DJI Osmo Action Review

$265.49 $350.99 SEE AT AMAZON

8.2 Total Score
EXCELLENT

The DJI Osmo Action is a fantastic little action camera that gives the GoPro Hero7 a serious run for its money and still manages to hold its own even with the arrival of the Hero8-Series, by delivering great image quality, lots of shooting modes and that selfie screen.

PROS
  • Rugged, waterproof build
  • Stabilized 4K footage at up to 60fps
  • 1080p slow-motion at up to 240fps
  • Supports HDR and flat profiles
CONS
  • Battery life could be better
  • HDR video isn't stabilized

With the DJI Osmo Action, GoPro now has a competitor in the premium action camera niche, that mainstream camera manufacturers – Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Rico, and Sony have all failed to crack. DJI is hoping to shatter the dominance with its Osmo Action, that for a less money, offers some compelling features not found in the GoPro HERO7 Black, such as replaceable filters and a full-color front display.

While the Osmo Action’s 4K features are on par with the Hero7, its video stabilization isn’t as fine-tuned, so the GoPro HERO7 Black remains our Editors’ Choice action camera at this price, but there’s the GoPro HERO10 Black that can be had for a little more money, and offers the best action camera experience around.

Still, the DJI Osmo Action remains affordable, and is a solid performer in its own right.

DJI Osmo Action Specs

  • 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

Design and Display

The Osmo Action certainly borrows design cues from the current GoPro Design, but that doesn’t mean it’s an absolute design. It’s only that action camera have to look like that. Measuring 1.7 by 2.6 by 1.4 inches (HWD), the Osmo Action adds a few inches over the HERO7 Black (1.8 by 2.6 by 1.4 inches), and is half-ounce heavier at 4.4 ounces.

It looks good with the two-tone gray color scheme. DJI species that the Osmo Action is waterproof without a case (rated up to 11 meters), which is a couple of feet deeper than the GoPro. It doesn’t include a tripod socket – not surprising, you never find that on action cameras – but the mounting cage is included. The cage works with GoPro mounts as well.

DJI Osmo Action front

The lens gets the typical ultra-wide viewing angle, which makes the camera especially useful for mounting – handy when you want to get a shot of yourself driving your motorcycle, for example, mounting the camera so it faces you is very practical, while at the same time getting a take of the landscape and the world around your frame.

As for the display, unlike many action cameras with front LCDs, DJ opted for a 1.4-inch front screen, with full-color but doesn’t support touch input. The rear display is a 16:9 wide-screen view that occupies almost the entire available space, minus a small bezel. It measures 2.25 inches diagonally, is super-bright at 750 nits, and has a finish that’s resistant to fingerprint smudges, and is responsive to touch.

Power and Interface

The interface depends on the screen – swipe down to access the icon-based menu, a right swipe to adjust exposure, and from the bottom to change resolution and frame rate settings, and from the left to switch playback mode.

There are physical buttons on the screen, too – including power and Record on the top, and the Quick Switch (QS) button on the left. A single tap of QS switches between the main modes – Video, HDR Video, Slow Motion, Time Lapse, and Photo—and a longer press swaps the view between the rear screen and front screen. A touch gesture, a two-finger double tap of the rear LCD, also swaps screens. Or, you can use voice commands and everything will run smoothly.

The DJI Osmo Action Camera powers up fast, with a single short press of the Power button. Also, you can also turn it on with a tap of Record – which powers on the camera and it starts recording, using the last mode you had set, automatically. 

DJI Osmo Action screen

Battery life depends on the video quality you’re recording – around 56 minutes of 4K footage at 60fps on a fully charge battery. When compared, the GoPro Hero7 Black manages 70 minutes with similar settings. However, the Osmo Action does a much better job when you drop the frame rates to 30fps – you get around 90 minutes of 4K recording.

Charging is done in-camera, via the USB-C port, located under a locking door on the left side of the camera. The door is removable, meaning you can provide power continuously, and the microSD memory card slot (supports up to 256GB) is in the same compartment.

The Osmo Action camera doesn’t have a microphone input built-in on the camera, but you can get a separate 3.5mm adapter to connect an external microphone via the USB-C port. Wi-Fi connectivity is supported, and it works with the DJI Mimo app, available for Android and iOS, it shows live feed from the lens and gives you full remote control of the camera.

Picture Quality

DJI has been making cameras similar to the Osmo Action for years, but most of them have been mounted on drones rather than in rugged, waterproof exposures. As such, the video quality of footage captured on the Osmo Action is both crisp and slick, taking on the GoPro Hero7 and Hero8 head-on.

Its image stabilization, called Rocksteady may not be as fine-tuned as the Hero8’s Boosted HyperSmooth 2.0, that applies a strong crop factor, but it’s still in the same league as both GoPros’ default stabilization, somehow struggling with heavy impact while keeping standard shake looking crisp and clean.  

It supports 4K capture at 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, or 60fps, and also offers 2.7K at the same frame rates. When you drop to 1080p the maximum capture rate is upped to 240fps, which you can record as a standard file with embedded sound, or as video that’s already been slowed down, with sound saved as a sidecar AAC audio file.

dji osmo action

Most video modes use the 16:9 aspect ratio – or 9:16 when the camera is mounted in portrait orientation – but it also has 4:3 modes, which use the full heigh of the sensor, at 4K 0r 2.7K quality. Keep in mind that capture at this aspect ratio is limited to 30fps, and electronic video stabilization is not available. However, stabilization is available for standard wide-screen video, at any resolution, up to 60fps.

One of the features that sets the Osmo apart from the Hero7 Black is its HDR video feature; the GoPro can capture HDR images, but not HDR videos. This function comes handy for scenes with big differences in exposure, especially when shooting against a strong backlight.

Verdict

DJI’s first attempt at an action camera is a triumph, and the Osmo Action has earned a place in the market, even after GoPro launched the Hero10 Black.  The Action packs a larger, 16:9 touchscreen and a front live-view display, while still delivering solid video quality and stabilization.

If your work involves using lots of mounts, hate cases and want the smallest mountable body around, or love GoPro’s Timewarp 2.0 feature, at this price range, the GoPro Hero8 Black is an obvious choice.

For vloggers or anybody else who want to maximize on savings, a selfie-screen and/or have other DJI products, like an Osmo Mobile 3, then the DJI Osmo Action could be the perfect action camera, delivering fantastic video and photo capture in good lighting, solid construction, and a fantastic price.

OUR PICK

GoPro HERO10 Black - Waterproof Action Camera with Front LCD and Touch Rear Screens, 5.3K60 Ultra HD Video, 23MP Photos, 1080p Live Streaming, Webcam, Stabilization

$499.99
$449.00
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as of November 28, 2021 10:44 am
DJI Osmo Action Review
DJI Osmo Action Review
$265.49 $350.99
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