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DJI Air 3 vs. Avata (Here’s My Choice)

16 mins
Drone Blog
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DJI is constantly releasing different drone models every year, each replacing a previous model or providing a new way to view the world from a bird’s eye view.

Two models have come up in discussions of people looking for their first drone or upgrading from an older version: the DJI Air 3 and the DJI Avata.

They represent two different worlds of drones: one of the slow-paced cinematic drone videos and another of fast-paced aerial shots in tight spaces and being able to do maneuvers that aren’t possible with a regular camera drone.

However, while it does seem like comparing apples and oranges, it’s possible to be torn between the two depending on the type of footage you want to create.

Keep reading to learn more about these two drones and why I prefer the DJI Air 3.

DJI Air 3 Overview #

The DJi Air 3 is one of the latest releases from DJI and the latest addition to the Air series, a very reliable consumer drone series, mainly for aerial photography and videography.

It improves on various aspects compared to its predecessors and also introduces new features:

  • Two cameras, each with a different aperture, allowing more room for creativity.
  • Stable and extended flight time, enough for a wide range of activities.
  • Safety features that make it accessible to beginners and more experienced users alike.
  • New OcuSync 4 transmission technology offers a more extended range and improved transmission between the drone and the controller.
  • D-Log M and HLG give more room for post-processing.

**» MORE: **DJI Air 3 Review – Is This the Drone for You?

DJI Avata Overview #

The DJI Avata is DJI’s version of a Cinewhoop, a type of FPV drone that is smaller, slightly slower, and more appealing to beginners than the more advanced FPV drones.

Below are some features that set it apart from other Cinewhoops in the market.

  • Longer flight time, giving you enough time for filming compared to standard Cinewhoops.
  • DJI O3 system for stable live transmission.
  • Two methods of control, making it accessible to even beginning users.
  • Easier to use than most FPV drones.
  • Good enough footage quality for professional use.
  • Ability to add a third-party camera for better footage.
  • Image stabilization capabilities for smoother footage despite the vibrations that come with a fast drone.

**» MORE: **DJI Avata – Hands-on Review (From an FPV Beginner)

Quick Verdict #

Having used drones for aerial photography and videography for a while, I find that if you are looking for the perfect combination for versatility, the DJI Air 3 takes a decisive lead.

Boasting a dual-camera setup, exceptional obstacle avoidance capabilities, and an extended battery life, it is a solid investment for seasoned enthusiasts and aspiring creators.

The DJI Avata allows you to take specific shots and is not ideal for still photography, so if you want to pick one drone that can do more, the DJI Air 3 would be the better choice.

However, if you have the budget, you can get both the DJI Air 3 and the DJI Avata.

Combining shots from a camera drone and an FPV drone has proven to provide some excellent footage and could set you apart from anyone using only one type of footage.

**» MORE: **DJI Avata vs. Cinebot 30 (Here’s My Choice)

What are the differences? #

The main difference between these drones stems from the purposes they are made for. The DJI Air 3 is superior in most aspects thanks to the following features:

  • A dual camera system that allows you to film from different perspectives.
  • A larger sensor allows you to take better-looking footage and performs better in low-light conditions.
  • Safety features like FlySafe and AirSense ensure a stable and safe flight.
  • Incredibly long flight time, longer than most consumer drones we have seen from DJI.
  • More color profiles, allowing you more room for color grading.
  • It’s heavier and sturdier in strong winds.
  • A wide range of intelligent flight modes such as Mastershots, Quickshots, ActiveTrack, Cruise Control, and more make creating cinematic footage easier.
  • A vertical shooting mode that makes it easier to shoot social media content.

**» MORE: **DJI Air 3 vs. Mini 3 Pro (Here’s My Choice)

DJI Air 3 #

As mentioned, the DJI Air 3 is a new addition to the Air series.

It is an improvement to the DJI Air 2S, which I have used extensively, improving on some of the features lacking in previous drones, though they did limit some features compared to the Air 2S.

For instance, they included a smaller sensor but made it a dual-camera system. They also eliminated the ability to shoot in 5.4K.

Some notable improvements include flight time, obstacle avoidance, improved sensor design, zooming capabilities, and more shooting modes.

Editor’s Choice

DJI Avata #

The DJI Avata is DJI’s second FPV drone. It was released after the DJI FPV drone, which is great for some people but quite complicated to fly, especially for beginners.

It’s also larger and generally not safe to fly close to people or property due to the propeller design.

The DJI Avata provides a safer entry into FPV while offering people a better way to take FPV shots.

It may not be as fast as the DJI FPV drone, but it makes its mark as a Cinewhoop drone that takes you through the journey from a beginner to an experienced pilot.

If you want to join the world of FPV but are uncomfortable building your own quad, the DJI Avata presents a good option.

Head-to-Head Comparison #

Photo and Video Recording #

Winner: DJI Air 3

The DJI Air wins in several aspects regarding recording photos and videos. Below are more details of why.

Sensor size #

While sensor design keeps improving, I still believe the larger the sensor you can get, the better footage you can get from your camera.

The DJI Air 3 has a 1/1.3 sensor, while the DJI Avata features a 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor.

As highlighted a few times, a larger sensor gives more dynamic range, performs better in low light, and gives you better footage overall.

While the DJI Air 3 and the DJI Avata can shoot at 4K at 60 fps and take 12MP still photos, you can expect high-quality footage with the DJI Air 3.

The DJI Air 3 also can take 48MP photos, but these aren’t true 48MP photos. Instead, it’s a 12MP image enhanced to 48MP through QuadBayer technology.

The quality of the 48MP image varies, but it’s a great option to have.

**» MORE: **Camera Technology in Drones (Explained)

Color profiles #

The DJI Avata comes with Normal and D-Cinelike shooting options. D-Cinelike provides a broader range of colors compared to Normal, but not as wide as you get from D-Log M and HLG, both of which are built into the DJI Air 3.

There’s a flatter profile known as D-Log, found in more advanced drones, which gives you even more room for post-processing, but it’s much more complicated to use.

D-Log M strikes a good balance by offering more room than D-Cinelike while being accessible to beginners.

Two cameras #

DJI surprised us with the dual camera system, and it was a pleasant surprise since it brings you closer to what you would experience with a more advanced drone like the DJI Mavic 3 Pro.

These cameras include a 24MM F1.7 wide-angle sensor and a 70MM F2.8 tele camera.

This allows users to effortlessly switch between capturing expansive landscapes with the wide-angle lens and zooming in for detailed shots with the telephoto lens.

Having two cameras enables smoother transitions between different shots and perspectives during filming.

This dynamic capability is particularly valuable for cinematographers and content creators, as it adds a cinematic touch to aerial videos.

However, the DJI Avata is not that far off regarding cameras. While it comes with one camera, it’s possible to mount an action camera of your choice, elevating the footage you can get from it, like you would with any other Cinewhoop drone.

A GoPro would be my favorite choice, but a DJI Action camera or an Insta360 works too. When you add a GoPro camera like the Hero 11, the landscape changes.

You get an option to take 5.3K videos, 27 MP still photos, a larger sensor, and even better footage stabilization than the one on the DJI Avata, and when you’re not using it on your drone, you can use it as a handheld camera.

The only issue with this setup is that you can’t access the camera settings remotely like you would with the DJI Air 3. This would really limit you when shooting in areas with different lighting conditions.

Getting an extra camera also adds to the cost, and this would not be an ideal option.

**» MORE: **Best Camera Settings for DJI Air 3 (Photo & Video)

Shooting Modes #

Winner: DJI Air 3

One benefit the DJI Air 3 and other camera drones have is automated flight. And since DJI has been improving its modes for a while, the DJI Air 3 currently features the latest versions.

Below are more details on the various flight modes and how they work.

  • ActiveTrack 5.0 – This recent version of ActiveTrack allows the user to track the subject from different directions and switch between these directions when flying. It works great when creating Follow Me footage of people participating in various activities, boats, and vehicles. You can use this feature to follow yourself or to speed up filming a subject in various scenarios.
  • Cruise Control – This feature allows the drone to keep flying autonomously at a continuous speed. You can use it to fly to a specific point or to maintain a specific speed when filming. This feature was previously only available in drones like the Mavic 3 series.
  • Night mode – This feature is designed to automatically enhance night shooting to produce better nighttime footage. Not only do you get a larger sensor, but night filming is even easier with this feature. With the DJI Avata, you don’t have much wiggle room with its built-in camera, but with a camera like the GoPro Hero 11, you can access a much larger sensor and some night effects. But this is not the same as having these features built into the drone.
  • Waypoints – Originally mainly found in high-end drones, DJI now includes the Waypoints feature in more affordable drones. This feature allows you to pre-program the drone’s flight, which would be helpful when executing very complex maneuvers, when you need to film yourself or the subject more autonomously as you handle the camera, or when building a time-lapse.
  • QuickShots and Mastershots – QuickShots is a feature that allows you to execute pre-programmed flight patterns such as Dronie, Helix, Circle Orbit, etc., while Mastershots combines them into one clip that you can easily edit within the DJI Fly App and post on social media.
  • Vertical shooting – First introduced in the DJI Mini 3 Pro, this feature allows you to create portrait footage from the drone. However, this feature doesn’t work like in the Mini 3 Pro, where the camera changes its orientation. Instead, the drone’s camera automatically crops into the footage to give you a lower resolution (2.7K instead of 4K) portrait footage that you can directly post on social media. This shouldn’t be a deal breaker since you can do that with footage from any other drone, but content creators will find this extremely useful, especially when creating content on the go.

On the other hand, the DJI Avata is more of a hands-on drone.

While it lacks automated flight modes, it is pretty agile, allowing you to accomplish most of these maneuvers manually, and even more, such as dive bombing and going through windows and other tight spaces like in this video, but this will depend on your flying skills.

» MORE: Does DJI RC Pro Work with Air 3 (Answered)

Ease of Use #

Winner: DJI Air 3

Now, if we were comparing two camera drones, we wouldn’t have to talk about how easy or complicated it is to control them since they all fly the same way. But the DJI Avata and the DJI Air 3 are two different drones.

The DJI Air 3 is a camera or GPS drone, so it comes with features like visual sensors, GPS stabilization, altitude hold, and obstacle avoidance that make it easy to fly.

Even if you have never flown a drone before, you can quickly get the DJI Air 3 out of the box and fly it comfortably within a few hours.

The DJI Avata, on the other hand, is Cinewhoop, a type of FPV drone. These drones don’t have the luxuries of self-stabilization, and the drone pilot often has to keep applying tiny inputs to keep the drone in the air. This makes it even harder to fly.

You can’t just pick up a Cinewhoop drone and start flying. You have to spend several hours on a simulator to get the hang of it before you can try the real thing.

I have been playing around with the Velocidrone simulator with the Radiomaster Pocket controller, and it took me 20 hours to finally get the hang of it and start flying without crashing. Some people take longer or shorter than that.

Now, DJI has made the DJI Avata relatively easy to use by adding sensors and allowing the DJI Avata to hover without much input from the user.

However, to fully unleash its power as a Cinewhoop, you have to switch to Manual mode, which is much harder to use and will need lots of practice on a simulator and with an actual drone.

**» MORE: **How to Fly a Drone: Ultimate Beginner Guide (with Drawings)

Controllers #

Winner: DJI Air 3

Since these are two different drones, their controllers have a different feel respective to what they are designed for.

The DJI Air 3 comes with two types of controllers: the DJI RC-N2, where you need to connect your smartphone, and the DJI RC 2, which comes with an inbuilt screen.

Both controllers are comfortable to use, so it all comes down to whether you are okay with using your smartphone or would like the convenience of having a dedicated device to control your drone.

The DJI Avata comes with the standard FPV controller, the FPV Remote Controller 2, an improvement from the original DJI FPV controller.

It’s small, light, and perfectly fits in your hands, allowing you to hold the sticks as you wish when controlling the drone.

DJI also introduced a Motion Controller, which allows you to control the drone with wrist movements. This makes controlling the drone much easier compared to the regular controllers.

One interesting thing about flying an FPV drone is using the goggles, which give you a view similar to if you were in a plane’s cockpit.

Coupled with the high speeds, flying using goggles gives you a thrilling experience you couldn’t get with a regular camera drone.

However, DJI has been making camera drones compatible with their goggles and motion controllers, and recently, they even made the DJI Air 3 compatible with their newest goggles, the Goggles 2 and Goggles Integra.

This allows you to see what the DJI Air 3 sees and access features like head tracking, which allows you to control the drone with head movements. If having that cockpit view is something you want, you don’t have to trade the DJI Air 3 for the Avata.

**» MORE: **How to Fly DJI Air 3 Drone (With DJI RC 2)

Flight time #

Winner: DJI Air 3

The DJI Air 3 is currently at the peak of DJI’s technology as far as drone batteries for consumer drones go.

With more than 40 minutes of flight time, you have enough time to film all the shots you need. And if you have at least three batteries, you will have more than enough flight time even when flying in moderately strong winds.

On the other hand, drones like the DJI Avata are designed to be light to achieve top speeds. As a result, DJI had to compromise on a few features, and one of the victims was the battery.

The DJI Avata comes with a 35.71 Wh battery that promises a flight time of up to 18 minutes, but you will often get 10 to 15 minutes in actual flying.

This may be long for a drone of its type, but it’s quite limited compared to a drone like the DJI Air 3. You will need several batteries if you are involved in a long shoot, which adds to the overall cost of the drone.

**» MORE: **Flight Time of All DJI Drones (Explained)

Weight and Design #

Winner: Depends

Again, these drones are designed for different types of shots, so whichever you choose based on weight has to align with the type of footage you are looking for.

The DJI Air 3 features a foldable design that makes it easy to store and travel with. This design helps keep the propellers and arms safe when moving around.

By comparison, instead of a foldable design, the DJI Avata comes in a compact design, with the propellers enclosed in propeller guards.

This design also helps keep the propellers safe and helps prevent injuries or damage to property in the case of a crash.

You will also realize everything else is in a small compartment, with the battery visible and not enclosed. This simple design helps eliminate any extra weight, contributing to the drone’s agility while minimizing impact in case of a crash.

When it comes to weight, the DJI Air 3 is quite heavy, weighing 720 grams, but this weight can be attributed to the various advanced features it has.

The DJI Avata, on the other hand, is much lighter, weighing 410 grams, which is just right for the flying it is built for.

Thanks to the weight, the DJI Air 3 will hold up better in strong winds than the DJI Avata. Drones like the Avata are also known to wobble around in the wind, making them much more challenging to control

**» MORE: **Traveling With a Drone (Is It Worth It?)

Range #

Winner: DJI Air 3

The DJI Air 3 still wins in this aspect thanks to being a recent release since it features DJI’s latest OcuSync system, the OcuSync 4, which promises a range of up to 12 miles.

This new system comes with upgraded controllers, improved CPU performance, and better performance in areas with a lot of interference.

The DJI Avata comes with the OcuSync 3+, the O4 system’s predecessor, and one that is still quite reliable. In optimum conditions, you can get a range of up to 4 miles, but in areas with obstacles, you can expect 1 to 2 miles.

When flying indoors, in abandoned buildings, or tracking a subject in areas with stones, mountains, and trees, expect the communication between the drone and the controller to break up a few times.

For a Cinewhoop, the range of the DJI Avata is impressive compared to some models on the market. However, you can’t extend it like in other Cinewhoop or FPV drones.

The good thing is that DJI didn’t eliminate all safety features. If your Avata loses connection, you can set it to return to home, and you will not have to lose your drone.

**» MORE: **Long Range Drones: Ultimate Guide

Conclusion #

The DJI Air 3 is a pinnacle of versatility, equipped with a dual-camera system, advanced safety features, and an impressive 46-minute flight time.

Whether you’re an enthusiast or a content creator, its comprehensive capabilities make it a solid investment.

On the other hand, the DJI Avata caters to the FPV niche, excelling in dynamic cinematic maneuvers.

Boasting agility, image stabilization, and the option to integrate third-party cameras, it provides a unique avenue for creative exploration.

For an all-encompassing drone experience suitable for enthusiasts and creators, the DJI Air 3 takes the lead. Its dual-camera system and extended flight time make it a reliable choice.

However, if delving into the thrilling world of FPV cinematography is on your agenda, consider the Avata as a complementary tool to enrich your creative toolkit, offering a seamless blend of versatility and dynamic maneuverability.

**» MORE: **Autel EVO 2 Pro vs. DJI Air 3 (Which One Is Better?)


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