The DJI Osmo Action

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This isn’t a review. I don’t have a DJI Osmo Action, and I’m not expecting to buy one, but I’m excited about it. I’m excited that there’s a real competitor to the GoPro HERO 7 Black. I’m excited that the Osmo Action looks like it could be almost every bit as good of a vlogging camera as my Osmo Pocket, and it may even be a good fit on my freestyle miniquads. I’m just excited!

What’s unique about the Osmo Action?

I don’t care about the exact specs. I’ve seen enough sample footage to know that the Osmo Action is a nice video camera. It is at least as good as my Osmo Pocket or a GoPro HERO 7 Black. For most purposes, it sure looks like the Osmo Action is a better camera than the GoPro!

There’s one important feature that makes the Osmo Action unique: it has a front facing display.

When I was shopping for a simple vlogging camera, I knew that I would need to have a screen that I could look at while talking to the camera. The GoPro HERO 7’s HyperSmooth footage is often as smooth as footage using a gimbal, and I would have loved to use a GoPro for vlogging. Unfortunately, there’s no good way to frame up a shot with the GoPro when I’m pointing the camera at my own face.

I don’t know if that front-facing screen is a game changer, but to me, it is a huge improvement!

I almost regret buying the Osmo Pocket

Almost. Just like the Pocket, the Osmo Action is priced at $350. I was shopping for a lightweight, compact vlogging camera, and the Osmo Action would certainly fit the bill. Not only that, but the Osmo Action is the right form factor for strapping it to one of my freestyle miniquads.

I can’t literally use one camera for vlogging and flying. I’m too likely to be breaking the action camera that’s strapped to my 90 MPH rocket of a quadcopter. If I could get away with it, though, I would much rather carry a pair of Osmo Action cameras than carry a GoPro and an Osmo Pocket. I’d gladly strap my vlogging camera to my quad in a pinch!

I don’t think the Osmo Action will be a good fit for an FPV miniquad

Just about the only place I use an action cam is on my freestyle quad. I greatly rely on GoPro’s SuperView. The GoPro has a 4:3 aspect ratio sensor. When you record regular widescreen footage, the GoPro discards the image above and below that 16:9 area.

When you record in SuperView, the GoPro uses the entire 4:3 sensor. It stretches the image horizontally to reach the 16:9 aspect ratio. It doesn’t just naively stretch the image. The area in the center isn’t stretched at all, and the edges are stretched more. This keeps the distortion down while providing a wider field of view.

This looks fantastic when flying FPV, especially when you’re flying fast and in close proximity of objects. I won’t give this up.

You can simulate SuperView in post processing. The Osmo Action will need to have a rather large field of view to coax comparable results out of it, though. I’m not confident that it will be possible to get comparable results, and I’m not sure it would be worth the effort!

The DJI Osmo Pocket is fun!

I’m new to vlogging. I’m not good at it. I may never be good at it.

That said, I enjoy the Osmo Pocket’s face tracking. Even when I’m just sitting here at my desk, I can talk to the camera, and I can move around a bit, and the Osmo Pocket follows me.

The results feel a bit more dynamic. It almost feels like I’m not sitting alone in my office talking to absolutely no one. It gives the illusion that there’s someone present in the room pointing the camera at me.

I don’t know if my viewers agree, but I like the results!

The gimbal almost makes the Osmo Pocket into an adjustable tripod. I can lock it into my car’s cellphone mount, and rotate the gimbal to aim the camera right at me. I don’t have to do that, of course, because the face tracking follows me around while I’m driving!

I think the Osmo Pocket’s motionlapse ability is awesome, but I’m not utilizing it often enough. You can’t set an action camera down and have it track from one angle to another over a period of time. I need to make better use of this feature!

The Osmo Pocket is light and comfortable

I might be focusing too much on the vlogging advantages of the Osmo Pocket, but I suppose that’s to be expected. I bought my Pocket primarily for vlogging!

For handheld use, the Osmo Pocket is quite good. You get to hold it almost like a pistol. You just have to be careful to not cover the microphones or the display! If you were using a GoPro or Osmo Action, you’d have to pinch that tiny brick between your fingers or attach it to some sort of small tripod for vlogging. That isn’t as comfortable.

With the Osmo Pocket, there’s usually plenty of camera to hold on to, and you can keep the screen in view at almost any angle. That’s a nice advantage offered by the gimbal.

Which camera should you buy for vlogging?

If you’re trying to be a professional, neither camera is up to the task. There are folks using large, heavy Panasonic Lumix G85 cameras or even enormous Sony a7R III mirrorless cameras combined with huge gimbals just for vlogging. Can you imagine holding that much weight at arm’s length for 20 minutes?

This might make me sound like an old man, but I don’t enjoy just holding my arm out in front of my face for 20 minutes. I want my camera to be light, and I want it to be easy to carry around.

If you’re vlogging with the Osmo Action, you’re going to attach it to a small tripod for vlogging. This will probably make it marginally more cumbersome than the Osmo Pocket, but I imagine it’ll be a comparable vlogging experience in just about every way.

My favorite feature of the Osmo Pocket is that it literally fits in my pocket. I can go out for a day of flying, and I barely notice it is there. It is also nice that the Pocket can be out of my pocket and recording in less than five seconds—I should test that to see if I’m exaggerating!

I don’t think I could do that with any of my short tripods and an action camera. It just wouldn’t fit in my pocket. I will be sticking with my Osmo Pocket.


When I started writing this post, I was thinking the Osmo Action would be a better camera for just about everyone compared to my Osmo Pocket. Just writing these 1,200 words has changed my mind.

I like the Osmo Pocket. It is small, light, comfortable, and so easily pocketable. I’m glad it is part of my collection of photography gear. Sometimes I have to write things to figure out what I actually think!

What do you think? Are you enough of an amateur vlogger that the Osmo Action or Osmo Pocket are the right fit for you? Which one would you prefer to use? Let me know in the comments, or stop by the [Butter, What?! Discord server][bw] to chat with me about it!