both drone enthusiasts and professionals on a budget looking to get great low-light shots and 10-bit, 4k video for clients in various industries, including the real estate market.

Image Credit: Dan Bayne/AISCF

In most aspects, the Air 3 is a major upgrade over the much-loved Air 2S, except for the size of the camera (to some).

While that might still be a small level of contention, the quality of the 24mm and 70mm medium-tele cameras, along with their often overlooked low light performance, prove the Air 3 is a contender in the professional space.

Couple this with 10-bit capabilities and 4k 100fps slow motion, and the Air 3 is great to work with.

DJI Air 3 key features include:

  • Dual Cameras – 24mm and 70mm
  • Omnidirectional obstacle sensing
  • OcuSync 4.0 Video Transmission System (12.4 miles)
  • 4k 100fps, 10-bit D-Log M color
  • Active Track 360
  • Excellent price-to-features ratio (like the Air 2S)

» MORE: DJI Air 3 Beginners Guide (Step-by-Step Guide)

DJI Air 3 (RC-N2)
$1,099.00
  • Tele & Wide-Angle Dual Primary Cameras
  • 46-Min Max Flight Time
  • Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing
  • 48MP Photos, 4K/60fps HDR, up to 20Km Video Transmission
Buy from Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/07/2024 11:46 pm GMT

Head-to-Head Comparison

Performance

Winner: Air 3

While many aspects of the Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 are identical, these being obstacle avoidance, camera size, transmission system, and advanced focus track modes, the Air 3 clearly came out ahead on the performance end, which is something I think many using the Air 3 for commercial purposes will appreciate.

When comparing the performance of the Mini 4 Pro to the Air 3, it’s almost like comparing an entry-level luxury car to the top-of-the-line model by the same manufacturer.

The Mini 4 Pro, while performing many of the same functions as the Air 3, does so at a slower pace, while the Air 3 basically “hops to it” at a much quicker rate.

I took the Air 3 with me on a couple of Real estate-related client shoots and was thoroughly pleased with how well and quickly the Air 3 performed.

The day of shooting was very windy and overcast. We had a lot of area to cover as the properties were acreage.

However, the Air 3 moved between large areas quite quickly and stayed planted in the air during wind gusts, capturing everything spot-on, with minimal to no fuss.

As the clients were watching, it was nice to have a drone performing with no hiccups.

If using the Air 3 for professional purposes, you will find that, with the added benefits of weight and power, you will be able to fully capture what is envisioned for your client projects.

» MORE: Real Estate Drone Photography: A Comprehensive Guide (Insider Tips)

Camera options

Winner: Air 3

This is where the Air 3 really shines, as it has double the amount of cameras as the Mini 4 Pro. To those of us equipment junkies, this is perfect, as more is better.

In all seriousness, the ability for the Air 3 to shoot at a standard 24 mm wide angle as well as zoom in to 70 mm is something ground camera users are accustomed to with zoom lenses.

The 70 mm lens, with the use of parallax moves, adds a much-needed perspective and cinematic value to video footage, as well as giving still photos the advantage of capturing the subject while further away.

70 mm – Thousands of feet away, taken from a parking garage roof

I get a lot of downtown video footage and do this, oftentimes, from the top of rooftop garages. Because of the amount of pedestrians, foot traffic, and car traffic, sometimes it’s not practical or safe to fly thousands of feet away from the home point to get the best shot.

This is where the 70 mm camera comes in.

As it has the exact same specs as the 24 mm, I can be further away from my subject while safely over a rooftop or structure, capturing the scene with the best settings possible.

Oftentimes, creatives must think of new, interesting, or out-of-the-box ways to capture a client’s vision.

Having a second 70 mm camera option further allows for this, while doing so effortlessly as a fully integrated option.

» MORE: Can You Fly a Drone in a City?

Portability

Winner: Mini 4 Pro

When it comes to size and portability, the Mini 4 Pro is in a class by itself. The Mini 4 Pro is less than 249 g, while the Air 3 is 720 g, basically a third of the weight of the Air 3.

Likewise, the Mini 4 Pro is slightly more than half the Air 3’s size. The Mini 4 Pro can be considered the uncontested winner when it comes to size and portability over most DJI drones.

Although I do a lot of client work, I also like to get out to the Florida Gulf Coast and fly recreationally, capturing photos and videos here and there, just for me.

When I intend to fly solo (with only one drone brought on the trip), the drone of choice is the Mini 4 Pro. Oftentimes, I will just slip the Mini 4 Pro in a cargo shorts pocket, with the DJI RC 2 in another pocket.

Other times, I’ll just slip them (and a few batteries) in whatever bag or purse the spouse is carrying around that day. She’s mentioned a few times that she doesn’t even notice the weight of them.

The benefits of having a sub-250 g drone are numerous.

The first is that, if only using the Mini 4 Pro recreationally, it does not have to be registered in the United States. If using it for any type of commercial work, then it must be registered.

An additional benefit is that the Mini 4 Pro is easy to carry for those who are traveling (like I do every few weeks) or are filming themselves while hiking or bike riding. The lightweight and small footprint make the Mini 4 Pro ideal for travel.

» MORE: Do I Have to Register My DJI Air 3 (All You Need to Know)

Conclusion

After using both the Mini 4 Pro and Air 3 equally and almost exclusively for weeks shortly after their release, I can confidently say that the Air 3 is the perfect workhorse for commercial drone pilots with a budget to consider.

Although sporting most of the same features of the newer released Mini 4 Pro, the addition of the 70 mm telelens camera and performance upgrades make the Air 3 not only a great backup to the Mavic 3 but an excellent stand-alone Pro unit.

If you plan to purchase the smallest and lightest advanced-level drone for travel, outdoors, or solo content creation, you can’t go wrong with the Mini 4 Pro.

If you want something with a few more upgrades and a more solid build, then spend the extra dollars and go with the Air 3.

You’ll be happy you did.

» MORE: Best Beginner Drones for Racing