Not content with building market-leading drones like the Mavic and Phantom ranges, DJI has finally bit the bullet and recently launched a proper rival to GoPro’s flagship Hero7 Black action camera.
GoPro has been synonymous with the action camera world and has completely transformed the market, but how will the brand’s flagship model stand up to the challenge of the newcomer DJI Osmo Action? Well, to answer that question, we’re drilling down deep into the specification sheets to help you work out which model is best for your needs.
Build and design: The GoPro has an unmistakable shape and form factor that has been refined over the years and through various versions of the world’s most popular action camera. The latest flagship model, the Hero 7 Black, tips the scales at just 116g and stands just 44.9mm tall – only marginally bigger than a standard paperclip. At the back of the unit is a touch-sensitive screen, and at the side is USB-C and HDMI ports behind a latch, along with two microphones, and at the bottom is a latch that hides the removable battery. Up front is a lens with a replace cover and a LCD status screen like the kind you’d find on the top place LCD of a DSLR camera. This displays mode, SD and battery information.
The DJI Osmo shares a lot in common with its GoPro rival, weighing in at 124g and offering dimensions of 65×42×35mm, however, there is a big difference between the two cameras and this leads us on to the DJI Osmo Action’s headline feature. Next to the lens you will find a 1.4-inch LCD that enable users to see what you would normally view on the rear LCD right up on the front LCD. This selfie-friendly screen is a complete game-changer and the sort of feature that would leave users asking ‘why didn’t someone do this sooner’? The front screen is perfect for Vloggers who may be presenting to the camera and want to make sure they will be framed properly. Even non-Vloggers will appreciate the front LCD as it actually does away with the need for connecting to the phone in some circumstances – for example, it you have parked the camera into a small corner, you’ll still be able to see what the lens is seeing.
For many travel vloggers, this feature will be a deal-breaker and it’s hard argue against that. Osmo Action users can switch between the two screens by tapping twice with two fingers on the touch-sensitive rear screen, in the same manner as you’d operate a smart device or by pressing a button on the unit.
Both cameras feature a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that serves up 12-megapixels of resolution and pack the serious ruggedness you’d expect, making them suitable for use in virtually every environment and in harsh conditions. Interestingly, the DJI Osmo Action offers a little more when it comes to the underwater capabilities, offer protection down to 11 metres, while the GoPro goes to 10 metres.
Both cameras feature removable batteries, which is hugely important for professional use as being able to swap out flat batteries for fully charged versions is far more preferable to recharging from a powerbank. The DJI Osmo battery takes 90 minutes to charge and is good for 135 minutes of Full HD filming. Both cameras also record footage to a Micro SD card, which is the standard storage choice for devices of this nature.
Image quality: As mentioned, both the DJI Osmo Action and the GoPro Hero7 Black use a 1/2.3-inch CMOS sensor that produces 12-megapixels of resolution. What’s more, both cameras enable photographers to shoot in RAW file format, along with JPEG. The GoPro offers a HDR mode to make more of the shadows and highlights in the scene, along with serving up a burst rate of up to 30 frames per second to ensure you can capture that split second moment.
The GoPro also offers shutter speeds up to 30 seconds for long exposures but the DJI Osmo Action goes further, offering a shutter speed of 120 seconds, which will be extremely useful when trying to shoot astrophotography. The Osmo Action produces a max file size of 4000×3000 pixels and offers a vast ISO range of ISO 100-3200. Both cameras feature voice control, so you can capture an image without needing to touch the camera at all.
Video: While both cameras offer decent specs for stills, there’s no doubt people buying either of these cameras are serious about shooting video. When it comes to frame rates, both cameras are matched, as they can each shoot ultra high-quality 4K footage at up 60p – although you also have the choice of shooting 4K at 24,25 and 30p too.
However, when shooting 4K at 60p, this means videographers will be able to use this high quality footage at half speed to create a slow motion effect. Talking about slow motion, both cameras enable users to capture up to 8x slow motion (240p) to drastically slow down an action sequence, which will help up the production values of your movies.
What separates the GoPro Hero 7 Black from its previous versions is the HyperSmooth electronic stabilisation mode, which aims to deliver smoother footage (especially during extreme action). The DJI Osmo Action has its own version of the technology, which is called RockSteady and the technology can be switched on and off so you don’t have to use it, but if you are doing anything from walking to running, it’s wise to turn this stabilisation on. Both units feature microphones so that you can capture audio, but as both cameras feature a USB-C port, you could hook up an external microphone, too.
|GoPro Hero7 Black||DJI Osmo Action|
|Price||$ 439.00||$ 499.00|
|Sensor||1/2.3-inch CMOS||1/2.3-inch CMOS|
|Video||4K 60p||4K 60p|
|Front facing LCD|
Verdict: There’s no doubt that with the launch of the Osmo Action, DJI has presented GoPro with a massive headache. Action cameras have always been GoPro’s number one territory and the Osmo Action certainly packs more than enough features and specifications to turn heads away from the Hero 7 range.
While the stills and video specs are nearly identical, it may well come down to how easy the cameras are to use out in the field and, if this is the case, the DJI Osmo Action has a clear advantage thanks to that front-facing camera. The stabilisation technology, the timelapse modes and the removable battery will all help Vloggers produce great content with ease and the rugged capabilities of each model will means you don’t have to worry about the cameras taking any knocks.
At present, it’s advantage to DJI – especially as there is little difference in the price points, but you can bet GoPro will be working on something to strike back whenever the next Hero model is brought to market.