DJI Mini 4 Pro experience, the most complete entry-level drone

On September 25, DJI officially released the new generation drone of the mini series, DJI Mini 4 Pro, priced from 4,788 yuan.

Compared with the Mini 3 Pro launched a year ago, the newly launched DJI Mini 4 Pro finally uses complete omnidirectional obstacle avoidance and omnidirectional intelligent following functions, and the image transmission has been upgraded to O4 image transmission with a maximum transmission distance of 20km.

The camera part has not changed much. The slow-motion part has a new 4K 100fps shooting specification. Functionally, it continues to support automatic shooting functions such as master lenses and one-click short videos. The configuration and control have been more complete. It is a It is a product that is very suitable for novices to get started with drones.

The most complete entry-level drone

Since it is a mini, DJI Mini 4 Pro will definitely continue to use this lightweight body of less than 249g, which is about the same length as an "extended" can of Coke.

After folding, it can be stuffed into the small compartment on the side of the shoulder bag. The two large storage compartments next to it can be used to store the battery manager that can charge three batteries and the remote control with screen, which meets the needs of going out for shooting.

If you don’t want to carry a separate storage bag, the DJI Mini 4 Pro can also be placed in the small compartment of the camera inner bag.

The color scheme of the aircraft is the same as that of the Mini 3 Pro, which is DJI’s signature warm gray, and the paint on the fuselage will have a grainy effect similar to pear skin.

The design of the folding structure and gimbal protection lock is the same as before. The USB-C interface and microSD card slot for data transfer are placed on the upper side of the battery compartment. The battery compartment is compatible with regular batteries and long-life batteries. These are the similarities between the Mini 4 Pro and the previous generation.

The biggest difference in the new body is reflected in the placement of the obstacle avoidance lens.

The Mini 4 Pro is equipped with sensors for visual obstacle avoidance on the nose and bottom. The obstacle avoidance sensors that were previously located behind the Mini 3 Pro's nose have been moved to both sides of the fuselage, and the angle has also changed from facing the rear side to diagonally facing the rear.

▲ DJI Mini 4 Pro front and rear obstacle avoidance

After this adjustment, Mini 4 Pro also gains omnidirectional obstacle avoidance capabilities. In addition to the front, rear and right below, if there are obstacles on the side, Mini 4 Pro will basically automatically stop and keep a wide distance from the obstacles. In this case, if you forcefully push the direction, the aircraft will no longer approach the obstacle. It will be much safer for novices to fly.

▲ Mini 4 Pro avoids obstacles from the side. You can see that the drone will keep a large distance from obstacles.

Of course, it is still very simple for Mini 4 Pro to identify a relatively thick tree trunk like this. However, if you want to fly to a place with a lot of branches and leaves or other scenes with complex obstacles, Mini 4 Pro will occasionally make recognition errors or fail to recognize them.

If you are not very sure about your control skills, it is better to avoid these scenes.

After DJI updated its omnidirectional obstacle avoidance, it also upgraded the Mini 4 Pro to the omnidirectional intelligent following function.

The omnidirectional following function here provides three modes of omnidirectional intelligent following, focusing and point of interest surround. As long as the tracking target is selected in the box, the selection menu of the three modes will appear on the remote control menu. It is convenient to select and switch in a single time. If you don’t want to use a fixed mode for following, Mini 4 Pro supports drawing a custom mirror movement trajectory on the control compass. When flying, you can plan the following pattern according to the on-site environment.

The stability of the three smart follow modes is good. Mini 4 Pro responds very quickly in the smart follow state, and with the omnidirectional obstacle avoidance function, it can achieve single-person follow-up shooting.

This means that now you only need to frame yourself before flying and set the following mode and route on the remote control before shooting, and Mini 4 Pro will start automatically tracking after you start running and get on the bike. In the past, an extra pilot was needed to follow, but now as long as the environment is open enough, you can shoot smooth and complete following videos by yourself.

Coming to the imaging part, the gimbal camera of DJI Mini 4 Pro has a built-in 48-megapixel 1/1.3-inch CMOS, the lens has an equivalent angle of view of 24mm, the aperture is F1.7, and the hardware configuration is similar to that of DJI Mini 3.

Mini 4 Pro supports 4K 60fps video recording and offers two recording modes, HLG and D-Log M. Users can record D-Log M with larger post-processing space to achieve more stylized color grading in post-processing.

▲DJI Mimo D-Log M restore function

If you are a user of the DJI Ecosystem and happen to have a DJI Action 4 action camera, you can integrate the content shot by DJI Mini 4 Pro and Action 4 and then color grade it, or you can import it into DJI Mimo at the same time for D-Log M color restoration. , the effect of uniform color tone is also pretty good.

In slow-motion recording mode, Mini 4 Pro supports 1080P 200fps and 4K 100fps slow-motion. Looking only at the 4K slow-motion specifications, Mini 4 Pro is a relatively rare configuration on entry-level drones.

But like DJI Action 4, you need to enter a special slow-motion mode to turn it on. If it is integrated into the resolution and frame rate selection menu, it will be more intuitive for users to use.

When taking aerial photos of urban villages with many lines in an environment with sufficient light, the Mini 4 Pro with a 48-megapixel camera has good resolution and sharp lines. The default mode of straight out gives a transparent image. Feel.

Like other devices equipped with 48-megapixel sensors, the Mini 4 Pro will output in 12-megapixel mode on a daily basis, and the machine provides a 48-megapixel photo option. When shooting, users can choose separate JPG format and DNG RAW format, or they can keep the R+J mode like a regular camera. Then when you go out, you can first use JPG to post a Weibo on Moments, and then use RAW format when you return to the computer. It's late.

▲ 4K 60P original video screenshots

▲ 4K 60P HLG original video screenshots

▲ 4K 60P D-Log M original material video screenshots

The image quality is the same in video mode. The 4K 60fps imaging effect of Mini 4 Pro in direct mode is also good. There is not much difference between screenshot and photo mode.

The HLG and D-Log M provided later can improve the dynamic range of the picture. D-Log M has good picture quality in a well-lit environment, and does not make the picture gray to a high degree, even if it does not rely on DJI Mimo. The automatic restoration function makes it easy for beginners to practice color grading on their own.

In low light and night environments, Mini 4 Pro's imaging will be relatively difficult. When taking pictures, the multi-pixel 12-megapixel output is okay. The overall picture can be kept clean, and the line drawings are still clear, but the details in the dark will be slightly smeared.

If you turn on the 48-megapixel high-pixel mode at night, the Mini 4 Pro's photos will be a little rougher, and there will be more color noise and false colors in the dark areas than the regular 12-megapixel ones. Although switching to high-pixel mode makes it easier for users to zoom in and crop, the camera will increase the smearing of the picture in order to control noise, so the usability after zooming in is not much greater. If you want to take aerial photography at night, the 12-megapixel mode will be your first choice.

Increasing the exposure time can also make the picture cleaner. Mini 4 Pro can currently achieve a 2s exposure. In addition to improving the overall picture brightness at night, it can also create a streamer track effect. If the wind in the scene environment is not too strong, the actual shooting effect of Mini 4 Pro is still good.

However, the Mini 4 Pro is a lightweight and small machine, and its stability against wind is not very high. Although the gimbal has a certain stabilizing effect, it is not enough to cope with such large instantaneous jitter. During our test, we found that a 2s exposure is still relatively easy to blur. If the exposure can be controlled within 1s, the success rate will be much higher.

▲DNG output after simple processing

Also, the highlights of Mini 4 Pro are still a little overexposed under long exposure. If you want to control it better, post-processing in DNG format after shooting will have better results.

One last thing to mention about the camera, the Mini 4 Pro’s gimbal can also be switched to vertical shooting mode with one click like the Mini 3 Pro.

Compared with old drones like DJI Air 3, which require cropping to shoot vertical composition videos and photos, Mini 4 Pro can shoot vertical composition content without losing pixels. Platforms with mainly vertical screens are more user-friendly.

What an entry-level drone should look like

In addition to smarter omnidirectional obstacle avoidance and fully intelligent following functions as well as camera updates, DJI Mini 4 Pro has also been adjusted in other parts.

For example, it also uses the same O4 image transmission as the DJI Mavic 3 Pro, which can support a maximum connection distance of about 20km in open scenes. Even in urban villages with complex wireless environments, the aircraft signal is very stable when we fly high and far. Combined with the DJI RC 2 screen remote control included in the package, the high-definition and smooth image transmission and control are not only comfortable to use, but also provide peace of mind during operation.

The basic battery life of the Mini 4 Pro has also been increased to 34 minutes, and with the long-life battery it can reach 45 minutes. Taking into account the consumption of take-off, return and landing, it is still enough to achieve close to 30 minutes of flight shooting time using the long-life battery. , add a few more clips captured by smart following and master lens in the middle, and a simple aerial video can be completed. For entry-level users who just want to take a few shots with a drone to enrich their videos, the Mini 4 Pro is enough.

Indeed, entry-level drones that are constantly being launched to lower prices by cutting down on configurations and functions are actually not suitable for entry-level users.

The lack of "omnidirectional obstacle avoidance" and "omnidirectional intelligent following" drone products that improve control safety and lower the operating threshold will only make it more difficult for the operator to use it.

People who want to get started bought an "entry-level" drone because it was cheap, but because it couldn't fly and was afraid of crashing or blowing up, the aircraft was gathering dust all year round and couldn't take a few shots or clips a year. A video of about 1 minute, such a drone is meaningless to them.

On the contrary, drones with complete functions, configurations and accessories are more suitable for beginners to get started.

Even if the starting price is higher, users can quickly get started after buying it, or they can take good-looking pictures through some of the automated functions supported by the drone, so that they are willing to continue using and learning. Only such drone products can It has the function of "getting started".

It’s obvious that DJI understood this when it launched the DJI Mini 4 Pro.

Therefore, DJI Mini 4 Pro is currently the most suitable drone product for entry-level users. If you are looking for a machine that is suitable for one-step entry, then the Mini 4 Pro package that comes with RC 2 screen remote control, two batteries and a charging butler is the right solution for the current version.

"Buy it, it's not expensive."

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