DJI launches new Air 3 drone

DJI has launched its latest drone, the DJI Air 3. The Air 3 is the first drone in the DJI Air series with professional features such as dual primary cameras and omnidirectional obstacle sensing.

Dual primary cameras

The DJI Air 3 has both a 1/1.3-inch CMOS wide-angle camera and a 1/1.3-inch CMOS 3x medium tele camera. The wide-angle camera is a 24mm format equivalent with an f1.7 aperture, while the medium tele camera is a 70mm format equivalent with an f2.8 aperture. In addition, the medium tele camera can achieve 3x optical zoom, which DJI says creates a strong sense of spatial compression. The company also says that because the two cameras have the same size sensor with a 2.4μm pixel size, you will get more consistent image quality.

Video specifications

DJI Air 3 under shot
Image courtesy: DJI

The camera sensors in the DJI Air 3 support dual native ISO for direct output of 4K/60fps HDR video at high frame rates. The drone also has a maximum recording speed of 4K/100fps without FOV cropping compared to its predecessor, the DJI Air 2S. In addition, both cameras support 10-bit D-Log M and 10-bit HLG color modes. 10-bit D-Log M mode retains more highlight and shadow details which makes it better suited to color grading for more flexible post-production. Another first for the Air Series is that the DJI Air 3 can shoot 2.7K vertical video for social media.

Intelligent features

This new drone has a range of intelligent features to help you capture great videos. FocusTrack keeps the subject in the center of the frame while QuickShots makes the drone perform creative camera movements like Rocket, Dronie, Circle, Helix, Boomerang and Asteroid. In addition, with MasterShots, the Air 3 automatically performs a series of camera movements and shoots multiple clips. The drone then edits the clips and adds music to generate fast and effortless cinematic footage for you to share.

Waypoint Flights

The inclusion of the Waypoint Fights feature is another first for the Air Series of drones. With this feature, you can preplan flight routes and shooting actions for the DJI Air 3. You can also save a flight route so that you can repeat it precisely. It’s a great feature for executing difficult one-take shots or creating long-duration timelapses to capture transitions such as day to night or season to season. You can also shoot hyperlapses in 4K horizontal or 2.7K vertical video. In Night Mode, the Air 3 uses a noise reduction algorithm to capture clean footage at up to 4K/30 fps in low-light environments.

Omnidirectional obstacle sensing

DJI Air 3 and controller
Image courtesy: DJI

The DJI Air 3 is the first drone in the Air Series to include omnidirectional obstacle sensing. This means that the drone can detect obstacles in all directions. The Air 3 has a pair of fisheye lenses to achieve forward, backward, left, right and upward sensing. In addition, the bottom of the drone is equipped with binocular lenses and a 3D TOF (Time of Flight). When obstacles are detected, the DJI Air 3 can also use APAS 5.0 (Advanced Pilot Assistance System) to avoid and bypass them. The ActiveTrack function works with the drone’s Advanced RTH so you can achieve a fully automatic flight that ends with a worry-free Return to Home function.

Video transmission

The drone features a next-generation O4 video transmission system. This gives you a transmission distance of up to 12.4 miles (20 km). It also improves transmission stability to avoid stuttered live view for safer flight. In addition, the Air 3 supports up to 1080p/60 fps live feeds. This is good because a higher frame rate ensures a smoother viewing experience.      

Flight time

The DJI Air 3 has a maximum flight time of up to 46 minutes which is 48% more than its predecessor in the Air Series. The new battery charging hub also supports a power accumulation function. Put simply, this allows you to transfer power from part-drained batteries to the battery with the highest remaining power. It’s a handy feature to get more flight time when you are away from a power supply.

What we think

DJI Air 3 folded
Image courtesy: DJI

DJI has raised its game yet again with the new Air 3. The dual camera system ensures that you will get great footage with a range of shot sizes and perspectives. The drone also has a range of intelligent features to help you get some dramatic aerial footage. However, the inclusion of Waypoint Flight is the most impressive new feature. It means you can create a complex flight path safe in the knowledge that you can reset and repeat it, ready to go for another take. For scripted filming, as well as creative transition shots, this is could be a real game changer. With the Air 3,  DJI looks to have created another drone destined to become a top seller.

Pricing and availability

The DJI Air 3 is available to order today and retails at $1,099. The new drone is also available in two Fly More Combos: with the RC-N2 controller, the Air 3 costs $1,349, and with the RC 2 controller, it’s priced at $1,549.

Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies
Pete Tomkies is a freelance cinematographer and camera operator from Manchester, UK. He also produces and directs short films as Duck66 Films. Pete's latest short Once Bitten... won 15 awards and was selected for 105 film festivals around the world.

Related Content