GoPro and DJI are titans in the growing action camera market. Both produce small, durable, lightweight cameras designed to endure harsh outdoor conditions. However, there’s actually just as much that sets them apart as unites them. What are the main differences between GoPro vs DJI? Which action camera brand is best?
In this review, we compare the specs of each brand side-by-side, go over their key differences, look at each brand’s history, and highlight their pros and cons of each. Ultimately, we’ll tell you which action camera brand is superior. GoPro and DJI both obviously have merit, but there can be but one winner between the two.
Side-by-Side Comparison: GoPro vs DJI
|Founder||Nick Woodman||Frank Wang|
|Annual Revenue||$1.16 billion (2021)||$3.83 billion (2021)|
|Main Products||Action cameras||Drones, action cameras|
|Latest Camera||HERO11 Black||Osmo Action 3|
|Size||71.8mm x 50.8mm x 33.6mm||70.5mm × 44.2mm × 32.8mm|
|Best Camera Quality||5.3K60||4K120|
|Waterproof||33 ft.||52 ft.|
|Battery Life||45 mins.||160 mins.|
GoPro vs DJI: Key Differences
The most glaring difference between GoPro and DJI are their brand offerings. GoPro is and always has been focused exclusively on action cameras, while action cameras actually come second at DJI. Their first priority is drone technology, which is what made the company so successful in the first place. Founder Frank Wang didn’t become a billionaire because of action cameras — he got there from drone technology. As such, this market is what receives the most innovative products from DJI. Action cameras are almost like an afterthought. GoPro, comparatively, never strays far from their base.
Another thing that separates the two camera brands is pricing. GoPro aims to make action photography accessible and affordable to amateurs. With this in mind, GoPro’s latest release — the GoPro HERO11 Black — retails for $499 (or $399 to GoPro subscribers). Conversely, the latest release from DJI — the Osmo Action 3 — costs $329. That’s a significant price difference, even with a subscription to GoPro. In this respect, DJI obviously has an advantage.
GoPro and DJI actual camera specs are another point of departure for the two brands. Looking at the HERO11 Black and the Osmo Action 3, the two latest cameras from these two brands, there’s a pretty even split. GoPro has the better camera quality, but DJI has the better battery life. Likewise, DJI has the smaller size, the lower weight, and also the deeper waterproof limit. Still, GoPro’s quality is markedly better: 5.3K60 vs 4K120. It’s a toss-up, and a close one at that.
5 Must-know Facts About GoPro and DJI
- As of 2020, DJI accounted for nearly 70% of the planet’s consumer drone market.
- Frank Wang became the first person to become a billionaire by selling drone technology.
- DJI sees a lot of turnover companywide due to the perfectionist nature of Frank Wang. Ultimately, he can afford to demand this of his company due to its massive success.
- GoPro sold more than three million action cameras in 2021 alone, making them the leader in the action camera market.
- The action camera market is projected to bring in $4.4 billion annually by 2028.
The History of GoPro
Company founder Nick Woodman launched GoPro in 2002. While on a surfing trip, he was inspired by the lack of equipment capable of taking high-quality action shots during extreme sports. The way he saw it, amateur photographers simply couldn’t afford the expensive, compact, waterproof cameras available on the market at the time. Likewise, Woodman observed that professionals with this kind of equipment just weren’t interested in taking a risk for action shots. Hence, the idea for GoPro — based on the concept of “going professional” — was born.
Nick spent the next couple of years coming up with the perfect product. By the time 2004 rolled around, Woodman was ready to show the world his invention. Dubbed the GoPro 35mm HERO, Woodman’s new company and its first official product caught the attention of many at trade shows across the nation. Unlike a disposable camera, the HERO could take a series of action photos on 35mm film. Two years later, in 2006, the Digital HERO arrived. Despite its 10-second limit, the Digital HERO sold like hotcakes. Sales hit nearly $3.5 million that year.
The GoPro HERO remains a staple of the brand to date. Subsequent releases continue to bring the latest quality standards to the GoPro’s signature compact body. The HERO3+ introduced 4K UHD to the GoPro family in 2014. Likewise, the HERO6 Black introduced 4K60 video in 2017. Clearly, the success of the camera brand lies in its ability to deliver high-quality photos and videos in a compact, durable, waterproof camera body. It’s been a priority for GoPro for twenty years now and will certainly be for years to come.
How DJI Got Started
DJI was founded by Frank Wang in 2006, the same year GoPro went digital. Prior to 2006, Wang built camera prototypes in his dorm room at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Unlike GoPro, his cameras were not initially housed in a tiny body. He was more interested in fitting them into aerial drones. He made so much money manufacturing and selling drone parts to universities and electronic companies that he was able to establish DJI (or Da-Jiang Innovations) in 2006. Despite early success, DJI struggled to keep afloat for its first few years.
Soon enough, an old friend gave Wang a sizable business loan. This allowed Wang and DJI to scale up their production. By the time the 2000s gave way to the 2010s, DJI was on its way to becoming the unstoppable global leader in drone tech that it is today. They further cemented their position with the release of the Phantom drone in 2013. It was an easy-to-use, entry-level drone much simpler and more user-friendly than anything on the market then. In just a few years, DJI drones were adopted by almost everyone from police to military to filmmakers to hobbyists.
DJI doesn’t just do drones. They also have a separate line of handheld cameras dubbed the Osmo. Their product line includes the Osmo Pocket, the Osmo Mobile, and the Osmo Action. The Action is a direct GoPro competitor, both in look and in function. Currently on its third iteration, the Osmo Action 3 clearly hopes to tap into the action camera market and borrow some of GoPro’s immense market share. With the Action 3 only just released in September 2022, whether or not this happens remains to be seen.
Pros and Cons of GoPro vs DJI
|Syncs footage to cloud upon charging||Very short battery life (45 minutes or less)|
|Takes both photos and videos||Prone to overheating|
|Impressive 5.3K camera quality||Latest models are quite expensive|
|A cheaper version of the HERO11 Black, the HERO11 Mini, is available|
|The Osmo Action 3 is more affordable than the HERO11 Black||Camera quality is inferior to GoPro HERO11 Black|
|Action 3 is smaller and lighter than the HERO11 Black||Not well-equipped for low light|
|Very good battery life||Known to overheat during high use|
|Waterproof rating is quite deep|
GoPro vs DJI: Which Is Best?
Clearly, the GoPro vs DJI debate looks to go down to the wire. It was never going to be as easy as pointing to one camera brand and saying, “You win,”. Who would have thought GoPro and DJI would go toe-to-toe? Ultimately, though, we give to GoPro. DJI might be the cheaper, smaller, lightweight, and have a superior waterproof rating, bu GoPro and the HERO11 Black have one key advantage: camera quality.
Obviously, the DJI Osmo Action 3 has a lot of great things going for it. It’s nonetheless a great product at an even better price. However, the GoPro HERO11 Black — and all the other latest GoPro models brand-wide — just have the superior camera quality. This matters so much when purchasing an action camera. After all, you want the best shots when shooting sport or activity outdoors. Again, while DJI does have its pros, the GoPro is the ultimate winner.