DJI Osmo Action 3 Review – PCMag | Episode Movies

DJI is back with its third-generation Osmo 3 action cam ($329). The new camera returns to the original release’s form factor, an indication that the experimental magnetic, modular Action 2 wasn’t as successful as DJI had hoped. The Osmo 3 looks a little more familiar – the camera is essentially a GoPro Hero clone, with a few interesting differences, including a front touchscreen and quick-release mounting system. For the price, it’s a compelling alternative to the GoPro Hero9 Black (available now for around $300), especially if you’re more interested in high frame rates than pixel count.


Palm-sized and waterproof

The DJI Osmo Action 3 is a cutter for action cam design. It follows the shape established by GoPro with its long-running Hero series. Like the GoPro, the camera is an extruded rectangle with a lens, a large rear touch display, and a front-facing color display. DJI introduced the latter on the original Osmo Action, beating GoPro. The Action 3 outperforms GoPro again, as DJI’s camera supports touch input on the front display, a feature that GoPro doesn’t even include in their latest camera, the Hero11 Black.

(Image credit: Jim Fisher)

The Osmo 3 Action measures 1.7 x 2.8 x 1.3 inches (HWD) and weighs 5.1 ounces. The little camera is made to be mounted, and while it doesn’t include a photo-style tripod thread, I like the detachable mounting clip system. It maintains compatibility with GoPro mounts and while the clip itself requires a thumbscrew to attach, the camera can be quickly moved from one attachment point to another provided you have multiple clips of course. on the other hand.

However, you will need to purchase some extra clips as the camera only comes with one. The Osmo has connection points on its base plate for direct mounting and includes a cage with side mounting points so you can orient the camera vertically for 9:16 shooting.

DJI Osmo Action 3, below

Mounting clips attach directly to the bottom of the camera for quick switch from mount to handheld (Image credit: Jim Fisher)

The Osmo 3 is waterproof without the need for an external housing and can withstand pressure up to 52 feet below the surface. It’s a bit better than the GoPro Hero series (33ft), which could make a difference for recreational divers. If you want to dig deeper, a 197-foot accessory case is available for $69. The camera is also sturdy, with a metal frame and Gorilla Glass covering the lens; It’s rated to survive falls from a modest 4.9 feet.

The interface is pretty simple. The Osmo only has two buttons – Power/Mode on the side and Record on top. The remaining settings are made via the touchscreens. The interface is fairly intuitive, with visible icons for resolution and frame rate changes, and swipe gestures to switch between recording, playback, and menus. Voice commands also work, so you can say start recording or stop recording to control the camera.

DJI Osmo Action 3, battery compartment open

(Image credit: Jim Fisher)

The Osmo Action 3 battery achieves a record time of around 75 minutes at 4K60, a very good result for an action cam. What’s better is that it lasts that long without overheating – during our battery depletion test, the screen would turn off for about 55 minutes and warn that the camera was hot, but would keep scrolling until the battery died about 20 minutes later was exhausted.

You can charge the battery directly in the camera; The Osmo has a USB-C charging port. If you’re looking for longer recording times, consider the $439 Adventure Kit, which includes the camera, three batteries, and a USB-C case that holds and charges three batteries at once.


DJI Mimo app required

While we assume most cameras will have a companion smartphone app, DJI makes its Mimo app a strict requirement to activate the Osmo Action 3. Simply put, if you don’t have an Android or iPhone, this isn’t the camera for you. You can turn it on a total of five times before you get locked out and have to turn it on.

DJI Osmo Action 3 activation screen

You must activate the Osmo Action 3 with your phone and the Mimo app before using it (Credit: Jim Fisher)

We asked DJI about the requirement and a spokesperson tells us it’s about giving customers the best experience with the Osmo Action. The Mimo app is used for firmware updates, and activation also starts the watch for the one-year warranty.

So loading the Mimo app is a requirement, although we should note that it’s a free download and although an email address is required for activation, you can always use a burner account if you’re worried to make privacy.

US customers may have additional concerns about submitting data to DJI as the company is on the Treasury Department’s list of companies(Opens in a new window) due to allegations of the company’s involvement in digital surveillance(Opens in a new window) the Uyghur ethnic minority.

DJI Osmo Action 3, profile

(Image credit: Jim Fisher)

For its part, DJI strongly denies any wrongdoing, telling PCMag that the allegations are unfounded and that “DJI has done nothing to justify our inclusion on the Entity List” and “that we have inbuilt security systems to keep customer data only in the customer’s hands and.” that there are no hidden back doors.”

I used the Mimo app to update the firmware during testing and it worked like a charm. The app also supports file transfer to your phone and comes with some editing templates to spice up your footage before sharing.

However, I recommend turning push notifications off, as unfortunately DJI has opted to use Mimo as the delivery system for product announcements and sales notifications. I hate seeing ads on my phone’s screen and camera apps shouldn’t add to the noise.

DJI Osmo Action 3, rear

(Image credit: Jim Fisher)

On the other side of the fence, GoPro offers a similar companion app, Quik, but you don’t have to use it or use your phone to activate it. GoPro also offers a $50-a-year service (with the first year included if you buy it in a bundle with the camera) that supports unlimited cloud storage, automatic algorithmic edits, and direct camera-to-cloud uploads.


Osmo Action 3 video and imaging

The Osmo Action 3’s video specs are point-for-point consistent with last year’s Action 2. It’s a pretty good little video camera with a Type 1/1.7 sensor for 12MP stills and 4K120 video with sound, so you’ve got plenty of room for slow motion effects, even when editing on a 60p timeline. There’s a slight downside for 4K120 – the front display is disabled when recording over 4K60.

The video quality is very good. The Osmo Action 3 doesn’t have as much resolution as a GoPro (the Hero10 and 11 support 5.3K60), so details aren’t quite as clear. I’ve also noticed a bit more noise when shooting on a dull, overcast day, especially in the shade. By default, the camera is set to DJI’s default color profile, but you have the option to shoot in an 8-bit D-Cinelike look if you want some flexibility in color matching when editing.

DJI’s RockSteady stabilization effectively stabilizes handheld shots and can keep the horizon level even when the camera is tilted 45 degrees. RockSteady is available at all frame rates, but the horizon leveling feature is limited to 60fps.

As for viewing angles, the Osmo has a wide 13mm equivalent (155 degrees) lens, although its effective angle is variable. When the basic RockSteady stabilization is activated, the full viewing angle is available, along with a wide, distortion-free view and a narrower standard angle. The horizon leveling feature is only an option in the default view.

Vloggers are sure to appreciate the front-facing LCD, and I was also pleased with the audio quality from the internal stereo microphone. External microphones are supported via USB-C. You can also add an ND or polarizing filter to the lens, which is necessary to keep shutter speeds under control in bright light. However, the Action 3 does without the support for its predecessor’s additional macro lens.

In addition to 4K120 with sound, the Osmo Action 3 features a special slow-mo mode that silently records and slows down in-camera footage, with a 4x slow-mo effect that works at 4K and 2.7K and either 4x or 8x at 1080p is available. And the Osmo Action 3 supports time-lapse, both from a fixed camera position and with movement. Both are available in 4K.


A good alternative to GoPro

The DJI Osmo Action 3 has a few things that competing GoPro Hero cameras can’t match, including the front-touch LCD, 52-foot water resistance, and an easy-to-attach mounting system. Battery life is another strong point, with good runtimes, resistance to overheating, and a sensible charging case accessory all going in its favor.

Still, GoPros offer better packages for video at similar prices. At $329, the Osmo Action 3 is priced between the Hero9 (about $300) and the Hero10 Black (about $350). I prefer the Osmo over the 5K30/4K60 Hero9 because the DJI camera is more flexible for slow mo and action videos, but the Hero10 is just as good for slow mo as the Osmo and also supports 5.3K60.

DJI Osmo Action 3, front

(Image credit: Jim Fisher)

The Action 3 is certainly a value proposition, but it’s one that works. The 4K footage is clear and colorful, and the RockSteady stabilization works just as well in practice as GoPro’s Hypersmooth. The Osmo 3 poses no threat to our editorial pick, the $499.99 GoPro Hero11 Black, but if you don’t need the latest-gen features, choosing the Action 3 leaves something for your vlogs and action videos more money in your wallet.

advantages

  • Color touch displays front and rear

  • Easy to change lens filters

  • Continuous 4K60 recording without overheating

  • Up to 4K120 and 1080p240 slow motion

  • 75 minute battery

  • Water resistant to 52 feet

See more

Disadvantages

  • Smartphone activation a strict requirement

  • Video limited to 4K, 8-bit quality

The final result

The DJI Osmo Action 3 beats GoPro’s budget options when it comes to frame rates, and its stereo microphone and front-facing touch LCD are good news for vloggers.

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