DJI Air 3 Drone Review: Extreme Videos

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DJI drones rule market so much that you don’t hear any other brands being mentioned. Not only are they competitive, but the DJI Air 3 fills the gap between the professional-sized Mavic and the Mini-sized Mini crowd. It is the first version of the Air since 2021 Air 2Sand DJI has done it again, with a drone that offers stunning videos and stress-free flying.

I’ve been flying the DJI Air 3 for the past few months, comparing it to many others dronesincluding a large, high-profile competitor Air 2S. A major improvement over its older cousin is the implementation of many cameras that were previously very expensive. Mavic examples, but there are more interesting aspects of battery life and flight safety.

Twice as Nice

The main focus of the DJI Air 3 is the two cameras on its front gimbal. There’s a longer “standard” camera that offers a 24-mm equivalent field of view (very similar to the Air 2S camera) and a medium camera that offers a 70-mm equivalent field of view. The latter gives the drone a new way of creating things, which allows the particles to settle and be able to isolate them from the background in a new and surprising way. The understated appearance may not sound appealing, but in practice it’s a huge upgrade.

Image: DJI

Both cameras use a 1/1.3-inch Quad Bayer CMOS sensor with 48-megapixel resolution. What I like about these sensors is that they all capture video in the same format, which makes it easy to provide a consistent, coherent image when processing, regardless of which parts were captured by which camera.

The DJI Air 2S had a single 1-inch 20-megapixel sensor, which would make the smaller Air 3 1/1.3-inch sensor feel a little disappointing. But it doesn’t feel like much of a loss. I understand DJI’s justification; Two large sensors add weight and take up space. But all told, I think the picture quality is better on the Air 3, with a wider field of view and less noise.

The Air 3 loses the ability to record video at 5.7K resolution, having 4K on both cameras, but in all honesty, I don’t think anyone will care too much. For most casual users, 4K will be more than enough.

4K can be recorded at up to 60 frames per second in standard movie mode, 100 fps in slow motion mode, and 30 fps in the new night mode, which highlights more after the sun goes down. I found the D Log M format to be interesting as well, as it allowed me to create my own format and control the output and achieve the results I wanted.

Photos (which can be captured in JPEG or DNG RAW) look very good, and while the Air 3 can’t match what WIRED recommended The Mavic 3 is The Four Thirds Hasselblad camera is, by far, the smallest and least expensive.

Travel Safely for a Long Time

Driving around the beaches and countryside of south-east Britain, I found the Air 3 to be more forgiving and fun to fly than its (already forgiving and fun) predecessor. This is due to the large battery (46 minutes as opposed to the Air 2S’s 31-although the global usage numbers are slightly lower for both drones) and the complete omnidirectional anti-collision sensor setup that prevents accidents. The Air 3 now has sensors that look forward, back, up, down, and on both sides, left and right, and in the right light this will detect danger and stop your drone from operating. These sensors are very reliable in their current state, but they are a valuable asset that can save you embarrassment and bankrolls.

Like all DJI drones, the Air 3’s flight controls are intuitive and full of automatic functions. For example, you can press a button on the controller to take off, and another to bring the drone back from wherever it is and land. You can also define waypoints for all flight paths, set the Air 3 to track a stationary or moving subject, and keep its cameras trained at all times.

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