So you are ready to start playing with a bigger toy. Your DJI Mini has served you well, but now it’s time to start seeing what these things can really do, but at the same time you have a budget and don’t necessarily use it for commercial projects.
The DJI Air 3 is your next step up and it comes with many features, one that will stand out from even the most expensive drones. This is slightly larger than it’s predecessor and with good reason. It needs to be able to accommodate two glorious cameras giving you more choice than even in getting those perfect shots.
The Air 3’s cameras are molded on top of each other with the main being a 24mm F1.7 lens (the same you get on the Mini 3 Pro) while the other is a telephoto 70mm F2.8 giving you essentially a perfect zoom without that digital pixelation. These lenses are fixed aperture so it’s worth investing in some ND filters. This will really let that 4k 60fps video pop.
For the record you can get 4K footage in 10-bit D-Log M and 10-bit HLG colour profiles or take a photo with 48MP that looks amazing right out of the camera even in low light.
These cameras are easy to swap between during your flight, although you can’t swap while recording and you can’t set them to record from both cameras at once, which I think would have been a brilliant feature to allow you to choose from the two files in the edit room later.
The battery surprised us during our test flights. A device of any kind usually struggles to live up to the advertised battery use time, but the Air 3 got really close at around the 42 minute mark, given the reading said 46 minutes, that is really accurate and it’s incredible to get that sort of usage especially when coming from the smaller models. We’d still recommend getting the “Fly More” pack at around $2,349 as it comes with two additional batteries, a charger that fits all three, a sturdy carry bag and the impressive DJI RC 2 remote with its built-in screen meaning you don’t need to connect your phone to the controller. This remote is a wonderful piece of tech and I highly recommend it for any drone user to get you flying quicker and more efficiently.
Once you get the DJI Air 3 in action you’ll notice straight away that its speed and handling is vastly superior to its smaller siblings. You’ll also notice that you are getting more beeps than a censored Gordon Ramsay video. This is due to the extra forward and rear obstacle sensors. There are so many ways to configure the device that it practically flies itself. Using the Omnidirectional Obstacle Avoidance System it does just that, avoiding trees and other dangers with ease.
You’ll travel further too, DJI O4 gives you 20km video transmission range supporting 1080p/60fps streaming. Fast too at roughly 74 KM/h, the max altitude is 6000 m.
Another feature that was mind-blowing was the ActiveTrack 5.0 which can be set to track people or vehicles. This technology has come along in leaps and bounds and it is at a level now that is just breathtaking, at least in the limited capacity that we used it in. Having said that, make sure you or a secondary person can keep an eye on the monitor, just in case.
Safety for you and others is paramount for DJI in every drone build, the features in the Air 3 really dumb it down for us casual users. The ADS-B lets you know if other aircraft are nearby and the features on the apps let you know where and when you can fly your drone. The DJI Air 3 even includes “Find My Drone” so if for some reason it does go down, you can track it down.
If it’s upgrade time for you then it’s hard to go past the dual camera system of the DJI Air 3, the safety features are fantastic to keep you out of trouble and the battery life means you can have extended playtime without the constant downtime. This is a device that gives you confidence to fly, especially if you are a novice who is curious with reservations.