DJI Osmo Action Camera

DJI Osmo Action Camera

Just was in the big city and picked up a DJI Osmo Action camera at BestBuy.  Even though they have been released for a while there seems to be a lag time between ordering and receiving at least on most of the sites I’ve seen.  This may be because there was a large price drop recently which is probably an indicator that a newer camera is coming out soon or this camera is End Of Life.

 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS BEFORE REALLY USING THE CAMERA

  1. The camera must be activated online prior to use.  I find this very bizarre and somewhat annoying.  If you read forums or reviews for the DJI Osmo Action they are full of “I can’t activate my camera and therefore I can’t use it” posts.  A bit scary.  All I can say to those people is that they obviously can’t follow instructions.  I activated mine on the first go around.
  2. Firmware updates:  DJI seems to be actively fixing all the quirks via firmware updates and the most recent update is from June 2020.  Their competitor, GoPro, seldom releases firmware upgrades which is a frustration in that community.
  3. Having a front screen is awesome and seems to be the new standard for action/vlog cameras.
  4. The camera is WELL BUILT.  Feels more robust than my GoPro Hero Series.  And it seems to be a bit more compact.
  5. There is no external microphone jack.  To be fair there isn’t one on the GoPro Hero 8 Black either.  Adapters must be used on both cameras.
  6. Screen layout and navigation seems to be more intuitive.
  7. There is no GPS on the DJI Osmo Action.  That is a bummer.  The ability to overlay GPS tracks and have speedometers visible is cool, however in my opinion once you’ve done it  and then shown it to people everybody will say “that’s cool” and then it really isn’t that cool anymore.   It also ties you to software and apps and to be honest I just want GOOD QUALITY video and I’ll just dump it in software like iMovie.  I don’t even want an app to control the camera.

Ok lets take a bike ride in low light and play around with the video some, shall we?  And let’s compare it agains the GoPro Hero 8 Black and then I’ll tell you what I think.

Disclaimer:  The weather conditions were far superior on the day I took the bike ride with the Hero 8 Black.  The viewer should focus on things like Image Stabilization, how readable signs are, etc.  Clearly it is hard to compare one on one in awful overcast lighting conditions compared to a nice sunny Carolina day.

Here’s a video shot in 4K, 25 frames per second, with Rock Steady enabled,  in EXCELLENT lighting conditions.  The quality is superb!  Crazy good!

So right away, this is FOR SURE a camera that shines in optimum lighting conditions.   Let me emphasize that I basically just described EVERY camera in the world 😃.

I should also say that when I got to the pool I had the Osmo Action on one of those GoPro mounts that float and I literally just flung it into the pool which is salt water.

DJI Osmo Action on Floating Mount

It bobbed there for 5 mins or so while I got dressed.  It clearly is water proof/resistant and there was no real evidence of water spots on the lens.  Again the quality was impeccable.

“When you turn It on then start recording it sounds like the Trailer Park Philharmonic.”

So here’s a list of things I’ve noted since I have used the thing.

  1.  The microphone picks up a lot of wind noise.  I know there is some kind of wind suppression selection in the menus and it was NOT enabled.  Will try that on the next ride.
  2. Not as good as the Hero 8 Black in lower light conditions but almost as good.
  3. Rock Steady seems to be ALMOST as good as the Image Stabilization on the Hero 7 and Hero 8.
  4. It HAS TO BE in a case to mount on anything.  That is one thing I love about the Hero 8 is that I can actually change the battery on a bike ride easily.
  5. Speaking of batteries I had a long bike ride this morning and came back with 16% on the battery.  Battery life was better than my Hero 7 or 8.  To be fair I didn’t turn the camera on until later because it was dark but I do that with the GoPro’s as well.  Nod to the Osmo on battery life AND I WAS SHOOTING IN 4K.
  6. The lens cap is removable and replaceable.  A big plus.
  7. The build quality, the grip, the general robustness of the camera is way above average.
  8. When you turn It on then start recording it sounds like the Trailer Park Philharmonic.  Really noisy and musical.  I’m certain you can turn that stuff off or down, I just haven’t done it yet.
  9. The app is a piece of shit.

Speaking of the microphone I did notice the Wind Suppression was enabled so the wind sounds are picked up regularly on a bike ride.  The good news is that a 3rd party case and adapter allows you to hook up an external microphone.  You need:

  1. Cynova Microphone Adapter – this also allows you to apply power while using the microphone/camera for VLogging.
  2. PGYTECH Case for Osmo Action Camera – gives you a shoe mount on the top and the side.

PGYTech Case with Cynova adapter

Yeah, I know this looks a bit ridiculous on the bike and is better suited to video chat or VLogging. But I want to test the external microphone during a bike ride.

Is it a GoPro killer?  I dunno.  The Hero 8 Black is tough to beat.  But if you just owned the DJI Osmo Action you wouldn’t know that you missed any other cameras.  This device is a winner and the company seems very active in maintaining and updating the firmware which gives me great confidence.   I hate the app though.   I don’t really think I need an app for ANY CAMERA.  Just give me the cam and I’ll get the footage off the SD card.  I damn sure don’t need an app that MAKES ME ACTIVATE THE CAMERA.  That’s wrong.

DJI Osmo Action Camera Front View

So………lets say GoPro and DJI both release a new camera in Oct/Sep………..I MIGHT, just might lean towards the DJI.  Both DJI and GoPro are great action cams though. Technically the video and sound quality of the GoPro might be a tad better at the moment though.

If you are shooting video to obtain the best quality that could be a dealbreaker for some. I’m lucky I can have both.

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