DJI Osmo Action 3 Specifications
Maximum video resolution: 4K/120fps
Maximum photo resolution: 12MP
Touch screen: Yes 2)
Battery Life: 160 minutes (1080p/30fps)
water resistance: 16 meters
Size: 70.5 x 44.2 x 32.8 millimeters
Weight: 145 grams
DJI’s Osmo Action 3 camera has a new look and mounting system that GoPro should seriously copy. The 4K action cam is built to withstand some abuse and still get the shot.
But with the recent release of the GoPro Hero 11 Blackcomplete with a new – and impressive – sensor, as well as a streamlined and hands-free way of editing your footage, the Action 3 does enough to deserve a spot on our list of the best action cams? Or does the fact that it starts at $329 make up for it?
I spent a couple of weeks testing the Action 3 to find out. Read the rest of our DJI Osmo Action 3 review to find out if this is the best action camera for you.
DJI Osmo Action 3 review: price and availability
The DJI Osmo Action 3 is available for $329 as part of a standard bundle that includes an Extreme battery, a horizontal-vertical protective frame, and various mounting hardware.
The $439 Osmo Action 3 Adventure Combo includes two Extreme batteries, a battery case to charge all batteries at once, a 1.5-meter extension pole, and mounting hardware.
DJI also has combo kits specifically for biking, skiing, or diving for $408, $378, and $408, respectively. Each specialized combo kit comes with an accessory best suited to the activity. For example, the bike kit comes with a chest strap and handlebar mount, the ski combo comes with the 1.5 meter extension pole and the dive combo comes with a waterproof case, swim grip and anti-fog inserts.
DJI Osmo Action 3 review: A clever but familiar design
DJI abandoned the modular approach it took with the Action 2 and opted for a more traditional action cam design for the Action 3. At first glance, it would be easy to pair the Action 3 with a GoPro with a slightly different design confound. On the front is a large, circular cover that goes over the lens. Next to it is the 1.4-inch front display, which is touch-responsive and can be used to control the camera, a nice addition over a GoPro’s front screen to help frame a shot.
On the left side of the case is the power button, which doubles as the QuickShot button. A quick press turns the camera on, and once it powers on, you can press it to quickly toggle between your favorite shooting modes or the playback menu. Hold it down for a second and the camera will turn off. Just below the power button is a flap that covers the USB-C port, which is used for charging and transferring data.
On the opposite side of the case is another flap that reveals the removable battery and microSD card slot.
On the back of the camera is the 2.25-inch main touchscreen display. Both displays are clear and bright enough to view in direct sunlight.
It doesn’t look like much, but what makes the Action 3’s design so clever is the magnetic mounting system that sits on the underside of the case. There are two attachment points for the quick release adapter mount to snap onto, with a magnet providing a strong attachment and proper alignment. A reassuring click lets you know the camera is connected to the adapter and isn’t going anywhere.
I prefer the quick-release adapter over GoPro’s current design, which requires you to remove the thumbscrew every time you want to remove the camera from a mount — a process that can be frustrating depending on your mount and the amount of space you have to turn the screw.
I left a couple of the quick release mounts attached to different mounts while testing the Action 3 and was able to easily switch between them with a quick press of the buttons on the side of the mount.
A protective frame is included with the Action 3. It wraps around the camera to add another layer of protection in addition to a vertical attachment point for the quick release adapter. Why vertical? For the Instagram and TikTok creators.
DJI Osmo Action 3 review: camera quality
The Action 3 can record video at up to 4K and 120 frames per second, has a 155 degree field of view and captures still images at 12 megapixels. However, those stats don’t quite match GoPro’s Hero 11 Black’s 5.3K at 60fps with 27MP stills.
One of the most notable differentiators between the competing cameras is the Hero 11 Black’s new image sensor, which allows it to record videos with an 8:7 aspect ratio, allowing users to post-crop any content captured, while the Action 3 forces you to choose Record In 16:9 or 4:3 before you press the record button.
The benefit of the Hero 11 Black’s more versatile sensor is that you don’t have to choose between capturing something that’s better suited to Instagram, TikTok, or YouTube.
For someone who doesn’t worry about optimizing their video for social media, the Action 3 is an easy-to-use camera that delivers on its promise of capturing high-quality video. DJI is careful to point out that the Action 3 doesn’t overheat (something GoPro cameras tend to do when recording for long periods of time) and that you can even record in sub-zero temperatures with the Action 3. DJI lists the official operating temperature range of -4 degrees to 113 degrees Fahrenheit.
Multiple shooting modes are available on the Action 3, including Photo, Video, Slow Motion, Time Lapse, and Hyper Lapse. Each mode has its own settings and features that you can tweak using either the touchscreen interface or the DJI Mimo app. There are many presets, e.g. B. Options to capture a time-lapse of a crowd, sunset, or clouds. You can also create your own custom time-lapse mode. Here’s an example of what I captured in my garden over the course of an hour a few weeks ago using the preset clouds:
I also used Hyperlapse mode to capture a loop around a terminal at Dallas Love Field Airport during a long delay a few days ago. My favorite part about the video is how it gives the impression that people walking in front of me are really just scurrying across the floor.
When it comes to video stabilization, you have three different options when recording up to 4K/120 fps. RockSteady 3.0 doesn’t keep your video perfectly still while you’re walking or running around, but it does remove general shake and bumps. Operating at 2.7K/60, HorizonSteady is the most aggressive stabilization setting, allowing you to rotate the camera 360 degrees and keep the shot steady while the viewer doesn’t know anything ever happened. Finally, Horizon Balancing is billed by DJI as a middle ground option for 4K/60 recording, capturing smooth video but allowing for some movement for a more realistic experience.
I didn’t find all three modes quite as comprehensive or aggressive as GoPro’s HyperSmooth 5.0 video stabilization, but they worked for someone (like me) recording my daily life during testing (thanks to a skydiving injury that resulted in a bruised tailbone). it just fine.
DJI Osmo Action 3 review: App and video editing
Once you’ve captured video or photos with the Action 3, that’s when the real work begins – what do you do with your clips? Luckily, transferring video from the camera to DJI’s Mimo app is an impressively quick and easy process. I would even go so far as to say that it’s better than what GoPro’s Quik currently offers. Once the camera and your phone are connected, you can download a video in seconds, not minutes like I’ve often experienced with the Quik app.
Once broadcast, the Mimo app has built-in editing tools that allow you to combine clips and photos into one creation, helping to take the guesswork out of what to include and not include in a creation.
You choose a template, it tells you the number of photos and videos you need to select, and once you’ve added them, it assembles the clip for you. You can customize it to your liking.
There’s a slight learning curve to using Mimo, but it’s intuitive enough that I don’t see even a complete novice video editor having trouble learning how to use it.
For more advanced edits and templates, the LightCut app fills the shape precisely. You can select an entire day’s worth of clips and let LightCut do the legwork for you.
For example, I traveled from Colorado to New York for a whole day for a Made By Google event; this is the bottom line.
Aside from a few awful shooting decisions I made early on while it was still dark, the rest of the video was compressed into a 43-second montage that pretty much captures the day as I envisioned it.
My one complaint about the editing experience wouldn’t even have existed two months ago: GoPro’s new Auto Highlights feature takes the automatically uploaded clips and creates a clip without you having to do more than plug in your camera. It’s much more seamless and something I’ve used a lot.
However, the combination of Mimo and LightCut along with the fast transfer speed of clips from camera to phone is something I can definitely get used to. And there’s something to be said for having to go through some of the footage yourself, which gives you a sense of owning the final product, rather than letting the cloud and robots do all the thinking for you.
DJI Osmo Action 3 review: battery life
I filled a 64GB microSD card completely and discharged a battery without the Action 3 stalling due to heat – although it felt very warm. The total recording time was about 160 minutes. I also put the Action 3 in my freezer set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit and let it record for 30 minutes with no issues.
DJI Osmo Action 3 review: Verdict
DJI’s Osmi Action 3 is a cheaper (but not quite as capable) option over GoPro’s Hero 11 Black. At $329 for the basic spec, or $439 for two additional batteries with a charging case and a few extra accessories, the Action 3 is priced right. The Hero 11 Black is $499 before GoPro subscription promotions apply – and that’s just for the camera.
The Action 3’s image and video quality is good enough for someone who just wants to capture everyday life with the occasional bike ride or adventure. If you make a living from video and photos, GoPro’s offering is more appropriate. For everyone else, however, the Action 3 sees and plays the role of an action camera for everyone.