With its release date right around the corner, DJI is once again about to take optical innovation to new heights with their newest DJI AIR 3 personal camera drone and you’re in the right place to learn everything you’ll want to know about it.
This latest addition to DJI’s superb lineup of Air Series drones comes packed with dual primary cameras. The Air 3’s one wide angle camera and one 3x medium tele camera allows the pilot to have a better feel for each shot while enhancing the medium focal length which is more suited for aerial photography. This new drone has pro drone qualities as DJI loaded it with flagship features and specs. Both cameras offer stunning 48MP photos and HDR 4K video at 60FPS. Additionally, the Air 3 gives you 46 min of flight time (which is 15 minutes greater than its predecessor the DJI Air 2s), omnidirectional obstacle sensing, and the DJI O4 HD video transmission system of 20km, 1080p/60fps which are all ingredients for outstanding flight performance, smooth response time, and amazing results.
Passionate drone pilots will be thrilled with the power and performance the Air 3 provides. Between the smooth user interface, extended flight times, flagship feature set, and of course 2 magnificently perfect HD cameras, The Air 3 will check all the boxes of what to look for in a drone and will surprise you with many extra modes and features that will make your flight times more efficient with better results and enhance your overall flying experience.
Dual Primary Cameras
You know what they say, two are always better than one! It is quite innovative to be able to fit a 1/1.3-inch CMOS wide-angle camera and a 1/1.3-inch CMOS 3x medium tele camera in such a small space and the DJI Air 3 is the first primary dual camera system of the Air Series. The two cameras have the same sensor size but different focal lengths, which diversifies the camera language and offers more consistent results in the image quality.
Capture landscapes like never before with the wide-angle camera offering 2.4um pixel size, 24mm format equivalent and a F1.7 aperture. The 3x Medium Telephoto Camera offers 2.4um pixel size, 70mm format equivalent and a F2.8 aperture along with 3x optical zoom. Combined this helps create a strong sense of spatial compression allowing for more flexibility and options when shooting aerial scenes with a diverse subject set (i.e. people, buildings, scenery).
The wide field of view of the wide-angle camera can be used to include the whole landscape within your composition. Using the 3x medium tele camera, will capture the subject as a bold focal point, highlighting the subject but with the foreground and background within view. Both cameras offer 48MP photos which produces true-to-life color and details, but also to enable post-cropping for alternative compositions.
The DJI Air 3 has two 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensors that support dual native ISO for direct output of 4K/60fps HDR video at high frame rates and up to 4K/100fps. Both cameras support 10-bit D-Log M and 10-bit HLG color modes. 10-bit D-Log M mode can retain more highlight and shadow details for more flexible post-production.
Contrary to what some rumors are saying, the DJI Air 3 is in fact the first drone of the Air Series supporting 2.7K vertical video shooting (enabled by both 4:3 aspect ratio CMOS sensors). This is huge for content creators and social media influencers. The DJI mini 3 pro shoots vertically and Mavic Air 2 has a vertical hybrid of sorts, but vertical shooting with the Air 3 can produce even better vertical recording because of its camera specs.
Longer Battery Life & Power Management
Staying up in the air longer means more time to nab your perfect shot, record your scene or subject from more angles, and simply relieves some of the pressure of hurrying to complete your shooting before the battery runs out.
Giving up to 48% more flight time than other Air Series models, the Air 3 gets up to 46 minutes of flight. Additionally, the intelligent flight battery charging hub features a power accumulation function which lets you transfer the remaining power from multiple batteries to the battery with the highest remaining power. This is an incredible benefit when in situations with charging restrictions (i.e. outdoors, away from power sources, or no charger) and need to conserve and manage your drones power consumption.
Safety Features & Transmission Systems
Another first for the Air series is the omnidirectional binocular vision system which will keep your drone safe from potential obstacles, crashes, and other disasters. Beginner pilots can feel confident in practicing their skills because this quadcopter’s comprehensive environmental awareness detecting obstacles in all directions. In the front and at the back the drone is equipped with a pair of fisheye lenses to achieve forward, backward, left, right and upward sensing, while the bottom is equipped with binocular lenses and a 3D TOF, achieving powerful omnidirectional obstacle sensing.
APAS 5.0 actively avoids and smoothly bypass obstacles when detected. This is not only for safety of the drone, but also enables a smoother more polished and professional recording. In the event you need to recall your drone, the ActiveTrack function advanced “Return To Home” allows your drone to fully automatic pilot itself “hands free” and “worry free” Return-(itself)-To-Home.
The Air 3 also includes DJI’s next generation O4 video transmission system for uncompromised performance. This not only increases the transmission distance to up to 20 km, but also improves transmission stability to avoid stuttered live view for safer flight. It also supports up to 1080p/60fps live feeds, and its higher frame rate provides a smooth, seamless, and responsive piloting experience.
Features & Shooting Modes
The amazing specs and power of the Air 3 allows for some really nifty features that make achieving the mastery of aerial photography seem easy.
- FocusTrack Feature for Both Cameras – Via sub-modes like Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 5.0, and Point of Interest 3.0, the FocusTrack feature centers your subject within the frame. This is helpful in difficult routes and the perfect assistant for beginner pilots. Coupled with the flexibility of using a telephoto 3x camera, you have more options to capture your subjects under the perfect conditions.
- QuickShots – Creates aerial movements such as Rocket, Dronie, Circle, Helix, Boomerang, and Asteroid to capture stunningly unique and immersive recordings.
- 2.7K Vertical Shooting – Dual Camera 2.7K vertical shooting that can be immediately shared on social media.
- MasterShots – Includes automated camera movements, shoots multiple clips, edits clips, and can add music for when you want to get your content to your viewers quickly.
- Night Mode – Noise reduction algos let the cameras capture 4K/30FPS in low light.
- Hyperlapse – Includes four sub-modes; Free, Circle, Course Lock, and Waypoint to shoot up to 4K horizontal or 2.7K vertical timelapse footage.
- Slow Motion – From 4K/100FPS or 1080p/100FPS to directly record a 4x slow motion video.
- SmartPhoto 3.0 – This is the default setting for the Air 3’s single shot mode. This automatically selects among HDR, hyperlight, and scene recognition according to the scenario for better imaging results. In HDR DNG format, the camera can record a larger dynamic range with built-in contrast enhancement. The image file can achieve JPG-level quality in post-editing software, minimizing post-production time and efforts.
- QuickTransfer – Wirelessly transfer files from the Air 3 right to your Apple or Android smartphone via DJI fly app.
- LightCut – LightCut is a smartphone app for intelligent recognition of highlight moments and one-tap editing. “One Tap Edit” identifies the composition and flight path, selects clips with delicate composition and stable camera movements, automatically matches the best template and sound effects, and then generates a cinematic video effortlessly. “Tilt Shift Effects” gives you awesome visual effects with just one tap. This works really great when shooting with the 3x medium tele camera for closer up views.
- Waypoint Flight – Another feature that is available on the Air Series for the first time. Waypoint plans flight routes and shooting actions for the DJI Air 3 in advance and then executes its actions to achieve the designated waypoint. You can also save a flight routes, making it easy to repeat the exact path and record long-duration timelapse videos that capture transitions within an environment.
Design and Additional Specs
The Air 3 is more portable than its comparable class of personal drones being foldable and weighing in at a 720g takeoff weight (always refer to FAA regulations prior to flying drones). Dimensions when folded (without propellers) is 207×100.5×91.1mm (LxWxH) so it easily can store in compact spaces. Max ascent and descent speeds are 10m/s with a top speed of 21m/s when flying horizontally. Max altitude is 6000m with a max distance of 32km. With 8GB of internal storage, you have more than enough space to record a couple batteries worth of flight time. Two Hasselblad imaging sensors, one Wide angle 1/1.3 inch CMOS with 1-3x digital zoom, and a medium tele 1/1.3 CMOS sensor with 3-9x zoom, both with effective 48MP. Both cameras offer a variety of HD and FHD video resolutions. The Air 3 also uses a 3 axis mechanical gimbal that tilts, rolls, and pans. Forward, backwards, lateral, upward, downward omnidirectional binocular vision system with a supplemented infrared sensor at the bottom keeps your drone safe and your recordings smooth. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.2 supported.
DJI RC 2 Remote Controller
This is the newer remote controller for DJI drones and supports DJI’s next-gen O4 video transmission which increases the max range to 20 km. Featuring a new powerful processor, the remote ensures quick response time with enhanced stability, and a 1080p/60fps max-quality live feed to ensure ultra-smooth viewing. Additionally, the DJI RC 2 features a 5.5-inch 1920×1080 built-in FHD screen capable of maintaining 700 nits of high brightness. It also has a new 2T4R antenna, greater storage capacity, and weighs only 420 grams plus features an active cooling design for a comfortable grip. Although the Air 3 can be used with other DJI remotes like the RC pro, RC-N1, and RC-N2, they use older transmission systems.
Other accessories that will be offered (possibly included in fly more combos) are the DJI Air 3 ND filters Set (includes ND8/16/32/64 filters), the DJI 100W USB-C power adapter (powers battery and remote ate one time), and the DJI 65W Car Charger.
How does it compare to other DJI drones?
The Air 3 is a remarkable drone. It brings the portability of smaller drones design while including more powerful specs. It’s not quite like the DJI Inspire 3 (which is more for professional cinema and costs over 16k) but similar to the DJI Mavic 3 Classic or Mavic 3 Pro. Sure those are slightly more expensive as well (not 16k though lol) and do offer some other variables, but the Air 3’s compact design coupled with the superb quality of the material it produces gives the Air 3 the recipe to be one of the best personal camera drones available.