It wasn’t exactly the best-kept secret in the world, but DJI has officially entered the world of action cameras with the Osmo Action. If you think it looks damn close to a GoPro Hero7, you’re not wrong. DJI slimmed it up a bit, added a front screen for you vloggers out there, and joined GoPro in whatever wizardry they are pulling off with EIS (electronic image stabilization).
Yeah, that’s a damn slick marketing video. And I’m beginning to think DJI has a blood feud with GoPro. First, the Karma and now the action camera? Damn, play nice children.
Let’s see how they stack up because once you dip past the marketing, there are pros and cons to both systems.
Osmo Action vs Hero7 Black
One area I thought DJI would grab the mantle with was price, but once the $349 price tag dropped, GoPro immediately moved to discount its flagship to the same amount on Amazon and every other retailer. So, neither company wins, but the consumer still does. For now. Watch the pricing. GoPro has removed its exposure to the US-China trade war. DJI can’t.
Let’s get into the headline features of both.
Good lord EIS has come a long way. GoPro and DJI are killing the game. There’s a portion of a video I want to draw your attention to. Try not to focus on Peter Mckinnon but watch the background.
You see how the GoPro falls off slightly, but the Osmo Action keeps everything impossibly smooth? That’s a huge deal because you’re eyes are not drawn into the background which starts shaking. Both companies have excellent EIS, but it goes to the Osmo Action. Barely.
I was hoping for a one-inch sensor, but the Osmo Action stuck with the 12MP 1/2.3″ CMOS sensor. GoPro has essentially the same, and it comes down to the field of view. It hits 145 degrees on the Osmo, while the GoPro edges damn close to a 150-degree FOV. GoPro has to be dewarped, or you have one hell of a fisheye look.
Both action cameras have various still shot modes, including time-lapse functions, HDR, AEB, etc. And they can handle RAW files so make sure you have it set in your settings. You can fix damn near everything with a RAW file over a JPG.
Who wins on stills? I’d give the edge to the Osmo Action, but you’re seriously getting into the weeds on stills photography. It’s an action camera. No one is setting up landscape photography with either.
The real test between the two. We’ve already seen the insanely smooth video on both, but what sets them apart. Each shoots 4K60p with EIS, but the Osmo Action starts to crop in at 30p and further at 60p to the tune of 22%. That’s a ding against it the GoPro escapes. Can you make an argument for the crop? Sure, but remember, it’s the Osmo Action, not the Osmo Vlog.
DJI does add a ton of shot modes including HDR video but locks it at 40K30p. No 60fps unless a firmware update comes down the pipe. GoPro does not offer a similar mode, though I’d expect that to change.
Each action cam targets their slow motion at 240fps at 1080p. You lose the EIS on both; however, DJI does come through with an excellent feature. It keeps recording real-time audio. That’s a huge feature for the company and one I expect will be copied.
What about bitrates? Here’s where I have an issue DJI’s marketing video above. The 100mbps is a legit spec, but it’s only on the H.264 codec. GoPro’s 78mbps is on both the H.264 and H.265. The latter makes color grading easier, and DJI straight up cannot use H.265.
Who wins? That’s tough and depends on your use case. If you want the most extensible video files, the Hero7, but it’s close.
Honestly, this is subjective as hell. On some videos, I lean GoPro. Others, I lean Osmo Action. What we do know is the mic adapter for the Osmo Action is currently having issues, whereas the more mature Hero7 doesn’t have the issue. Winner? Both.
Yes, the GoPro Hero7 has a front-facing screen, but it doesn’t remotely compare to the full-color display of the Osmo Action. This is far and away DJI’s most significant selling point for those looking for an easy button on framing their videos or selfies. The winner here is DJI.
The rest of the specs feel like DJI was trying to one-up GoPro with stats. Take, for example, the waterproof rating. GoPro sits at 10 meters. DJI? 11. Cute, but not dealbreakers in either direction.
One area GoPro does have the advantage is the accessory market. That’s the advantage of being in this market for years. And an area I think GoPro retains the advantage. DJI’s recent Osmo Pocket promised a host of accessories, and we are still waiting on them. Will it be the same for the Action? Time will tell.
DJI Osmo Action a GoPro Killer?
Not yet. It’s too early to declare a winner. GoPro was smart moving manufacturing for the US market to Mexico. Both stabilization systems are so damn close, it’s absurd. Crazy it’s electronic. What DJI has going for it are the shot modes like HDR video or the audio recording during slow motion. Those are great features.
And then there’s the front-facing screen. It’s a killer feature DJI. No one can deny how incredibly useful it is for not only action sports enthusiasts, but regular people on vacation.
I will say that while DJI rules the skies, GoPro is king of the action camera world. DJI will not be able to muscle its way into market dominance with one iteration of an action camera. GoPro knows the market and will respond.