DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

Started 3 months ago | Questions
gebseng
gebseng Regular Member • Posts: 111
DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

Hi everyone,

As my first camera drone, I recently bought a used Phantom 3 Advanced (€ 200,- only!), it has a 1/2.3" 12MP sensor and a very wide 90° FOV (appr. 20mm FF equivalent) lens.

I only bought this as a toy to get some first impressions on drone flying (I have a professional background in architectural photography), but I must say I was really impressed how good the image quality was, both 12MP stills and 2.7K video.

The only downside for me was the size and weight of the P3, which makes flying in restricted areas etc. complicated.

I now saw that the recent DJI Mini 2 (which is only 250g and can be flown everywhere) has the same sensor size and 12MP pixel count, and a slightly narrower 24mm FF equivalent lens.

Do you have experience if the still image quality of the Mini 2 sensor and lens is as good as the P3´s (including corner sharpness)? In this case I could switch to that one and have a much easier time flying. (Next step might be a drone with the 20MP 1" sensor, but I'm in no hurry...)

best,

geb

ANSWER:
Len-O Senior Member • Posts: 1,522
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ
2

The Mini 2 performs well above any expectations. However, currently if you are looking for IQ, and flight performance at a reasonable cost the Air 2S is the answer. Personally I would seriously consider the Air 2 S. The other consideration would be to wait for the release of the Mavic 3, but that is going to be priced over $2K. The only advantage the Mini 2 has is that it is sub-249g, and affordable.

Most knowledgeable buyers looking for that class drone are waiting to see what improvements to camera, and flight performance come with the anticipated Mini 3, and how the announced Autel Nano performs in the sub-249g market.

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gebseng
OP gebseng Regular Member • Posts: 111
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

Thanks Len-O for the informative answer! I think I'll try the Mini 2 for the moment and sell it if something better comes up.

All in all, would you say that the Mini 2 sensor/lens combination is not worse than the Phantom 3 Advanced?

best,

geb

blank_ Regular Member • Posts: 457
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

Len-O wrote:

The Mini 2 performs well above any expectations. However, currently if you are looking for IQ, and flight performance at a reasonable cost the Air 2S is the answer. Personally I would seriously consider the Air 2 S. The other consideration would be to wait for the release of the Mavic 3, but that is going to be priced over $2K. The only advantage the Mini 2 has is that it is sub-249g, and affordable.

Most knowledgeable buyers looking for that class drone are waiting to see what improvements to camera, and flight performance come with the anticipated Mini 3, and how the announced Autel Nano performs in the sub-249g market.

Look at the samples in dpreview reviews for both Mini 2 and Air 2s.

I believe Air 2s is he way to go. Mini has ok video, but still images are mobile phone quality. There is a big leap in IQ there, noise levels, DR and crop-ability.

If the new Mavic Pro 3 brings 24-48 lens with 1" sensor it would be the obvious choice for me, otherwise I'm likely to get the Air 2S even though the lens is a bit too wide at 22mm for my taste.

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PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 18,134
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

I bought the mini2 early this year as a first drone.  It was either get a starter drone, or go all the way for one that had a very good camera.

I do like flying the mini2, but the stills image quality is ... I don't know, disappointing a bit.  Normally I shoot a D850, and the drop in IQ is very palpable.

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PAntunes Contributing Member • Posts: 953
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

blank_ wrote:

Len-O wrote:

The Mini 2 performs well above any expectations. However, currently if you are looking for IQ, and flight performance at a reasonable cost the Air 2S is the answer. Personally I would seriously consider the Air 2 S. The other consideration would be to wait for the release of the Mavic 3, but that is going to be priced over $2K. The only advantage the Mini 2 has is that it is sub-249g, and affordable.

Most knowledgeable buyers looking for that class drone are waiting to see what improvements to camera, and flight performance come with the anticipated Mini 3, and how the announced Autel Nano performs in the sub-249g market.

Look at the samples in dpreview reviews for both Mini 2 and Air 2s.

I believe Air 2s is he way to go. Mini has ok video, but still images are mobile phone quality. There is a big leap in IQ there, noise levels, DR and crop-ability.

If the new Mavic Pro 3 brings 24-48 lens with 1" sensor it would be the obvious choice for me, otherwise I'm likely to get the Air 2S even though the lens is a bit too wide at 22mm for my taste.

The only problem with the Air 2s is that it can't fly in many areas where the Mini2 can, at least in europe. 
I find that the ability to actually fly where you want to shoot has to be taken into consideration, specially with new rules for older drones. 
I went with the mini2 exactly because the freedom it gives.

gebseng
OP gebseng Regular Member • Posts: 111
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

The only problem with the Air 2s is that it can't fly in many areas where the Mini2 can, at least in europe.
I find that the ability to actually fly where you want to shoot has to be taken into consideration, specially with new rules for older drones.
I went with the mini2 exactly because the freedom it gives.

That's exactly my point. My question still remains, if the Mini 2 camera is not worse than the Phantom 3 Advanced.

blank_ Regular Member • Posts: 457
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

PAntunes wrote:

blank_ wrote:

Len-O wrote:

The Mini 2 performs well above any expectations. However, currently if you are looking for IQ, and flight performance at a reasonable cost the Air 2S is the answer. Personally I would seriously consider the Air 2 S. The other consideration would be to wait for the release of the Mavic 3, but that is going to be priced over $2K. The only advantage the Mini 2 has is that it is sub-249g, and affordable.

Most knowledgeable buyers looking for that class drone are waiting to see what improvements to camera, and flight performance come with the anticipated Mini 3, and how the announced Autel Nano performs in the sub-249g market.

Look at the samples in dpreview reviews for both Mini 2 and Air 2s.

I believe Air 2s is he way to go. Mini has ok video, but still images are mobile phone quality. There is a big leap in IQ there, noise levels, DR and crop-ability.

If the new Mavic Pro 3 brings 24-48 lens with 1" sensor it would be the obvious choice for me, otherwise I'm likely to get the Air 2S even though the lens is a bit too wide at 22mm for my taste.

The only problem with the Air 2s is that it can't fly in many areas where the Mini2 can, at least in europe.
I find that the ability to actually fly where you want to shoot has to be taken into consideration, specially with new rules for older drones.
I went with the mini2 exactly because the freedom it gives.

I was just debating that in DJI store and the conlusion was that the real difference is almost non existent and to be even less with legislation coming next year.

Autel is also bringing the Nano drone (under 250g) so lets hope they manage to fit there at least slightly bigger sensor.

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PAntunes Contributing Member • Posts: 953
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ
1

blank_ wrote:

PAntunes wrote:

blank_ wrote:

Len-O wrote:

The Mini 2 performs well above any expectations. However, currently if you are looking for IQ, and flight performance at a reasonable cost the Air 2S is the answer. Personally I would seriously consider the Air 2 S. The other consideration would be to wait for the release of the Mavic 3, but that is going to be priced over $2K. The only advantage the Mini 2 has is that it is sub-249g, and affordable.

Most knowledgeable buyers looking for that class drone are waiting to see what improvements to camera, and flight performance come with the anticipated Mini 3, and how the announced Autel Nano performs in the sub-249g market.

Look at the samples in dpreview reviews for both Mini 2 and Air 2s.

I believe Air 2s is he way to go. Mini has ok video, but still images are mobile phone quality. There is a big leap in IQ there, noise levels, DR and crop-ability.

If the new Mavic Pro 3 brings 24-48 lens with 1" sensor it would be the obvious choice for me, otherwise I'm likely to get the Air 2S even though the lens is a bit too wide at 22mm for my taste.

The only problem with the Air 2s is that it can't fly in many areas where the Mini2 can, at least in europe.
I find that the ability to actually fly where you want to shoot has to be taken into consideration, specially with new rules for older drones.
I went with the mini2 exactly because the freedom it gives.

I was just debating that in DJI store and the conlusion was that the real difference is almost non existent and to be even less with legislation coming next year.

Autel is also bringing the Nano drone (under 250g) so lets hope they manage to fit there at least slightly bigger sensor.

From 2023 any legacy drones over 250g won't be allowed to fly in residential, commercial or recreational areas and have to be 50m away for any uninvolved person, including during take off. A sub 250g drone will be able to fly over all those areas and over uninvolved people.
It does depend on where you normally fly, but for me it the difference is massive.  If I'm travelling, making sure there are no people around and not flying over populated areas isn't as easy.

PAntunes Contributing Member • Posts: 953
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

gebseng wrote:

The only problem with the Air 2s is that it can't fly in many areas where the Mini2 can, at least in europe.
I find that the ability to actually fly where you want to shoot has to be taken into consideration, specially with new rules for older drones.
I went with the mini2 exactly because the freedom it gives.

That's exactly my point. My question still remains, if the Mini 2 camera is not worse than the Phantom 3 Advanced.

I don't have the 3 advanced but I have some photos from the mini 2 that I can share with you if you want to take a look. 
But I do have the Phantom 4 original, that should have a similar camera.
If it helps, I could try to get some similar photos with both drones on my back garden. May not be ideal, as I can't fly them in my area, but could help.

gebseng
OP gebseng Regular Member • Posts: 111
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

PAntunes wrote:

I don't have the 3 advanced but I have some photos from the mini 2 that I can share with you if you want to take a look.
But I do have the Phantom 4 original, that should have a similar camera.
If it helps, I could try to get some similar photos with both drones on my back garden. May not be ideal, as I can't fly them in my area, but could help.

Hi PAntunes,

Thanks for the offer, that would be fantastic if it's not too much of a hassle!

blank_ Regular Member • Posts: 457
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

gebseng wrote:

The only problem with the Air 2s is that it can't fly in many areas where the Mini2 can, at least in europe.
I find that the ability to actually fly where you want to shoot has to be taken into consideration, specially with new rules for older drones.
I went with the mini2 exactly because the freedom it gives.

That's exactly my point. My question still remains, if the Mini 2 camera is not worse than the Phantom 3 Advanced.

easy to check for yourself:

https://www.dpreview.com/sample-galleries/9035981190/dji-mavic-mini-2-sample-gallery/0764359941

Good for what it is, but 1" is a big step up.

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gebseng
OP gebseng Regular Member • Posts: 111
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

easy to check for yourself:

https://www.dpreview.com/sample-galleries/9035981190/dji-mavic-mini-2-sample-gallery/0764359941

Good for what it is, but 1" is a big step up.

Thanks for the link!

blank_ Regular Member • Posts: 457
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

gebseng wrote:

easy to check for yourself:

https://www.dpreview.com/sample-galleries/9035981190/dji-mavic-mini-2-sample-gallery/0764359941

Good for what it is, but 1" is a big step up.

Thanks for the link!

I was searching whole internet to compare the mini and air 2s, but then I saw these two galleries and the answer is right  there

For me the 1" is the way to go. But I shoot stills + architecture. For travel and video the mini might be pretty good.

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IoannisZ
IoannisZ Regular Member • Posts: 392
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ
1

You use a high quality camera and you expect the same from a point and shoot? I don't even understand the meaning of your post. On the other hand bigger drones can use your camera instead of the smaller one.

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gebseng
OP gebseng Regular Member • Posts: 111
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

IoannisZ wrote:

You use a high quality camera and you expect the same from a point and shoot? I don't even understand the meaning of your post. On the other hand bigger drones can use your camera instead of the smaller one.

Quite simply, I want to hear from your experience if the DJI Mini 2 has the same or worse stills IQ than my current DJI Phantom 3. These two drone cameras have a sensor with the same size (1/2.3") and pixel count (12Mp), only that one drone is 6 years older than the other, and they have different lenses.

john isaacs Veteran Member • Posts: 6,119
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ
1

gebseng wrote:

Thanks Len-O for the informative answer! I think I'll try the Mini 2 for the moment and sell it if something better comes up.

All in all, would you say that the Mini 2 sensor/lens combination is not worse than the Phantom 3 Advanced?

best,

geb

I have the Mini 2, Air 2S, and a Parrot Anafi.  For image quality, the Air 2S is noticeably better than the other two.

Each of these has their advantages.

The Mini 2 is extremely portable.   Although the controllers for all three are about the same size, the Mini 2 and its batteries are much smaller.

The Parrot Anafi is very flexible.  The camera can be tilted 90 deg up or down, the propellers never get in the view of the camera, and it has good video modes that used to cost a lot as add-on but now are very cheap.  Plus, the batteries can be charged by USB cable.  The downside to the Anafi is that it is the least portable (the body is long, and the joysticks on the controller cannot be removed).  Also, it's connection is not as reliable because it is Wi-Fi and subject to interference.  I never run it out of sight (I know, you aren't supposed to run any drone out-of-sight, but I've dropped my Mini 2 into a river canyon and gotten great shots).

The Air 2S is larger than the Mini 2, and the batteries are much larger.  But the images are so much better than either of the other two drones that I tend to use it most of the time.  Unless I need the portability of the Mini 2 or the vertical shooting of the Parrot, I use the Air 2S.

I am traveling now, and have both the Air 2S and Mini 2 in a small bag with all of their accessories and attachments (except prop guards on the Air 2S).  Unless I'm hiking, I've been using the Air 2S.  The images are outstanding.

One thing I do with any of these drones is to shoot RAW and bracket my shots.  Noise is an issue with small sensors.

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gebseng
OP gebseng Regular Member • Posts: 111
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

OK, one unfortunate thing I found out about the mini 2: unlike the Phantom 3, there is no way to change contrast, saturation or sharpness for videos, there's also no D-log profile. That's a bit disappointing.

PAntunes Contributing Member • Posts: 953
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ

gebseng wrote:

PAntunes wrote:

I don't have the 3 advanced but I have some photos from the mini 2 that I can share with you if you want to take a look.
But I do have the Phantom 4 original, that should have a similar camera.
If it helps, I could try to get some similar photos with both drones on my back garden. May not be ideal, as I can't fly them in my area, but could help.

Hi PAntunes,

Thanks for the offer, that would be fantastic if it's not too much of a hassle!

Hi,

Sorry for the delay.

Here is a link to the images:
https://we.tl/t-A2N6JCI4rM
It's  wetransfer, so it will last for only 7 days. :\
I did a few images at iso 100 400 1600 and 3200 (on the mini2 only)
Hope it helps.

selected answer This post was selected as the answer by the original poster.
gebseng
OP gebseng Regular Member • Posts: 111
Re: DJI Mini 2 or Phantom 3 Advanced - which has better IQ
1

PAntunes wrote:

Here is a link to the images:
https://we.tl/t-A2N6JCI4rM
It's wetransfer, so it will last for only 7 days. :\
I did a few images at iso 100 400 1600 and 3200 (on the mini2 only)
Hope it helps.

Thank you so much, this was really helpful! Sharpness-wise, I think they're pretty close, also in the corners.

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