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).
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.
DJI Mini 3 First leak video pic.twitter.com/NgskqONf8w
— 航拍世家 打手 (@DealsDrone) April 2, 2022
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.