Osmo Action Camera - A Capable GoPro Alternative

Posted by The Drone Experts on Sep 15, 2020 11:18:55 AM

The company that perfected stable video for the masses, DJI, did it on the world’s best-selling drones. But it also has stabilization for recording fun on terra firma and in the water, with the DJI Osmo Action, a handheld, mountable personal activities camera.

Osmo Action works very well, thank you, without the gimbals that tame themovements of DJI’s quadcopters and other Osmo products. As in other personal activities cameras, stabilization is by software.


Competition for GoPro

Some point-and-shoot cameras, mirrorless cameras and DSLRs have stabilizationtechnology, but GoPro invented the action cam: a lightweight, palm-sized,immersible video/still camera with a wide view that captures personal adventures,from hiking to bicycling, kayaking to diving. Action cam recordings show up often onthe Internet, in everything from travel vlogs to vehicle road tests.Most action cams are inexpensive. Osmo Action is $369, compared with $329 forHero7 Black. The newer Hero 8 Black is $399. Sony markets the RXO II for $698.In its first iteration, Osmo Action already does some things as well as or better thanGoPro. Other things, not so much. It’s good enough that GoPro will have to improve;it already has with the Hero 8.

Easy To Use

Osmo Action was easy to use—as easy as Hero 8 and easier than Hero 7, whichrequires attaching an accessory frame before mounting your camera. Osmo comeswith a frame that can make it compatible with GoPro accessories. An optional rust-resistant mounting kit helps to lock Osmo Action securely to a variety of surfaces.Power Osmo on and it’s ready to shoot in less than two seconds. I could manually setaperture and shutter speed onscreen if I chose. The QuickSwitch button made it fastand easy to get the menu I needed. Battery life was about 90 minutes. An OsmoAction Charging Kit supplied two extra batteries and enough juice for over fourhours of recording.

The biggest difference between the Osmo Action and GoPro is Osmo’s two screens.DJI puts a big 2.25-inch touchscreen on the back with a 16:9 ratio, superior to Hero7’s 4:3. Osmo Action also has a 1.4-inch-square screen in front that shows if you’rein the frame when vlogging or taking selfies.Osmo has a protective lens filter cap that appeared to reduce glare. Optional PolarPro ND filters helped to handle bright light when screwed onto the lens.Don’t worry about getting the Osmo Action wet, whether you’re paddling orpedaling. It’s immersible to 36 feet, which is 3 feet deeper than its competitors.Insert the battery correctly, though; failing to can cause a leak.The Rock Steady stabilization was very smooth—with just a bit of lag in the higheststabilized setting, 4K at 30fps. It’s on par with stabilization in the Hero 7 and a bitshy of the quality on the Hero 8. Be warned, though, that Osmo Action stabilizationtrims the image more than on the other cameras. With stabilization operating, videoalso darkens a bit.

Five voice commands, including recording and powering down, were a convenienttouch when two hands were needed on a paddle or handlebar.Three buttons let me do just about everything I needed, including power on, recordand set modes. I also could create, name and save custom settings for reuse.


Camera Functions

Osmo video exhibits a wide dynamic range, especially in HDR. Details are sharp,colors are distinct, and transition from dark areas is natural. Video records in up to4K at 60fps at a maximum bitrate of 100Mbps. That stops action and takes care ofslow-motion needs. Osmo Action’s 8x super slo-mo can make even a 7-year-old on adriveway bike ride look like a BMX champion, recorded in 1080p high-definition at240 fps.

There’s time lapse, and time exposures up to 120 seconds.

The 12MP stills can be shot in JPEG or DNG RAW for broader latitude in editing, thesame as Hero 7 and 8.

Download the free DJI Mimo app v1.2.20 and Osmo Action can live stream at 720p toFacebook and Youtube, like Hero 7. Hero 8 live streams at 1080p.

To upgrade sound by using an external third-party mic, you’ll need a DJI 3.5mmadapter, not yet on the market.

Did DJI hit a home run with its first action camera? It has performance close toGoPro’s, more convenient mounting and DJI dependability. And with those twoscreens, let’s say DJI at least hit a bases-clearing double. That works for me.