DJI Osmo Action 3: Far more battery life, fast charging and a spiffy new mount

DJI has made another 180 in its Osmo action cam lineup. The original Osmo Action had a classic GoPro look, but then DJI went to a weird modular design with the Action 2 (no Osmo). It had some interesting ideas – it was nice and small and you could add storage, a front-facing screen and more with the add-on units. But it suffered from overheating, proved somewhat fragile, and was overly complex.

DJI has now brought back the action cam form factor with the Osmo Action 3. There have also been numerous small improvements from the mount to the displays to the battery – but the 1/1.7-inch 12-megapixel sensor and maximum 4K 120p video resolution of the previous model have been retained.

The rival Hero 10 is in a class of its own with its HyperSmooth 4.0 stabilization, 5.3K 60p resolution and 240fps 2.7K frame rate – and GoPro has announced a new model (‘bring it to 11’) that packs in exactly one Hour arrives – quite an interesting coincidence. To see how it fared, I put it to the test on a vehicle, bike, and foot while seeing the improved durability face-to-face.

body and handling

Without the battery module, the Action 2 has a rather weak battery life of 60 minutes. DJI has addressed this with the Osmo Action 3’s new “Extreme Battery,” which lasts up to 160 minutes. It’s also the first action camera with fast charging (via the multi-function battery case), allowing an 80 percent charge in just 18 minutes or a full charge in 50 minutes.

It features a slick new magnetic quick-release mount that allows you to connect the camera directly to a GoPro-style mount, with or without a housing. It also allows for easy vertical mounting, making the Action 3 more social media-friendly.

This allows you to detach the camera from a bike, car or other mount without having to take it out of your pocket. DJI notes that the mounting system “eliminates loose connections and withstands impacts like a rider falling off their bike,” but recommends it Not make that.

DJI Osmo Action 3: Much longer battery life, fast charging and a sleek new mount

Steve Dent/Engadget

So of course I did a perfect facial on my mountain bike and can confirm that unlike my face the camera came through unscathed (yes there is a video). The camera obviously made some contact with the ground but remained attached to the mount and suffered no visible damage – so kudos to DJI for that.

You also get a front (1.4-inch, 360 x 360) and rear (2.25-inch, 640 x 360) screen, both of which are touch-sensitive, making vlogging or self-shots easier. Gorilla Glass on the displays supports the promised shock resistance. The menu system works the same as Action 2, mainly by swiping. Swipe up to change primary settings like resolution and frame rate, down to access the main menu, left to change capture modes, and right to play back captures. The menus work the same way on both the front and rear displays.

It’s not particularly intuitive, but it’s probably the best option for such a small screen. You can also connect the camera to DJI’s Mimo app, which is easier to use and more in line with what you’ll find in the Fly and Go drone apps. In this way you can remotely control video and photo recordings and change all important camera settings at the same time. The app is also used to update the camera firmware.

Gallery: DJI Osmo Action 3 Gallery | 20 photos

As before, the Osmo Action 3 can act as a webcam, promising higher quality video and audio than your typical built-in camera for conference calls and live streams. This works well, with minimal setup and a simple USB-C connection, although the video is very wide. It also allows live streaming over WiFi at up to 1080/30p.

video and stabilization

The Action 3 uses the latest version of DJI stabilization, Rocksteady 3.0, to eliminate camera shake in all directions up to a maximum of 4K/120 fps. It’s almost on par with GoPro’s HyperSmooth 4. I’ve tested it on a vehicle over bumpy gravel roads, biked down trails and roads with the camera on my helmet, and walked with the included selfie stick. It smoothed the video perfectly in all of these situations and only let me down once (when I crashed) for unknown reasons.

It also uses DJI’s Horizon features, first available on the Osmo Action, to maintain image level. HorizonSteady offers a combination of shake reduction and horizon leveling, even with strong impacts and extreme 360-degree rotations. This could be useful for… I’m not sure? Maybe skydiving, scuba diving or something like that. Note that it only works up to 2.7K resolution and will crop the image, no doubt because the surrounding pixels have to compensate for the rotation.

DJI Osmo Action 3: Much longer battery life, fast charging and a sleek new mount

Steve Dent/Engadget

HorizonBalancing corrects horizontal tilt within ±45° and enables stable 4K/60fps recording. DJI calls it “a good middle ground between RockSteady and HorizonSteady, where a smooth 4K image is prioritized during dynamic motion, such as an obstacle course.” This feature kept my footage smooth and stable, even through steep embankments on a river bike through the streets.

The Action 3’s camera offers a 155-degree field of view (equivalent to a 12.5mm full-frame lens), which is considerably wider than the GoPro Hero 10’s 19mm equivalent in linear mode, or around 16mm in fisheye mode. It also offers a standard dewarped (linear) view, as well as wide and ultra-wide FOVs, the latter of which are significantly distorted. The zoom function is digital only and looks pretty bad – you’d better zoom in with your video editing app.

As mentioned, DJI plays up the vertical aspect ratio, not only with a vertical mount and user interface, but also with vertical recording capability. The feature enables 9:16 vertical shots, allowing you to post social media content in all available resolutions without cropping.

Gallery: DJI Osmo Action 3 press images | 27 photos

Video quality is excellent, at least on par with the Hero 10 at the same resolution (the Action 3 has a maximum data rate of 130Mbps, while the Hero 10 tops out at 100Mbps). As mentioned, it can do 120 fps at 4K or 240 fps at 1080p. In addition to the video modes, you can take 12-megapixel photos.

The Hero 10, on the other hand, supports 5.3K at up to 60 fps, 4K at 120 fps and 2.7K at 240 fps. It’s nice to have the 240fps option at a higher resolution, but the DJI Osmo Action 3 is arguably a touch sharper at the full 4K 120p resolution.

In low light, however, the Hero 10 is better. Despite the larger pixels, the Action 3’s video can be quite noisy, even in daylight, for example in a shady forest. In contrast (sorry), the Hero 10 delivers clearer images in similar situations.

With the new model, DJI has added the D-Cinelike color mode to its drones to increase dynamic range and simplify editing with high-contrast footage. A new color temperature sensor has also been added, automatically adjusting white balance and exposure in a single shot when you’re moving from shadow to bright sunlight, for example, or diving into water. This usually gave me relatively smooth transitions from shaded to sunlit areas, although the Hero 10 does a better job in this regard too. DJI Osmo Action 3: Far more battery life, fast charging and a spiffy new mount

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