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Is the DJI Mini 2 Still a Good Drone to Buy?

The DJI Mini 2 was released in November 2020. Although that was only two years ago, development happens fast in tech.

2022 saw many new consumer drones come to market, including drones like the DJI Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro. The capability of some of these new sub-250-gram consumer drones is impressive.

Yet despite these drones coming out, the DJI Mini 2 is still available and has a strong user market. So, the question is, are these new drones worthy successors of the Mini 2?

Is the Mini 2 a good drone to buy?  Given the DJI Mini 2’s capability, there are certainly still reasons to have one in your drone fleet, so let’s explore!

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Price

The new DJI Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro have set the benchmark for sub-250-gram drones, and their innovative new features bring some new creative tools.

However, the cost of these new drones is steep compared to the Mini 2, and the Mini 2 is still readily available, either new or second-hand.

Thus, is it worth spending more on the new flagship DJI Minis or other new drones?

Some Mini 2 owners have, and will, see the Mini 3 or Mini 3 Pro as a worthy upgrade, putting their Mini 2s up for sale. This availability of Mini 2s on the used market could provide an opportunity to grab a bargain.

On the other hand, there is a question mark over how long the Mini 2 will receive support.

The Mini 2 is now quite a few years old. Investing in a newer drone model would likely offer more extended support and increased availability of spares and accessories in the long run.

Third-party apps

The availability of the Mini 2 software development kit (SDK) has allowed the Mini 2 to be used with some great third-party apps, which can facilitate features like waypoints, automated flight, and active tracking.

These features would otherwise only be available on newer DJI Mini drones.

Flight apps like Litchi and Maven have improved the longevity of the Mini 2 by providing these features. They have even made it possible to use the Mini 2 for professional work such as photogrammetry and mapping.

» MORE: Litchi for DJI drones (Guide)

Size

Although sub-250g, the newer DJI Mini drones, and RC controller are a little chunkier than the Mini 2 and its NC controller.

The Mini 2 may thus be a better option if backpack space is an issue while traveling. The Mini 3 is also quite larger once the arms are extended and can be more conspicuous than a Mini 2.

However, the Mini 3 propellers are quieter than the Mini 2. 

The Mini 2 may also be a preferred choice for traveling because it’s cheaper and thus has less financial impact if the drone is lost, stolen, or damaged. 

Video and Image Quality

The main benefits of the newer DJI Minis regarding video quality are the capability of 60 fps in 4K on the Mini 3 Pro and vertical video on both the Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro.

The Mini 3 Pro can also film in a log profile and 10-bit color – ideal for those that like to take their color grading to the next level.

For regular content creators, vertical video for reels would benefit the Mini 3. However, do you need those features? The Mini 2 can still shoot 4K at 30fps 8-bit, producing beautiful footage.

For example, a video of a well-lit beautiful landscape will look great filmed on pretty much any drone, and once uploaded online, the video would only be compressed further.

Furthermore, the DJI Mini 3 is still limited to 4K30p 8-bit, so arguably, it isn’t much of an upgrade from the Mini 2 as far as video performance is concerned.

However, the larger sensor on the Mini 3 is a compelling reason to upgrade from a Mini 2, especially for aerial photography and low-light performance. The resolution upgrade to the Mini 3 is also beneficial for aerial photography. 

The Mini 2 still delivers 4K images and video. When most drone shots are taken on bright sunny days, there is plenty of detail in the shadows with pictures and video taken on a Mini 2.

Limitations

There are still some limitations with the Mini 2 that have at least partially been addressed with newer models of drones.

For example, the Mini 3 Pro’s features of 10-bit D-Cinelike video make it a significant upgrade for amateur filmmakers and content creators.

Comparatively, the Mini 2’s 8-bit, Rec-709, and restrictive 30fps maximum frame rate at 4K footage seems a bit outdated.

However, if you consider that most videos watched online are only in 1080p resolution, filming with something like the Mini 3 may start to seem excessive. 

The Mini 2 is also limited to shooting 4K in a 16:9 aspect ratio. This means there isn’t much resolution or image left to keep in the frame after cropping the video for vertical videos, such as Instagram reels.

The Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro get around this by rotating the gimbal 90 degrees.

However, if filming in a 4:3 aspect ratio was available on the Mini 2, that would make the Mini 2 more competitive with the likes of the Mini 3 for vertical video. Alas, I don’t think we’ll be seeing 4:3 video from the Mini 2.

As briefly mentioned above, for low-light or night photography and video capture, the Mini 2’s small sensor and pixel size compared with the Mini 3 make the Mini 3 appear to be a worthy upgrade for low-light applications.

However, using image stacking techniques, it’s possible to work around the Mini 2’s low-light limitations for photography.

Battery life is another limitation of the Mini 2 compared to its younger brothers. Based on claimed numbers alone, the Mini 3 has the Mini 2 stumped by about 10 minutes of flight time thanks to its larger battery.

Wind resistance is also a factor to consider with the Mini 2.

The larger propellers on the Mini 3 make it more stable in windy conditions and should help it fly at higher wind speeds than would be accessible with the Mini 2.

DJI does specify similar maximum wind speeds for the Mini 2 and Mini 3.

The Mini 2 is also limited to using the NC controller that connects to your phone.

So, is it worth buying a Mini 2 in 2023?

For beginner and amateur drone pilots, or even someone looking to utilize a drone within their business (such as surveyors or roofers), the Mini 2 still packs a punch in 2023.

It certainly isn’t out for the count. The Mini 3 Pro is a worthy upgrade from the Mini 2.

However, the standard Mini 3 might not be worth the upgrade over the Mini 2 unless you buy a drone for aerial and low-light photography. 

Given that many good condition Mini 2s are available on the used market as their owners upgrade to Mini 3 Pros and the like, there are potential bargains available on Mini 2s.

However, for those looking for a more professional drone, the Mini 3 Pro will be more valuable in the long term and shouldn’t need upgrading anytime soon.

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01/24/2023 09:20 pm GMT