Now is the worst time to buy an action camera from DJI or GoPro

Are you planning to buy a new action camera from DJI or GoPro? Unless you need it for an upcoming trip, we’ll hold the fire for now, as new rumors suggest DJI may soon join GoPro in launching a new model.

Regular DJI Leak @DealsDrone (opens in a new tab) claimed that a new DJI Action 3 “will be released in mid-September”. It would be a successor to the DJI Action 2 Modular, although the leak claims that “its appearance is almost [the] same as [the] Action Osmo”.

If so, that means DJI is planning to release a more traditional action camera that would once again directly compete with GoPro’s Hero line. The original Osmo Action, which launched in 2019, beat its GoPro rivals with a host of features, including a front-facing display for vlogging.

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But that camera may soon be competing with a new GoPro flagship. While we haven’t seen any leaks for a GoPro Hero 11 Black yet, all GoPros from 2017 to present were announced in September (except for the GoPro Hero 8 Black, which landed in mid -october).

That means there’s a good chance a Hero 11 Black will launch next month, especially as GoPro CEO Nick Woodman said earlier this year that “by the end of 2022, we expect to increase our material offer from the two types of products we have today. , Hero and Max, to four separate cameras”.

So far this year, the king of action cameras has only released the GoPro Hero 10 Black Bones, a slimmed down version of its flagship model for FPV (first person view) drones. That means we’re expecting refreshes to its Hero and Max ranges, and possibly a new type of camera, by the end of the year.

But the main one will likely be a Hero 11 Black, which will apparently soon compete with a refreshed DJI Action 3 for the hearts of action adventurers who need a compact, waterproof video camera with powerful stabilization.

Analysis: New flagships, but minor improvements?

The DJI Action 2 action camera on a blue background

The DJI Action 2 (above) delivered a new modular form factor, but the DJI Action 3 is expected to return to a GoPro-style design. (Image credit: DJI)

Action cameras have managed to stay relevant by acting as stunt doubles for our smartphones, which are still too prominent (and awkwardly shaped) to risk getting in the line of sight during action-packed adventures.

But over the past couple of years, the best action cameras have also been relatively minor upgrades from their predecessors. More powerful processing provided superior idle modes, as well as useful features such as horizon leveling, and the DJI Action 2 also provided a unique modular design. But huge advances haven’t really been possible with the technology that’s currently available.

This means that if you need to buy an action camera right now, getting a Hero 10 Black or a DJI Action 2 would definitely not be a bad decision. Both are great action cameras in different ways, and newer models from DJI and GoPro are likely to focus mostly on software improvements.

Based on recent history, we wouldn’t expect a Hero 11 Black to have a new sensor, for example, as GoPro typically uses the same Sony chip for three generations before switching to a new one. The current Sony IMX677 has only been in two GoPro models so far, although it’s possible GoPro could change tack for its next flagship.

Either way, it’s wise not to buy a new action camera for a few weeks, if only because current DJI or GoPro models will likely get discounts following new launches. At the end of September, it’s likely we’ll get new DJI and GoPro flagships – and as a result, their cheaper models should offer better value for money than they currently do.

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