Osmo Action 4 feature shot

DJI Osmo Action 4 review: ultimate adventure vlogging camera

DJI makes more than just drones and gimbals. The Shenzhen-based electronics company has actually been in the action camera game since 2018, starting with the Pocket 1, and then the first Osmo Action a year later. We’re now at the Action’s fourth iteration, and the camera still bears a striking resemblance to a GoPro, this time the Hero 11. Similarities between the two are no bad thing, however, as the DJI Osmo Action 4 aims to improve on the formula with some standout capabilities.

What’s new in the Osmo Action 4?

The Action 4 is also similar to the Action 3. They look the same, and share features like the 1.4 and 2.25-inch colour touch screens. However, one of the most significant improvements is with the image sensor, which grows from 1/1.7 inches to 1/1.3 inches. This brings a wider dynamic range and better low-light performance, but more on this later. 

Otherwise, Action 4’s case has a revamped lens cover design, and it can now be submerged to 18 meters. While recording modes, including the maximum 4K at 120 frames per second (fps), remains unchanged, you can now adjust the level of image sharpening and noise reduction, allowing a cleaner file to add your own effects during editing.

Another welcome addition is that GPS data can be overlayed on your footage, which is a cool way to share your location. You’ll need to buy the GPS Bluetooth Remote controller for this, however. FPV drone pilots will love the ability to export gyro data into post-production tools like Gyroflow, which can be used to smooth out videos even more than the onboard stabilisation and the new D-Log M mode offers a flat 10-bit colour profile that’s perfect for grading footage.

DJI Osmo Action 4 specifications

Camera1/1.3-inch CMOS
FOV: 155°
Aperture: f/2.8
Focus Range: 0.4 m to ∞
3648×2736 max photo resolution & 4K video
More information
Dimensions70.5×44.2×32.8 mm
145 g
DisplaysFront screen: 1.4-inch 323 ppi 320×320
Rear screen: 2.25-inch 326 ppi 360×640
Both touch enabled
StorageNo in-built storage, support for microSD cards up to 512GB
Durability18 m depth without the Waterproof Case, 60 m with the Waterproof Case
Battery1770 mAh
Tested to 160 minutes
ConnectivityWi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)
Bluetooth 5.0
Price (RRP)$629 (Standard Combo)
$819 (Adventure Combo)
Warranty1 year
Official websiteDJI Australia

Capabilities: DJI Osmo Action 4 vs GoPro Hero 11 Black

The DJI Osmo Action 4 Standard Combo costs $629, which is $110 more than the Action 3 ($519). The GoPro Hero 11 Black is $649.99, and therefore its most logical competition. The key difference between the two really comes down to recording capabilities and modes. The Hero 11 Black can record videos and capture photos at higher resolutions, whereas the Action 4’s larger sensor provides better low-light performance and higher dynamic range. This is due to the different sensors used between the products; The GoPro Hero 11 Black has a 1/1.9-inch sensor versus the Action 4’s larger 1/1.3-inch variant.

The GoPro Hero 11 Black’s video recording supports a maximum 5.3K video capture at 60fps, 4K at 120fps, and 240fps at 2.7K resolution. As mentioned earlier, the Action 4 tops out at 4K/120 fps, and can manage HD resolution (1080p) in 240fps. The sensor shape is also different, with the Hero 11 Black using an 8:7 shape, and the Action 4 has a 4:3 aspect ratio. The Hero 11’s 8:7 mode will capture a higher resolution in vertical shooting mode, which is a plus for capturing social videos, however, the Action 4 is also decent here, just with a bit less detail.

On the photo front, the Hero 11 Black can shoot 27.13 megapixels photos, compared to the Action 4’s 10-megapixel capability.

Another thing that sets the two apart is the Action 4’s touch-sensitive front display. While the GoPro also has a colour front screen, you can’t interact with it to adjust settings or review footage. Either way, a front display is very useful for previewing your recordings and very handy if you’re recording videos or taking photos on your own.


The Action 4 comes in a standard action camera shape, with a rectangular body and camera lens on the top right-hand side. While it’s fairly rugged on its own, you also get a protective metal frame in the box, adding extra reassurance. 

Another standout feature of the Action 4 is the magnetic quick-release mount system. This includes a sturdy magnetic baseplate with attachment points on both the bottom and side of the camera. This means you can easily switch between horizontal and vertical shooting, and you don’t need to unscrew the base, like GoPro’s mounting system. And as the mounts are guided by magnets, you can easily swap attachments while wearing gloves or in the dark.

You can buy more than one magnetic base too, and these can still be used with standard screw-based GoPro accessories, so if you have both in your kit bag, they can be shared.

The only downside is that you’ll need to avoid misplacing your magnetic baseplates when not in use as they are not affixed to the case like a GoPro Hero.

Resisting the elements

The USB-C connection port, battery, and memory card cover are behind watertight hatches, and I found these much easier to open than the Hero 11 Black.

And with 18 metres of water resistance, you can increase this to 60 meters by adding a waterproof case. The Hero 11 Black can only manage 10 meters, but it too can descend to 60 meters by adding the GoPro waterproof case accessory.

There’s a deep freeze capability too, which essentially means that your battery won’t be tapped in very cold weather. DJI says you can get up to 150 minutes in temperatures as low as 20 degrees centigrade, though I didn’t test this for myself.

Camera capabilities

The Action 4 has a comprehensive selection of shooting features including horizontal and vertical capture, image stabilisation modes, 2 x digital zoom, timelapse and hyperlapse modes, horizon lock, wide and linear lens effects, high dynamic range, 10-bit colour and slow-motion. It also does a decent job of erasing the extension rod/selfie stick from your final footage.

Then there’s voice-activated recording, a customisable QuickSwitch button and a DJI control app. You can also use the Action 4 for live streaming when connected to a phone or computer.

The menu controls are straightforward enough. You can save camera configurations to custom modes, and these can be assigned to the QuickSwitch menu. Tapping the power button can cycle between them.

Swiping up on either display gives you access to settings, and there are on-screen icons for previewing footage, zoom and the like. The menu is fairly consistent between the front and rear screens, though it’s a little cramped on the 1.4-inch front unit. Still, it’s great that this is a touchscreen, as the Hero 11 Black’s front display is not.

The DJI MIMO app is where you can access your footage album, use editing tools, remotely control the camera, update firmware and access tutorials. However, one annoying thing is that you can’t set up the camera without the app or your smartphone.

Battery life

A benefit of the Action 4’s lower resolution sensor is that there are fewer pixels to manage. This translates to less processing and less heat generated when recording. The Hero 11 Black, for example, will have reduced battery life and less recording time in its highest 5.3K mode before it needs to take a break to cool down.

As such, the Action 4 didn’t appear to have any heating issues when recording in 4K/60 for about 35 minutes on a cool day, and its battery lasted around 95 minutes including numerous recording sessions at maximum 4K/60 resolution. And, as I had the extra two batteries and charging case, there was never a worry about running out of juice. If you do, the battery supports rapid charging and can hit 80% in 18 minutes.

What’s the image quality like?

Overall, I was really impressed with the Action 4’s footage. Its larger sensor size really does produce a dynamic picture, so it’s the king of low-light recording compared to the Hero 11 Black.

It’s surprising how much detail is captured once the sun goes down, and this really should be your go-to camera if you plan on shooting in darker settings. It can’t see in the dark, and there will still be noise in very low light, but it’s quite impressive given the sensor size.

There isn’t much white-clipping in harsh sunlight either, and objects like clouds remained detailed when shooting towards the sky.

Colours are also vibrant and bright, and the image stabilization is very good. I fixed both cameras to a rig and certainly shook the daylights out of them, and I really couldn’t tell the difference in terms of anti-shake.

This is the same with audio recording – as both seemed to be about the same in terms of clarity and background noise reduction. You can also add an external mic should you wish to improve your recordings with a DJI wireless mic attachment.

While the GoPro Hero 11 black can capture in higher resolutions, the action force 4K still looks quite sharp and detailed so you’re not going to be missing out on much. I suppose a drawback is that the smaller resolution means that your picture will be cropped more when stabilized.

I integrated some Action 4 footage into a professional 16:9 production (shot with a Canon EOS C70), and it held its own in terms of clarity, colour and noise, and we didn’t need to do much to it.

It was also really easy to switch to vertical recording using the magnetic mount. All I needed to do was disconnect the plate and then reconnect it to the short edge of the camera and off I went. Both photos and videos captured vertically were fairly easy to manipulate for my social posts, however, the Hero 11 Black’s 8:7 aspect sensor does get you closer to a 9:16 crop.

What does the Osmo Action 4 cost?

In the Standard Combo package ($629), you’ll get the Action 4 camera, the protective frame, magnetic baseplate and a curved adhesive mount, which looks like it’s for sticking on a bike or motorcycle helmet. The model I reviewed was the Osmo Action 4 Adventure Combo, for $819, and this includes two additional batteries, a handy multifunctional battery charging case and a sturdy 1.5-meter extension rod.

Who is the Osmo Action 4 for?

This is a fantastic action camera for outdoor/adventure vloggers and solo content creators that want a rugged, easy-to-use system. The Action 4 is the go-to choice for low-light shooting as well as hot climates because the camera won’t overheat as quickly in high-resolution modes. It has plenty of post-recording features too such as D-Log/10-bit colour grading, gyro stabilisation and GPS details that can be added to your videos.

Still, if you need the highest resolution possible at the highest frame rates, then the GoPro Hero 11 Black is your best choice. There’s also a wider selection of accessories in the GoPro camp. Otherwise, if you want to save $110 and don’t need the higher visual performance that the Action 4’s large sensor brings, you’ll probably be happy with the Action 3, which still has plenty going for it.

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DJI Osmo Action 4
It's a close contest between the DJI Osmo Action 4 and the GoPro Hero 11 Black, but a larger sensor gives DJI the edge in low-light.
Ease of use
Value for money
Larger sensor means impressive low light performance and dynamic range
Full colour front display is a touchscreen, making it easier to shoot and configure the camera while in front of the lens
Quick and easy magnetic base plate system with horizontal and vertical positions
Robust design with metal cage included, -20 degrees C cold resistant and rated for 18 meters underwater
10-bit D-Log mode for colour grading
Can't reach the 5.3K maximum resolution or 240fps at 2.7K of the GoPro Hero 11 Black
You must use the DJI app to set it up