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DJI Mini 3 Pro vs Mavic Air 2S: A Digital Technology Expert‘s In-Depth Comparison

As a digital technology expert and avid drone enthusiast, I‘ve had the pleasure of extensively testing two of DJI‘s most impressive offerings: the ultra-compact DJI Mini 3 Pro and the feature-packed Mavic Air 2S. In this comprehensive comparison, we‘ll dive deep into the specs, features, and real-world performance of these aerial marvels to help you decide which one is the best fit for your needs.

Specifications Showdown

Let‘s start by taking a closer look at the key specifications of these two drones:

Specification DJI Mini 3 Pro DJI Mavic Air 2S
Weight <249 g 595 g
Dimensions (Folded) 145×90×62 mm 180×97×77 mm
Camera Sensor 1/1.3-inch CMOS, 48 MP 1-inch CMOS, 20 MP
Lens 24mm (equiv.), f/1.7, FOV 82.1° 22mm (equiv.), f/2.8, FOV 88°
ISO Range 100-6400 100-12800
Video Resolution 4K/60fps, 2.7K/60fps, FHD/120fps 5.4K/30fps, 4K/60fps, FHD/120fps
Max Bit Rate 150 Mbps 150 Mbps
Transmission Range 12 km (FCC), 8 km (CE) 12 km (FCC), 8 km (CE)
Max Flight Time 34 min 31 min
Obstacle Avoidance Forward, Backward, Downward Forward, Backward, Upward, Downward
Max Wind Resistance 10.7 m/s 10.7 m/s

As you can see, both drones offer impressive specs, but there are some key differences to consider. The Mini 3 Pro boasts a higher-resolution 48MP sensor, while the Air 2S features a larger 1-inch sensor that performs better in low light. The Air 2S also offers 5.4K video and a slightly wider field of view, while the Mini 3 Pro has a faster f/1.7 aperture.

A Closer Look at the Cameras

One of the most important factors in choosing a drone is its camera performance. Let‘s take a deeper dive into the capabilities of the Mini 3 Pro and Air 2S cameras.

The DJI Mini 3 Pro features a 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor with 48MP resolution and dual native ISO. This allows it to capture stunning detail and perform well in a variety of lighting conditions. It can shoot 4K video at up to 60fps, 2.7K at up to 60fps, and 1080p at up to 120fps for slow-motion footage.

One standout feature of the Mini 3 Pro is its ability to shoot in portrait orientation thanks to a gimbal that rotates 90 degrees. This is perfect for capturing content specifically for social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram, where vertical video is king.

The Mini 3 Pro also boasts an impressive f/1.7 aperture, which is wider than the Air 2S‘s f/2.8. This allows more light to reach the sensor, resulting in better low-light performance and shallower depth of field for more cinematic shots.

On the other hand, the Mavic Air 2S packs a larger 1-inch CMOS sensor with 20MP resolution. While this is lower than the Mini 3 Pro‘s 48MP, the physically larger sensor size means each individual pixel is bigger, allowing for better light-gathering capabilities and improved low-light performance.

The Air 2S can shoot 5.4K video at 30fps, 4K at up to 60fps, and 1080p at up to 120fps. It also offers an impressive 10-bit D-Log color profile, which captures more dynamic range and color information for greater flexibility in post-production.

Both drones offer HDR video, 8-bit and 10-bit color, and flat color profiles like D-Cinelike for more creative control. They also both support Raw and JPEG photo formats, with the Mini 3 Pro able to shoot 48MP Raw stills and the Air 2S capturing 20MP Raw images.

Here‘s a quick comparison of the key camera specs:

Camera Spec DJI Mini 3 Pro DJI Mavic Air 2S
Sensor Size 1/1.3-inch CMOS 1-inch CMOS
Effective Pixels 48 MP 20 MP
Photo Format JPEG/Raw (DNG) JPEG/Raw (DNG)
Max Video Bitrate 150 Mbps 150 Mbps
Shutter Speed Electronic Shutter: 1/8000-2s Electronic Shutter: 1/8000-8s
Color Profiles D-Cinelike, Normal (8-bit/10-bit) D-Log, Normal (8-bit/10-bit)

Flight Performance and Intelligent Features

Of course, a drone is more than just its camera. Let‘s take a closer look at how the Mini 3 Pro and Air 2S perform in the air and what smart features they offer.

Both drones are incredibly agile and stable thanks to advanced flight control systems and high-performance motors. The Mini 3 Pro boasts a max speed of 16 m/s and wind resistance up to 10.7 m/s, while the Air 2S can reach speeds of 19 m/s and handle the same level of wind.

When it comes to flight time, the Mini 3 Pro has a slight edge with a max of 34 minutes vs the Air 2S‘s 31 minutes. However, both are impressive for their respective sizes.

One area where the Air 2S pulls ahead is obstacle avoidance, with sensors on the front, back, bottom, and top to enable APAS 4.0 (Advanced Pilot Assistance System). This allows the drone to autonomously avoid obstacles in more complex environments. The Mini 3 Pro, on the other hand, features forward, backward, and downward obstacle sensing.

Both drones offer a host of intelligent flight modes to help you capture creative shots with ease. These include:

  • FocusTrack Suite: Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 4.0, Point of Interest 3.0
  • QuickShots: Dronie, Helix, Rocket, Circle, Boomerang, Asteroid
  • MasterShots: Automatic flight path planning for professional-level shots
  • Hyperlapse: Timelapse with motion and stabilization

The Air 2S takes things a step further with support for a SmartPhoto mode that uses advanced scene analysis and deep learning to automatically choose the best capture settings for any situation.

Both models also offer RYYB sensor technology for improved low-light performance, and built-in GPS and Glonass for precise positional awareness.

Here‘s a quick rundown of the key flight and intelligent features:

Feature DJI Mini 3 Pro DJI Mavic Air 2S
Max Speed 16 m/s (S Mode) 19 m/s (S Mode)
Max Ascent Speed 5 m/s 6 m/s
Max Descent Speed 5 m/s 6 m/s
Max Service Ceiling 4,000 m 5,000 m
GNSS GPS + Galileo + BeiDou GPS + Galileo + BeiDou
Hovering Accuracy Vertical: ±0.1 m, Horizontal: ±0.3 m Vertical: ±0.1 m, Horizontal: ±0.3 m
Obstacle Sensing Forward, Backward, Downward Forward, Backward, Upward, Downward
QuickTransfer Yes Yes

Accessories and Upgrades

Both the Mini 3 Pro and Air 2S support a range of accessories to enhance your flying experience. These include:

  • ND Filters: Reduce light entering the lens for better control over exposure and motion blur.
  • Propeller Guards: Protect your propellers and improve safety in tight spaces.
  • Charging Hub: Charge and store multiple batteries for extended shooting sessions.
  • DJI RC: High-bright dedicated remote controller with built-in screen for the ultimate control experience.

The Air 2S also supports DJI‘s Smart Controller, which features a larger 5.5-inch 1080p screen and OcuSync 3.0 transmission technology.

One unique accessory for the Mini 3 Pro is the DJI Mini 3 Pro Intelligent Flight Battery Plus, which extends flight time up to a whopping 47 minutes. This does push the drone‘s weight over 249 grams, however, so keep that in mind if you‘re looking to stay under the registration weight limit.

On the software side, both models are compatible with the DJI Fly app, which offers a user-friendly interface for camera control, flight settings, and intelligent modes. The Air 2S can also be used with the more advanced DJI Go 4 app, which offers additional pro-level features and customization options.

Which Drone is Right for You?

Now that we‘ve taken an in-depth look at the DJI Mini 3 Pro and Mavic Air 2S, it‘s time to answer the big question: which one should you buy?

As with most tech purchasing decisions, it ultimately comes down to your specific needs, preferences, and budget. Here are a few key considerations:

  • Portability: If you‘re looking for the ultimate in portability and want a drone you can easily toss in a backpack or even a pocket, the Mini 3 Pro is hard to beat. Its sub-249 gram weight also means you don‘t need to register it in many regions.
  • Image Quality: While the Mini 3 Pro is no slouch in the image quality department, the Air 2S‘s larger 1-inch sensor and support for 5.4K video give it a clear edge for professional and serious enthusiast use.
  • Accessories: Both models support useful accessories like ND filters and charging hubs, but the Air 2S is compatible with the Smart Controller for an enhanced flying experience.
  • Price: The Mini 3 Pro starts at $759, while the Air 2S‘s base price is $999. If budget is a key factor, the Mini 3 Pro offers excellent value for money.

Personally, I‘ve found both drones to be absolute joys to fly, and I‘m constantly impressed by the image quality and smart features they offer in such compact packages.

If I had to choose one, I‘d likely go with the Air 2S for its larger sensor, longer range, and compatibility with the Smart Controller. But if portability was my top priority or I was just starting out with drones, the Mini 3 Pro would be my pick.

The Future of Compact Drones

As a final thought, it‘s worth considering what the Mini 3 Pro and Air 2S represent in terms of the future of drone technology.

Not too long ago, the idea of a sub-250 gram drone with a 1/1.3-inch sensor and 4K/60p video would have seemed like science fiction. But DJI has proven that it‘s possible to pack professional-level features into an incredibly compact and accessible package.

As sensor technology continues to improve and flight control systems become even more advanced, I expect we‘ll see even more impressive compact drones in the coming years. We may even reach a point where sub-250g drones can rival the image quality and performance of today‘s high-end models.

For now, though, the DJI Mini 3 Pro and Mavic Air 2S represent the pinnacle of what‘s possible in their respective size classes. Whether you‘re a seasoned pro looking for a compact B-cam or a beginner seeking your first serious drone, you can‘t go wrong with either of these remarkable flying machines.