DJI Osmo Action Review
If you have ever paid attention to any tech news in the past couple of years, they chances are that you have most probably heard of a company called DJI. They became the household name of drones with the Phantom series. Well ever since then, they have also invaded the video market with different camera stabilizers and aerial video drones. It only makes sense that they would eventually release a physical camera as well. One that doesn’t require attaching to a device to work. That time has finally come with the new DJI Osmo Action camera! It’s been created to compete with the GoPro Hero7 Black and I’ll be soon comparing the two as well. But for now, you can read the review here.
- Dimensions: 65×42×35 mm / 2.5×1.6×1.4″
- Weight: 124 g / 4.4 oz
- Sensor: 1/2.3″ CMOS 12M
- Field of View: 145°
- Video resolutions: 4K 60fps; 2.7K 60fps; 1080p 240fps; 720p 240fps
- Bitrate: Up to 100 Mbps
- Photo: 12MP
- Modes: Single, Countdown, Timed, Burst, AEB, Slow Motion, HDR, Timelapse
- Features: WiFi, Bluetooth, 2.25″ LCD touchscreen, 1.4″ LCD screen, Electronic Image Stabilization
- Ports: USB-C, MicroSD card slot
- Memory: MicroSD with Class 10 and SDXC cards, up to 256GB
- Battery: 1300 mAh LiPo
- Battery life: 60 minutes of 4K at 60fps
In The Box
- DJI OSMO Action
- Camera frame
- Flat & curved adhesive mounts
- Quick-release base
- 1300 mAh LiPo battery
- Battery case
- Locking screw
- USB type A to USB-C cable
DJI has always been known for being able to understand the market and their clientele. The DJI OSMO Action is actually the first actual action camera that I have seen in years. And I’m not talking about the dimensions (65×42×35 mm / 2.5×1.6×1.4″) or anything as there are plenty of similar models in that size. What I mean is the actual design. It just looks strong and rugged. It’s literally what I imagine an action camera should look like. Something that I don’t need to worry about when I drop it. I mean look at it, everything about it screams durable.
Okay yes, the DJI OSMO Action is still made out of plastic, it has a bunch of screens and of course a lens. That said, the plastic does feel stronger much stronger than something you’d find on “social action cameras”. Not only stronger but thicker as well. And I’m guessing that it is actually thicker as this action camera does weigh quite a bit. 124 g / 4.4 oz to be exact. And if you compared that to 99% of other action cameras, then you’ll notice that it weighs almost twice as much as the average model. There’s no way that the actual hardware inside is that heavy.
Now I’m sure that DJI has tried out plenty of different camera shapes. I’m glad that they have chosen the standard rectangular design. Simply because it has a familiar button layout, which means that if you have used a GoPro before, then you can also use this. Without any need to open up an instruction manual. The top of the camera has two buttons, one for the shutter and one for power. The side has a compartment for the MicroSD slot and a USB-C port. Above the compartment, there’s a button called QS. And of course the two LCD screens. However, only the rear one is a touchscreen. The bottom side has only got a compartment for the battery. Unfortunately no tripod mount. But what’s impressive, is that there are two locks for the battery compartment! Finally an actual action camera for extreme sports.
The biggest strength of action cameras is their versatility. You can mount them almost anywhere you could ever dream of. That’s as long as you have all the necessary accessories of course. With the DJI OSMO Action, you get two adhesive mounts, a quick release base and a frame. The frame wraps around the camera so that you can attach it to the quick release base. Overall I’d say that the amount of included accessories is fine. It’s enough to get started. You probably noticed that they haven’t included a waterproof case. That’s because the cameras case is actually waterproof. You can take it down to the depth of 11 meters / 36 ft.
My only concern is the availability of other accessories and mounts. I mean take a look at GoPro and the wide selection of different harnesses and mounts for different situations. That’s really not the case with DJI. Not yet anyways. Their online store has a very limited selection of extras that you can buy. So make sure that they have what you need.
Video & Features
If there’s something that DJI has always been good at then that’s video quality. What they have done is use this experience to create the DJI OSMO Action. The action camera has the same sensor as they used on the Mavic Air. The only difference is that they have increased the frame rates at 4K resolution to 60 fps. And what’s more incredible, is that you can also use the Electronic Image Stabilization system while recording at 4K 60 FPS. For some reason they have renamed it to RockSteady though. I’m guessing it’s a marketing stunt as GoPro did the same thing with “HyperSmooth”.
But what’s also impressive is the ability to record 1080p resolution videos at up to 240 fps! You can use that to record some incredible slow-motion videos at a Full HD resolution. Not to mention plenty of other unique modes that will enable you to get creative. Remember I mentioned that QS button before? You can basically use that button to quickly select different recording modes and even create your own. That’s the most unique feature I have seen so far.
Here’s a raw example of the video quality. The footage was recorded at a 4K resolution at 30 fps. RockSteady was turned on and white balance was set to auto. What impressed me the most was the overall video quality. Action cameras have usually got a hard time handling environments with a lot of trees or grass. If you have looked at examples recorded with cheaper end cameras, then you have most probably noticed how the leaves blend together and create a huge area of blur. That’s not the case with the DJI OSMO Action. Every bit of detail is clear and sharp. Even with RockSteady switched on, the clarity remains.
If there’s something to criticize then its the audio. The thick rugged case makes it hard for the camera to capture audio at a good quality. So that’s something you should pay in mind. Also I have read about people saying that the stabilization system isn’t as good as on the GoPro. I can’t really give any opinion on that just yet as I haven’t placed them side by side yet. But judging from the camera alone, I’d say that RockSteady does a good enough job. The video remained smooth even while there was constant movement. Sure there’s a tiny bit of shakyness every now and then but that’s not a deal breaker for me.
So according to DJI, the OSMO Action includes both WiFi and Bluetooth. I have to say that I haven’t found any way to use the Bluetooth. Your phone won’t find it and there are no Bluetooth remote controllers for it. So I don’t really know what it’s for. Maybe DJI has some ideas for the future. But the WiFi definitely works. You can use it to pair the camera with your phone. All you need is a DJI Mimo app for that. It’s available on both iOS and Android systems.
Overall I’d say that the app is pretty straight forward. If you have used action cameras before then it will immediately feel familiar. You can use it to directly access past recordings, upload to social media, change all of the settings and basically use it as a remote to start recording from a distance. Now what it doesn’t have is Live Streaming. For some reason it doesn’t support that. And that’s surprising as IRL streaming is becoming insanely popular. Also there’s no GPS.
Overall the DJI OSMO Action is a solid action camera. It’s an actual competitor for GoPro and Sony. But does it destroy them? Absolutely not. While it’s a fantastic action camera. I wouldn’t say it’s better than Hero7 Black. I’d go as far and say that the video quality is pretty much the same. The main difference is in the stabilization system and features. I’ll cover more that when I compare the two but they do have different features. For example I’m extremely happy with the large front screen. It makes it easy to see live footage while you are talking into the camera and recording yourself.
But their app is definitely not as comfortable to use as GoPro. But that’s just a software issue that they can update anytime they want. Also the lack of accessories is also kind of a bummer for me. There is a solution for that as well though. You can take the frame and just mount it to a GoPro quick release base and you are good to go. Because let’s be honest, the durable waterproof body is something that makes the OSMO Action excellent for recording extreme sports.