DJI Osmo Action 4 camera review

DJI Osmo Action 4: can it compete with the GoPro HERO11 Black action camera?

DJI today released the newest addition to its action camera lineup, called the DJI Osmo Action 4. The fourth generation of DJI’s action camera line aims to compete primarily with American-made GoPro’s HERO11 Black action camera. In some ways, it outperforms, though in some ways the GoPro wins out. We’ll compare the cameras below, but for now, here are the most standout specs of DJI’s newest action camera, which dropped on Aug. 2, 2023:

  • 1/1.3″ image sensor
  • Wide f/2.8 aperture
  • 2.4μm-equivalent pixel size
  • Shoots 4K/120fps
  • Provides a 155° ultra-wide FOV

All that entails shots with far superior detail than what its predecessors offered, even in low light. And it comes at a relatively-affordable price point; the Osmo Action 4 Standard Combo starts at $399. That’s the same price as its closest competitor from GoPro, the HERO11 Black. DJI also offers the option for the more expensive Osmo Action 4 Adventure Combo, which adds on even more accessories and retails for $499.

Here’s a deep dive into this new action camera:

Photo courtesy of DJI.

DJI Osmo Action 4 camera

The two biggest upgrades in terms of this camera versus previous Osmo cameras are superior image quality and color performance. Much of that chalks up to a larger sensor than what previous Osmo Action cameras offered. And not only is that 1/1.3″ sensor the largest of any Osmo action cameras, it’s even larger than the GoPro Hero 11’s 1/1.7in sensor (and it also touts a bigger equivalent pixel size).

Aside from the specs named above, there are also smart shooting modes, such as the 360° HorizonSteady stabilization modes (which include RockSteady 3.0/3.0+ for FPV footage and HorizonBalancing /HorizonSteady for horizontal shots).

For improved color performance and further post-production capabilities, there’s a new 10-bit D-Log M color mode which provides more than one billion colors and a wider dynamic range than what Osmo cameras had previously. DJI also said it included a more advanced color temperature sensor to ensure tones that are both more vibrant but also more true-to-life.

The camera is also capable of digital Zoom of up to 2x. What’s nice is that zoom can even be adjusted while recording.

And this camera is pretty smart, with intelligent features that make your footage better. One standout is called “InvisiStick,” which is a feature that recognizes and digitally hides any potential selfie stick in your shot, intelligently eliminating it from your film.

The InvisiStick feature recognizes and digitally hides any potential selfie stick in your shot, intelligently eliminating it from your film.

Battery life

Among the biggest challenges facing past versions (particularly the first Osmo Action as well as the second generation) of the Osmo Action camera series is its battery life. Particularly for folks who wanted to view footage on the screen, the battery would drain quickly on the first two generations of Osmo. But with the Osmo Action 4, you can film for more than 2.5 hours. And assuming you have a spot to recharge, you can get back to 80% charge in just 18 minutes.

For context, the DJI Osmo Action 2 offered just 70 minutes on its own. That changed with the Osmo Action 3. While it offers 70 minutes alone, you could connect it to a 1770mAh Extreme Battery, capable of up to 160 minutes of recording time.

Because the Osmo Action cameras are designed with action sports in mind (which often also means extreme temperatures), this battery was built with a freeze-resistant design. That means it can withstand temperatures as low as -20°C (-4°F) while still being able to record for up to 150 minutes.

You can also use an external power supply to keep your action camera charged during long live streams to ensure an uninterrupted broadcast.

Design

As popularized in past Osmo Action cameras is the magnetic quick-release design, which makes it possible to quickly switch between setups.

Recent DJI products, including the newly launched DJI Air 3 drone, have emphasized vertical shooting (which is the film style used for most social media sites including Instagram Reels and TikTok). This camera, too, offers a native vertical shooting capability, enabled by the Horizontal-Vertical Protective Frame.

DJI Osmo Action 4 camera vertical mode
The DJI Osmo Action 4 camera in vertical mode.

And since waterproof design is key for so many action sports and adventures, this camera has dual water-stain resistant touchscreens. It can even withstand depths of up to 18 meters without a case.

Does the DJI Osmo Action capture audio?

Does the DJI Osmo Action capture audio? Yes — and that’s thanks to built-in microphones capable of stereo recording. In total there are three mics, augmented with wind noise reduction software to cut down on that annoying wind blowing, which is all too frequent in action sports videos.

Though, if you want an even better microphone, you’ll want to upgrade. to the DJI Mic, which is an add-on accessory that connects via the Type-C port. Other external mics connect via 3.5mm to Type-C cable.

Other neat Osmo Action features

Live-streaming: You might also use the Osmo Action 4 for Wi-Fi live-streaming, as long as you can connect it to Wi-Fi (or simply your phone’s hotspot.

Voice control: There may be no need to unmount the camera and change your settings with your hands, as your voice might do it better. The camera’s Voice Control recognizes voice commands, and Voice Prompt informs users of what modes are currently in use without needing to unmount the camera. 

Photo courtesy of DJI.

How do you edit Osmo Action 4 footage?

Sure, there’s any number of ways to edit Osmo Action 4 footage. Fancy folk might use programs like Final Cut or Adobe Premiere. But for likely the quickest, easiest option, there’s DJI’s own LightCut App. That’s because you can edit directly in the app — no need to transfer footage from the camera to your computer or phone through a cord or other annoying file transfer process.

The LightCut App is AI-powered, automatically editing the most interesting clips into a video for you. Within the app are various story templates and in-app editing tools so you can customize the video to your style, assuming you don’t like what the AI came up with.

The app does require a Wi-Fi connection for quick previews and auto-editing.

How to get your hands on the Osmo Action 4

Luckily, there’s no pre-order or waiting time. The Osmo Action 4 camera is available today from DJI’s own website, as well as most authorized retail partners including Amazon and B&H. Though, it isn’t set to ship until August 9.

The camera is available in a few different kits, which have more or less accessories, depending on the kit you get. Here are your two options, and what they include:

Osmo Action 4 standard combo
The Osmo Action 4 Standard Combo ($399)

The Osmo Action 4 Standard Combo ($399): Accessories include one Osmo Action Extreme Battery, Osmo Action Horizontal-Vertical Protective Frame, Osmo Action Quick-Release Adapter Mount, Osmo Action Curved Adhesive Base, Osmo Locking Screw, Type-C to Type-C PD Cable, Osmo Action Lens Hood, and Osmo Action Anti-Slip Pad.

Osmo Action 4 Adventure Combo
The Osmo Action 4 Adventure Combo ($499)

The Osmo Action 4 Adventure Combo ($499): Accessories include three Osmo Action Extreme Batteries, Osmo Action Horizontal-Vertical Protective Frame, Osmo Action Quick-Release Adapter Mount, mini Osmo Action Quick-Release Adapter Mount, Osmo Action Curved Adhesive Base, two Osmo Locking Screws, Type-C to Type-C PD Cable, Osmo Action Multifunctional Battery Case, Osmo 1.5m Extension Rod, Osmo Action Lens Hood, and Osmo Action Anti-Slip Pad. 

Along with the camera itself, DJI has launched a long list of DJI Osmo Action accessories that you can buy a la carte, many of which are specific sports. Many of these are relatively new themselves, as DJI just dropped tons of new mounts and related accessories in July 2023. The new Osmo accessories include:

DJI also sells kits specific to certain sports. So, you might opt for the $79 Cycling Accessory Kit that includes must-haves for cyclists such as a bike seat rail mount. Or, you might opt for the $19 Surfing Tether Kit which includes the surfing tether as well as relevant doodads to go with it.

Who is the Osmo Action 4 best for?

This camera basically brings performance improvements to the old DJI Osmo Action 3 camera, which first debuted in September 2022 — most notably a larger sensor. That said, the Action 3 starts at just $329 (versus $399 for the 4), so budget conscious photographers might find the camera on the 3 to be sufficient — particularly for the price savings.

The next closest non-DJI competitor is the GoProHERO11 Black. Here’s how all those cameras compare on some key specs:

GoProHERO11 BlackDJI Osmo Action 3DJI Osmo Action 4
Price$399$329$399
Sensor1/1.9″1/1.7″ sensor1/1.3″ image sensor
Aperturef/2.8 aperturef/2.8 aperturef/2.8 aperture
Video quality5.3K60 + 4K1204K/120fps4K/120fps

Like pretty much any action camera — no matter the manufacturer — these compact, durable cameras are designed for adventure enthusiasts and extreme sports athletes who want to document their lives. The cameras offer waterproof housing and a variety of mounts for things like handlebars and helmets to make filming convenient even in hands-free situations.

The Osmo Action 4 in particular stands out for its larger sensor (and improved low-light performance too boot), which makes it worth upgrading especially for folks filming in darker environments, whether that’s indoors or just in early morning or late evening. For the best action camera based on sensor size and pixel size, there’s no better on the market right now than the Osmo Action 4.

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