DJI has released yet another drone, the DJI Mini 4 Pro. It’s a tiny sub-250 gram drone with a lot of features; a lot more features than what we have seen in the previous mini models.
But is it really as good as the pricier and more advanced drone models like the Mavic 3?
So, between the DJI Mini 4 Pro and the Mavic 3, which one is better?
- Mavic 3 Pro is the better drone regarding image quality, flight time, flight performance, and many other features that professionals rely on, while the Mavic 3 Classic provides a cheaper option that still has many of the same features.
- Mini 4 Pro is portable and shares some intelligent flight modes with the Mavic 3 drones. But the smaller sensor limits the quality of footage you get. Coupled with its affordability, it’s the perfect choice for beginners and those on a budget.
Please keep reading to learn more about these drones and which one you should get.
To help, we’ve identified and reviewed the best drone courses for beginners and professionals.
DJI Mini 4 Pro overview
The DJI Mini 4 Pro is DJI’s latest addition to the mini drone lineup, offering a compact and feature-packed option for drone enthusiasts.
It builds upon the success of its predecessors and comes with several improvements and advanced capabilities, making it a strong contender in the consumer drone market.
- Ultra-portable design, weighing less than 250 grams for easy travel and maneuverability.
- Impressive flight time options, with the choice of 34 or 45 minutes, depending on your needs.
- Advanced features like 360-degree obstacle avoidance, ActiveTrack 360, Waypoints, and Cruise Control.
- Night mode for improved low-light performance.
- Vertical shooting mode, ideal for content creators.
- New O4 transmission system for enhanced connectivity.
- Compatibility with D-Log and HLG for post-processing flexibility.
DJI Mavic 3 series overview
The DJI Mavic 3 series represents a professional-grade drone lineup designed to meet the needs of both serious photographers and videographers.
With exceptional camera capabilities, extended flight time, and a range of advanced features, it sets a new standard for prosumer drones in the industry.
- Professional-grade drones with a larger 4/3 Hasselblad sensor for higher-quality footage.
- Extended flight time of at least 40 minutes, allowing for more extended and complex aerial tasks.
- Multiple camera options, including zoom lenses, provide versatility for various shooting scenarios.
- Advanced imaging modes and a maximum video resolution of 5.1K at 30fps.
- Comprehensive 360-degree obstacle avoidance for added flight safety.
- D-Log, D-Log M, and HLG options for creative post-processing.
- Variable aperture (f2.8 to f11) for adaptable shooting conditions.
Both of these drones are capable, but they are also different. So, before we go deep into the review, let’s first briefly state which drone is better and for what.
- For beginners – If you are a beginner looking for your first drone without spending thousands of dollars, the DJI Mini 4 Pro is a perfect choice.
DJI has come a long way, ensuring some of the features that we only saw in more expensive drones are now available in Mini drones. It’s easy to use, has a good camera, is light and portable, and can last long in flight.
- For professional cinematographers – DJI Mavic 3 drones are the perfect choice for professionals. DJI does not compromise on weight or design, and as a result, they design drones that are good enough for the highest quality footage.
The dual or tri-camera setups allow you to shoot in different perspectives, the larger sensor performs better in low light, and if you don’t want to deal with the complexities of a dual or tri-camera system, you can get the Classic, which has one.
Despite having numerous features and being heavier, the Mavic 3 drones also have considerable flight time.
What are the differences?
These drones are different in a variety of aspects. Overall, the Mavic 3 drone is superior to the DJI Mini 4 Pro. Below are some reasons why I believe, if you could save up for it, it would be worth your while.
- Sensor size – While DJI has been advancing its tech regarding mini drones, one thing they haven’t changed much is the sensor size. The DJJI Mini 4 Pro still features a 1/1.3 CMOS sensor, while the Mavic 3 drones feature a 4/3 Hasselblad sensor. While the Mini 4 Pro does feature some intelligent flight modes that we see in the Mavic 3 drones, in most cases, a larger sensor is better, and you can expect to get better footage compared to smaller sensors.
- More lenses – options like the Mavic 3 Pro or the OG Mavic 3 have three and two cameras, respectively.
- Variable aperture – This helps manipulate a shot to your liking without adding an extra tool.
- Stability – What the Mini drones don’t indicate is that while they are pretty portable, they also perform very poorly in strong winds. The Mavic 3 drones have the weight and stability to withstand strong winds.
However, while the DJI Mini 4 Pro seems inferior in some aspects, it appeals to some people, as we will discuss in more detail.
DJI Mini 4 Pro
The DJI Mini 4 Pro is the latest marvel from DJI as far as mini drones are concerned.
From the days when I owned a Mini 2, I wished my drone had obstacle avoidance, follow me, longer flight time, and just more features on this drone.
Don’t get me wrong, the DJI Mini 2 was great, and you could even do some professional tasks with it, but who wouldn’t want more features on their drone?
DJI then surprised us with the DJI Mini 3 Pro, which had almost everything we wanted and even more features. They finally added ActiveTrack, 3-way obstacle avoidance, and a larger sensor.
An extra feature they added was vertical shooting at maximum resolution, making it a good option for content creators.
» MORE: Best SD Cards for DJI Mini 4 Pro
About one year later, while DJI didn’t change the sensor size, they maintained the vertical shooting and added many other features, as shown below.
- 360-degree obstacle avoidance – Now you don’t have to worry about your mini drone crashing into objects on the side, top, bottom, or back since DJI has now made it possible to “see” obstacles on all sides and avoid them.
- ActiveTrack 360 – The DJI Mini 3 Pro only allows you to track the subject in 3 directions, but the Mini 4 Pro now allows you to track in any direction you want and change the direction when in flight. Combined with 360-degree obstacle avoidance, you can now accomplish complex maneuvers.
- Waypoints – This is one feature we previously only saw in more advanced drones. Now, you can plan the drone’s flight, and the drone will execute it automatically. This would be great when creating a time series or accomplishing complex maneuvers faster.
- Cruise control – You can now get the drone to fly at a certain constant speed. You can use this to get to a particular location or film a shot at a constant speed.
- Night mode – The DJI Mini 4 Pro also comes with Night Mode. While it does have a smaller sensor, Night Mode automatically reduces the ISO and Noise, allowing you to take better shots.
- Long flight time – You get two battery options: one that lasts 34 minutes and one that lasts 45 minutes. The latter makes your drone heavier and is also unavailable in some regions. Either way, both provide enough flight time for many tasks, just more if you get extra batteries.
- D-Log and HLG – DJI also added the ability to shoot in D-Log and HLG, allowing you more room for post-processing.
DJI Mavic 3
The DJI Mavic 3 drones are the ultimate prosumer drones; the perfect balance between a professional drone and a consumer drone.
They are professional drones in that they have a wide range of features, including ProRes support and a consumer drone in the sense that they are not as expensive as the Inspire 2 or 3 drones.
When DJI first released the Mavic 3, there were issues, but DJI later refined it to one of the best prosumer drones one could get.
The two cameras were a nice touch, allowing you to shoot at different variations in a single flight.
One year later, DJI released the Mavic 3 Classic as a budget version of the DJI Mavic 3 featuring one camera, but most of the features remained the same.
» MORE: DJI Mavic 3 vs. Mavic 3 Classic
In 2023, DJI released the Mavic 3 Pro, which has three cameras and costs almost the same as the OG Mavic 3, almost replacing it. Below is a highlight of more features to expect.
- Sensor size – All three drones feature a 4/3 CMOS sensor. As mentioned earlier, if you could get a larger sensor, go for it because it will always give you better footage, better color range, and an overall better dynamic range.
- Flight time – Despite being larger, you can expect to get at least 40 minutes, which is quite long considering all the other features you can get from this drone.
- More camera options – Some people may prefer the one-camera option, which is still okay. But other people may prefer the zoom lens that comes with the Mavic 3 Pro. With the latter, you get the 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad, a 1/1.3 medium tele lens with 3X optical zoom, and a ½” CMOS sensor with 7X optical zoom and up to 28X hybrid zoom. Some users can find use for the zoom lens, but for those who don’t need it, the Mavic 3 Classic will suffice.
- Intelligent flight modes – The Mavic drones also come with waypoints, Night Mode, Cruise Control, and many other intelligent flight modes that make creating cinematic footage easier.
- 360-degree obstacle avoidance – Some of the more recent drone releases now feature all-around obstacle avoidance, but the Mavic 3 Pro had it all along, and it has been working great.
- 5.1K 30fps maximum video resolution – While many drones allow you to film at 4K 60 or 100fps, you can get as high as 5.1K, which would work great in situations where you want the highest resolution.
- D-Log, D-Log M, HLG – As you would expect from such a drone, you get a wide dynamic range, which helps when you want to get creative with the footage.
- Variable aperture – All Mavic 3 drones have a variable aperture ranging from f2.8 to f11, giving a wider range before using an ND filter.
Now, let’s look at what differentiates these drones in terms of their performance and decide which is right for you.
Photo and video recording
Winner: DJI Mavic 3
Based on the overview above, there is a lot that you could do with both drones. It will come down to the quality of footage you are looking for and what you need to use it for.
In this arena, the DJI Mavic 3 series is the better drone.
The larger sensor, high resolution for stills and video, variable aperture, and the extra camera options in the OG or the Mavic 3 Pro ensure you get the best footage from this drone.
Having been in the drone photography and videography business for a while, I also know many clients will hire you based on the drone you have, and the DJI Mavic 3 drones may help convince them that they will get high-quality footage.
But the Mini 4 Pro doesn’t fall completely short either.
What you will be missing out on is the sensor, variable aperture, and extra zooming options.
On the other hand, the DJI Mini 4 Pro does have a vertical shooting mode that makes it easier to create social media content. And now that it has all the other extra features, vloggers, travelers, content creators, etc., will love it.
Winner: DJI Mini 4 Pro
The DJI Mini 4 Pro is a sub-250-gram drone, making it a good option for people who travel a lot and are looking for a lightweight option to bring with them.
On the other hand, the Mavic 3 Classic weighs 895 grams, the OG Mavic 3 weighs 920 grams, and the Mavic 3 Pro weighs 958 grams.
That’s quite heavy. If you prioritize portability over anything else, the obvious choice would be the Mini 4 Pro.
But if you prioritize the highest quality footage, either of the Mavic 3 drones will be great. On the flip side of the weight question, a heavier drone provides better wind resistance and stability, so the Mavic 3 wins there as well.
The Mini 4 Pro would also be great when flying in restricted areas where the weight of the drone matters.
For instance, in the USA, all drones weighing under 250 grams don’t need to be registered, and you don’t need a license to use them unless you will be using them commercially.
The DJI Mini 4 Pro has a new and shiny OcuSync 4.0 transmission system that promises a range of up to 12 miles.
Many tests have been done to see how true this is, but traveling the whole 12 miles wouldn’t make sense due to flight time.
It’s also illegal to fly that far in some regions, and most tasks will not require you to fly that far from the controller.
But one thing is for sure; the transmission is a lot better than is used to be for short-range flights, especially in areas with obstacles, thanks to the additional antennas.
But how does it hold up to the Mavic 3 Pro or Classic? The Mavic 3 series comes with the OcuSync 3+, which is not that far behind the O4 system.
The O3+ system promises a range of up to 9 miles, which is still impressive.
In a head-to-head comparison between the Mavic 3 series and the Mini 4 Pro, there isn’t much of a difference, and you will not be missing out on much by choosing the older system.
Flight features and performance
When comparing the DJI Mini 4 Pro and the DJI Mavic 3 drones in terms of flight performance, there are several factors to consider:
- DJI Mini 4 Pro – Offers a flight time of up to 34 minutes with one battery and up to 45 minutes with the heavier battery option, which is available in select regions. The actual flight time may vary depending on flying conditions and usage.
- DJI Mavic 3 – Provides a flight time of at least 40 minutes, which is longer than the Mini 4 Pro. The extended flight time can be advantageous for various tasks.
- DJI Mini 4 Pro – While it’s lightweight and portable, the Mini 4 Pro may not perform well in strong winds due to its smaller size and weight.
- DJI Mavic 3 – The Mavic 3 drones are more stable in strong winds thanks to their larger size and weight. This stability can be crucial for professional use and capturing high-quality footage.
- DJI Mini 4 Pro – Equipped with 360-degree obstacle avoidance, it can detect and avoid obstacles in all directions, which enhances safety during flight.
- DJI Mavic 3 – The Mavic 3 drones also feature 360-degree obstacle avoidance, providing similar safety features during flight.
If you’re seeking the best in performance and are willing to invest, the DJI Mavic 3 Pro stands out as the superior choice.
With its exceptional camera capabilities, extended flight time, and professional-grade features, it’s the go-to drone for those who prioritize top-tier performance.
If you still want the larger sensor but want to save a few bucks, the Mavic 3 Classic can be your next option.
While there is a lot of hype about the feature-packed DJI Mini 4 Pro, it is more suited for beginners and budget-conscious users who value portability.
It will have a hard time keeping up with the quality of footage and versatility you get from the Mavic 3 Pro or Mavic 3 Classic.