How good is DJIs Osmo Action Camera really?
Updated: Jul 7, 2020
15th of May 2019, 9AM.
DJI announces a new camera.
The industries ground trembles.
The announced new camera targets the so-far monopoly held by GoPro, the world-renowned manufacturer of action cameras. It might not collapse like a sandcastle immediately, but GoPro should better wrap up warmly.
DJIs brand-new camera, the Osmo Action, aims no lower than the top.
But how good is DJIs new action camera really?
And how much does it cost (click here to unveil the current price)?
And can DJI really threaten the long-established GoPro monopoly or is the new camera nothing but hot air?
We in advance of the official launch had the chance to take the brand new DJI Osmo Action to test.
What you should know
GoPro vs. DJI.
Rings a bell? It does.
The two companies had a fierce fight back in the days when GoPro tried to bring down DJIs monopoly in the drone industry.
But after the Karma drone fell out of the sky too often, GoPro decided to turn that dream down.
Now, we again have the fight, but this time it is DJI attacking GoPro.
The question is: will DJI be more successful and able to dethrone them? Time will tell.
Photo: DJI Osmo Action and GoPro Hero 7 Black in Hamburg, Germany.
DJIs new action camera joins the ranks of the successful Osmo series, and it lives up to its name: Action!
The Osmo Action is small, lightweight, and features a futuristic looking, roundish lens.
Its main touch display on the back is larger than what we are used to from other action cameras.
It gets spectacular when turning the Osmo Action around: a small actual display can be found right next to the lens. Where other companies only show some text on their screens, the one DJI installed shows what the camera sees.
It is perfect for vlogging, helmet, and self-filming (is that even a real term?).
Whenever you cannot see the main display, you can switch to the small front one and still grab the perfect shot (you can even use the voice control feature that works flawlessly to make the camera start or stop a recording, take a photo, et cetera).
But the display is not the only technological highlight of the DJI Osmo Action.
Its internal digital image stabilization functions very well. Even while running, the camera keeps the recordings smooth.
When focusing a bit on holding the camera carefully, the image stabilization (named Rocksteady), makes the results almost look like they were filmed with a gimbal or tripod.
The battery surprised us: even though the camera features two displays, we calculated an average usage time of almost two and a half hours before the camera turned off.
That’s great and leaves the competition behind (maybe it results from DJI being a drone manufacturer that really has to focus on building great batteries, no one knows).
The computing power is tremendous, too.
If you turn the DJI Osmo Action to the side or a full 180°, the display rotates almost in real time. After stopping a video recording, the camera is ready for the next shot faster than any action camera I have ever tested.
Even the latest GoPro seems aged next to the DJI Osmo Action when it comes to computing power.
Nobody is perfect. That includes the new action camera made by DJI.
Unfortunately, you can not live stream with the DJI Osmo Action, not even when connecting it to the smartphone. That’s a bummer, as sometimes nothing is fancier than showing friends and family some action live.
Next, it is unclear whether DJI will allow operators to use an external microphone - even though that can be a necessity for serious vlogging.
All USB-C -> Microphone jack adaptors I tested, even the one made by DJI, denied doing its job.
Finally, and to us, that’s the most significant downside, the DJI Osmo Action has almost an entire second of delay when filming with 60fps in 4K.
Instead of showing the already processed and stabilized result on the screen, DJI should instead follow GoPros lead and show an unstabilized version without a delay while recording the stabilized footage to the MicroSD card.
DJI might be able to fix that through an upcoming firmware update, and we hope they’ll do so.
DJI convinced us with their first action camera.
Yes, there are a few downsides and things they should fix, but it is excellent news to filmmakers all around the globe that GoPro finally has found a dangerous rival.