Drones Virtual Tour Cameras & Lenses

DJI Mini 4 Pro on September 25: should you buy for real estate virtual tours?

DJI Mini 4 Pro leaked - good for real estate?

DJI Mini 4 Pro was released on September 25.  Should you buy it for real estate virtual tours?  If not, which alternatives would be better?

 BACKGROUND: why is the DJI Mini Pro 3 popular?

If you try to order the basic configuration of the DJI Mini 3 Pro, you’ll find that it’s either out of stock or backordered for over a month.  The DJI Mini 3 Pro is one of the most popular drones in the market right now for several reasons.  First, it has a very good camera.  The Mini 3 Pro has a 1/1.3 inch sensor.  That’s more than twice the size of the 1/2.0 inch sensor in the Air 2 and is the same one used in the larger Mavic Air 3.

Second, it is under 250 grams, which lets you fly with fewer requirements in certain regions.  In the US, it doesn’t have to be registered with the FAA if flown for recreational use.

Third, it can take fully spherical aerial 360 photos (as in the sample above, shot with Mini 3).  Although many DJI drones can take spherical 360 photos, most of them have a limited uptilt on their camera, which leaves a large blind spot in the zenith (the top of the 360 photo).  Mini 3 Pro and Mini 3 are two of the very few drones that can take a fully spherical 360 photo because they have a manta-like gap between their front sensors, enabling the camera to tilt up higher than other DJI drones.

Fourth, it is affordable.  The basic model of the DJI Mini 3 Pro with RC-N1 controller is $759.  The Mini 3 (which has limited obstacle avoidance sensors and fewer automatic Quickshot modes) is even more affordable at just $469.  If you already have the RC-N1 such as from the Mavic, then you can get the Mini 3 by itself for $449 (check latest price).

What are the DJI Mini 4 Pro’s new features and image quality?

DJI Mini 4 Pro
DJI Mini 4 Pro

Here are the Mini 4 Pro’s key specifications:

Photo resolution8064 x 6048
Video resolution3840 x 2160 up to 100fps
1920 x 1080 up to 200 fps
Camera sensor1/1.3 inch 48mp
Lens24mm equivalent
82.1 degrees FOV
Shutter speed12MP Photo: 1/16000-2 s (2.5-8 s for simulated long exposure)
48MP Photo: 1/8000-2 s
Video bitrate 150mpbs (H.264/H.265)
Color profilesNormal: 8-bit 4:2:0 (H.264/H.265)
HLG/D-Log M:
10-bit 4:2:0 (H.265)
Gimbal rangeTilt: -135° to 80° (-90 to 60 controllable)
Roll: -135° to 45° (-90 or 0 selectable)
Pan: -30° to 30°
NavigationGPS + Galileo + BeiDou
Hovering accuracyVertical:
±0.1 m (with vision positioning)
±0.5 m (with GNSS positioning)
±0.1 m (with vision positioning)
±0.5 m (with GNSS positioning)
Max. Transmission rangeFCC: 20 km
CE: 10 km
SRRC: 10 km
MIC: 10 km
Max. Flight Distance (20m above sea level)18km (standard battery)
25km (Intelligent Flight Plus battery)
Max. SpeedHorizontal: 16 m/s
Ascent: 5 m/s
Descent: 5 m/s
Max. Wind Speed10.7 m/s (24mph)
Max. Altitude4000m (with Mini 4 Pro battery)
Max. Flight Time34 mins (standard battery)
45 mins (Intelligent Flight Plus battery)
DimensionsFolded: 148×94×64 mm (L×W×H)
Unfolded: 298×373×101 mm (L×W×H)
Price$759 with RC-N2
$959 with RC Pro

The biggest difference between the Mini 4 Pro and the Mini 3 Pro is the new obstacle avoidance.  DJI calls it Omnidirectional Active Obstacle Sensing, which sounds impressive.  But cutting through the marketing puffery, its sensors are now facing diagonally instead of forward, around 45 degrees, which enables it to avoid obstacles on the side, not just the front.  This could be useful for example if you are flying an orbit (POI mode) around a subject and want to avoid colliding into a tree or building as the Mini 4 Pro flies around the subject.

Image Quality

How about the camera?  The camera is expected to be the same as the one in the Mini 3 Pro and Mini 3, which has a 48mp 1/1.3 sensor with f/1.7 aperture.  This means we won’t see an improvement in Mini 4’s photo or video quality compared to the Mini 3 series.   However, the Mini 4 Pro will be able to shoot at a higher framerate at 4K 100fps, compared to 4K 60fps for the Mini 3 Pro and 4k 30fps for the Mini 3.

Should you buy DJI Mini 4 Pro for real estate virtual tours?

For photos, the DJI Mini 4 Pro has about the same capabilities as the Mini 3 Pro or Mini 3.  If you use your drone for videos as well, the DJI Mini 4 Pro’s improved obstacle avoidance may help you fly around tighter spaces.  Mini 3 Pro and Mini 3 will continue to be sold after the release of the Mini 4 Pro.  Hopefully, they will be available at a lower price.  Check the latest prices of Mini 3 and Mini 3 Pro here.  If you’re interested in checking out another option for capturing a fully spherical aerial 360 photo, see Skydio 2 (available used or enterprise version). If you already have another DJI drone, another option is to use Photoshop’s generative fill instead of capturing a fully spherical 360 photo.   Alternatively, if you are more interested in capturing gigapixel-resolution aerial 360 photos, check out the Mavic 3 Pro’s new feature.

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Mic Ty


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