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DJI Mini 3 Pro could have a killer feature even the Mavic 3 doesn’t have

DJI Mini 3's killer feature?
DJI Mini 3's killer feature?

DJI Mini 3 Pro is coming soon and it has many rumored capabilities, such as a larger sensor. But the leaked photos suggest that it may have one feature that is not available on any previous consumer DJI drone (even on DJI’s flagship consumer drone, the Mavic 3).

Photo posted by @DroneDeals https://twitter.com/DealsDrone/status/1515865326189432832
Photo posted by @DroneDeals https://twitter.com/DealsDrone/status/1515865326189432832

In the past few weeks there have been an increasing number of leaked photos and even a leaked video of the DJI Mini from @DealsDrone.

 

Among the supposed features of the Mini 3 are a larger sensor that is either 1/1.3 inch or 1 inch, which would be more than 4 times larger than the 1/2.3 inch sensor size of the Mini 2.  It is also rumored to have additional obstacle avoidance capabilities, all while still remaining under 250 grams.

DJI Mini 3 Pro photo by @DroneDeals
DJI Mini 3 Pro photo by @DroneDeals

But the Mini 3 also has an unusual front-end with a gap between its front obstacle avoidance cameras.  The gap might suggest that it has one unique feature that could truly set it apart from all other Mavic drones, including the flagship Mavic 3, which is a camera that can tilt up at any angle, including straight up.  This feature could mean that the Mini 3 can take upward tilted photos and videos that other Mavic drones cannot.  Moreover, it could be a game-changing feature for shooting 360 photos.

DJI Mini 3 Pro photo by @DroneDeals
DJI Mini 3 Pro photo by @DroneDeals

Many DJI drones have a built-in feature for taking aerial 360 photos, which DJI calls Sphere mode panoramas.  To shoot these photos, the drone tilts the camera at various angles then rotates until it has taken a photo in all directions.  The problem is that on all consumer DJI drones to date, the camera can only tilt up to a maximum of around 30 degrees.  This means it cannot take a photo straight up, and the panoramas will have a large blind spot in the zenith (the top of the 360 photo).  Here are unedited samples I shot on the DJI Mavic 3:

It is possible to use postprocessing techniques to patch the hole, but it takes some editing to make it look convincing.

The Mini 3 however seems like it might be able to tilt its camera all the way up, which among other things, would enable it to take a fully spherical 360 photo with no blind spots.

DJI Mini 3 Pro photo by @DealsDrone https://twitter.com/DealsDrone/status/1515251710251642880
DJI Mini 3 Pro photo by @DealsDrone https://twitter.com/DealsDrone/status/1515251710251642880

Mini 3 would not be the first drone to have such a capability.  My Parrot Anafi can do the same thing and indeed it can take fully spherical 360 photos (stitched with a third party software such as PTGui).  However, the Anafi has many disadvantages such as instability in holding its position in the air, and a relatively short wireless range, not to mention limited image quality due to a small sensor and inability to take 360 photos in Raw.

Parrot Anafi has a camera that can point straight up or down
Parrot Anafi has a camera that can point straight up or down

I’m hoping that the Mini 3 will be able to shoot at any angle and take fully spherical 360 photos like the Anafi, while addressing the Anafi’s shortcomings.  There is even a possibility that the Mini 3’s new gimbal design can enable it to shoot in portrait orientation for social media.

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Mic Ty

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  • Great if it can do a shoot straight up but I will wait to update to the 3rd version especially when I have purchased Mini 2 and it has not even been delivered yet. Mini 2 is going down in resselers prices already.
    The most important for me it is under 250g which is much simpler to use than any heavier drone for which you need to obey all rules. For that reason I will be selling yuneec hexacopter which is a fantastic drone but its weight almost 2kg.

    • Oh i used to have the Yuneec but it wouldn’t take off because near the airport, even if I already got a permit from FAA. 🙁

      • I have never had this problem with Typhoon H520 which is a commercial version of Typhoon H/480/H plus. Typhoon H is what I have now as H520 does not even come with a panorama mode. However I have never tried to launch any of those in no fly zone.

        But still living in a big city I have to reject all jobs for 360s as in one way or another you have to break rules to do them. I have lost extra $200 on a pano for a client recently because they are close to airport and even me begging to australian aviation authority that I won’t go higher than 50 meters and won’t be airborne for more than 5 minutes including taking off and landing has not helped. I got “pay $800 fee but we won’t still let you unless you can tether your drone to a ground.

        However if you check their app for rules and you specify a drone under 250g they don’t seem to be so strict on enforcing them. The same spot will tell you just to be carefull and land as soon as possible.

        I have found licensing kind of still treats you as nobody. You would guess they should go much easier on those with a drone license but it looks they trust these people less than those with drones under 250g.

  • It’s exactly for this reason I’ve been going back and forth about getting an Anafi for almost a year now. With the Mini 2 I always have to edit the remaining part of the sky in. Since I don’t like sky replacement it always involves editing to expand the existing sky.

    Partly because of the reviews and partly because of availability I haven’t yet bought the Anafi. But now I’m glad I did and I hope the Mini 3 lives up to this expectation.

    Any rumors on a possible launch date?

    regards, Frank

  • Even if it does not do it in the app, if the camera can tilt up then I suspect a 3rd party app like Litchi will step in and do it.

    I am interested in how you produced the 360 with the Mavic 3. Did you shoot the straight-up shot with a camera and stitch it using PTGUI?

  • Yes this is what I have been expecting (I can see no logical reason it won’t and if not it’ll be easy to take manually after auto sequence) but will also open other creative opportunities…

  • I’ve used my mini on enough jobs that it’s probably worth getting a better device for what I do, but it would be hard to justify if it were more than $600 for the base ($800 with a multi-battery and case bundle). I suspect the entry point is going to be substantially more for this drone.

    • I have tried to find out whether complete 360° spheres are possible with the Mini 2 by asking questions in the comment columns of many product tests in Germany. So far no answer. Even if the Gimbal can swivel up to 60°, that does not mean that the app is also equipped for higher swivels. I have now ordered the Mini 3 on suspicion and hope that it fulfills my wishes.
      If you’re interested in how retro-filled skies can look on the Mavic Air 1 Panos, check out my Site: https://bernis-bilderwelt.de/sitemap.html. I’d like to save myself this work in the future.

  • The maximum upward angle of the mini 3 pro camera is 60 degrees which would leave a small hole in the sky when shot in horizontal mode. Unfortunately DJI in their wisdom does not use 60 degree up shots in their 360 degree sphere mode. What is more annoying is that if the software used the 60 degree up angle in vertical mode it could shoot a full spherical panorama without any gap. I would not be surprised if litchi allowed this in their app but it will probably be at least another year before the sdk is released and it may not be possible to install it on the new remote controller. So while the drone is capable of making a gapless 360 degree spherical panorama you would have to do it manually.

    • Hi Photoguy,

      Do you have it already and have you tried? As to doing it manually, I was planning to anyway, since I like to shoot them in bracketed HDR mode. I am still wondering if the 60 tilt up might just be enough with the 24mm lens.

      Have it on pre-order, waiting for my shop to send but it may be a while yet.

      regards, Frank

      • Hi Frank,

        I do not have it but DJI confirmed to me that vertical mode of camera was not supported during a 360 spherical panorama. The camera can be tilted up 60 degrees when in vertical mode and with a 24mm lens equivalent field of view could be used to fill in a gap directly above the drone if done manually. Which for some reason is apparently beyond the capability of DJI programmers to include in their auto spherical panorama feature.

      • F.Y.I. In vertical camera mode the vertical field of view of the mini 3 pro camera is 82.1 degrees so it would require very little upward tilt to cover directly above. Mechanically its camera can tilt up 80 degrees but the controller maximum is 60 degrees.

      • If I calculated correctly 60 degree tilt should bring the field of view up to approximately 101 degrees assuming vertical coverage when the drone is horizontal and the camera vertical to approximately 41 degrees.