DJI Osmo Action Review

For years, GoPro has totally owned the premium action camera market. And while there have been several attempts by mainstream camera makers to break the market, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Ricoh Pentax, and Sony have all launched their own action cams, none have broken the domination of GoPro. With its Osmo Action, which has some persuasive features not seen on the GoPro Hero7 Black, including conveniently changeable lens filters and a full-color front monitor, DJI is aiming to adjust that. Its 4K characteristics are on par with the Hero7, but the video stabilization of DJI is not as fine, but the GoPro remains the action camera of our Editors’ Choosing, but the Osmo Action is a great performer in its own right.

DJI Osmo Action: Price

DJI Osmo Action: Features

The Action’s camera uses an ultra-wide-angle lens paired with a 12MP sensor. It competes with the Hero7 Black head-on with its 148-degree field-of-view and an f/2.8 aperture, and lasts that bit longer with its significantly larger 1300mAh battery.

At resolutions ranging from 720p to 4K, and at a 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratio, and up to 60fps, footage is filmed. Anything except the 4K, 4:3, 60fps configuration also supports RockSteady, the patented image stabilization technology of DJI.

The Activity also provides 8x slow motion recording, 12MP picture support, timelapse video and more with manual exposure control. The party trick of the camera has got to be the front screen. Enabled by double-tapping the key touch screen, this ensures that you can vlog to the content of your heart and get the framing right.

DJI Osmo Action: Design and Build

The Osmo Motion is a gadget which is very well put together. For a perfect in-hand experience, the waterproof metal frame is combined with grippy, textured rubberized sides. The buttons of The Action are often easy to push and have a satisfactory amount of click input, so even though you wear gloves, without any faffing, you can fire it up and start filming.

To unveil a water-sealed portion containing the USB-C port and a microSD card slot, slip down the flap to the left of the action. A battery part is at the base, the camera on the front, which is followed by a thin, square 1.4-in monitor. It’s all screen around the rear, with a 16:9, 2.4in LCD panel, with a pixel density over 300PPI – good and clear.

With one housing and an adhesive mount, the Osmo Action ships, so you can quickly stick it to a motorcycle, helmet or something else you can tack it on out of the case, but if you want to get video, you’ll have to pick up a microSD card separately.

DJI Osmo Action: Performance

The DJI Osmo Activity impresses on most fronts when it comes to video quality, although its forte is surely vlogging. It tests all for faces by default, unlike the GoPro, through resolutions, and this makes them the focal point from an exposure point of view. It also creates more vivid skin tones and shades in general, so to get the most from it, you won’t need to edit the video.

4K video shot on the Osmo Action packs a decent amount of detail, and can be cropped in good light by around 20-40 percent for Full HD content in post-processing without breaking down too much. The dynamic range is fair, and as a result, we found ourselves completely ignoring the HDR mode – especially given the fact that it deactivates EIS. The low light display is grainy and blurry, somewhat similar in quality to that of the Hero7 Black, so pick up your handset when the lights drop.

The front touch screen is also extremely useful for self-shooters from an ergonomic point of view. The selfie screen ensures you can frame background elements, and with high brightness, outdoor exposure also impresses, considering the fact that the lens is super large – so you’re almost sure to get your face in the picture.

As for the main touch screen, it’s good and sensitive, and Action OS is as detailed as it needs to be for DJI’s touch gui. The addition on the right of the camera of a Fast Pick button also allows flipping between modes a doddle.

As for the electronic image stabilization of RockSteady, DJI, it is nothing short of gravity-defying, creating video that appears like it was taken on a gimbal. It also boosts the Hero7 from the camera, keeping things together a fraction more, but it’s worth remembering that RockSteady doesn’t come without an expense.

If triggered during high resolution shooting – 4K 4:3 – RockSteady EIS results in a pause of about half a second between real life and the viewfinder showing it. This is something that may be resolved for some use-cases with a software upgrade, which might not be negative. This shortcoming would delay any action video that includes following a moving target.

It is also worth noting that the Osmo Action does not help the GoPro accessories set provided by GoPros – for instance, the two do not share housing. That said, they support the same mounting system, so with the Osmo Action, some accessories that play well with the GoPro housing might fit well.

DJI Osmo Action: Specifications

Camera: 1/2.3-inch CMOS, 12MP effective
Lens: 145-degree field of view, f/2.8
Front LCD: 1.4-inch, 330ppi
Rear LCD: 2.2-inch touchscreen, 300ppi
Video: 4K (60, 50, 48, 30, 25, 24fps); 2.7K; Full HD and HD
Images: Raw (DNG) and JPEG
Battery: 1300mAh (charging time 88 mins)
Dimensions: 65 x 42 x 35mm
Weight: 134g

DJI Osmo Action: Conclusion

In terms of stabilization and image clarity, DJI has managed to create an action cam that stacks up to the very best out there. The Osmo Action is an ideal GoPro Hero7 Black option for vloggers and self-shooters, despite being the first in its line. Although content shot on GoPros is a little flatter, lending itself to editing – so it may well be favored by video specialists, the footage of the event is a little more ready for Instagram and available from a price point of view. It’s not ideal – at full resolution, there are live view latency problems and the experience of the app was nothing short of bad, but if you are looking for an action cam that can give you maximum bang for the buck, the Osmo Action delivers.


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