DJI Mini 3 Pro is the latest addition to the list of sub 250g drones that won’t need registration before flying.
Compared to the flagship Mavic line, the Mini series compromise on some features to make the drone weigh less. One of these features is the Follow Me mode.
The DJI Mini 3 Pro does not have a Follow Me mode that uses the GPS to get a fix on your location and follow you around. It however has an ActiveTrack mode which pretty much does the same.
In this article, I am going to explain why the Mini 3 Pro lacks the Follow Me mode and how you can use ActiveTrack to get the same results.
Make sure you read till the end for a few handy tips.
Does the DJI Mini 3 Pro has Follow Me mode?
Follow Me is an advanced feature found in high-end DJI drones. It uses the controller’s GPS to get a fix on your location and follow it around.
The Mini 3 Pro does not have Follow Me feature so you can’t use it. Although all the hardware requirements are there, DJI decided not to implement this feature for reasons unknown.
Instead, The Mini 3 Pro has an ActiveTrack feature that works similar to the Follow Me. It uses the camera and image recognition feature to get a fix on a target (you or your car) and follows it around.
Although both features work differently, the end results are pretty much the same.
So if you are hinging your buying decision on the Follow Me feature, you can go ahead and get your Mini 3 Pro. The ActiveTrack feature won’t disappoint you.
DJI Mini 3 Pro ActiveTrack feature
The ActiveTrack feature on DJI Mini 3 Pro is the latest addition to the Mini series of drones.
The predecessors Mini 2 don’t have any Follow Me or ActiveTrack mode. So, this is quite an upgrade.
Follow Me and ActiveTrack was the most requested feature in the Mini series and DJI finally listened and implemented the ActiveTrack in the new Mini 3 Pro.
With the ActiveTrack feature, you can select any moving object on your camera frame and lock it. The drone camera will get a fix on that object and follow it around.
It uses the 3-directional obstacle avoidance sensors and DJI’s Advanced Pilot Assistance System (APAS) to follow a clear path and avoid any collision.
In most use cases, the pilot set the drone at a specific altitude and distance and rides a bike, gets in a car, or just walks around and the drone follows him using AI image recognition.
Is ActiveTrack as accurate as Follow Me?
For normal use, I would say that ActiveTrack is as accurate as the Follow Me feature. In fact, in some cases, I would prefer ActiveTrack over Follow Me.
While using ActiveTrack, you are consistently inside the camera frame which makes for great aerial video shots. Creators really love these aerial takes.
However, the ActiveTrack has certain limitations that make it less favorable in certain situations.
While using ActiveTrack, if you disappear from the camera view (for example, you go behind trees), the ActiveTrack stops as it can’t see you. The drone will just hover in place.
Also, if you speed up much, the drone will lag behind and will lose you. Since it tracks you by constantly looking at you, if you go too far, it won’t be able to see you.
Below is a great video by Billy Kyle that demonstrate the capabilities of DJI Mini 3 Pro ActiveTrack.
Difference between ActiveTrack & Follow Me
For ordinary users, the ActiveTrack is as good as the Follow Me. But if you came to Mini 3 from a Mavic series drone that had a Follow Me mode, you will see some differences.
Here are the pros & cons of both modes:
( + ) While the drone follows you, you can turn the camera towards any other point of interest. The object does not necessarily have to be in the camera frame at all times.
( + ) Even if the drone momentarily loses you, it will restart following when the GPS location resumes. You can enter a tunnel and come out of the other side and the drone will still be following you.
( + ) The drone can follow you from a high altitude since it only needs your GPS location and no visuals are required.
( + ) Follow Me mode is not very processor-intensive compared to ActiveTrack so consumes less battery.
( – ) You have to carry your controller with you for the Follow Me mode. This is inconvenient in situations like when you are skiing.
( – ) If the drone gains altitude for some reason (to avoid obstacles etc), you will lose the camera frame and you will have to manually adjust the gimble.
( + ) With ActiveTrack, the gimble is actively focused on the point of interest (you) and makes great aerial shots.
( + ) You can leave the controller and your phone behind. This is useful while cycling or skiing.
( + ) While in ActiveTrack, Mini 3 Pro avoids obstacles using its 3-directional sensors. You can fly without worrying about a collision.
( – ) If you move too fast, the drone will lose its fix and hover in place.
( – ) The ActiveTrack will stop if you switch from video to picture.
( – ) ActiveTrack doesn’t work great in low light conditions or if you are camouflaged with the environment (say wearing a matching green tracksuit in a grassy field)
Mini 3 Pro Follow Me/ActiveTrack – Final Thoughts
DJI Mini 3 Pro is a great drone. With the new version, DJI included one of the most requested features in the Mini series i-e the ability to track moving objects on autopilot.
Although the high-end Mavic series has two modes to track moving objects i-e the Follow Me & ActiveTrack, the Mini 3 Pro only has ActiveTrack.
ActiveTrack is as good as the Follow Me with some pros & cons as discussed above.
If your decision to buy the Mini 3 Pro hinges on its ability to follow you around, you are good to go. You can do that using its newly added ActiveTrack feature.
All in all, the Mini 3 Pro is a great choice and a handy drone under the 250g weight limit.