Discover the stunning new DJI AIR 3

DJI has once again broken the mould with the launch of the DJI AIR 3, which, while belonging to the consumer range and without being classified as a professional drone, is not lacking in features to offer many resources to professionals in the world of drones.

In the absence of months of use of this new drone to have final data on usability and quality, the truth is that the first impressions can not be better, it looks great, and I predict that sooner rather than later, it may enter my article of the best drones of 2023.

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How AIR 3 differs from AIR 2s

Although they are very similar, the AIR 3 has 8 clear differences compared to the AIR 2s. These are listed below, and I will elaborate on them as you continue to read this article:

  1. Antennas
  2. Wind resistance
  3. Battery life
  4. Omnidirectional sensors
  5. Frequency
  6. Signal transmission
  7. Camera
  8. Smart modes and Active track

Physical appearance of AIR 3

The AIR 3 continues the same design line that brought the MAVIC 3: thinner and slimmer arms, and a sharper front end design than its predecessor, the AIR 2s, which although similar, this DJI AIR 3 evolves with a more aerodynamic and aggressive design.

Antennas

The front legs are antennae, and are oriented towards the inside of the drone, giving it more stability when connecting to any surface and at take-off.

New DJI AIR 3

Colour

The colour remains the same, grey, but a little darker than the MAVIC AIR 2s, so DJI makes it clear that through the use of colour it defines the status of each drone, leaving the darker colours for the higher-end drones.

Dimensions and wind resistance

It is a larger and more compact drone than the AIR 2s, both folded and stretched. The propellers are also larger, giving it greater stability and wind resistance of up to 43 km/h (12 m/s).

In this particular area of wind resistance, the DJI AIR 3 improves on previous versions of the AIR range and even on the MAVIC, putting it on a par with the ENTERPRISE.

Weight

The weight of the AIR 3 is still under 900 grams, more precisely 720 grams, which means that this drone belongs to the type of drone with the C1 class marking of the European regulations.

This class marking is already printed on the drone on a sticker that also marks the decibels that the drone’s propellers reach in motion, 81dB, more specifically, as in the MAVIC 3.

These 720 grams are very well thought out because with this weight, the DJI AIR 3 could be fitted with either a propeller saver or a parachute and it would still be within the 900 grams of its class 1 marking.

Do you know what this class marking means? In my article on the ‘open’ category of civil drones I talk about it.

Base

Its bottom, or base, has heat sinks, like previous models, but the AIR 3 has a few more heat sinks on the sides and rear.

All in all, all these new changes in terms of design and construction make this AIR 3 a very attractive and different drone to the previous versions of the AIR range.

Batteries

The batteries change completely in design and usability, here there is a considerable change compared to the AIR 2s and that is that the batteries are not integrated into the top, but are placed and removed from the back, like the MAVIC 3. Like a cannon when loaded with shrapnel.

Each battery has a charge of 4241 mAh, similar to that of the MAVIC 3 Classic or the Mavic 3 Pro, giving us, a priori, an autonomy of 46 minutes in movement with respect to the 31 minutes of the AIR 2s that the manufacturer marked us; and 42 minutes in stationary flight.

As always it is recommended to land with 20% of the battery remaining, then you will enjoy approximately 31-33′ of flight time, and this will depend on the flight conditions and piloting at that moment.

So if you decide to buy the “Fly more combo” kit, which comes with two more batteries, it gives you plenty of time for any standard job.

Fly more combo option

The DJI AIR 3 Fly more combo option incorporates:

  • Hub case
  • Shoulder bag
  • 2 batteries
  • Se venden por separado:
    • Case with ND (Neutral Density) filters 8ND,16ND, 32ND and 64ND
    • 65W car charger
    • DJI Care Refresh
    • Adaptor for 65W and 100W power supply

One negative aspect is that it does not come with a mains charging plug, although it does come with a cable from the hub to the socket. You will have to buy a separate charger, and there are 2 types:

  • 60′ with a 100W charger
  • 80′ with a 65W charger

The charging case (hub) with space for 3 batteries, very similar to the one already included in the Mavic MINI 2 and Mavic MINI 3 PRO.

You can use lower wattage chargers but the charging time will take forever if you do not use plugs of the wattage indicated by the manufacturer. Otherwise, batteries are charged as usual, one by one, and the charging time goes from 0 to 100%.

This hub brings a new function, when we do not have it connected to a charging network, we can activate an energy storage function of the batteries works in such a way that it transfers the energy from the batteries with less charge to the one with more charge, so as to use all the residual battery of the set in one battery., this allows the entire residual battery of the array to be used in one battery.

DJI Pack Air 3 Vuela Más con DJI RC 2 (control…
  • Captura asombrosos vídeos inmersivos – Las dos cámaras del DJI Air 3 ofrecen creativas opciones de distancia focal para la fotografía de viajes….

DJI AIR 3 data storage

SD card

Unlike the MAVIC 3 where you have to remove the battery from the drone, and the AIR 2s where you have to unfold the legs on the right side to access the SD card compartment and remove it,

The DJI AIR 3 has solved this by differentiating the spaces of the charging compartment and the space where the SD card is inserted and removed, undoubtedly a breakthrough in user usability. The tab that uncovers the SD card is also shared for the USB-C charging connection.

Internal storage

It is unchanged from the previous version, 8 GB, a far cry from the DJI AVATA’s 20 GB.

Obstacle detection system

The DJI AIR 3 has an omni-directional obstacle detection system, i.e. it will detect obstacles from all sides and angles. This system consists of 4 sensors with “fisheye” vision, 2 at the front and 2 at the rear, placed at each of the 4 corners. In the same style as the MAVIC 3.

The AIR 2s has no upper rear obstacle detection. This is the difference compared to the DJI AIR 3

On the underside there are 2 vision sensors (omni-directional), an IR (infrared) sensor for locating the drone and detecting items, which works very well, and an LED light for the night.

A big step forward for DJI with this AIR 3 as until now no drone below the MAVIC range had omni-directional obstacle detection.

Data transmission system. Connection

The DJI AIR 3 incorporates and debuts a new data transmission system: the Ocusync O4, which far surpasses the previous Ocusync O3. Both in distance and position.

This new system brings both positive and negative changes.

On the positive side, the signal for European countries, i.e. with CE standards, has improved significantly.

It should be remembered that the CE countries have a more limited connection, i.e. a weaker connection compared to those outside Europe.

Outside Europe they are FCC compliant and enjoy a stronger connection range. El Ocusync O4 mejora la transmisión de datos para la normativa CE, es decir, para los que estamos en Europa.

The Ocusync O4 improves data transmission for the CE standard, i.e. for those of us in Europe.

DRONETRANSMISSION SYSTEMDISTANCE
AIR 3Ocusync 0420 kms
MAVIC 3Ocusync O3+15 Kms
AIR 2s/ Mini 3Ocusync O312 Kms
Air 2/ othersOcusync O210 Kms

The range of the DJI AIR 3 with the Ocusync O4 is 20 km for FCC regulations and 10 km for CE regulations, which is greater than the range of the MAVIC 3. Incredible with such a short launch time for this latest drone.

This distance could be increased to 32 km by combining the signal with the range of the DJI AIR 3.

Remember that in Spain we cannot fly the drone beyond 2 km and with observers.

The bad news is that remote controls from previous drone versions are not compatible with this DJI AIR 3. So you will only be able to enjoy the RC-2 with later versions of drones that also have this Ocusync O4, unless they do a software update to democratise its use.

Frequency of connection

Until today, drones in the consumer range enjoyed 2.4GHz and 5.8 GHz connection frequencies – automatic or customised dual bands depending on the connection at the time.

DJI has now decided to include the 5.1 GHz frequency in this drone for the first time, which until now has only been enjoyed by Enterprise drones such as the Matrice. This will improve connection quality in Europe.

DJI AIR 3 Camera

We could say that together with the new O4 transmission system and the new camera of the DJI AIR 3, these are the major new features of this new drone.

Most importantly, although it is not the same camera as the MAVIC 3, the Hasselblad, the image quality offered by this camera is a real luxury for users of this drone, which is almost half the price of a MAVIC 3.

The AIR 3 sensor is smaller (1/1.3″) than the AIR 2 (1″). And you may ask, how can a smaller sensor have better image quality than a larger one? The answer is that the technology advances by leaps and bounds every day and that the new processor DJI AIR 3 that creates the images after they are collected by the sensor, coupled with higher quality lenses, it gives us images of much higher quality than we were getting 2 or 3 years ago….

The camera also has heat sinks underneath, and now also comes with a protective capsule that jointly protects sensitive front elements: camera, gimbal and vision sensors.

The camera of the AIR 3 is composed of 2 separate camera spaces, a wide-angle and a telephoto lens with the following characteristics:

WIDE ANGLETELECAMARA MEDIA 3x
Focal distance24mm70mm
SensorCMOS 1/1,3″CMOS 1/1,3″
Fixed diafragmaf1.7f2.8
Field of View (FOV)82º35º
Video specificationsNormal 8-bits 4:2:0 H264/265Normal 8-bits 4:2:0 H264/265
Transfer speed150MBPS150MPS
Digital zoom1x-3x3x-9x
DJI AIR 3 Cameras

Features of the video:

  • Resolution:
4KFHDVertical capture
24 mm (wide angle)24/25/30/48/50/60/100 fps25/30/48/50/60/100/200 fpsFHD and 2.7K: 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps
70 mm (medium telephoto lens)24/25/30/48/50/60/100 fps25/30/48/50/60/100/200 fpsFHD and 2.7K: 24/25/30/48/50/60 fps

  • HDR video: Up to 4K/ 60 fps
  • Modo SLOW MOTION:
    • 4K/ 100fps
    • 1080P/ 200fps
  • NIGHT mode: 4K/ 30fps. The same one with the same features as the MAVIC 3.

Characteristics of Photography:

  • JPGE (12Mpx) and RAW (48Mpx) photos
  • ISO up to 12800 (night mode)
  • AEB 3/5
  • Timer
  • Panoramic photos

Advanced recording

For the first time DJI has decided to include this function, which I personally find essential, until now reserved only for the MAVIC range and above.

With this function you can make those tricky shots happen, when you don’t have much time to take them, and you can save your drone’s batteries by nailing the shots the first time. You can save these trajectories for later use. You will arrive at the scene and have it in a moment and you can move on to another task.

For me, it was a great decision by DJI to include this function for the DJI AIR 3.

Colour profiles

With both cameras we can record in the same colour profiles:

  • 10-bit D-LOG M to help you retain more detail in highlights and shadows. With the AIR 2s we were able to record in D-CINElike as a flat profile, but not as high quality as with this D-LOG M.
  • 10-bit HLG, a flatter, more intermediate profile

Down to 8 bits if we abandon any of these flat colour profiles for the normal mode.

Vertical camera

The AIR 3’s camera does not rotate as the MINI 3’s does. DJI has solved this by using the full 4/3″ sensor space of the camera, so there will be a fuller image with no loss of information than if we record in landscape format and then crop to 9:16 when editing.

The only limitation is that in this mode it only records in 1080p and 2.7K, although, honestly, we don’t need more, or at least I don’t, as this function is mainly reserved for creating content for socials where lower quality is needed.

This VERTICAL mode works with all modes: Active track, Quickshot, Mastershot, Night mode…

Both cameras record in all colour profiles:

  • Normal profile
  • HLG 10-bit profile
  • D-LOG M 10 bit plane, the same as the MAVIC 3

Intelligent flight modes

DJI has spared absolutely nothing with this drone. For the first time, the possibility to use Focus track, Spotlight and Active Track 5.0 or “tracking mode”, the intelligent flight modes, has been implemented in this drone.

As an example, we could use the “super slow motion mode” in 4K and at 100 fps, giving us very spectacular results.

It keeps the same as previous versions as modes: Quickshot, Mastershot, Hyperlapse (the 3x camera does not support Quickshot Asteroid), Waypoints, cruise control, and say again that all these modes can be used with both cameras.

The Lightcut application appears, giving you creative options such as “one-touch editing”.

RC-2 remote control

This is the new remote control (optional) with the purchase of the DJI AIR 3. The main difference between controllers is in the processor, an 8 Core, which makes the programme run more smoothly, both for connecting and enjoying the video connection.

DJI RC 2, Control Remoto para DJI Air 3&DJI Mini 4 Pro, procesador de última generación, transmisión O4 a 20 km, Pantalla FHD de 5.5 Pulgadas, Antenas 2T4R, Controlador Inteligente para Drones
  • Procesador de última generación – El RC 2 cuenta con procesamiento de 8 núcleos y 6 nm, con rendimiento de CPU y GPU notablemente mejorado para…

On the outside, it has a very similar design to the previous one with a 5″ screen and 700 bits. What changes here are the antennas, it comes with 6 antennas, 2 more than the RC-1:

  • 4 antenas receptores
    • 2 internal (RC-1 and RC-2)
    • 2 external receiving antennas
  • 2 transmitting antennas

The exterior colour of the remote control is darkened in the same way as the colour of the drones, as mentioned above. The upper wheels also change from grey on the RC-1 to black on the RC-2.

It also incorporates 1 extra ventilation grille compared to the AIR 2s.

New DJI AIR 3 with RC-2 Remote Controller

In-flight impressions of the AIR 3

It’s a drone that flies very, very well. As I said, it has great stability and it’s a super agile drone, even more agile than the MAVIC 3:

  • It has a maximum horizontal speed of 76 km/h (21m/s, 19m/s in some EU regions).
  • Ascent and descent speed is 10 m/s, higher than the MAVIC 3’s 8 m/s.
  • Withstands winds of up to 46 km/h (12 m/s), but performs very well in even stronger winds.
  • The noise level is similar to that of the 2s, a little less, maybe, but not much difference, exactly 81 dB.

How much does the DJI AIR 3 cost?

The DJI AIR 3 is sold in 3 different packs:

  1. Basic Pack: drone + basic controller N2 + 1 battery > 1099€.
  2. Fly More Combo Pack which brings the drone + 3 batteries + spare propellers and joysticks + hub charger and charging cables +1 shoulder bag (like the MAVIC 3 but adapted to the AIR 3) to carry everything. With N2 controller> 1349€.
  3. Fly More Combo Pack, same kit as above but with RC-2 controller with display –> 1549€.

The RC-2 remote control can be purchased separately for 369€.

Conclusions

With the AIR 3, DJI closes the family of foldable mid-range consumer drones, with the Mini 3 and Mini 3 PRO as drones under 250 grams or drones that can be flown without a licence.

It is clear, after several tests, that this drone is the best value for money drone on the market right now.

Which drone do you have so far? Thinking of buying this new DJI AIR 3? Do you have any other unanswered questions after reading this article? Comment!

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