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Asking for your 2 cents, Air 3 or Mini 4 pro

TexasEric

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Nov 18, 2023
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Location
SW Houston
I am about to buy my 1st drone. Yes, DJI care refresh will be on it. I will definitely get the fly more kit for the mini 4, probably same for the Air 3 as well. Absolutely getting the RC2 controller. I have already gotten my trust certificate, and downloaded B4ufly, and LAANC apps too. Finally, I’m probably going to get a 256 GB or 512GB SD card. What else should I be looking for? Besides a mentor or 2.

I am normally a sucker for the latest and greatest. In my eyes that would be the Mini 4 pro. I mainly intend to fly around, get my girls into flying, take some cool pics and videos of my family, and scenes on vacation. The mini 4 pro should be perfect/overkill for that.

I am also looking really hard at the Air 3. I like the extra stability, battery life, higher speeds it offers. It has most of the same features, and an additional camera. I am a big boy with years of walking on my feet, so the weight difference is negligible to me. Price difference would not be a real issue in this case. I am not worried about registering the Air 3, it is like $5 for 3 years. I hold a few NFA stamps, LTC license, and I am veteran so the government already knows who I am. Another registration is not an issue for me.

I would like to create a side hustle with the drone. I find myself wondering if the Air 3 would be better for any kind of business/drone job I can think to create or get into. Yes, I have full intention of passing the part 107.

Would an Air 3 be better for the real estate and maybe insurance work, if I can get into that? Also what kind of drone jobs are around Houston? What experiences have y’all had.

Finally, I have no photography background, and probably no computer good enough to edit photographs or videos.
What are your thoughts? What have I missed? You guys have already gone down this road. Any guidance you can give would be appreciated and definitely considered.
 
Finally, I have no photography background, and probably no computer good enough to edit photographs or videos.
What are your thoughts? What have I missed? You guys have already gone down this road. Any guidance you can give would be appreciated and definitely considered.
Will you, in the forseeable future, be getting better equipment?
If not is there any point cutting edge stuff?
What can you computer/tv screen display?
Is it worth shooting super dooper ultra high resolution video if you cant watch it?
 
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What kind requirements does one need to record and edit video easily? What software are you using?
We have computers at home to watch it.
 
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The two drones you mention are both good for your needs. If you are thinking of making money with your drone depending on what you are thinking of doing you will need a good computer for editing video and of course the right monitors too view them. The air 3 will do much better in the wind. I myself use Davinci Resolve with an Imac and a windows 11 Acer Nitro 5. You don't need the latest and greatest system to edit video but you will at least need a "mid-level" computer.
 
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Does the weight difference make a difference in where you can fly? It does in Canada; don't know about Texas.

I've found a landing pad useful, especially for drones that sit close to the ground. I have one of those round nylon ones that fold up (like a photography reflector), but prefer a flat folding weighted one because it lies flatter.

Some people swear by external strobes. I don't use one because I mostly fly a mini and need to keep it under 250 g most of the time. I'm thinking of getting one for flights using the plus battery out in the country.

Edit: one thing to keep in mind is that some customers view small drones as toys; just as some photography customers are reassured to see a 'real' (ie. big) camera, they are reassured to see a big drone.
 
The two drones you mention are both good for your needs. If you are thinking of making money with your drone depending on what you are thinking of doing you will need a good computer for editing video and of course the right monitors too view them. The air 3 will do much better in the wind. I myself use Davinci Resolve with an Imac and a windows 11 Acer Nitro 5. You don't need the latest and greatest system to edit video but you will at least need a "mid-level" computer.
Thank you, this is good info! I had heard of lighthouse, but this is all new to me.
Can you define “mid level”…..asking for a friend. ;)
 
Does the weight difference make a difference in where you can fly? It does in Canada; don't know about Texas.

I've found a landing pad useful, especially for drones that sit close to the ground. I have one of those round nylon ones that fold up (like a photography reflector), but prefer a flat folding weighted one because it lies flatter.

Some people swear by external strobes. I don't use one because I mostly fly a mini and need to keep it under 250 g most of the time. I'm thinking of getting one for flights using the plus battery out in the country.

Edit: one thing to keep in mind is that some customers view small drones as toys; just as some photography customers are reassured to see a 'real' (ie. big) camera, they are reassured to see a big drone.
In Texas I don’t think weight matters much. I will have register the Air 3 with FAA. That is the only extra thing to do. It is $5 for a 3 year registration. If I do use the drone for business purposes, I would have register the mini 4 pro as well.
The biggest limitation would be travel with the drone. I would have to look up the info about drones where ever we travel. With the mini 4 pro I would not have worry about it.
 
Thank you, this is good info! I had heard of lighthouse, but this is all new to me.
Can you define “mid level”…..asking for a friend. ;)

My niece, who's a film-maker, says that a Mac Mini with a good hard drive will do. She suggested I look at the middle option on this page:


(She said I of course could spend more, such as a top-of-the-line Mini or Mac Studio, but this would do because I'm looking at short videos not epic masterpieces.)
 
In Texas I don’t think weight matters much. I will have register the Air 3 with FAA. That is the only extra thing to do. It is $5 for a 3 year registration. If I do use the drone for business purposes, I would have register the mini 4 pro as well.
The biggest limitation would be travel with the drone. I would have to look up the info about drones where ever we travel. With the mini 4 pro I would not have worry about it.
In Europe being under 250 g is huge, AFAIK.

Certainly it is in Canada: you'd need to prearrange a Special Flight Operations Certificate to fly the Air here (as well as have a Canadian sRPAS certificate). Under 250 g those restrictions vanish!

 
What kind requirements does one need to record and edit video easily? What software are you using?
We have computers at home to watch it.
Me, lol, my stuff is so ancient I can't shoot full resolution from a Phantom four 3 Pro ( the strike through on the number 4 was invisible, hence the word "four" ).
I am probably double digit generations of computer out of date lol.
 
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My niece, who's a film-maker, says that a Mac Mini with a good hard drive will do. She suggested I look at the middle option on this page:


(She said I of course could spend more, such as a top-of-the-line Mini or Mac Studio, but this would do because I'm looking at short videos not epic masterpieces.)
Bro! Seriously thanks again.
 
You are on the right track with the Air 3 , its a fantastic drone , no worries of overheating or grabbing it to hard and cracking it like a pretzel , that mini 4 pro is not very forgiving or comfortable in the wind. .

The Air 3 or the Air 2S with a Wet Suit or a Rescue Jacket can keep you in business all year.

Both the Air 3 and Air 2S are two drones you should be looking at but not the Mini 4 Pro ,

Phantomrain.org
Gear to fly in the Rain. Land on the Water,
 
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Looooots of variables here, so hard to really go wrong. As an Air 3 owner myself (and previously an original Mavic 3 and Air 2S before) I'll say it's quite an impressive piece of equipment. One thing you may want to look into is the Mavic 3 Classic if you're focusing primarily on a side hustle and want the best quality you can for real estate photography. Would recommend just popping through each of the sub-forums and getting a feel for personal experiences. YouTube as well of course. Mavic 3 Pro of course would be also great, but now you're talking about $3k+. I really think the Air 3 is a good sweet spot for someone new to the gig.

If you're a cutting edge kind of person and want "the best", I would look at the Air 3 baseline and maybe go up from there, especially if possibly interested in doing commercial work. Mini 4 is certainly capable, but I'd spend a little more if it were my wallet.

For editing, I like the Adobe suite since that's what i've been using for years, but the subscription isnt cheap. If you're going to focus on photography, you could get the $10/month sub for lightroom and photoshop... then using Davinci Resolve or similar free program to get started on video.

Plenty of good info on here, so definitely abuse the search function as all of this has been discussed at length.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck.
 
My niece, who's a film-maker, says that a Mac Mini with a good hard drive will do. She suggested I look at the middle option on this page:


(She said I of course could spend more, such as a top-of-the-line Mini or Mac Studio, but this would do because I'm looking at short videos not epic masterpieces.)
Macs are the industry standard for video editing and a mini such as these would be a fantastic choice! IMO I love my macs for Editing but I love my windows machines for Gaming Its all really a matter of choice I guess though.
 
I am about to buy my 1st drone. Yes, DJI care refresh will be on it. I will definitely get the fly more kit for the mini 4, probably same for the Air 3 as well. Absolutely getting the RC2 controller. I have already gotten my trust certificate, and downloaded B4ufly, and LAANC apps too. Finally, I’m probably going to get a 256 GB or 512GB SD card. What else should I be looking for? Besides a mentor or 2.

I am normally a sucker for the latest and greatest. In my eyes that would be the Mini 4 pro. I mainly intend to fly around, get my girls into flying, take some cool pics and videos of my family, and scenes on vacation. The mini 4 pro should be perfect/overkill for that.

I am also looking really hard at the Air 3. I like the extra stability, battery life, higher speeds it offers. It has most of the same features, and an additional camera. I am a big boy with years of walking on my feet, so the weight difference is negligible to me. Price difference would not be a real issue in this case. I am not worried about registering the Air 3, it is like $5 for 3 years. I hold a few NFA stamps, LTC license, and I am veteran so the government already knows who I am. Another registration is not an issue for me.

I would like to create a side hustle with the drone. I find myself wondering if the Air 3 would be better for any kind of business/drone job I can think to create or get into. Yes, I have full intention of passing the part 107.

Would an Air 3 be better for the real estate and maybe insurance work, if I can get into that? Also what kind of drone jobs are around Houston? What experiences have y’all had.

Finally, I have no photography background, and probably no computer good enough to edit photographs or videos.
What are your thoughts? What have I missed? You guys have already gone down this road. Any guidance you can give would be appreciated and definitely considered.

My advice is to start with a Mini 2 or 3 and learn how to fly, practice your photography and editing. Check out Ted Nemeth's YouTube Channel, he has shot amazing video and stills using his Mini 2 and Mini 3 Pro with simple editing techniques. It has taken me a couple of years to figure this all out, before I upgraded to the Mini 4 Pro. Learn it, then decide the best drone for your needs, and the quality of PC you will want for the editing.

I am also in TX and there is a lot of wind, so at some point a larger drone could help. However, the mini series really do a good job and have less restrictions...
 
Check out Ted Nemeth's YouTube Channel
Also check out Stewart & Alina:


They are hung up on getting shots and telling stories, not on equipment. Well worth watching.
 
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I am about to buy my 1st drone. Yes, DJI care refresh will be on it. I will definitely get the fly more kit for the mini 4, probably same for the Air 3 as well. Absolutely getting the RC2 controller. I have already gotten my trust certificate, and downloaded B4ufly, and LAANC apps too. Finally, I’m probably going to get a 256 GB or 512GB SD card. What else should I be looking for? Besides a mentor or 2.

I am normally a sucker for the latest and greatest. In my eyes that would be the Mini 4 pro. I mainly intend to fly around, get my girls into flying, take some cool pics and videos of my family, and scenes on vacation. The mini 4 pro should be perfect/overkill for that.

I am also looking really hard at the Air 3. I like the extra stability, battery life, higher speeds it offers. It has most of the same features, and an additional camera. I am a big boy with years of walking on my feet, so the weight difference is negligible to me. Price difference would not be a real issue in this case. I am not worried about registering the Air 3, it is like $5 for 3 years. I hold a few NFA stamps, LTC license, and I am veteran so the government already knows who I am. Another registration is not an issue for me.

I would like to create a side hustle with the drone. I find myself wondering if the Air 3 would be better for any kind of business/drone job I can think to create or get into. Yes, I have full intention of passing the part 107.

Would an Air 3 be better for the real estate and maybe insurance work, if I can get into that? Also what kind of drone jobs are around Houston? What experiences have y’all had.

Finally, I have no photography background, and probably no computer good enough to edit photographs or videos.
What are your thoughts? What have I missed? You guys have already gone down this road. Any guidance you can give would be appreciated and definitely considered.
Whew! Where to even begin with this!

I am 85, and a long time photographer, familiar with editing images and video in Photoshop, Adobe Camera RAW,and Premiere. I am also a retired eye surgeon, having attended medical school, internships, residency, and fellowship. All throughout my career, I learned step by step. E.g.: medical school, internship, residency, fellowship, etc. I didn't just started doing complex eye surgeries right out of training, but after years of watching, and being tutored by fellow doctors. Same with photography.

My point being, you don't just buy an expensive drone and on day one start to reap the benefits. You need to first learn the basics of photography, and editing software.
Just buy a simple Mini 2, even a used one, Get comfortable with flying, and at the same time, learn the basics of photo editing with the $10.00 monthly Adobe photo plan. Watch a lot of You Tube videos on flying and photo editing. Then, after you feel comfortable with both flying and simple editing, should you dive into the hobby full bore. It goes without saying that you need a good computer also! As far as the side hustle, why not just go right into commercial drone work on day one while you are at it.

I am sure you will completely ignore all of this, but that will be at your peril. I foresee the drone sitting in the closet after a few months.

BTW- I expect to take a lot of flack for my comments, but you can just save them up for another day.

Dale
Miami
 
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