DJI is officially in the action-cam business as it begins shipping the DJI Osmo Action Camera, a miniature $350 unit that shoots 16:9 4K video at up to 60fps.
What does the Osmo Action Camera have that others don’t? Most notably, it has a 1.4-inch color touchscreen on the front of the camera in addition to the 2.25-inch screen on the rear — a nice feature for YouTubers and others who would like to see exactly what they’re shooting while they have the camera pointed at themselves. The displays pump out up to 750 nits of light, which should make them usable even in sunlight.
The user interface seems nicely uncomplicated, with three buttons controlling power, record start, and switching capture modes; hitting the shutter button once turns on the camera and starts recording in a preset mode in less than two seconds. Modes include time lapse and slow motion, and the camera even responds to five voice commands.
An HDR video mode is available, which DJI says stretches dynamic range by about three stops, but HDR shooting is limited to 30fps and electronic image stabilization is disabled.
Frame rates are limited by your choice of aspect ratio — 4K 16:9 shooting goes up to 60p, but 4:3 shooting maxes out at 30fps. The story is similar in 2.7K mode, which reaches 60p only at 16:9. This is, presumably, because 4:3 is the native format of the camera’s image sensor, while 16:9 mode crops pixels at the top and bottom to make the wider frame, reducing image-processing requirements.
4K video recording takes place at up to 100 Mbps (compare to a max of 78 Mbps on the GoPro Hero7 Black). In HD mode, the frame rate can be cranked up to a full 240fps for an 8x slo-mo effect. It’s environmentally robust, too, rated as waterproof at up to 11m and said to endure temperatures as low as -10 degrees Celsius. Built-in “RockSteady” electronic image stabilization seems competitive with the same feature on similar cameras. And it all interfaces with DJI’s Mimo app for editing and sharing photos and video. Videos and still images are saved to an on-board microSD card.
DJI said the Osmo Action Camera’s battery can run for up to 135 minutes at 1080p and 30fps without stabilization, about 90 minutes at 4K and 30fps with image stabilization, or up to 63 minutes at 4K and 60fps with stabilization. (Stabilization is probably an especially good idea when shooting in 4K mode, with its potential for finer picture detail.) It takes about 90 minutes to charge a battery, DJI said.
Here’s the promo video:
“DJI has always pushed the limits of technology, and the content creators who love our products made clear they wanted us to push the limits of their creative potential too,” said DJI President Roger Luo in a prepared statement. “Osmo Action is our cutting-edge answer to what the creative community demands: Exceptional image quality and stabilization in a unique and durable new form factor, with dual color screens and seamless software integration.”
DJI also announced some accessories for the Osmo Action Camera, including a camera frame kit with universal mount and adhesive mounts that are included in the box; an optional waterproof case, a 3.5mm mic adapter, an extension rod, a floating handle for shooting in water, and a charging hub for charging three batteries simultaneously in under 130 minutes. The camera comes with ND, polarizer and underwater filters, DJI said.
The Osmo Action Cam is now shipping from DJI’s online storefront and is expected to be available from dealers beginning May 22.