DJI Osmo Action 4 Review: My Long Term Experience and Comparison

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RCHobby Lab’s Author: Daniel Henderson
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward
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Reviewed by Kristen Ward

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On August 2nd, DJI unveiled the latest generation of their action camera, the DJI OSMO Action 4.

TLDR: DJI Osmo Action 4 Review

Compared to the OSMO Action 3, the OSMO Action 4 retains the familiar design, accessory bundle, and user interface. At a glance, it appears to be a minor upgrade, distinguished only by a change in the color scheme.

But that doesn’t mean the OSMO Action 4 hasn’t been upgraded. DJI has centered this upgrade on enhancements to filming-related features.

They have incorporated a new version of 360° horizon stabilization into the OSMO Action 4, optimized performance in 10-bit D-Log M mode, enhanced the water-resistant capabilities of the body, and upgraded the microphone.

Most notably, DJI has also included a larger sensor in the OSMO Action 4.

What’s in the box?

The OSMO Action 4, like its predecessor, offers a standard kit including the camera, battery, protective frame, quick-release adapter box, and flat adhesive mount. It also provides an all-in-one kit, which includes all the standard gear plus an extension pole, three batteries, and a multi-functional battery storage box.

This multi-functional battery storage box doubles as a charging manager for the Action series, capable of charging three batteries simultaneously. Each battery is equipped with a corresponding indicator light, and a central button press reveals each battery’s current status. Two microSD card slots are also tucked away inside the lid, allowing for additional storage during shoot outings.

If you frequently shoot handheld footage or use the Action as your main Vlog selfie camera, opting for the all-in-one kit is a smart choice.

DJI Osmo Action 4 vs. Osmo Action 3:

DJI Osmo Action 4 performance

First, let’s talk about the core sensor.

DJI has utilized a 1/1.3-inch sensor in the OSMO Action 4, paired with the 155° field of view and F2.8 aperture lens from the OSMO Action 3. The focus range extends from 0.3 to infinity.

The new sensor’s size is slightly larger than the 1/1.7-inch sensor found on the OSMO Action 3, which will improve its performance in low-light environments.

Photo/Video Quality

In actual shooting, it’s apparent that the OSMO Action 3 can maintain relatively balanced exposure in areas with weak light, such as the details near the wall close to the rooftop. The highlights are also somewhat suppressed, contributing to a more even overall look.

In contrast, the GoPro 11 tends to increase the overall brightness of the picture, leading to a tendency to overexpose the highlights.

The second set of results reveals more pronounced differences.

The OSMO Action 4 retains more detail in the shadowed areas, but the overall brightness of the image is lower. Conversely, the GoPro exhibits higher overall brightness, though the highlights may be overexposed.

These differences between the two cameras become more evident when shooting under a robust light source, such as a lamp.

Switching back to a daylight environment, the OSMO Action 4’s performance in shooting 4K footage in regular mode is average. The image is bright but exhibits lower overall contrast and saturation.

The straight-out-of-camera footage may appear somewhat gray, possibly to leave room for user adjustments in post-processing.

The effect of the 155° wide-angle lens is more pronounced, and with the built-in distortion correction of the OSMO Action 4, the footage’s usability is enhanced.

In terms of regular mode, the OSMO Action 4 also offers a 10-bit D-Log M recording mode, simplifying color grading for users after recording. DJI has optimized this generation of the camera for high-contrast environments, making color transitions smoother and more natural than before.

Here’s a comparison between regular shooting, with D-Log M enabled, and D-Log M restored to 709:

In terms of stabilization, the OSMO Action 4 continues to utilize the 360° horizon stabilization system. This has been enhanced for improved performance in low-light conditions compared to the previous generation.

Under well-lit conditions, the OSMO Action 4 exhibits outstanding stabilization, making it particularly suited for activities such as running on flat surfaces or stairs.

Additionally, the OSMO Action 4 supports gyro data export, which adds convenience for post-stabilization processing using specialized stabilization software.

Like its predecessor, the OSMO Action 3, the OSMO Action 4 also accommodates timecode synchronization. This feature proves to be especially valuable when dealing with multi-camera footage during the editing process.

The camera body maintains the sleek deep black color and is streamlined with only two buttons: the recording button on top and the power button on the left. Inheriting the quick selection function from its predecessor, the power button allows users to effortlessly switch between photo, video, and time-lapse modes with just a short press.

Compared to the direct output mode, when D-Log M is enabled on the OSMO Action 4, the overall picture will appear slightly more gray, with subtle enhancements in detail in both the highlights and shadows. If you’re using other devices capable of shooting in D-Log M, you’ll find it more convenient to color grade and restore them together.

Overheating Test

The OSMO Action 4 issues an overheating warning after approximately 15-16 minutes of use.

When this warning is displayed, the rear screen will automatically turn off after 3 seconds, and after 20 minutes, the camera will indicate that it is overheating and stop recording. The device must then be left to cool down before it can resume shooting.

Interestingly, if you remove the battery and storage card at this point, you’ll notice that the temperature of the storage card is much higher than that of the battery.

DJI Osmo Action 4 appearance & design

The OSMO Action 4 continues the design style of the original Action, maintaining the standard form of a sports camera and displaying virtually no changes compared to the third generation.

The square front screen still occupies half of the front body, flanked by a 155° field of view lens with an F2.8 aperture, as well as the OSMO Action 4 logo.

The lens still incorporates a threaded structure, allowing for the rotation and replacement of different filters. What’s new is that the thread used to attach the filter is now hidden inside the body, so once a filter is mounted, it doesn’t protrude as it did with the previous OSMO Action, making the overall design much sleeker.

The body retains its deep black color scheme, with only two buttons: the recording button on the top and the power button on the left side. The power button inherits the quick selection feature, enabling rapid switching between photo, video, and time-lapse modes with a short press.

The entire camera reserves openings only on the left and right sides, housing the USB-C port alongside the QS power button, with the battery compartment and microSD card slot on the other side.

The door of the USB-C port utilizes a removable U-shaped pivot latch, convenient for connecting devices like the DJI Mic.

However, the joints still rely on a rigid plug-and-pull method for attachment and removal, which may be prone to damage with frequent use.

Moreover, the latches in the Action series are particularly tight, so caution is needed during assembly and disassembly.
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The back still features a 2.25-inch elongated screen with a UI that straightforwardly displays the current parameters on the screen to minimize obstructions. If users want to adjust parameters, they can do so by directly tapping on them.

The parameter adjustment interface operates through a common left-right sliding mode in sports cameras, with other functions accessible via pull-down and side menus.

For example, the newly added D-Log M mode switch is placed in the right-side menu; sound controls are found in the pull-down menu, and functions like operation alert sound settings, which are typically set only once when unboxing, have been conveniently located in the ‘Settings’ menu.

The three integrated menus streamline similar features, offering a quick learning curve for those already familiar with the OSMO Action series.

However, I personally would prefer if the alert sound switch could be incorporated into the dropdown menu, even if it’s on a secondary page due to feature overload. This change would heighten efficiency for users like me who prefer to disable alert sounds right off the bat or for those who toggle it frequently.

The OSMO Action 4 retains the magnetic quick-release feature used from the third generation at its base, which exhibits robust magnetic strength, securing a firm hold on stationary objects.

It also supports swift accessory swaps. Given the unchanged body dimensions and design, accessories from the previous generation remain compatible.

Adapters like the GoPro Mount or 1/4″ screw converters, selfie sticks, and a variety of mounting accessories all work seamlessly with the OSMO Action 4, allowing for prompt transitions between different setups.

The quick-release feature is compact enough to permit battery changes without removal as long as it’s not attached to an outer frame.

While the magnetic attachment feature is handy, it doesn’t always secure correctly on the first try – you should listen for a distinct ‘click’ to confirm it’s secure. Always ensure the latch is properly aligned and fully installed to prevent the camera from potentially being dislodged during movement.

The OSMO Action 4 has bolstered its durability features, augmenting its water-resistance depth from 16 meters to 18 meters.

Final verdict: Should you upgrade to DJI Osmo Action 4?

Overall, the OSMO Action 4 outshines as a versatile sports camera, adept for both terrestrial use and extreme sports. For OSMO Action 3 users, the OSMO Action 4 serves as a comprehensive upgrade.

Boasting a larger sensor size and optimized algorithms and technologies, the OSMO Action 4 shines even in low-light environments. This means users can continue filming in dim lighting or while vlogging at night without having to switch to a larger camera for quality concerns – the OSMO Action 4 is fully equipped to handle it.

DJI has enhanced both the user experience and fine details with upgrades like increased water resistance, enhanced microphone audio capture, gyro data output, and more, all facilitating a smoother shooting experience.

Backed by professional features like timecode sync, D-Log M recording mode, and the accessory ecosystem DJI built with the OSMO Action 3, the OSMO Action 4 is adept across professional shooting, extreme sports, and daily documentation.

Therefore, if you’re contemplating a compact camera to document life’s moments, particularly for handheld selfies or first-person perspective shots, or to diversify your existing camera system, the OSMO Action 4 is an excellent contender.

For Action 2 users, magnetic quick-release accessories like selfie sticks and tripods remain compatible, and the OSMO Action 3’s stability, reliability, and filming performance greatly surpass those of the Action 2.

While the body design and usage have undergone significant transformations, transitioning to DJI’s new generation (third and fourth) for these tangible improvements makes perfect sense.

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Written By Daniel Henderson

My name is Daniel Henderson and I'm an avid FPV pilot and videographer. I've been flying quadcopters for over 5 years and have tried just about every drone and FPV product on the market. When not flying quads, you can find me mountain biking, snowboarding, or planning my next travel adventure.

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