GoPro has had a pretty comfortable life on the handlebars of downhill mountain bikers and the helmets of paragliders, but now it has a serious new rival for the title of action camera king – the DJI Osmo Action.
That’s right, the Chinese company best known for making superb drones like the DJI Mavic Pro 2 fancies a bit of GoPro’s outdoorsy lifestyle, and has made a direct rival to the excellent GoPro Hero 7 Black.
Unlike the DJI Osmo Pocket, the Osmo Action doesn’t use mechanical stabilisation to iron out the vibrations and jitter from your extreme antics. Instead, like GoPro’s impressive ‘HyperSmooth’, it uses electronic stabilisation called ‘RockSteady’, which it claims is the best in the market.
So what other features and specs has the Osmo Action got up its wingsuit sleeves? Here’s everything you need to know about the potential GoPro killer.
Related: DJI Osmo Action review
DJI Osmo Action price and release date – When can you buy the DJI Osmo Action?
You can buy the DJI Osmo Action right now from the DJI Store for £329. You’ll also be able to buy it from third party stores from May 22 2019.
This means it’s currently £50 cheaper than the official price for the GoPro Hero 7 Black, although that’s been available on Amazon for £342 for much of 2019.
If you’re planning to test the Osmo Action to destruction and are worried about its wellbeing, you can sign up to DJI Care Refresh for an extra £39. Similar to GoPro’s Plus service, it promises to give you up to two replacement units within a year.
Less clear right now are the pricing and release dates for the Osmo Action’s official accessories, including a 3.5mm adaptor for attaching an external microphone and a selection of Neutral Density (ND) filters. We’ll update this page when we find out, but until then you can find a full list of the incoming accessories below in the ‘accessories’ section.
DJI Osmo Action design – What does the Osmo Action look like?
Like the GoPro Hero 7 Black, the Osmo Action is waterproof down to around 11 metres without the need for case.
It’s also very similar in size and stature to the Hero 7 Black. It weighs 124g (8g more than its rival) and is slightly thicker due to its screw-on lens cap, which handily lets you replace damaged ones or add ND filters.
There is one big physical difference between the two action cams though – the Osmo Action has a 1.4-inch colour LCD on the front. This differs from the Hero 7 Black’s front-facing monochrome screen because, rather than simply showing you recording settings, it displays the the camera’s view, making it very handy for vlogging.
The two action cameras otherwise share very similar designs. The DJI Osmo Action has two microphones (one on top, the other on the side) and a rear colour touchscreen, which is slightly bigger than the GoPro’s.
If you want to plug in an external microphone, then DJI will be offering a USB-C adaptor, although there’s no word yet on release date or pricing.
The Osmo Action does also have one extra button on the side called QuickSet – as the name suggests, this lets you quickly scroll through its main shooting settings without needing to faff around with the touchscreen. Talking of which…
DJI Osmo Action specs and features – What are the Osmo Action’s shooting modes?
In terms of video shooting power, the Osmo Action is very much the rival of the Hero 7 Black and other premium action cameras like the Yi 4K Plus.
It has the same size sensor, with a 1/2.3-inch CMOS chip that’s quite possibly the same one DJI has used in drones like the DJI Mavic Air. While it’s a slight shame it doesn’t up the ante with a one-inch sensor, those larger sensors can suffer from rolling shutter when shooting fast-moving action.
As you can see in the table below, video shooting options are very much on a par with the Osmo Action’s main rival, with a max shooting mode of 4K at 60fps (albeit at a slightly higher bitrate).
One bonus the Osmo Action does have is the ability to shoot HDR video, which promises to help with challenging scenes containing extremes of light and dark, although its electronic RockSteady stabilisation isn’t available in this mode.
When used in other shooting modes though, we’ve founded that the stabilising effect of the Osmo Action’s RockSteady mode is equal to that of the Hero 7 Black’s HyperSmooth – an impressive feat considering the latter set a high bar for smoothing out camera judder when it came out in September 2018. You can read more about that in our DJI Osmo Action review.
|DJI Osmo Action||GoPro Hero 7 Black|
|Sensor||1/2.3-inch CMOS 12-megapixels||1/2.3-inch CMOS 12-megapixels|
|Max video resolution||4K/60fps||4K/60fps|
|Max video bitrate||100Mbps||78Mbps|
|HDR video||Yes (stabilisation not available)||No|
|Video stabilisation||Electronic (RockSteady)||Electronic (HyperSmooth)|
|Still photos||12-megapixel (AEB)||12-megapixel (HDR)|
|Slo-mo speed||8x (1080p/240fps)||8x (1080p/240fps)|
|Waterproofing||11 metres||10 metres|
|Other special modes||Timelapse, Hyperlapse||Timelapse, TimeWarp, QuickStories|
Elsewhere, you get many of the same shooting modes as the Hero 7 Black, including voice control, slo-mo capture, and the option of shooting timelapses and hyperlapses (which are effectively moving timelapses).
Is it missing any features that you can find on GoPro’s flagship? There’s no livestreaming feature (yet) and its Mimo app isn’t quite as fully featured as GoPro’s.
While the Osmo Action does have a burst photo mode, it lacks an equivalent of the Hero 7 Black’s ‘SuperPhoto’ mode, which makes automatic edits based on the scene.
DJI Osmo Action battery life – How much extreme action can it handle?
The Osmo Action’s battery life is almost identical to the GoPro Hero 7 Black, which isn’t surprising considering it has a 1300mAh battery (compared to the latter’s 1220mAh one).
The claimed battery life is 91 minutes when shooting 4K/30fps video, compared to 85-90 minutes for the Hero 7 Black.
And in our 1080p/30fps continuous recording test (which you can read about in our DJI Osmo Action review), it managed 95 minutes, marginally less than the 105 minutes that GoPro’s flagship recorded for.
In reality, when fiddling about with screen settings and turning the camera on and off, you can expect to it to last a good half day of intense use.
If you’re planning to shoot for longer, you have a couple of options. Like the Hero 7 Black, you can top up the battery while out and about by plugging an external battery pack into its USB-C port. The battery will fully recharge in about an hour and a half (the perfect time for a generous lunch break).
The Osmo Action’s battery is also removable – a feature not available on cheaper GoPros like the Hero 7 White – so you could also stock up on one or two extras to take with you on adventures.
DJI Osmo Action accessories – What mounts and accessories does the Osmo Action work with?
One of GoPro’s big appeals is the number of third party accessories it cameras work with, letting you mount them virtually anywhere (including your mouth, thanks to the Bite Mount).
Many of these will also work with the Osmo Action, because its case (which is slightly wider than the GoPro’s) has the universal two-prong mount.
DJI has also announced a range of official accessories for the Osmo Action, including the ones above, although currently there’s no prices or release dates for these.
These include a 3.5mm adaptor (for attaching an external microphone), an extension rod with a rotatable phone holder and a floating handle for shooting in water without the fear of it sinking to the ocean floor.
Although the Osmo Action is waterproof down to 11 metres without a case, there’ll also be a waterproof case that’ll protect it down to 60 metres if you’re planning to go scuba diving. If you really want to refine the Osmo Action’s image quality, you’ll have the option of buying a pack of screw-on filters for it too.
Want to see what its image quality is like without those? Head to our DJI Osmo Action review to find out.