Introduction of DJI Air 3
Review of DJI Air 3:A high-quality zoom adds new creative options
Plus more range and battery life in a quieter drone.
One of the most creative tech firms out there, JI is always experimenting with novel drone configurations, such as the triple camera combination on the Mavic 3 Pro. Dual primary cameras are a new trick that the firm has debuted with the launch of the mid-sized Air 3 camera drone. This indicates that the telephoto camera is not limited to lower quality like it was on the Mavic 3, but rather shares the same specifications as the primary camera. This gives pilots two more avenues to pursue when it comes to crafting dramatic pictures.
In addition, it is far superior to the Air 2 and Air 2S in many ways. It leverages the recently developed O4 transmission system from DJI, which significantly extends range, and introduces the Waypoint feature to Air drones for the first time.
It is also far quieter and has a lot longer battery life. Other than that, it has all of the same features as the Mavic 3 Pro, including focus tracking, hyperlapse, and universal obstacle recognition.
DJI Air 3
Pros of DJI Air 3
- Two cameras
- Excellent picture quality
- Long-lasting battery
- Dependable obstruction avoidance
- Large feature set
Cons of DJI Air 3
- gradual charging
- Periodic latency in subject tracking
However, compared to the 1-inch sensor in the Air 2S, some customers may consider the 1/1.3-inch sensors to be a degradation. In what way does it compare to that model and how does it work with the Mini 3 Pro and Mavic 3 Pro versions? To find out, my friend, a drone pilot, and I took it to the skies over the Loire Valley in France.
Design and performance of DJI Air 3
The Air 3 (no longer named Mavic) resembles the Mavic 3 in terms of design and has a dual camera module up front, making it more similar to that device than the Air 2 and Air 2S. It folds up precisely like the Mavic 3 and has the same frog-like shape, making it travel-friendly and small. The body is equipped with omnidirectional sensors to detect obstacles in all directions. It includes 8GB of internal storage that is primarily intended for use in an emergency. It also has the standard microSD storage slot. It weighs 720 grams as opposed to 595 grams, making it significantly heavier than the Air 2S.
Simultaneously, it has included several aerodynamic techniques from the Mini 3 Pro, specifically the bigger propellers that lower noise to 81 dB, which practically eliminates noise when flying at altitudes of more than 100 feet. Additionally, the body is more aerodynamic than previous models, allowing it to tolerate greater gusts and have a longer range in forward flight.
The bigger 4,241 mAh batteries, which weigh 267 grams more than a Mini 3 Pro in total, are mostly to blame for the additional weight. The Air 3’s range was significantly increased to 46 minutes from 34 minutes on the Air 2S thanks to their virtually same capacity to the Mavic 3 Pro’s batteries.
Depending on flying style and wind speed, we observed flight durations of approximately 35 minutes in real-world usage prior to the return-to-home alert sounding. With three fully charged batteries, that usually allowed us to fly for a whole day. With the revised battery hub, DJI has added a new charging feature that allows you to instantly switch power between two less powerful batteries and the most charged one. If you do this, you can fly farther if you’re there without charging. The slower charging speeds of the larger-capacity batteries are their lone disadvantage.
The next-generation O4 video transmission system, which increases range from 15 to 20 kilometers (9.3 to 12.4 miles), is another important feature. Because European laws drastically reduce transmission power compared to the US, drone range can be a major issue. In an attempt to make up for it, DJI introduced a new 5.1GHz frequency in Europe. Based on our testing in France, this frequency appears to have a significant effect on range and transmission dropouts in challenging terrain.
The Air 3 provides a decent balance between the Mavic 3 Pro’s stability and the Mini 3 Pro’s agility in terms of speed and maneuverability.
.. In addition, APAS 5.0’s obstacle avoidance is exceptional when a subject is going through trees, and because it has more sensors than the Mini 3 Pro, it has a lower accident rate. This is especially true when the subject is moving through trees.
The Air 3 has all of DJI’s flagship features, including Active Track, Master Shots, Quickshots, and Timelapse, and it is compatible with both cameras. Both cameras employ almost the same Active Track, which is used to lock onto and follow subjects. Similar to DJI’s other drones, it is largely dependable, but it might lag and the tracking may abruptly stop working if you’re pursuing a mountain biker through dense foliage.
The tele camera, which may provide more intimacy and drama, makes quickshot features like Dronie and Rocket more intriguing. There, too, the obstacle detection comes in help. It’s important to know that the drone will abort if it gets too close to anything because it’s easy to overestimate boundaries when it flies automatically once you press “go.”
In addition to those flight modes, DJI has introduced the Waypoint flight mode from the Mavic 3 to the Air series. It allows you to schedule camera movements and flights ahead of time, which enables you to shoot timelapse recordings, precisely replicate a flight for numerous takes, and more. Although it takes some effort to set up and learn, the results are reliable.
After the RC and RC Pro, DJI has now released the RC-2, its third screen controller, along with the Air 3. Given that it is far less expensive than the $1,200 RC Pro, it is a reasonable middle-of-the-road option. In addition, compared to the RC, it boasts a brighter screen, a heavier feel, and more accurate controls. It can be purchased independently or in combination with the Air 3 Fly More package. Additionally, DJI unveiled the RC-N2, a new controller that is essentially an update to the RC-N1, with the primary advantage being the new O4 transmission method.
Cameras of DJI Air 3
Gallery: DJI Air 3 review: A high-quality zoom adds new creative options | 30 Photos
The primary concept behind the Air 3 is that both cameras have the same quality. As a result, it has a 70mm f/2.8 telephoto lens and a 1/1.3-inch 24mm (35mm equivalent) f/1.7 primary lens. With the same sensor size as the Mini 3 Pro and the tele camera on the Mavic 3 Pro, such focal lengths correspond to the two primary cameras on the Mavic 3 Pro.
For action or hero shots, the 70mm lens works especially well because it adds excitement and a more realistic perspective. It works well for people photographs at weddings, for example, because it has the ideal portrait focal length. Additionally, it compresses the space between subjects so that you can maintain a larger distance from them for safety or other reasons.
The sensors can record in 4K 60p in HDR or 4K at up to 100 frames per second with only slo-mo playback. They also offer dual native ISO for increased light sensitivity. 200 frames per second (1080p) can be recorded with slo-mo playback. This is the first drone in the Air series that supports 2.7K vertical 9:16 video, and the camera module can be rotated up to 60 degrees and down to 90 degrees.
Ten-bit 4:2:0 D-Log M and HLG HDR are supported by both cameras for better dynamic range and less banding—a problem that might arise when photographing the sky. However, the Air 3 does not support DJI’s standard D-Log mode, which provides considerably greater dynamic range. Additionally, it lacks the Mavic 3’s variable aperture, so for flying on sunny days, the optional ND filter kit—which is included in the Fly More combo—is recommended in order to enable slower shutter speeds and smoother footage.
While the Mini 3 Pro and Air 3 share the same 1/1.3-inch dual native ISO sensor and resolution, the Air 3’s D-Log M technology provides superior dynamic range, especially in demanding contrasty shooting situations.
Because of the smaller size difference and higher resolution of the Air 3, the video and photo quality produced by the Air 3 is on par with or even better than that of the bigger sensor on the Air 2S. Nevertheless, it will be intriguing to watch whether DJI introduces an Air 3S, perhaps with a bigger sensor.
The two cameras on the Air 3 make DJI another winner. New cinematic shooting possibilities are made possible by giving the telegraph the same priority as the main camera. Professionals in events and weddings who are prepared to shell out a few hundred dollars extra than the Mini 3 Pro ought to find favor with it. They receive more imaginative possibilities as well as a safer and more steady camera drone in exchange.
When compared to the $2,200 Mavic 3 Pro, the image quality may not be sufficient for some pros. However, at $1,100, it is far less expensive, more portable, and provides the same functionality (such as waypoints) and degree of obstacle protection.
The Air 3 costs $330 more ($1,100) than the DJI Mini 3 Pro ($1,100) when equipped with the non-screen RC-N2 controller. That increases to $1,550 with the RC 2 Fly More package, while the Mini 3 Pro in a comparable kit costs $1,253. Its primary rivals at those prices are the Mini 3 Pro and Autel’s comparably priced 6K EVO Lite+. Regardless, it’s a fantastic new choice for drone purchasers who may prefer having two main cameras but aren’t quite able to purchase a Mavic 3 Pro.
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