Any DJI Osmo Action 4 review has to mention water. The best drone manufacturer has for a few years now been trying to do battle in an action camera market currently dominated by the GoPros, so it’s focused on creating something with a major point of difference – waterproofing. This follow-up to the DJI Osmo Action 3 takes that concept to the next level (i.e. deeper) and introduces a few tweaks to push it further into contention for the title of the best action camera. It still can’t match the best GoPro on ultimate video quality, but we think the DJI Osmo Action 4 will make waves for some users.
DJI Osmo Action 4 review: price and release date
The DJI Osmo Action 4 was announced in August 2023 and is available to buy now at DJI UK, DJI US and DJI AU for a recommended retail price of £379/ $399/ AU$ 590. This makes it more affordable than the GoPro Hero 11 Black, but more expensive than GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini. However, the DJI Osmo Action 4 does come with significant accessories.
The Standard Bundle includes a battery, a horizontal-vertical protective frame, a quick-release adapter mount, a locking screw, a USB-C PD cable, a lens hood, a curved sticky base, and an anti-slip pad. Pay £469 /$599 /AU$ 885 for the Adventure Bundle, and you also get an extra quick-release adapter mount and locking screw, but most significantly, a battery case that can charge three batteries simultaneously (via USB-C), two extra batteries and a 1.5m selfie stick.
DJI Osmo Action 4 review: specifications
- Weight: 145g/5.1oz
- Dimensions: 70.5x44.2x32.8mm
- Max video resolution: 4K at 60fps (4:3), 4K at 120fps (16:9), 1080p at 240fps (16:9) (10-bit H.264/HEVC/130Mbps max. bit rate)
- Max photo resolution: 10MP
- ISO range: 100-12,800
- Image Sensor: 1/1.7-inch CMOS
- FOV: 155º
- Aperture: f/2.8
- Connectivity: 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 and USB-C
- App: DJI Mimo
- Battery: 1770 mAh/160 minutes
- Timelapse: 4K, 2.7K and 1080p/30fps
- Slow motion: Up to 8x
- Waterproofing: 18m/59ft natively, 60m/197ft with waterproof case
- Built-in GPS: No
- Stabilisation: HyperSmooth 5.0 and Horizon Lock
- Built-in storage: No
- Live streaming: Yes (via app and hotspot)
DJI Osmo Action 4 review: design and build quality
At 145g/5.1oz, the DJI Osmo Action 4 is a shade lighter than the GoPro Hero 11 Black but heavier than the GoPro HERO 11 Black Mini. It’s as rugged as action cameras get. Leading the charge is an all-new water rating that gets it safely down to 18m/59ft. Without a waterproof case, though, one is available for divers wanting to shoot video as low as 60m/197ft. Either way, it’s an improvement on the 16m/52.5ft achieved by the DJI Osmo Action 3, and it smashes the GoPro Hero 11 Black’s 10m/33ft water rating.
At those kinds of depths, another new feature on the DJI Osmo Action 4 will prove tempting to many – a new CMOS sensor that’s 1/1.3-inch in size, giving a 65% increase in sensor surface area (thanks to bigger pixels) compared to the DJI Osmo Action 3. It has a maximum photo resolution of 3648x2736 pixels (10 megapixels) and a max video resolution of 4K 3840×2880 (60fps), but can also shoot in 4K 3840x2160 (120fps).
Perhaps the most obvious physical feature on the DJI Osmo Action 4 is its two large LCDs – a 1.4-inch front screen (320x320 pixels, 323 ppi) and a 2.25-inch rear screen (360x640 pixels, 326 PPI), both of which are touchscreens. Alongside the former are the lens, which offers a 155º field of view – ever so slightly less than the GoPro Hero 11 Black – and achieves f2.8 and ISO 12,800, with a focus range of 0.4 m to infinity. It’s slightly surprising that the new larger CMOS sensor for shooting in low light doesn’t also come with a f/2.0 aperture or similar. However, what this new version also allows is manual adjustments to sharpness and noise reduction levels.
Surely a must-have accessory for the DJI Osmo Action 4 for anyone planning long shoots is the battery case, which can charge three batteries simultaneously and uses a versatile USB-C cable. The batteries themselves have a capacity of 1,770mAh that is rated to last a little over 2.5 hours. They also support 30W fast charging, achieving an 80 per cent charge in 18 minutes.
There are also some excellent new accessories available for the DJI Osmo Action 4 that make it easier to film POV footage, including the DJI Hanging Neck Mount, DJI Biking Accessory Kit (a handlebar mount and a body harness) and the handy Osmo Backpack Strap Mount. The XXX also now collected gyro data, so with a GPS Bluetooth remote control, it’s now possible to display data on speed, tilting, angle, acceleration and route mapping within the Mimo app.
DJI Osmo Action 4 review: set-up and use
Judged purely as a standalone action camera, the DJI Osmo Action 4 is physically impressive and easy to use. As well as a study build, it’s magnetic, with its quick-release adapter mount fastening strongly to the chassis and clipping into place. That only applies to the bottom of the chassis but put the DJI Osmo Action 4 into its horizontal-vertical protective frame, and it’s possible to attach a quick-release adapter mount to the side, thus allowing vertical videos without any cropping required.
Perhaps more importantly than that, it makes swapping between those two orientations very quick and easy. Although it’s perfectly possible to control the DJI Osmo Action 4 using its excellent LCD touchscreens – both of which are responsive and full-featured – the DJI Mimo app offers a lot more options, including live previews and downloads.
DJI Osmo Action 4 review: sample gallery
DJI Osmo Action 4 review: performance
Look through the image gallery above, and you’ll see that the DJI Osmo Action 4 is adept at taking stills. It’s not quite as good at close focus as its predecessor, but that’s hardly relevant for an action camera whose wide-angle 155º field of view is its main attraction. As with all action cameras with that kind of wide view, some distortion is inevitable, but there is a de-warp mode that automatically undoes it. With well-saturated colours and a well-judged dynamic range, photos taken in daylight impress. So do images indoors, which make use of this camera’s all-new 1/1.3-inch CMOS sensor to help reveal more detail in dingy conditions.
This sample footage of the DJI Osmo Action 4 operating at full 4K was shot indoors, so makes use of the new larger sensor. While it’s impressive in comparison to the DJI Osmo Action 3, it’s not class-leading. This video comes straight out of the camera and hasn’t been edited or touched up at all, but the DJI Mimi app does offer a decent suite of editing features, shooting templates and an AI editor that picks out the highlights from the footage, though it’s more basic and hit-and-miss than it sounds. There’s a pro-editing area of the app that allows in-depth cuts, edits, speed tweaks and volume changes.
Here’s a Hyperlapse sample shot in 2.7K (16:9) with a frame rate of 60fps, which is the limit for DJI’s HorizonSteady and HorizonBalancing features, which only work for horizontal shots. It also features RockSteady 3.0+ image stabilization. The video is exposed well and reasonably detailed, if a little jumpy, but the real value of Hyperlapse (and Timelapse) on the DJI Osmo Action 4 is that it can be shot very easily in vertical as well as horizontal orientation, albeit without HorizonSteady and HorizonBalancing. Hyperlapses and Timelapses can be shot in up to 4K resolution.
DJI Osmo Action 4 review: verdict
The DJI Osmo Action 4 is a fine all-round action camera with some excellent accessories and ease of use. Able to go deeper underwater than ever, its larger CMOS sensor addresses a problem with the DJI Osmo Action 3. However, it arguably achieves very little more than its predecessor, so it could be argued that unless you do plan to use the DJI Osmo Action 4 deep underwater and/or in the twilight, it’s probably not worth paying extra for.
That said, with excellent image stabilization, ease of use and a brilliant magnetic mounting system for accessories, the DJI Osmo Action 4 is an excellent rugged action camera that loses out to the likes of GoPro Hero 11 Black only in its lack of 5.7K video resolution. If that’s not important to you, then you’ll love the DJI Osmo Action 4.
DJI Osmo Action 4 review: alternatives to consider
The obvious competitor to the DJI Osmo Action 4 is the GoPro Hero 11 Black, which it loses out to on ultimate video resolution, but beats on underwater rating. However, while it beats it with a front LCD screen, the DJI Osmo Action 4 may struggle when up against the GoPro Hero 11 Black Mini, which boasts 5.7K video despite having a much smaller form factor and a significantly lower price. Another competitor is the product it replaces, the DJI Osmo Action 3, which it’s much pricer than despite being only an incremental improvement.