Our Hands-On Review of the DJI Osmo Action

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Our Hands-On Review of the DJI Osmo Action

For this year’s Adventure Week, we decided to bring along one of the most talked-about action cameras of the year: the DJI Osmo Action. Lauded for its innovative design and excellent RockSteady video stabilization, the Action has received an overwhelming amount of praise. But can it really live up to all the hype? We brought it to Colorado to find out.

Awesome Design Times Two

One of the first things you notice about the Osmo Action’s design is how similar it looks to some of its competitors. That’s no accident. By emulating the footprint of other popular action cams, DJI has created a device that’s portable, easy to manage, and—not coincidentally—is compatible with the majority of available action cam mounts and accessories. The similar body design also seems to be a clear declaration that, even though this is DJI’s first true action cam, the company is ready to take on the biggest names on the market. 

DJI Osmo Action
The Osmo Action has a dual-screen setup.

But of course, the biggest design feature and a major difference between the Osmo Action and its competition is the dual-screen setup. In a very clever move, DJI outfitted the Osmo Action with two displays—one on the front, one on the back. The rear screen measures 2.25 inches, covering the entire back of the unit, and features 640 x 360 resolution. The front display is a square, 1.4-inch screen that sits to the left of the lens. The great thing about the front display is that it lets you preview your footage while you’re filming or snapping selfies. The rear display is a touchscreen, which comes in handy when you’re out in the field and you want to access modes and options quickly. You can lock the touchscreen, as well, preventing any accidental inputs. 

On top of its innovative dual-screen setup, the Osmo Action’s other notable specs include a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that can shoot video up to 4K60 and capture 12MP stills in both raw and JPEG formats. It’s waterproof down to 36 feet, supports voice commands, has a removable 2-hour battery, and records footage to microSD. Additionally, there are a lot of extra video modes and add-ons (HDR support, 240-fps slow-motion mode, electronic image stabilization, etc.)—all pointing to a feature-heavy action cam that’s as well rounded as any on the market.      

Osmo Action Whitewater Rafting Colorado
Screenshot from the Osmo Action

RockSteady While You Bebop

An action cam’s rep and application is largely built on the quality of its video stabilization. No matter how sharp the image is, if the footage is shaky, it’s no good. Fortunately, DJI has a ton of experience with stabilization tech, which they leveraged into the Osmo Action’s “RockSteady” mode. We put this stabilization to the test in a number of challenging environments. Most notably, I strapped it to a helmet and took it with me into some Class IV rapids. RockSteady lived up to its name. Despite the constant crashing, the footage was nice and stable. There were one or two times when I snapped my head around very quickly and the resulting footage wasn’t quite as smooth, but overall, RockSteady mode performed brilliantly.      

Good Job, Good Effort

Considering the Osmo Action is DJI’s first true action cam, it’s hard to view it as anything other than a resounding success. However, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There are a couple of notable features that were missing—ones we expect (hope) to see in the next iteration. Which features? For starters, there’s no GPS support, which was a little surprising considering DJI’s strong background in that arena. Also, you can’t livestream from the Osmo Action. That omission didn’t really bother me, because it’s not a feature I regularly use, but again, it was a little surprising to see it left out considering how well DJI does livestreaming with its drones. C’est la vie. Those are pretty minor gripes in the grand scheme of things. Nothing that would dissuade me from purchasing. 

DJI Osmo Action Sand Dunes Colorado
Bjorn shredding the sand dunes with the Osmo Action

Final Verdict

So, did the Osmo Action live up to all the hype? Our answer is a definitive yes. Over treacherous hikes, across burning sands, and against gnarly rapids, the Osmo Action performed exceptionally. So much so, we would put it up against any other device out there. If you’re in the market for an action cam, we highly recommend the DJI Osmo Action. 

Click on the link to read more about our exploits during Summer Adventure Week here at B&H Explora!

How do you think the DJI Osmo Action stacks up against the competition? Leave us a comment or question down below.

Be sure to check back on B&H Explora for more of Adventure Week—and don't forget to follow B&H on Twitter @BHPhotoVideo for up-to-the-minute #adventureweek news.

2 Comments

Any night/low light sample footage/photos and performance reviews? Would rock steady perform similarly in low light situations?

Testing has confirmed that Rock Steady does not perform well in low light action.

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