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
- 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.
- 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.
- Having a front screen is awesome and seems to be the new standard for action/vlog cameras.
- The camera is WELL BUILT. Feels more robust than my GoPro Hero Series. And it seems to be a bit more compact.
- 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.
- Screen layout and navigation seems to be more intuitive.
- 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.
Akaso EK7000 Pro
Let’s face it. GoPro’s are expensive. And your phone already has a pretty good video camera on it. Somewhere in between those two items is a niche that an INEXPENSIVE action camera can fill.
I don’t know about you but I don’t want to mount my phone on my bike or carry it when I run or when I’m otherwise pounding around.
I have a GoPro Hero 8 Black which is a $300 camera (now) and it doesn’t have a removable lens cover on it. The thought of it catching a rock while I’m riding my bike does not appeal to me. And yes, while they have protective cases, the minute you stuff your camera in there you lose the ability to change the battery quickly. I take nearly 2 hour bike rides and it requires a battery change.
The battery change has to be done carefully with sweaty hands, and then it hit me………WHY NOT A CAMERA CHANGE? Or just ride with a cheaper camera. So I stumbled across an Akaso EK7000 Pro which I got for just over $60. Wow! That’s a bargain. It claims to shoot in 4K but the camera sensor actually isn’t capable of that. They use interpolation to get 4K. Translation: It ain’t 4K.
Never have I been so conflicted over a tech product before. The GoPro line both inspires me and frustrates me. My introduction to GoPro goes something like this:
I bought a new Toyota Tacoma in 2017 and realized that there is a GoPro mount glued to the windshield near the rearview mirror. Not having a dash cam I originally bought my GoPro (a Hero 4 Silver) for that purpose. And I still use the Hero 4 in my Tacoma. It does pretty well.
Battery life in GoPro’s is pretty limited so I purchased a power cable from here. And I blogged about that installation here.
Although GoPro makes cameras now with Image Stabilization I find that the Hero 4 still is my choice for a dash cam for the following reasons:
- No one really makes a power cable kit like I linked above that goes from fuse block to USB-C connector. The newer GoPro’s use a USB-C connection at the camera. You can rig something up but an off the shelf solution would be great.
- Putting a cam inside a truck doesn’t really require Image Stabilization. The platform is fairly stable to begin with, Your big truck gives a nice plush ride to your camera..
- You don’t need the latest and greatest technology just for a dash cam.
Ok, on to my GoPro thoughts………..
This is a subject that I have blogged about before. Camera Tethering. It allows you to have a Live Preview of your shot (depending on camera and software support) and gives you instant feedback of your shot. Professionals use tethering for certain types of shooting. If the pros use it then by golly us hobbyist should use it too.
What is it useful for? I personally use it to photograph collectibles or for taking pictures of items that I place for sale on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or Letgo. How many times have you seen AWFUL photos in local classified ads? It’s like a disease.
With the advent of great cameras on cell phones we have forgotten about our stand alone cameras and what a tremendous job they can do with professional results. It doesn’t take much to get started:
- A camera that supports tethering
- A cable to run from camera to computer
- Software for tethering