The first thing that is talked about here is RockSteady. No, not the game studio or the No Doubt album or the heartbreakingly underrated All Saints song.
When it comes to DJI, Rocksteady is the answer to GoPro’s HyperSmooth video stabilization, and boy, is it good. If you plan to shoot an action camera and just want to get the most fluid footage out of the camera without editing or fuss, the GoPro Hero7 Black is better suited for DJI Osmo Action.
When you look at the footage it is like you recorded video recorded with a gimbal. It’s smooth, but doesn’t look like wobbly jelly like stabilized footage does. So the Osmo action has the most enduring footage on the block. You can stop reading here and pick one up if that’s your priority – except that this isn’t the whole story.
RockSteady works with a resolution of up to 4K at 60 fps (16: 9), which is identical to GoPro’s HyperSmooth technology. What is different is that the live preview on one of the Osmo Action screens is delayed by about half a second after it starts.
This creates an weird visual echo where you see something happening in real life and then on the screen shortly after – a bit strange if you’re vlogging, but disastrous when you’re following a topic and need a real-time live preview Navigate the camera. Lower the frame rate to 30 fps to eliminate this lag.
In terms of video quality, the Osmo Action is a fantastic performer in good light. It aggressively exposes faces, making it a great vlogging option – especially when paired with this front display. The skin tones it captures look healthy and natural, and a subject is still visible even when backlit. This can, of course, be at the expense of the background, so the sky can occasionally be blown out, but in general we have seen better performance than the GoPro Hero7 in difficult conditions.
Even so, the GoPro produced a flatter image that was generally easier to optimize in post-processing. So if you want to edit your footage, this might be a better option for you.
Photos and videos in low light are just like GoPros terrible.
When the lights go out, grab your smartphone. Flagships like the Huawei P30 Pro and the iPhone Xs as well as the Sony Xperia 1 sweep the floor with every action camera at night.
If you are looking for the greatest possible angle, the GoPro Hero7 wins. This is not noticeable in the standard modes, but the GoPro’s SuperView option expands the field of view to 170 degrees, albeit with a certain amount of fisheye distortion. This is compared to the 145 degree field of view captured by Osmo Action.
Sound is picked up respectably, but anything that has serious depth will require using an external microphone. In addition, the reduction of wind noise works well and the voices do not sound as distorted as when the function was started on the Hero7 Black.
The camera also supports voice commands and these worked great. What was really disappointing was the Mimo app which allows an Android or iOS device to act as a live preview controller for the Osmo action.
On three devices, a Sony Xperia One, a Huawei P30 Pro, and a 2nd generation iPad Air, we couldn’t connect more than once – and we tried at least 20 times to reset the Osmo Action and phones multiple times.
In terms of battery life, we were pleasantly surprised by the Osmo Action. It is capable of recording over 60 minutes of 4K footage at 60 frames per second. If you’re shooting in short series, it will take a day for most outdoor escapades.
Alternatively, for long filming or weekends, you can buy some spare parts and swap them out.