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DJI Mini 2 SE Camera Quality (With Pictures)

12 mins
Drone Blog
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Here we have it. One of the cheapest DJI drones, an entry-level approach that seems excellent for many people who want to get into this hobby.

Because the question is, why not? You’ll hardly find anything better around this price point in terms of performance and even image quality.

And DJI is widely known as one of the top drone companies in the world for creating high-quality and long-lasting drones; you’re off to a great start.

So far, so good, but the main reason anyone would want to buy a drone, including the DJI Mini 2 SE, is to photograph or film with it. So, how does this drone hold up in this area?

Let me take you on a journey through the Florida vibes with a series of photographs taken by one of our fellow writers and a professional photographer, Dan Bayne, with the DJI Mini 2 SE. 

DJI Mini 2 SE camera sensor #

The DJI Mini 2 SE comes with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS camera mounted on a 3-axis gimbal.

In terms of the sensor size, the Mini 2 SE’s sensor is equivalent to the one found in DJI FPV and the older version of this drone, the DJI Mini 2.

In this scenario, we can see an improved CMOS due to advancements in drone technology and camera quality, so, in real terms, the camera found in Mini 2 SE is better than the older one found in Mini 2.

But by today’s standards, 1/2.3-inch CMOS is too little for any kind of professional photography.

Don’t expect much of it. If you’re aiming for a professional-level camera, look for no less than a drone with 1/1.3-inch CMOS but preferably 1-inch or the Mavic 3 Pro‘s Hasselblad 4/3-inch.

Note: A 1-inch sensor is more than four times bigger than a 1/2.3-inch one.

To understand it better, a sensor size will directly contribute to how much light the sensor can register in a short period of time, which directly impacts the dynamic range and quality of the image (difference between the highlights and the shadows)

With larger sensors, we get more natural images, clearer and with much better dynamic range, so even photographing in daylight, the shadows won’t be too dark, and the brights won’t overexpose the entire image.

But what we get with the DJI Mini 2 SE is a bit low. That’s what we have with an entry-level drone, and yet, it’s not that bad if you just want to get into the hobby, especially in photography.

You’ll simply have to be aware that the Mini 2 SE’s sensor will fall behind if you’re aiming for low-light photography.

In terms of pixel density, this camera sensor has 12 million. In short terms, it can photograph at a resolution of 12 Megapixels, which is below today’s standards, but not too far. 

In reality, if we publish photographs on social media or take some vacation photos, 12 Megapixels is more than enough.

Let’s have a look at all the specs behind the DJI Mini 2 SE camera and its true quality. 

SpecsDJI Mini 2 SE CameraSensor Size1/2.3-inch CMOSEffective Pixels12 Million (12MP)Aperturef/2.8Field of View83 degreesISO Range100-3200 for both photos and videosElectronic Shutter SpeedBetween 4 sec and 1/8000Image Size4000×3000Photo FormatJPEG & RAWVideo ResolutionMax 2.7k at 30 fps or FHD at 60 fpsMax Video Bitrate40 MbpsVideo Color ModeNormalGimbal3-axis

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

DJI Mini 2 SE for photography #

Strictly in terms of photography, the DJI Mini 2 SE is decent. In fact, it is more than decent for everyday types of photography, but if you’re aiming toward professional captures, it falls short.

The camera aperture of f2/8 is average for most drones on the market. However, with a larger aperture, we would be able to take better low-light and night photographs, including long-exposure images.

Same with a larger sensor.

But you’ll see that the DJI Mini 2 SE can’t do much of that. 

On the other side, we have an upper limit of ISO to 3200. The ISO is the camera sensor’s sensitivity to light, where the image sensor increases its sensitivity in order to expose the image properly in low-light scenarios at the cost of inducing image noise. 

Still, this will directly contribute to the quality of low-light photographs.

What we have as an advantage with the DJI Mini 2 SE is that it can photograph in RAW.

This means that you’ll be able to post-process your images further in programs like Lightroom to adjust the shadows and highlights, exposure, colors, temperature, and much more. 

**Behind every great photograph, there’s a lot of post-processing to improve the quality of the image. **

As a disclaimer, all the images you see here are post-processed, so the sky’s the limit. And that’s normal. But if you’re looking to see what kind of image quality you can take with the DJI Mini 2 SE directly without editing (still RAW version), here we have two images to compare. 

Not so spectacular, right? That’s fine because even if you capture photographs with a professional DSLR camera or high-end drone, the images will still suffer a bit unless improved via post-processing methods.

But now let’s see how this drone does at different times of the day.

**» MORE: **Is the DJI Mini 2 SE Worth It?

Daylight photography #

This is where the DJI Mini 2 SE shines the most, with images taken in full daylight.

  • Your ISO does not have to increase its value to compensate for light to expose the image properly, so the images will be at their peak quality.
  • The camera’s aperture (lens opening) is perfect for photographing in daylight and does not have any negative impact on it.
  • The white balance does a great job of providing the correct ambient colors in full sunny daylight.
  • Shutter speed is also within range, so there is no fuss around here. 

All these conditions are met to capture the best photographs you can do with this drone. 

Although many other drones would be better at photography than the Mini 2 SE, for this price, it does excel, especially when we compare it with the Holy Stone HS720E or any other similar drones.

Your best camera settings for good images in daylight would be as follows:

  • ISO: Locked at 100
  • White Balance: Auto or 5600K
  • Shutter Speed: Auto

**» MORE: **Drone Photography Planning (Explained for Beginners)

Low-light photography #

The DJI Mini 2 SE’s image quality falls behind drones with larger sensors.

This is where the Mini 2 SE camera starts not to shine, but it still can do okay.

Let’s have a look at the above image comparison taken during the morning, with both the edited and non-edited versions. 

For such images to look better, you must apply some post-processing to increase shadows and maybe adjust the color temperature, reduce the image noise, and possibly increase the sharpening a bit.

Without some adjustments, especially if you want to photograph the sunrise, there will be too much of a difference between the highlights and shadows.

If photographing in full sun at sunrise, the ISO will be lower. But if not, you’ll probably have to increase it to be correctly exposed (if not on auto mode)

In this scenario, to take the best low-light images, whether sunrise, sunset, or an overcast afternoon (or even to a storm), we’ll have to manually focus on locking the ISO at a specific value.

That is only if we cannot take any photos with the ISO100 without relying on a long-exposure process.

So, here are some settings I recommend:

  • ISO: Lock it between 100 and 400, but if needed, go up to 800.
  • Shutter Speed: Leave it to auto
  • White Balance: 3500K to 4500K for sunrise or 5600K for an overcast day. Or leave it on auto and further adjust it in post-process.

**» MORE: **Drone Photography: Beginner’s Guide to Getting Started

Night photography #

The DJI Mini 2 SE is not meant for night photography.

The image sensor is simply too small to capture any night photographs. In this case, the ISO will have to be pushed to its upper limits, and a lot of image noise will be introduced in the pictures.

Not to mention, the ISO max value is very low compared to other drone cameras.

At the same time, the Mini 2 SE camera will attempt to compensate with longer exposures to get enough light to the camera sensor for better-exposed images. But with drones, we don’t have much of that.

With the Mini 2 SE, we can expose the image for a maximum of 4 seconds.

The DJI Mini 2 SE will not do bad if you’re trying to photograph an illuminated downtown or areas at night with a lot of artificial light. But it doesn’t do an excellent job either.

You’ll also have to remember the drone laws of capturing night photographs with a drone and flying the DJI Mini 2 SE at night.

Therefore, the Mini 2 SE is NOT my recommendation for night photography.

**» MORE: **Best Drones for Night Time Use (Photography & Video)

Recording videos with DJI Mini 2 SE #

With recording videos, we will take advantage of the same camera specs as with photography.

The Mini 2 SE sensor size will have the most impact on video quality, and, as with daylight, low-light, or night photography, filming will be mostly the same but will suffer a lot more.

Before that, we must remember that the DJI Mini 2 SE can film only in 2.7k at 30 frames per second or FHD at 60 fps. 

When filming at 30 fps, more light will come into the camera sensor, which is perfect when you’re recording in lower light conditions. But at 60 fps, you can do it only in full daylight without losing image quality, causing videos to be underexposed or causing too much image noise in the videos.

Professional videographers will always try to set the shutter speed to double the framerate for smooth and cinematic videos. That may require ND filters if you’re filming in full daylight.

So, for instance, if your DJI Mini 2 SE is set to film in 2.7k at 30 frames per second, the shutter speed has to be manually set at 1/60sec and the ISO to the value where you get a properly exposed video.

If the video is overexposed even at ISO 100, then you need an ND filter or to drop the resolution to FHD at 60fps and set the shutter speed at 1/120fps.

These are some settings if you’re aiming to get the best videos you can from the Mini 2 SE camera.

But auto mode is always acceptable for an average drone pilot just wanting to take a few photographs or videos of traveling or in nature. 

However, you still have to remember that the DJI Mini 2 SE’s small sensor size does have a huge negative impact on both photographing and filming in low-light scenarios.

One more mention. The DJI Mini 2 SE does NOT benefit from D-Cinelike or similar flat profiles, so you can’t do much video editing in post-process software. It only has the normal color mode.

But it does benefit from the fantastic 3-axis mechanical gimbal that is commonly found across (almost) all DJI drones. This means your video will be extremely smooth even if recorded in high-wind conditions.

**» MORE: **3 Tips to Market Your Business With Drone Photography and Videography

Edited vs. non-edited Mini 2 SE images #

In photography, to get the best images we can with any drone, not only the DJI Mini 2 SE, we have to edit them.

But in order to do that, you have to set your Mini 2 SE to capture photographs in RAW format. This way, the images are not processed, and you’re freely able to do it yourself.

However, if you’re not aiming for any semi-professional level images, then shooting in JPEG is good enough. 

But once you photograph in JPEG, your images will already be processed with information, so improving such photos is complex and with limited results.

It’s no surprise we edit all the images we take not only with this drone but also with any DSLR camera. That’s what photographers do, and most people do, to get decent results.

So, images captured with your DJI Mini 2 SE without editing are okay, especially if you shoot in full daylight. 

But because we have this option to shoot in RAW, we should always aim to edit these types of photographs to get the best results we can out of this small sensor drone.

**» MORE: **How to Edit Drone Photos for Social Media Using Lightroom (Guide)

Is this drone good enough to start learning drone photography? #

To start learning aerial photography? Absolutely yes. For any type of professional photography? No.

We all took the first step into aerial photography, and as a photographer, I do recommend using this drone for multiple reasons.

When I started my journey in aerial photography, I did it with the DJI Mavic Air. Then I got my Mavic 2, and the journey continued. 

The Mavic Air image quality was way below that of this drone. It’s an ancient drone with an old camera and technology. So, as per today’s standards, the Mini 2 SE does better.

You don’t need a fancy drone to start learning drone photography. 

In fact, the DJI Mini 2 SE would be ideal, and here’s why.

It’s cheap, small and portable. It weighs less than 250 grams, so it will benefit from relaxed drone laws. Fewer headaches for beginners in that area. 

Moreover, you may be able to fly the Mini 2 SE in places where you legally cannot with other drones.

That will open new opportunities to take all types of aerial shots, from nature to cityscapes and landscapes, and where the imagination can take you.

Get this drone. Capture a few thousand aerial images, and after you have advanced enough in this niche, you can upgrade to a more professional type of drone.

  • What Is Drone Photography? (Explained for Beginners)
  • How to Improve Your Drone Photography

What type of photography can you take with DJI Mini 2 SE? #

There are no limits to how you can use this drone in the photography arena. Actually, there are a few limits, so what do I know?

If you’re looking for a specific area in photography and even video taking, as coming from a professional photographer, here’s how we can classify this drone’s camera capabilities with different scenarios.

  • ✅ Landscape: Good
  • ✅ Overcast Landscape: Average
  • ✅ Cityscape: Good
  • ✅ Morning Photographs: Average
  • ❌ Night Photographs: Inadequate
  • ✅ Real Estate Photography: Good
  • ✅ Selfie & Family Photos: Good
  • ✅ Travel Photography: Good
  • ❌ Fireworks: Below average
  • ❌ Night Cityscapes: Below average
  • ❌ Wildlife Photography: Inadequate
  • ❌ Mapping: Inadequate

Keep in mind that this classification can depend on many factors, such as the current lighting conditions, wind speed, location, and other aspects.

All these images can be further improved if captured in RAW and post-processed. So, the sky’s the limit.

**» MORE: **Best Drones for Wildlife Photography


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