DJI is adding another drone to its extensive lineup, this time making the Air 3 ready to take the skies. The dual-camera setup in this one is an upgrade over the previous Air 2S, and the overall design and functionality could equally cater to hobbyists and pro drone pilots, alike.
The second camera here is a 3x telephoto, which may be there to offset the drone’s size for instances where it can’t get too close without potential danger. It’s still lightweight at 720 grams and small enough to get into some tight spaces. If you want to get creative or take a step forward, this may be a drone worth your time and effort.
What you get with the DJI Air 3
Both cameras record footage in 4K, be it the main wide lens with 1/1.3-inch CMOS image sensor and f/1.7 aperture, along with the aforementioned telephoto lens with a shallow 3x optical zoom and f/2.8 aperture. They are actually identical image sensors in both cameras, save for the focal length differences between them.
You have options with the footage, topping up at 4K at 100fps or 60fps with HDR. There’s even a dual 2.7K vertical shooting mode in a standard 9:16 aspect ratio to quickly share video or photos on social media without having to crop in post-production editing afterward. If you want to get even more technical, there are advanced colour modes with 10-bit D-Log M to retain more detail in highlights and shadows, while 10-bit HLG support ramps up dynamic range on to limit any colour grading work later on.
DJI also equipped the Air 3 with omnidirectional obstacle sensing to cover itself in avoiding objects without missing a frame while shooting. The drone was built to make this easy enough to understand, meaning novice pilots would likely get the hang of it without much training.
Battery life looks decent on paper, with a max flight time of 46 minutes, depending on wind conditions. The Air 3 also has a new battery charging hub with a cool feature that accumulates power by transferring what’s left from the other multiple batteries to the one with the most charge left.
Tracking and flight paths
There’s plenty of familiarity here for DJI pilots. FocusTrack combines three key features: Spotlight 2.0, ActiveTrack 5.0 and Point of Interest 3.0. The idea is to keep the subject centred in the frame at all times. With QuickShot, you choose which of the automated movements the Air 3 should do, lile Rocket, Dronie, Circle, Helix, Boomerang, and Asteroid.
MasterShots will mix things up to shoot multiple clips from different angles, then edit them, and then add music to create a finished video with cinematic effect. Waypoint Flight is new to the Air series, where you can plan a flight path and shot selection for the drone in advance. The idea is to do this safely so that it’s possible to capture the same sequence more than once for timelapse transitions or comparisons between times of day or seasons in a year. LightCut is a variation on this theme also worth exploring. Night mode, Hyperlapse and Slow Motion are also readily available to shoot with, as are photo-specific modes, like SmartPhoto.