GoPro has been the action cam leader since 2006. However, consumers have grown a bit weary of the iterative releases from GoPro in the past few years. After all, they’ve released 17 different versions of their action cam. The HERO7 introduced a flagship feature, HyperSmooth, which provided a temporary boost to the brand. While not as stable as a gimbal, the digital stabilization in HyperSmooth is worthy of accolades.
DJI, the leader in handheld gimbals, are now trying their hand at action cams. With 4K60p, HDR, a front-facing LCD, 240 FPS slow motion in HD, and their own digital stabilization system called RockSteady, DJI has offered a formidable competitor to GoPro called the Osmo Action.
We tested these cameras to help you decide which one is the best fit for your style of shooting. Check out the footage in the video below.
Best Features of Each Action Cam
• Both cameras are great at removing small shakes. While RockSteady is incredibly good for a first release, it’s not markedly better than HyperSmooth.
• Neither camera corrects well for extreme z-axis bouncing. A gimbal is still required for walking.
• When RockSteady is engaged, the front-facing LCD on the Osmo lags just a bit.
• The HERO7’s field of view is much wider than the Osmo’s. Both crop considerably when using digital stabilization, with the HERO7 being wider. The Osmo’s “linear mode” corrects for pillowing, cropping the field of view even more. In short, the Osmo does a great job removing the distortion associated with action cams. But if you like that “action cam look”, the HERO7 has more of it.
• The Osmo offers good saturation and deep blacks. The HERO7 in “color mode” seems to retain more details in the shadows. In “normal mode” the Osmo is not great with highlights. However, its Cinelike-D profile does a good job with highlights, outperforming the HERO7’s flat profile. But the HERO7’s flat profile was better at recovering shadows without losing detail.
• HDR in-camera is a huge win for the Osmo. The results look amazing, especially when balancing areas of high contrast. Stabilization is not available when in this mode, though.
• Slow motion footage looks great on both cameras.
• The Osmo’s front LCD is ideal for framing for selfie videos. Vloggers will love this feature. With the stabilization turned on in tandem with the linear field of view, the Osmo Action looks less “action cam” and much more like a normal camera suited to vlogging. Both cameras have USB-C ports to connect to a variety of accessories, which is also great for vlogging.
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Both cameras are certainly stellar. The Osmo Action edges out for vlogging and is an awesome first offering from DJI. It’s great to have competition in this space and we look forward to seeing how GoPro will respond in future releases.