The DJI Osmo Action vs GoPro Hero 7 are two of the most popular action cameras on the market. They both have their pros and cons, but which one is the best for you? Here is a comparison of the two cameras to help you decide.
DJI Osmo Action vs GoPro Hero 7
The DJI and GoPro are fairly evenly matched in terms of size and weight, but Osmo Action is the clear winner with its front-facing 1.4-inch color screen and 2.25-inch rear touchscreen. This is the perfect camera for a vlog, or a project with the camera pointed towards you.
The waterproofing of both cameras is the same, and neither camera requires a case. However, the DJI offers 11 meters of waterproofing, while the GoPro has 10. If you are a deep diver, this should not be a problem. However, GoPro offers underwater housing that allows you to take your camera down to 30 meters.
The Osmo Action looks less fashionable than the GoPro if we only look at its features. The GoPro’s sleek, satiny feel and hard grey plastic casing seem a little cheap. Although the DJI is just as rugged, it feels less premium to us.
The user interface of the GoPro Hero 7 Black has been completely revamped. It makes menus and modes easier to use than its Hero 6 predecessor. This also speeds up the time it takes for settings to be adjusted before shooting.
Voice control is available on both cameras. This is especially useful if the camera is too far away from a helmet or thick gloves to operate the touchscreen.
The touchscreen menu system on the Osmo Action is easier than the GoPro. Swiping up, down, and left/right reveals four menus that cover all settings and modes. The QuickSwitch button is located on the side of Osmo. It allows you to quickly toggle between HDR, regular, and still video modes.
You can now frame and capture your shots with the front-facing camera. The Osmo Action is the most user-friendly of both. But it’s only a whisker.
Waterproof and Rugged
Both models can be used without external housing and are waterproof right out of the box. The Osmo Action can be rated down to 11 meters (36ft), while the HERO7Black is rated up to 10 meters (3ft).
This really doesn’t matter in practice. These ratings don’t have to be exact. These ratings are more suggestions. There are very few chances that a properly sealed HERO7Black or Osmo will suddenly collapse if you drop it down to 12 meters. The risk of the camera exploding is greater the further you go and the longer you remain there.
Both cameras are great for water sports such as swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking. You can’t go below 11 meters.
You will need waterproof housing to protect your camera if you plan to dive deeper than normal. The Super Suit is the GoPro’s waterproof dive suit. It can be used to go down to 60m (196ft). DJI claims that it has one in development, which is rated for the same depth. However, at the time this article was written, it was not yet available.
Each camera comes with a frame. It doesn’t offer any protection, but it does provide a way for you to mount your camera.
The back panel of both has a full-color touchscreen that covers most of the screen. Vertically they are almost identical, but Osmo Action’s touchscreen is larger and has a 16-to-9 aspect ratio. The 16:9 video mode means that the entire screen is filled with the image. Although it may not seem like much, Osmo’s view is actually significantly larger in these 16:9 aspect ratio mode modes. This advantage is lost in 4:3 video or photo modes.
Both devices have touch screens that use basic touch controls to navigate menus and settings. None of them support pinching or other advanced gestures. The Osmo is an exception. You can double-tap with your two fingers to toggle between front and back screens.
Both screens are sharp and bright. Both screens have a slight lag, but the Osmo Action has a much longer lag and is more obvious. It seems like it takes about half a second. I haven’t measured it exactly. It’s not a problem most of the time, but it can cause problems when trying to capture fast actions.
Although both cameras have smaller screens on the front, they are very different. It’s monochrome on the GoPro (ie. It displays status information like shooting mode, battery status, and storage of SD cards. It’s only informational.
The DJI’s front screen has overlays, but it is primarily a front-facing, live view display. This means that you can see what your camera sees, even if the lens is facing you. This is most useful for vlogging, taking photos, and any other shot that the camera is facing.
The front screens are not touch screens. They’re displayed only.
The HERO7 Black’s front screen is automatically on. You can’t turn the screen off. The Osmo has the front screen off by default. Double-tapping your two fingers on the back screen to switch between the front and back screens is enough. To change the aspect ratio of your display, you can go to the main menu and tap on the icon in the bottom right. It looks like a square with mountains range and sun. This toggles the fit/fill behavior on the front screen.
Buttons and Compartments
Both cameras have the battery compartment located at the bottom of their bodies. The H7 Black has a door that you can open to slide the battery out. The Osmo Action integrates the seal and door into the battery in one piece.
Osmo Action has two traditional latches for the battery compartment. The H7 Black has a push-in button that slides the entire door.
You will find the GoPro’s memory card slot in the same compartment as the battery. The Osmo Action’s memory card slot can be found in the side compartment.
Both include USB-C ports in their side compartments.
Both provide 4K60 and 1080p240 video options. The Osmo Action’s maximum bitrate is 100 Mbps, compared to 78Mbps. Both can be set up manually to adjust white balance, ISO, and color. Both have in-camera electronic stability to smoothen out video footage. However, I prefer the GoPro HyperSmooth. The DJI’s HDR mode blurs contrasty scenes to give you a natural-looking result.
Resolutions, Framerates, and Bitrates
- DJI Osmo Action Max. Resolution: 4K 4:3 (4000×3000)
- GoPro HERO7 Black Max. Resolution: 4K 4:3 (4000×3000)
There is a lot of overlap between the framerates and video resolutions offered by these cameras. Both cameras offer 4K60 as the flagship resolution and framerate combination. There is also a 4K60 mode with a higher resolution, but it’s only 30 frames per second. Both offer lower resolution, higher-framerate modes at 240 frames per second. This mode can be used for 8x slow motion. Both have resolutions of 2.7K, 4:3, 1080p and 720p.
The H7 Black has two additional 4:3 aspect ratio resolutions that Osmo Action does not have: 1440p or 960p. The 1440p is the most popular, as it provides the same width as 1080p and more vertical leeway–which can be useful when filming fast-moving scenes. However, neither 1440p nor 960p would be essential.
They also use slightly different dimensions to achieve a 2.7K resolution. The GoPro uses 2704×1520 pixels for regular 2.7K, while the DJI uses 27720×1530. The DJI uses 2720×2040 and the GoPro 2704×2028 for 2.7K 4/3.
The H7 Black offers more resolution-framerate combinations. The Osmo covers the most common, so the differences in resolution-framerate combinations aren’t important to most users when choosing which one to use.
- DJI Osmo Action Max. Framerate: 240 fps (1080p).
- GoPro HERO7 Black Max. Framerate: 240 FPS (1080p).
The framerate options available are similar. The maximum framerate at 4K is 60 frames per second. It increases the maximum frame rate of the camera to 240 fps at 1080p.
The Osmo has some modes that can be shot at 48 frames per second, while the H7 Black does not have this framerate. This is a minor difference. It’s unlikely that this will make a big difference to most users. However, there may be those who need 48 frames per second for matching footage or other reasons.
Video Encoding Bitrates
- DJI Osmo Action Max. Bitrate: 100 Mbit
- GoPro HERO7 Black Max. Bitrate: 78 Mbit
The Osmo Action’s video bitrates are much higher than the HERO7 Black’s. The maximum bitrate of the Osmo Action is 100 Mbps. This compares to 78 Mbps for HERO7 Black.
This allows Osmo Action less compression, which opens up the possibility for better-quality video. It’s not something most users notice in practice. This is mostly true when post-processing is involved. The Osmo has a distinct advantage in this area for those who are very particular about video quality.
There are differences in how bitrates will be assigned. The HERO7Black has the Protune mode activated, which is a type of expert mode. This allows for the highest frame rates. 4K60 might have a bitrate of 60 Mbps, 78 Mbps, or both depending on whether Protune mode is active.
The Osmo does not separate shooting options, so the bitrates of its Bitrates are applied regardless of active settings. The bitrate at 4K60 is 100 Mbps.
RockSteady vs HyperSmooth
- DJI Osmo Action: RockSteady
- GoPro HERO7 Black: HyperSmooth
GoPro has heavily relied on the incredible stabilization of HERO7Black in marketing this camera. They’ve called it HyperSmooth, and they’ve made some big claims in their marketing materials with phrases like “insanely smooth video” and “gimbal-like stabilization-without the gimbal.”
In-camera electronic stabilization is also available on the DJI Osmo Action. It’s called RockSteady. DJI hasn’t been as direct with their marketing, but they claim that RockSteady “delivers stable and shake-free footage regardless of how heavy the action gets.”
There are some subtle differences in their effectiveness in stabilizing the camera. I shot them side-by-side. I have posted a side-by-side comparison between HyperSmooth and RockSteady. The short version is that both work well in practice, but I think HyperSmooth works better.
HyperSmooth results are sharper and more detailed. Although the footage may not always look smoother technically, the stabilization results tend to look natural. RockSteady can sometimes be smoother with vertical bumps or movement. However, it can struggle with sideways movement. You may also experience strange wobbling or sideways jerking. Both of these are common with electronic stabilization. The Osmo has a similar EIS to that found in the HERO6 Black.
Both work well and can produce smoother results than non-stabilized footage. Although I prefer to use a good tripod, the ease of electronic stabilization in the camera is invaluable for many purposes.
Video Codecs, File formats, & NTSC/PAL
- DJI Osmo Action: H.264 / .mp4, .mov
- GoPro Hero7 Black H.265/HEVC, and H.264/.mp4
Two video codecs are used by the GoPro HERO7 Black. H.264 is the first, and it’s widely compatible. H.264 is the closest video codec you will find. It’s similar to JPG, which is ubiquitous. H.264 can be used for all but not all video modes on H7 Black.
H.265 (high-efficiency codec) is also used by GoPro. It creates smaller files while maintaining the same quality. There are compatibility issues, as not all operating systems or video editing apps support it.
There are some quirks in how HEVC is applied to the Black. You can either set it to use HEVC in all video modes, or you can only allow it to use it in certain video modes.
DJI has decided to stick with the older, more compatible, but less efficient H.264 codec when encoding on Osmo. H.264 is simpler and does away with the compatibility issues that can arise from working with H.265 HEVC.
Both cameras save video files in MP4 containers that have an an.mp4 extension. They can, at least. You can use the Osmo Action with the a.mov container to improve compatibility. However,.mp4 and.mov use the same compression codecs and produce the same quality.
NTSC / PAL
While the NTSC/PAL distinction may not be as relevant when sharing video online, it is still relevant to some shooters, especially those who are shooting for broadcast and need to match a certain framerate, such as 25fps or 200fps.
Many cameras, possibly even all of them, expect you to change the region mode before making frame rates applicable to the region in the settings. This is how the GoPro HERO7 Black approaches it. For example, to shoot at 50 frames per second, you will need to set the region to PAL.
The Osmo Action does not separate the settings. It simply makes all frame rate options available in one flat list. It’s up to the user to choose which one they want from a flat menu.
Fields of view
Both cameras’ default view is a super wide-angle with a fisheye effect. The view on the GoPro is slightly distorted. This can be seen in the example with horizontal planks.
Linear FOV & Dewarp
This ultra-wide view is not well-suited for everything. It blurs the edges of objects and bends the lines. Both cameras come with an antidote for fisheye distortion. Although they call their versions different, Linear FOV on GoPro and Dewarp DJI on DJI, they both do the exact same thing. Software processing is used to correct the distortion.
It’s a computation correction that requires significant processing power and is not available with the fastest framerate modes like 240 fps or some resolutions like 4K 4:3.
Both models have onboard microphones that can be used to provide sound. Although the HERO7Black’s onboard sound is not great, I haven’t yet done any further research on it on the Osmo. However, I can tell from the footage that it is not much better. Both have options to filter out wind noise. These features work in varying degrees.
An external microphone is a better choice if audio quality is important to what you are shooting.
Here’s the thing: while you can easily find the external mic adapter to the HERO7Black, the Osmo Action one is still not available. However, a number of core accessories are in the pipeline. It’s not the same adapter that was used with Osmo Pocket. That would be too simple.
There are also differences in how the audio stream is saved. The GoPro offers a variety of quality options, including the option to save it as a separate PCM WAV file. These options are not available for the DJI camera.
If you are concerned about sound quality in your shots (and not using an external audio recorder), the HERO7Black is a good choice.
Zoom is also available on the HERO7 Black. It’s not an optical zoom but a digital zoom. It’s a glorified crop, and the image quality isn’t as good as optical zoom. The Osmo Action does not have a zoom. This is not an issue for me as I don’t find digital zooms particularly useful. I can also get the same result using post-processing if I do.
Both cameras can record 1080p video at up to 240fps, which can be used to create slow motion.
You’ll need to convert the footage from the HERO7Black into the slow-motion video that can be played back in an app or other software.
The Osmo features a dedicated slow-motion mode for shooting that saves the file to a slow-motion format. It shoots at 240fps but saves the file to playback at 30fps. You have the convenience of slow-motion footage straight from the camera.
Manual Overrides, Manual Controls When Shooting Video
GoPro has created a Protune section to separate out the more advanced options. You can now access settings such as white balance and ISO by activating Protune. It also allows you to turn on higher bitrate video encryption, which results in higher quality.
DJI chose a traditional, flat approach. Although the Osmo Action retains many of the same controls, they are not separated into separate sections.
There are many controls that can be used to shoot photos and videos. These controls include spot metering and exposure compensation. Instead of repeating them in each section, I will address them all together.
White Balance. You can set a manual setting or override the automatic white balance on both cameras. White balance values are measured in Kelvin temperature.
The HERO7Black has a number of preset steps: 2300K to 2800K, 3200K to 4500K, 4500K to 4500K, and 5500K to 6500K.
You can choose from anything between 2000K and 10,000K with the Osmo Action in increments of 100K. It gives you more control.
These two options give you an instant view of the effect while you scroll through the options. This allows you to see the final results before you shoot.
ISO Range. The Osmo Action’s ISO range is ISO 100 to ISO 3200. The ISO range for the HERO7 Black is ISO 100 to ISO 6400. Both cameras have a range of ISO 100 through ISO 6400. As the sensor becomes more sensitive to light, the visual quality drops. This is true for all sensors, but these cameras don’t have what I would call outstanding low-light performance.
Both can be assigned the ISO manually or automatically. You can also set a minimum ISO to act as a floor on the HERO7Black; this is not possible with the Osmo Action.
Color Mode. By default, the normal color mode is set to bright and contrasty. If you intend to share your videos, the videos will look vibrant and punchy straight out of the camera.
The color version of both cameras is flat and minimally processed. The footage with a lower contrast will appear flat and washed-out when viewed unprocessed, but it’s better suited for color grading in post-processing. Flat is the HERO7 Black’s name.
It’s appropriately named. As a result, it is very flat. D-Cinelike is a D-Cinelike variant of Osmo Action that is slightly flatter than the fully-automatic normal mode. It retains more details in highlights, shadows, and highlights, but it doesn’t look linear flat and still looks great out of the camera. Although I have some examples, I am still unable to provide direct comparisons.
Spot Metering. The exposure is automatically calculated from the center of the screen by default. You can choose spot metering to have the exposure calculated at a specific location in the scene. Spot metering is available on both cameras.
Exposure compensation. Exposure compensation is a method of altering the exposure relative to the camera’s automatic calculation. Instead of giving the camera full control overexposure, you can tell it not to use automatic exposure and to overexpose or underexpose by 1/3 stop.
The Osmo Action offers up to 3 stops per way in 1/3-stop increments. On the HERO7Black, there are up to 2 stops per way in 1/2-stop increments.
Shooting HDR video
The Osmo Action features HDR Video recording. It is not available on the HERO7 Black.
Osmo Action offers HDR video as a shooting mode. This mode adjusts the lighting between shadows and highlights to produce a more balanced result. This mode is becoming more popular on TVs. It can give you a natural look and feel in contrasty scenes.
HDR Video is a distinct shooting mode that can be used for HDR video and not as an option to shoot regular video. It has a smaller number of options. You can shoot at 4K, 2.7L, and 1080p resolutions.
However, for each framerate, there are only three available framerates: 30 fps (25 fps), 25 fps (24 fps), and 24 fps. The RockSteady stabilization function is not available in this mode. However, you can use it with the Dewarp function (but the Color setting).
Although the HERO7 Black does not have HDR Video, I would not be surprised if that feature is included in the HERO8Black, or whatever else it might be called.
They have the same functional resolution (12 MP), but you can shoot in both RAW and JPG. Osmo Action is slightly more compatible with much image-editing software than Osmo Action. The H7 Black also has an HDR mode, which evens out shadows and highlights in high-contrast scenes.
Detail: Action cameras like the DJI Osmo Action or GoPro Hero7 Black are most well-known for their ability to shoot video. They can be used for still photography for many reasons, including the ability to capture unusual and unique video in places cameras cannot normally reach.
These cameras both have excellent still-photo features. However, neither one of them will be able to compete with a more skills-oriented camera like the Sony RX0 II.
Modes and Resolutions
Each camera has a 12MP (12MP) sensor, which produces images measuring 4000 x 3000 pixels. This is a standard 4:3 photo aspect ratio.
The default photo aspect ratio of the Osmo Action is set to 16:9, which can be confusing. It is the same width (4000 pixels), but it is smaller (2250 pixels). This is a popular aspect ratio for video but not for still photos.
It can be used for sharing to mobile screens and leaves some sensors unutilized. The same result can be achieved with a simple crop from the 4:3 version. It is more about showing off the camera’s backscreen, which happens to also be in 16:9, rather than any photographic reason.
Although the HERO7 Black does not have a 16/9 option, it doesn’t seem to matter to me. If I ever need a 16/9 still photo, I will just crop the larger 4/3 version.
- Osmo Action: .jpg + .dng (RAW)
- HERO7 Black: .jpg + .gpr (RAW)
Both cameras can shoot in JPG, and both offer the option of shooting in RAW mode. GoPro RAW files have a.gpr extension but are based on Adobe DNG format. Osmo Action’s Raw format is simple and uses the. dng extension.
Although file extensions may not seem to be of much importance, there is an important implication. GoPro created a proprietary system that severely limits the compatibility between their RAW files and image editing apps. Although the format has been around for some time, only Lightroom and GoPro have their own mobile apps that support it.
The DNG files from DJI Osmo Action, on the other hand, are more compatible. Although I haven’t tried them all, they were easy to open with the most common RAW processing apps, such as ON1, PhotoMechanic, Lightroom, and Luminar. Only Lightroom, however, will open RAW files from the GoPro.
This is a huge deal. The Osmo Action files are more accessible if you prefer to shoot in RAW but not using Lightroom.
Another point to mention is that both the RAW and JPG photo options can be selected by both cameras. This means that both the RAW version as well as the JPG will be saved separately.
I’m not talking about an embedded JPG file in the RAW file, but rather a standalone image file. It’s actually a RAW+JPG option. This provides a safety net and convenience in case you need to use a JPG version processed while on the move.
Fields of view
Other models of GoPros offer a variety of fields of view. Only two fields of view are available on the HERO7 BLACK: Linear and Wide. Wide is the GoPro’s standard, ultra-wide look. Linear mode is used when the large FOV and fisheye appearance don’t work, especially for drone footage.
The Osmo Action is basically the same view. The Osmo Action’s wide mode is slightly more distorted and calls the corrected Dewarp.
In Brief: The Osmo Action allows you to have more control over your video and saves still images simultaneously. Night Lapse mode, which allows for longer intervals of up to 60 minutes, is available on the HERO7 Black. TimeWarp Video mode adds stabilization to ensure smoother footage.
In Detail: The two cameras have different ways of shooting time-lapse. The other saves the video as a compiled file. It’s extremely convenient because you can get the results straight from the camera.
One saves individual images and allows you to compile them using your computer’s software. This allows you to be more flexible and can produce better results. However, it does require the post-processing/compiling step.
Osmo Action offers a combination approach that saves both the compiled and individual JPG images. This option can be found under Video > Timelapse > Shooting Settings (swipe left to right) > Video Options (camera icon), > Format > JPEG+Video. Although it will take up more space on your memory cards, this feature gives you the best of both of them and is something I enjoy.
The time-lapse mode on both cameras allows you to compile your footage and save it as a video file.
These are the intervals that each camera can use in timelapse video modes. These are not the same as the time-lapse photos modes.
- Osmo Action: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 20, or 30 seconds
- HERO7 Black: 0,5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 seconds
Osmo Action can save videos at resolutions of 4K and 2.7K as well as 1080p. The HERO7Black Black can save videos at 4K and 2.7K, 1080 and 1440.
The Osmo Action allows you to use the Dewarp corrected perspective when creating timelapse videos. The HERO7 BLACK does not allow you to use the Linear FOV-just regular wide.
Osmo Action’s approach to this is simple. It allows you to choose an event duration, and it also shows you how long the final video will be. Although you will need power if you have a 5-hour shoot, I appreciate the inclusion of that option.
Both cameras feature a time-lapse mode, which saves the results as still images.
These are the interval options available for each camera
- HERO7 Black: 0,5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30, and 60 seconds
- Osmo Action: 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20, 35, 45, 65, or 125 seconds
You can set a shutter speed with the Osmo Action. This is something I love to be able to drag the shutter slightly to create smoother motion. This can be done on the GoPro in a sort of workaround manner using the night-lapse feature. However, it limits what you can do. You can choose between 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios on the DJI cameras. However, just like regular still photos, I would always shoot in 4 to 3 and crop later. Images are displayed at their full size (i.e., 4000 x 3000 pixels.
JPG is the default file format, and it’s compatible with all interval options. RAW files can be saved (or JPG+RAW); however, this is only possible if the interval is longer. The threshold for the Osmo Action is 2 seconds; the threshold for the HERO7 Black is 5 seconds.
Night Lapse Photo
Night Lapse Photo is a slightly modified version of the standard time-lapse mode on the HERO7 Black. This mode allows for longer shutter speeds (between 2-30 seconds and 60 minutes), which are more suitable for low-light photography.
Although the Osmo Action does not have a night-time-lapse mode, it has its regular time-lapse photo mode that allows intervals of up to 125 seconds. It also allows shutter speeds of up to 120 seconds, so they overlap somewhat.
TimeWarp is a time-lapse variant that the HERO7 Black has. Normal time-lapse works better when the camera is still, and the scene doesn’t move. TimeWarp also adds stabilization to the equation. This makes it well-suited for shooting time-lapse while the camera is moving. The final result is still faster, but the stabilization makes it smoother.
You can check out other comparison between DJI Osmo Action vs other GoPro Hero:
- DJI Osmo Action vs GoPro Hero 8 2022: Which Is Better For You
- DJI Osmo Action Vs GoPro Hero 9 2022: Which Is Better For You
The DJI Osmo Action and GoPro Hero 7 are both great action cameras, but the DJI Osmo Action edges out the GoPro Hero 7 in a few key areas. The DJI Osmo Action has a front-facing screen which is great for vlogging, and it also has a more powerful image stabilization system. Overall, the DJI Osmo Action is the better action camera.