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New DJI Osmo Action 3 – HARDWARE OR SOFTWARE PROBLEM?
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Arpettaz
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I know there are at least 2 other threads on the Forum about this subject, but I thought I would add my own thread with the results of tests I have been doing with 3 DJI cameras – Pocket 2 (P2), Action 2 (A2), and Osmo Action 3 (OA3).  Also, my worry/complaint is about video/photo quality at any distance from the camera (rather what seems to be a vlogging-specific issue from some customers).
  
My tests show that OA3 video and photos are not as good as either the A2 or P2 (and P2 beats OA3 and A2 by a mile).  But I’m still not sure if it is a hardware or software problem.  It is a bit unfair to compare either action camera to the P2 (given how superior it is), but compared to the A2 the OA3 video and photos are softer and not as sharp.  But is that a lens issue or a processing issue or something else?
  
I am attaching a Google drive link to 9 files – 3 videos, 3 photos, and 3 screenshots of the video clips taken with all 3 DJI cameras.  As I said it’s a bit unfair to compare the action cameras with P2 but the files are there anyway.  Everything was taken at the same time this morning outside my house in good sunlight.
    
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE OA3 FILES I HAVE UPLOADED TO GOOGLE DRIVE?
  
All the videos were taken in the Pro mode allowing me to mirror settings between the cameras.  That said, with a much better aperture on the P2 it was not fair to use the same shutter settings as the action cameras.  ISO100 was used for all the photos and videos.  All 3 cameras were on a tripod and operated using the Mimo App (to eliminate camera shake).  The same shutter settings were used on the OA3 and A2 and the 1/500 shutter speed setting was used to prevent over-exposure of the garden chippings in the foreground.  A shutter speed of 1/1250 was used on the P2 (again to get the right exposure).  The distance from the cameras to the object I was centered on (the rabbits) was 1.2 metres.
  
Although the linked files are of my front garden, I did also take some selfies at arm’s length.  Again, video footage and photos taken on the OA3 were definitely soft and not sharp enough, but not ‘out of focus’ per se in my opinion (but then I don’t do vlogging so minimum focal length is not a worry for me).
  
One final thing to note.  I am aware that a Beta firmware has been developed by DJI and is being tested by some customers.  But there are also some customers who have reported no problems with their Osmo Action 3, suggesting that maybe the problem lies with a batch of the lenses of some of the cameras that have already shipped?  The online discussions have also focused on the minimum focal distance of the camera (I assume for vlogging reasons), whereas my complaint is about video/photo quality at any distance from the camera.
  
I would be happy to test out the Beta firmware for myself if DJI would care to send it to me.
  


10-10 02:42
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johansenfoto
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OA3 is softer, and A2 is not actually sharp either.

10-10 03:01
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OnePixel
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Much better GoPro11, there is no comparison.


10-10 03:25
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Arpettaz
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johansenfoto Posted at 10-10 03:01
OA3 is softer, and A2 is not actually sharp either.

I would agree with you there, especially when comparing it to the Pocket 2 (although to be fair Action 2 video/photo quality is better than the OA3 IMO).  But here's the thing.  I have been using the Action 2 since it was launched and never noticed anything untoward.  It was only because of the threads about minimum focal distance with the OA3 that I started to do my extensive testing and comparisons.  
10-10 03:33
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Arpettaz
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OnePixel Posted at 10-10 03:25
Much better GoPro11, there is no comparison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqDLMpeIyUo

Ha ha.  I have owned lots of GoPro cameras in the past, the Hero 9 being the most recent one.  I won't be buying the GoPro 11 - too expensive, functionality/user interface not as good as the OA3, limitations using 3rd party microphone accessories, historically GoPro freezes all the time, etc, etc.  I concede GoPro video quality is better (but then it should be @5.3k).  What I need to decide is: can I live with the mediocre video/photo output of the new OA3??
10-10 03:40
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Arpettaz Posted at 10-10 03:33
I would agree with you there, especially when comparing it to the Pocket 2 (although to be fair Action 2 video/photo quality is better than the OA3 IMO).  But here's the thing.  I have been using the Action 2 since it was launched and never noticed anything untoward.  It was only because of the threads about minimum focal distance with the OA3 that I started to do my extensive testing and comparisons.

I had the same when I first bought my OA1 switching from SJCAM SJ8 Pro. I thought OA1 was really good until I compared the sharpness of both and found out that SJ8 Pro was way sharper.

When I have before seen footage from Action 2, I always thought "well it's not that sharp" but always thought it just was the compression on youtube. But now after OA3 came out, I found out that Action 2 also is soft.
10-10 03:40
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Arpettaz Posted at 10-10 03:40
Ha ha.  I have owned lots of GoPro cameras in the past, the Hero 9 being the most recent one.  I won't be buying the GoPro 11 - too expensive, functionality/user interface not as good as the OA3, limitations using 3rd party microphone accessories, historically GoPro freezes all the time, etc, etc.  I concede GoPro video quality is better (but then it should be @5.3k).  What I need to decide is: can I live with the mediocre video/photo output of the new OA3??

Between the GoPro 9 and 11 there are about two years and many improvements. However, I prefer excellent video quality, since we are talking about cameras, rather than spending less. Not much less to justify such poor video quality.
10-10 03:50
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OnePixel Posted at 10-10 03:50
Between the GoPro 9 and 11 there are about two years and many improvements. However, I prefer excellent video quality, since we are talking about cameras, rather than spending less. Not much less to justify such poor video quality.

5K on my Gopro 10 is softer than 4K, so 5K is just a gimmick and would actually give you worse quality on footage.

It is actually better to get any footage at all than having your camera freeze up while recording.
10-10 04:57
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johansenfoto Posted at 10-10 04:57
5K on my Gopro 10 is softer than 4K, so 5K is just a gimmick and would actually give you worse quality on footage.

It is actually better to get any footage at all than having your camera freeze up while recording.

I guess you haven't tried the GoPro 11, as you mention the GoPro 10.
10-10 05:33
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OnePixel Posted at 10-10 05:33
I guess you haven't tried the GoPro 11, as you mention the GoPro 10.

No I haven't and I guess you have it and never had any problems!
10-10 06:48
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Arpettaz
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OnePixel Posted at 10-10 03:50
Between the GoPro 9 and 11 there are about two years and many improvements. However, I prefer excellent video quality, since we are talking about cameras, rather than spending less. Not much less to justify such poor video quality.

I think if I was using my action cam every day for vlogging or commercial filming then video quality might take precedence.  However, I only use action cams for action and that doesnt happen very often.  So, I am trying to decide whether to keep the OA3 despite its shortcomings (which all cameras have). I know the GP11 comes with the Enduro battery (which I bought for my GP9 when I still had it) but the DJI OA3 battery has better cold weather performance than the GP11 - operating down to -20 Celsius which is important for me as I ski at the coldest time of the ski season.  Unlike all GoPros before the 11, the OA3 doesn't freeze. It will be interesting to see if the GP11 also freezes during recording.  I also like the user interface/functionality of the OA3 compared to the GP 11. And it's rumored the OA3 will be getting 10-bit colour like the GP11.  So maybe on this occasion I am prepared to compromise video/photo sharpness for everything else the camera has to offer.  Haven't made my mind up yet.
10-10 06:49
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johansenfoto
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I am actually thinking about selling my gopro and buy Insta360 ONE RS with 4K boost lens instead.

Will keep my OA3 and wait for next firmware or more info from DJI about the issue.
10-10 09:48
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10-10 11:17
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johansenfoto Posted at 10-10 06:48
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFODw4TSDZI
No I haven't and I guess you have it and never had any problems!

I have gopro 11 set UHD / 50fps and had no problems for now. I chose for the video quality, which I find fundamental for me.
It's not politically correct, DJI's modus operandi of procrastinating some features, like 10bit, for example. I have DJI Avata and same story.
However, the important thing is that everyone is happy with their purchase.
10-10 11:51
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Arpettaz
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I have just watched this review of the Osmo Action 3 – and it provides irrefutable proof that some people have a focus problem with their new camera.



Watching this YouTube review prompted me to do yet more testing.  I think there are 3 issues going on here with the new Osmo Action 3 - but I don't know if they are related or not. I don't have my original Osmo Action anymore, so I have had to use (and compare) the Osmo Action 3 with my Action 2. And so, the only caveat with my new tests this morning is that it may be both the Action 2 and Osmo Action 3 are poor compared to the original Osmo Action. That said, the Osmo Action 3 reviewed on YouTube by ‘Worth It Or Not’ definitely has a focus problem. That is problem 1.

Problem 2 - some people are reporting the focus problem only at vlogging distance and there has been debate about minimal focal distance with the Osmo Action 3. Clearly if video is out of focus at typical vlogging distance then the camera is useless for this group of people. My test this morning shows that minimum focal length on the Action 2 is 30cm, but it's slightly further away with the Osmo Action 3 at 40cm.

Problem 3 - which is my major complaint - sharpness/softness. Both video and photos on the Osmo Action 3 are softer/less sharp than the Action 2...BUT, at least with my camera I don't think it's a focus problem. There is a Beta firmware update doing the rounds which apparently improves sharpness - so if that is released, I will be a lot happier with my new camera.
10-11 02:58
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Arpettaz Posted at 10-11 02:58
I have just watched this review of the Osmo Action 3 – and it provides irrefutable proof that some people have a focus problem with their new camera.

Action 3 Focus Issue Proof !

I've just been talking with DJI support and they've asked me to be patient and not return my unit until a new firmware has been released, when prompted how long, they took my email and said later today or tomorrow morning.
10-11 03:42
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Arpettaz Posted at 10-11 02:58
I have just watched this review of the Osmo Action 3 – and it provides irrefutable proof that some people have a focus problem with their new camera.

Action 3 Focus Issue Proof !

I think the problem with the beta firmware is that it is just ‘in camera’ sharpening, so in fact, the image is not really any clearer. It doesn’t sharpen up much more in post without wrecking the image.

I have the same issue with the 2.

They both seem soft overall and the close focus shows it even more. I also think that true close focus might be a lot further away and it sharpens up (for lack of a better word) quite slowly.

The Action 3 isn’t really a vlogging camera as it is which is a pity. Most people want to turn the camera on themselves at some point.
10-11 06:45
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Arpettaz
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djiuser_Bkihq4sEHFjl Posted at 10-11 03:42
I've just been talking with DJI support and they've asked me to be patient and not return my unit until a new firmware has been released, when prompted how long, they took my email and said later today or tomorrow morning.

Thanks for letting us know
10-11 07:40
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Arpettaz
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Iancraig10 Posted at 10-11 06:45
I think the problem with the beta firmware is that it is just ‘in camera’ sharpening, so in fact, the image is not really any clearer. It doesn’t sharpen up much more in post without wrecking the image.

I have the same issue with the 2.

Interesting points. Regarding vlogging I have no interest. But if I did I wouldn’t use an action cam. I would use my mirrorless camera fitted with a good lens (and if I wanted better stabilisation would use a gimbal).  I’m not aware of any ‘professional’ vlogger who routinely uses an action cam for vlogging. The clue is in the name - Osmo Action 3, Action 2, Osmo Action. Fundamentally they are cameras designed to capture  “action” shots (as portrayed in the DJI marketing material). That said there are occasions when I want to turn the camera on myself (for example when skiing).  
10-11 07:51
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10-11 08:56
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Arpettaz Posted at 10-11 07:51
Interesting points. Regarding vlogging I have no interest. But if I did I wouldn’t use an action cam. I would use my mirrorless camera fitted with a good lens (and if I wanted better stabilisation would use a gimbal).  I’m not aware of any ‘professional’ vlogger who routinely uses an action cam for vlogging. The clue is in the name - Osmo Action 3, Action 2, Osmo Action. Fundamentally they are cameras designed to capture  “action” shots (as portrayed in the DJI marketing material). That said there are occasions when I want to turn the camera on myself (for example when skiing).

I assumed that having a front screen was for selfie type shots? You'd assume that selfies would look ok in that case. Whether it's an action cam or not. Why does an action cam have a front viewfinder..... maybe a clue that it could be for vloggers?  Phones do it better!
I have seen this a few times on this forum, where people suggest that an action cam doesn't need to be able to take selfies merely because it's an action cam. Also, if it's not quite sharp that's ok because it's an action cam. Also the 'I don't do vlogging' comment. Surely people point the camera at their faces sometimes? (Which is what vloggers do and would like reasonable internal audio in order to do so)

Mirrorless cameras on a selfie stick are quite heavy which is why vloggers actually DO use action cams like GoPros. Even my little Canon M6 is heavy on a stick!

I was given an Action 2 and 3 to test out and both are going back. Decided that the more expensive GoPro route will be sharper even though ...... it's an action cam!


10-11 11:54
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Arpettaz
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Still waiting for DJI to send me the beta version of the new firmware.  How many times do I have to ask?

Done yet more tests this morning.  I think I can now safely conclude that unlike some of the unlucky OA3 owners (who appear to have been sent defective cameras with poorly calibrated lenses), I don't have a focus problem and therefore I'm hoping a firmware update will enhance the sharpness and/or reduce the softness of my video and photos.  Better still, why can't DJI change the algorithm to allow us to set the sharpness for ourselves (like you can with the GoPro)?  How difficult can that be?

What my latest tests show is that ultra-wide FOV gives the best video quality (on my camera at least).  It's probably a statement of the blindingly obvious - but as you move from ultra wide to standard FOV the video quality degrades (less sharp, more softness) - but since the camera is cropping in no surprise there?  The worst video quality is captured in standard FOV with Horizon Balancing set.
10-13 01:43
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nice comparison , both look the same basically
10-13 03:23
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I was so close to buying AC3 from a salesman (whom I know personally) as I bought all my DJI stuffs from the shop advised me to HOLD on to my purchase. He never mentioned about problems with the AC3 as they are not suppose to reveal anything unless it's official announcement from DJI themselves. So, I am glad I did not purchase a defective product......
10-29 23:50
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really thank you for letting all know. no one at DJI is telling
10-30 03:06
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that P2 looks crisp. Have the a1 it's a nice cam, in focus. But do struggle as an actioncam. I give it a 6 out of 10 as an actioncam. a2 is no action cam. But i think, the a3 has lot of point on action scale. 8 out 10points, but as a camera it fails, 3 out of 10points. Need that focus fixed, asap. My good old mavic mini is a 8point on video and photo Quality. Was close buying a3, but was not in stores. Did cancel it, sadly. Focus so bad, useless
10-30 04:19
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I think A2 and A3 are very similar. In fact front to back photo I would say is better on the A3. Both cameras suffer with distortion with these close up photos. Video is almost the same some good some bad.

The pocket is obviously better for all round camera, the first photo you can see is focused from the centre, but it is not fully sharp throughout the frame slight blur on the front and the back wall is not sharp this could be improved by settings or tripod, but the screen grab looks to have more in focus.

I think in real world use the action cameras will preform as they should but yes improvements are needed. I don’t think mistakes are hardware dji are experts at manufacturing these small sensor cameras and most have been criticized from the starting gate including their micro 4/3 mavic 3 camera but now 1 year on its seen as an exceptional camera. Similar with pocket 1.
So I believe we will see optimizations and other improvements, but it is essentially a action camera designed to take in wide expanses and to have the whole picture in reasonable focus outdoors.
Yes some use for vlogging and if you can great but to specifically buy it for vlogging or photo photography is a real mistake. You dont buy training shoes to go hiking and expect to be as comfortable as wearing hiking shoes.

Thanks for taking the trouble to test and post.
10-30 04:53
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OnePixel Posted at 10-10 03:25
Much better GoPro11, there is no comparison.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqDLMpeIyUo

In what department, I think its just six of one and half a dozen of the other.
10-30 04:55
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hurtighansen1 Posted at 10-30 04:19
that P2 looks crisp. Have the a1 it's a nice cam, in focus. But do struggle as an actioncam. I give it a 6 out of 10 as an actioncam. a2 is no action cam. But i think, the a3 has lot of point on action scale. 8 out 10points, but as a camera it fails, 3 out of 10points. Need that focus fixed, asap. My good old mavic mini is a 8point on video and photo Quality. Was close buying a3, but was not in stores. Did cancel it, sadly. Focus so bad, useless

The A2 is a very good action camera, its just a bit vulnerable in its casing so it might be limited to some action but better in other situations. Because of its small footprint its extremely useful for some action filming. The case and lens cover were a mistake they look great and are extremely tactile I expect this came from a very over zealous designer who used to work for Apple ;+)
10-30 05:00
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Thank you for these files!
Extracted two frames from the A2 and OA3 movies.
Better A2 on sharpness, tangibly, is still something that had already been ascertained by others.
It's just a crop, but throughout the frame you can see this, more noticeable in the close subjects.
Does anyone exchange their A2 for my OA3?
A2_crop.jpg
OA3_crop.jpg
A2_crop2.jpg
OA3_crop2.jpg
10-30 05:15
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hallmark007 Posted at 10-30 05:00
The A2 is a very good action camera, its just a bit vulnerable in its casing so it might be limited to some action but better in other situations. Because of its small footprint its extremely useful for some action filming. The case and lens cover were a mistake they look great and are extremely tactile I expect this came from a very over zealous designer who used to work for Apple ;+)

A2 is far from a action cam. Limited gb, limited battery life, Fixed projektive lens cover, overheating.
It's a cam with very few action skills. It's a small cam, to put on drones, weddings, so on.
We talk, action, go Thru hell and back, Fress battery, repeat. a2 is no action cam. a1+a3 is action cams.
Do not say, you don't find it useful, but try drop it on some rocky beach. And find it funny.
10-30 06:11
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hurtighansen1 Posted at 10-30 06:11
A2 is far from a action cam. Limited gb, limited battery life, Fixed projektive lens cover, overheating.
It's a cam with very few action skills. It's a small cam, to put on drones, weddings, so on.
We talk, action, go Thru hell and back, Fress battery, repeat. a2 is no action cam. a1+a3 is action cams.

I think youll find weddings take a lot longer than action shots, so overheating is not the problem. Many if not all go pros overheat and they consistently turn off in any 4k mode. Yet they are the market leader in action cams. There are many uses for A2 in action filming and many using them. Just last Saturday i see one on the front of a touring rally car. If your dropping your camera its going to be no use for anything whether its a go pro A1,2,3 or a medium format camera. You can get protections just as nearly all go pros have, that is not a problem. Cameras have been put in cages and waterproof housings since the year dot. If you don’t own don’t knock it on the basis of the usual tit for tat vlogs we watch on you tube or here, if you did you wouldn’t be owning any action camera.
10-30 06:25
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hallmark007 Posted at 10-30 06:25
I think youll find weddings take a lot longer than action shots, so overheating is not the problem. Many if not all go pros overheat and they consistently turn off in any 4k mode. Yet they are the market leader in action cams. There are many uses for A2 in action filming and many using them. Just last Saturday i see one on the front of a touring rally car. If your dropping your camera its going to be no use for anything whether its a go pro A1,2,3 or a medium format camera. You can get protections just as nearly all go pros have, that is not a problem. Cameras have been put in cages and waterproof housings since the year dot. If you don’t own don’t knock it on the basis of the usual tit for tat vlogs we watch on you tube or here, if you did you wouldn’t be owning any action camera.

I have garmin virb xe+ultra30+360 and oa1 All hig end action. sadly garmin ended there line, so i was hoping dji would take up the lead. Then they make a lego cam oa2. Just not rugged or in anyway meet my goals. It can be a ok cam, but so is a smartphone. It's the same. So. I did buy mavic drone, oa1 and hoped for oa2, but, then oa3, then this blurry .... No, gopro is not any way stabile enoff. When i go, catch action, some days, i have close to 1tb were i may use 10gb reduce to 2-5gb video multi edit, well done. It's a matter of, turn on, point, forget, repeat. Fishing is, you never know, so you offend set up too many cams. But  they all need to run 4ever, 4-8-12 hours. My best cam is garmin virb 30 ultra. Just the best lens in a small cam.
11-1 07:14
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An action cam need to stand out to rough treatment, and can also handle to record in cold and warm climate and not fail to record.

So Action 2 and Gopro 8/9/10 is not action cameras.
11-1 10:45
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hurtighansen1 Posted at 11-1 07:14
I have garmin virb xe+ultra30+360 and oa1 All hig end action. sadly garmin ended there line, so i was hoping dji would take up the lead. Then they make a lego cam oa2. Just not rugged or in anyway meet my goals. It can be a ok cam, but so is a smartphone. It's the same. So. I did buy mavic drone, oa1 and hoped for oa2, but, then oa3, then this blurry .... No, gopro is not any way stabile enoff. When i go, catch action, some days, i have close to 1tb were i may use 10gb reduce to 2-5gb video multi edit, well done. It's a matter of, turn on, point, forget, repeat. Fishing is, you never know, so you offend set up too many cams. But  they all need to run 4ever, 4-8-12 hours. My best cam is garmin virb 30 ultra. Just the best lens in a small cam.

“ When i go, catch action, some days, i have close to 1tb were i may use 10gb reduce to 2-5gb video multi edit, well done. ”

Nice.  My Insta X3 also generates huge - and outputs even more huge
Really like it though - nice 360
11-1 10:53
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10-Bit Posted at 11-1 10:53
“ When i go, catch action, some days, i have close to 1tb were i may use 10gb reduce to 2-5gb video multi edit, well done. ”

Nice.  My Insta X3 also generates huge - and outputs even more huge

Yes. do thinking insta360 x3, i love my old virb360. But the software stitching are so bad, and a pro stitching cost more then new insta360 every year. So, am not doin it for money. to much. Problem is there fixed protexion lenses on all new 360cams. Is so bad. garmin had switchable protx lens. So when it got scratch, wupti new on. still have few new lens, 2 , did find some in russia, be4 war.
Filming, fishing, dogs, so on, cost some scratches.
Now i hope gopro max2 comes with switchable lens. But i do think, 98% not
11-2 03:31
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Hi everyone.

I know a lot of people have been discussing the focus issues on the Action 3. But has anyone sent their OA3 back to DJI for repair and had it returned?
I chatted online with the support team and they have said to send it back for repair. This was after mentioning the firmware update failed to resolve the problem.

Could this be a sign of them finding a solution or is this standard procedure?

Thanks
11-2 03:50
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AutoBear Posted at 11-2 03:50
Hi everyone.

I know a lot of people have been discussing the focus issues on the Action 3. But has anyone sent their OA3 back to DJI for repair and had it returned?

Marco here on forum did and get same bad quality back on next camera
11-2 04:27
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johansenfoto Posted at 11-1 10:45
An action cam need to stand out to rough treatment, and can also handle to record in cold and warm climate and not fail to record.

So Action 2 and Gopro 8/9/10 is not action cameras.

I would greet with you that GoPros fail to record on a regular basis which is why I no longer own one nor will I buy one again.  However, to be fair to the DJI Action 2 I have used it in both hot and cold climates and it has never failed me. So as far as I am concerned the Action 2 is an action camera
11-2 05:03
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TNQ
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- DELETED - Old post reply.. not needed
11-2 05:04
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