I’ve made no secret that I’m a fan of DJI and their tech. When we go for events, the tech we use is mostly DJI. The DJI Osmo Mobile, the DJI Osmo Pocket and when we really need to bring out the big guns, the DJI RS 3 Pro gimbal. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise then the DJI Osmo Action 3 is being reviewed here.
Not only on its merits as an action camera, but also for its potential to add to our video capabilities.
After weeks of using the camera, does the DJI Osmo Action 3 come with a thumbs up verdict?
Find out by reading on.
What is the DJI Osmo Action 3?
The DJI Osmo Action 3 is the latest in DJI’s line of action cameras.
It has a max resolution of 4K, with up to 240FPS recording capability (depending on your resolution and mode). The camera can also zoom up to 4x (depending on resolution and mode) and has a field of view of 155 degrees.
With an IP68 waterproof rating, the DJI Osmo Action 3 is also capable of limited underwater performance. Without its waterproof casing, it can handle depths up to 16 meters. With the casing, that goes up to 60 meters.
The camera also has EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization), as well as slow motion, hyperlapse and timelapse capabilities. With no internal storage of any kind, a microSD card is essential for recording. You’re going to need to splurge and get a relatively fast one too, or else your 4K videos will suffer from hitches or card errors.
DJI gives the DJI Osmo Action 3 an estimated 160 minutes of battery life, with a quick charge capability that can get you to 80% charge with just 18 minutes of charging.
Alternatively, the DJI Osmo Action 3 can also livestream and function as webcam when it’s connected to compatible devices.
The DJI Osmo Action 3 has a MSRP of US$355 for the Standard Combo and a MSRP of US$459 for the Adventure Combo (which comes with extra batteries and stuff). DJI loaned us the Adventure combo for the review, which is why you can see the extra battery case and stuff in some of the pictures.
I could go on and on with the technical stuff but I won’t.
If you want to know the nitty gritty behind the gizmo, head on over to the specs page of the camera for the full lowdown.
What I will do instead is talk about the experience of using the camera, something you can’t get from reading off the specs sheet.
The first thing you should know about the camera is how small it is.
If you’ve never handled a GoPro or other action camera, you’d be surprised too.
The DJI Osmo Action 3 is only 70.5 x 44.2 x 32.8mm, which makes it barely bigger than some power banks. It’s small, but it does have heft and great build quality. Not once while handling the camera did I feel that it was chintzy or cheaply made.
On the camera itself are two screens, one in front, one in the back. Both are touchscreens, and are clear enough to use though for recording purposes I prefer to use the DJI Mimo app instead. The app is simply much easier to fiddle with AND it gives you an alternate view of what the camera is seeing without needing to look at the screens.
You can use the rear touchscreen to access the settings and configure the camera in a pinch, but really there’s no real reason to bother if you have access to the app. Whatever the touchscreen display can do, the app can do better.
I found the DJI Mimo app essential when I was recording at the Thailand Game Show.
With the camera strapped to my chest, I wasn’t able to bend down to see whether the lens was pointed in the right direction or not. The DJI Mimo app solved that issue by connecting wirelessly to the camera and then broadcasting what it was seeing in real time to my phone.
No lag, no quality drop or hitches.
In a convention center full of competing WiFi signals, the DJI Mimo app and the DJI Osmo Action 3 NEVER lost connection. In comparison, I was wearing my Sony WH-1000XM5s at the time and the music kept dropping in and out at certain locations due to the heavy signal interference. That’s really impressive.
Recording is equally impressive.
I recorded at 1080p (because I didn’t have a big and fast enough memory card for 4K recording) and it was a smooth and flawless experience throughout. You can instantly turn on the camera and have it recording under 10 seconds by just hitting the big red circle on top of it. It’s not as fast as I’d like, but certainly faster than a phone that’s been turned off.
Image quality is expected…which is to say great.
The EIS can be a bit finicky (as you can see in the videos I took from the Thailand Game Show) but that’s to be expected from electronic stabilization. You can easily tell when the EIS kicks in on a video because there’s a slight shimmer to the image and a loss of clarity to the background.
It’s hard to describe, so here’s how it looks like.
Notice the colors on the upper left of the video? There’s very obvious flicker and color bleed as I move forward. The footage itself is stable, but the background colors and objects aren’t. Whatever’s right in front doesn’t fare too bad, it’s just the background that’s affected mostly.
Don’t let that scare you off though.
The image is this way due to combination of the unnaturally bright colors and the lighting. If you’re using the camera outdoors (say biking or hiking), the flicker and color bleed will be much noticeably less to being unnoticeable even.
Yes, it’s certainly better than no stabilization, but it’s still far from being the perfect solution.
There’s a reason why IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) is still supreme.
If you’re expecting magically stable footage, you’ll be disappointed. If you want something like that, get a gimbal and a camera with IBIS.
There’s another button at the side that controls the power settings but I rarely fiddled with that unless I’m turning the camera off.
The buttons are a bit too stiff for my tastes (I had to really press to get my presses to register) but that could be a good thing too, as accidental hits won’t turn it off or start it recording.
Sound quality is decent, though of course, it’s no replacement for a dedicated microphone. If you wish, you can pair the DJI Mic with the camera. That seems a bit of an overkill for an action cam though. I mean you’re probably going to use this for sports or whatnot, not video interviews and concerts, right?
One thing of note, the DJI Osmo Action 3 does get warm after extended shooting sessions, so make sure to have it well ventilated and turn it off whenever you don’t need it to record something.
Speaking of recording, the camera can also do vertical recordings now.
The included mount has magnetic releases (which are really, really secure) that connect to the underside of the camera (or side if you’re recording vertically). I’m really impressed by how strong the magnets are. They didn’t budge at all when they’re secured in place.
Not once did I ever think the camera was going to fall or get loose from its mount, or that the battery cover would come off.
On the subject of batteries, I love that the battery has a teeny ribbon on it that you can use to pull it out of its slot. It certainly makes swapping batteries easy.
DJI gives the battery a 160 minutes of runtime on their website. My usage certainly aligned with that, as the battery was redlining somewhere around 150 minutes mark of continuous recording.
The camera charges by USB Type-C (which is on the opposite side of the battery slot), so you can just plug in a cable and charge it on the go if you want. The hard case doesn’t interfere with the charging port so there’s no issue on that front.
The only thing I found that bothered me about the DJI Osmo Action 3 was that it didn’t come with a lens cap of any sort.
The glass found on the lens and the touchscreens are Gorilla Glass, so they’re definitely scratch resistant but it just doesn’t sit well with me to have a lens exposed with no cover for no valid reason. I had to wrap the camera in a micro fibre cloth and use a special pouch while I was travelling with the camera to put my mind at ease.
Was I worrying over nothing?
Perhaps, but if you’ve invested hundreds into a device, wouldn’t you want to take care of it as much as you can?
The Bottom Line
The DJI Osmo Action 3 is a great update to DJI’s line of action cameras.
It has great features, alongside awesome recording capabilities and the price point is pretty affordable too. The stabilization is decent (though I’d pay more for IBIS), the battery life is capable and the whole thing just screams pure quality.
In short, you can’t really go wrong with the camera if you need something to record yourself doing…stuff.
Just make sure your smartphone has the DJI Mimo app to make things much easier.
I sure as hell wished there was a lens cap included in the deal though.
Great action cam with awesome recording and image capabilities.
- Great build quality.
- A ton of recording modes.
- Decent pricing.
- Decent battery life.
- Quick Charging.
- Needs DJI Mimo app to unlock its full potential.
- No IBIS.
- No lens cap provided.
- Buttons can be looser.
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