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DJI Osmo Action Review - Video Quality, Stabilisation and Microphone Review

Sections

  • The Osmo Action has the same size sensor as the GoPro Hero 7 Black and largely matches it for video quality and stabilisation
  • Its manual mode gives you a versatile range of settings to tweak, including an impressive maximum shutter speed of 1/8000s for freezing action
  • The GoPro Hero 7’s video has more saturation and sharpening by default and handles motion better in 4K, but the Osmo Action is superior in 1080p

The DJI Osmo Action shoots impressively detailed 4K and 1080p video, with stabilisation that largely matches GoPro’s Hypersmooth.

On paper, the Osmo Action’s higher bit-rate and newer sensor should give it the edge, but in reality there’s very little to choose between the cameras and your preference will largely come down to your personal taste for their processing.

Both cameras have 1/2.3-inch sensors that can shoot 4K video up to 60fps and slo-motion videos at 240fps in 1080p. The Hero 7 Black handles motion slightly better in 4K, while the Osmo Action has clearer detail in 1080p.

Stabilisation test

The Osmo Action has impressive electronic image stabilisation (called Rocksteady), which produces very smooth video that’s largely on a par with GoPro’s Hypersmooth. In the second cycling clip, you can see how much vibration there was by looking at the handlebars in the bottom right corner, but both cameras handled it very well.

Hyperlapse test

While the Osmo Action’s stabilisation largely matches the GoPro Hero 7 Black, one area where the latter is still ahead is hyperlapses. These timelapsed videos let you compress long periods of fast movement into short clips, and GoPro’s version – called Timewarp – remains the best you can get on an action camera, with incredibly smooth results.

Low light test (warning: loud noise)

The Osmo Action shoots impressive 4K video in daylight, but DJI hasn’t been able to overcome the laws of physics. Its 1/2.3-inch sensor is relatively small, so in low light you’ll find plenty of noise and less impressive stabilisation. As the challenging conditions in these clips show, the built-in microphones also get completely overwhelmed by loud noise and bass, so you’ll benefit from plugging in an external microphone in most situations (DJI’s official adaptor doesn’t yet have a release date).

Waterproofing and HDR test

To test the DJI Osmo Pocket’s waterproofing claims, I took it into the sea and shot a video in HDR mode. It survived its lengthy dunking with no issues at all, but what’s very clear is that there’s no stabilisation available in HDR mode due to hardware limitations. This means the HDR mode should very much be reserved for when you have the Osmo Pocket stabilised or stationary.

Microphone and vlogging test

Like the GoPro Hero 7 Black, the Osmo Pocket has two built-in microphones. In this video, I also pitched them against the Sony RXO II. The Osmo Action separates your voice from the background noise a little better than the GoPro, but there’s not a huge amount to choose between the two and you’ll still need an external microphone for vaguely professional sounding audio quality.

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