User review of the DJI Action 3 (not sponsored)
I have been using DJI products for quite a long time and have enjoyed using them because they produce good results. My main gripe with DJI products is always with the initial setup, having to register, do updates, etc and you cannot start using without going through all these steps.
The DJI Action 3 is marketed as a sports / action camera, in direct competition with the GoPro. Maybe the Insta360 cameras can also be considered as competition.
Before I let you know why you should / should not buy the DJI Action 3 for yourself, here are some of the key factors I looked at.
To be “action” camera, it needs to be able to withstand bangs, knocks, drops. The DJI Action 2 was made nicely designed, but the exterior looked too elegant to be able to “take hard action”, and it did not come with any protective case.
The DJI Action 3 came with a protective cage, which also allows for “vertical orientation mounting”. Overall, it appears to be more durable, with big button and big screens (front and back). Durability is definitely as an improvement for the Action 3.
Accessories & mounts provided
Like I mentioned, it comes with a protective cage. But there were no screen protectors. I feel they should have just included a few screen protectors, these are so cheap!
Also included in the box is a GoPro style mount together with a magnetic mount system (learned from the Action 2 system).
User menu (ease of use)
The menu is quite easy to understand, and main functions can be easily found just via swipes (left right up down) and touch.
Pair with the app — DJI Mimo
The pairing with the app on mobile was done smoothly. Once both the app and camera are turned on and near each other, the Action 3 camera was easily detected and pairing was seamless, followed up quick firmware updates for the camera.
The DJI Action 3 can shoot in 4k (similar to GoPro and DJI Action2). Many reviewers have shown a preference for GoPro images, but I think both are just as good. Under good daylight, you will be able to get good results, but once the lighting dims down, none of these tiny sensors action cameras will be able to produce anything usable.
The action cameras have definitely made huge improvements in terms of software stability! Both GoPro and DJI seem to have magical software that can smoothen out the shakes and bumps during the action sequencecs. DJI Action 3 uses 3 main options — (1) Horizon Balance, (2) Rock Steady and (3) Rock Steady Plus. All 3 work well but HB is only available up to 4k(60fps), and RS+ will crop in the image a little bit more.
On a single charge, I managed to get 90 mins without any problem, and still had about 20% battery life remaining. There was intermittent shooting (similar to how it would be used during Action Sports or family outdoors activities. When I wasn’t shooing, the camera unit was mostly left turned on, unless it auto-shut by itself (default function after 5 minutes of no shooting).
Price (Value & Proposition)
- For Sports users — this is cheaper, so you have budget for more cameras (to cover more angles), and that offers more options during editing process. Final video with more angles and viewpoints are usually more attractive for the audience.
- For Families on holidays & outings — this is cheaper than your phone and having this means you won’t use up your phone’s battery. It is durable enough and easy enough for kids to use. If you wish to find a cheaper alternative, try the Insta360 GO2.
- For Vloggers & Video Professionals — the action cameras offer interesting perspectives because of their weight, size and mounting systems. You can have head mount, chest mount, selfie-stick mount, super high, super low. The options are literally endless. If you have the budget and can “see” that the GoPro quality is better, then you should go ahead to get the GoPro, otherwise, I think the DJI Action 3 is “good enough already”.
What I didn’t like
Some final points about the DJI Action 3 to take note of before buying.
- Slow transfer speed — when using USB cable to transfer
- Size is more bulky than the DJI Action 2 — I love the size of the Action 2, but I am not sure if I want to put it in a real “action sequence”.
- No screw mount provided — other than lens protectors, I feel DJI should also include a magnetic-to-screw kind of mounting, so it can be easily mounted on any tripod easily.
- Audio not good — self explanatory. The audio is not good, although I didn’t expect it to be.