Let’s check out DJI’s latest action camera – the Osmo Action 4. Discover how it stacks up against the GoPro Hero 12, and if it’s the better camera for FPV drone use. At first glance, its exterior might strike you as familiar, bearing a resemblance to its predecessor, the Osmo Action 3, it’s the internal enhancements that truly distinguish it.
Table of Contents
Where To Buy?
Purchase the DJI Osmo Action 4 camera here:
It comes with the following accessories in the box:
Design and Build
Upon first inspection, the Osmo Action 4 looks identical to its predecessor, the Action 3, a design decision that many will appreciate. This means Action 3 accessories like TPU mounts, batteries, and ND filters are fully compatible. The magnetic mounting system remains unchanged, ensuring swift and secure attachment.
The camera measures 70 x 44 x 31.8mm and weighs in at 145 grams (battery included). The battery on its own is 33.5g.
The layout is identical to the Action 3. The 2.25-inch color touch screen at the back boasts a 640x360px resolution. The ON/OFF button and the USB-C connector hatch are on the left, while the right houses the removable battery and micro SD card. The shutter button is located on top.
The real difference between the Action 3 and 4 revolves around the updated image sensor.
New and Improved Sensor
The highlight of the Osmo Action 4 is undoubtedly its new imaging system. It’s a 1/1.3 inch sensor, a popular size DJI is leaning into lately. In fact, it’s the same sensor used on the latest DJI Air 3 camera drone.
This camera promises impressive dynamic range during the day, as well as reduced digital noise in lowlight conditions thanks to its backside illuminated stack sensor. I noticed an improvement in dynamic range when switching from the Osmo Action 3 to the Action 4. This is particularly important in FPV shooting where transitioning between varied lighting is frequent. The wide-angle lens does mean that in direct light, lens flares are unavoidable, but that’s a common drawback in many cameras.
With capabilities like 10-bit color, flat color d-log m and up to 4k 120FPS footage, the video quality is sharp and vivid. The in-camera stabilization, Rocksteady, works really well, but if you prefer post-editing stabilization, you can turn off Rocksteady and utilize Gyroflow. Action 3 doesn’t support Gyroflow, and that’s a good reason to get the 4 over the 3 if you are a fan of Gyroflow.
Frame Rates & Resolution
The Osmo Action 4 can record at a maximum resolution of 4K in 4:3 (3840 x 2880 pixels, this is less than the 4096 x 3072 pixels of the Osmo Action 3), up to 60fps. Maximum bitrate for 4K 60fps is 130Mbps. There’s no 5k or 6k supports yet, however, the 4K 120fps does deliver stunning slow-motion shots (but only in 16:9, 3840 x 2160 pixels).
Flat color mode is available on the Action 4 (D-Log M), which shoots flat for color correction and color grading in post. Note that flat color is different on the Action3 which was D-Cinelike.
The fully colored front display also functions as a touchscreen. Not only does it make for quick settings adjustments, but it’s also perfect for vloggers and self-shooters to frame their shots.
The built-in microphone on the Osmo Action 4 is commendable. Even with the wind reduction turned off, it managed to capture clear audio. This makes it ideal choice for vlogging and holiday, or for every day activities.
The Osmo Action 4 is waterproof up to 16 meters without the need for an additional accessory, giving it an edge over many other action cameras.
The Osmo Action 4 battery has the same look and specs as the Osmo Action 3, and they’re compatible. The battery life is impressive, allowing up to 160 minutes of recording in a full charge. Overheating is a non-issue, especially when used on FPV drones.
One of the standout features of the Osmo Action 4 is its quick charging capability. Being able to charge from 0 to 80% in just 18 minutes is a boon for anyone out in the field. Time is of the essence when capturing the perfect shot, and this feature alone is a significant advantage.
Conclusion: GoPro 12 vs Action 4
|DJI Action 4
|Image Sensor Size
|Field of View (FOV)
|4:3 / 16:9
|8:7 / 4:3 / 16:9
|Max Video Bitrate
|8x @ 1080p
|8x @ 1080p
|Up to 4x
|Up to 4x
|up to 18m
|up to 10m
|up to 160 mins
|up to 155 mins
|Wi-Fi + Bluetooth
|Wi-Fi + Bluetooth
|71.8 x 50.8 x 33.6 mm
The Action 4 uses a larger image sensor than the GoPro 12. Larger sensors generally equate to better low-light performance, and while the rumoured one-inch sensor would’ve been groundbreaking, it might have introduced overheating issues.
Contrastingly, the Action 4 boasts a 1/1.3 inch sensor, outdoing GoPro 12’s 1/1.9 inch. This larger sensor not only promises superior low-light performance due to its larger size, but also produces more accurate colors, thanks to DJI’s color temp sensor.
However the GoPro offers unique features such as higher 5.3k 60fps resolution and 8:7 aspect ratio which is more flexible for social media.
The Action 4 also offers better white balance in “auto” mode because of a proper white balance sensor since the action 2.
I feel like even with the lowest sharpness settings (-2), the Action 4 still seems to be over-sharpen.
Also, gyrodata for image stabilization is only available with the “wide” lens which is a crop and upscaled to 4K, and Gyroflow doesn’t work well with that, cropping in an image that is already cropped.
Low Light Performance
Both cameras cap their ISO range at 3200. But, thanks to the Action 4’s larger sensor and better pixel pitch, it’s superior in low light conditions.
Video Specs and Color Grading
While GoPro offers 5.3K at 60fps, the Action 4 maxes out at 4K at 120fps. Editing on a 4K timeline means I rarely notice the resolution difference. Both cameras also support 10-bit color, enabling a richer color grading experience, with the GoPro Hero 12’s log profile being notably less flat than DJI’s d-log m.
Decent in-camera audio is crucial for action cams. Both the Gopro 12 and Action 4 do a respectable job, but personally I prefer the audio from the Aciton 4. Anyway, for the best possible audio, external recording or DJI’s Lavalier mics are recommended.
Reliability and Usability
I can’t overstate the convenience of the Osmo Action 4’s magnetic attachment—transitions from drone to tripod are a breeze. Boot-up times are negligible, but the Osmo is slightly quicker to the draw. Both user interfaces are intuitive, but GoPro has stepped up their game with a comprehensive settings page that’s a delight to navigate.
Heat management is crucial for an action cam. While both the Action 4 and GoPro 12 cameras can overheat, the Hero 12 does so faster than the Action 4. The Action 4’s more responsive touchscreen further enhances user experience, making it quicker and easier to change settings on the fly.
For those seeking GPS data, the Action 4 has it, while the Hero 12 opted out. Both cameras offer pre-record features, with the Action 4 allowing up to 60 seconds and the Hero 12 up to 30. They also support Wi-Fi live streaming, time code, and boast 10-bit color for advanced color grading.
Which Camera to Get?
In conclusion, the DJI Osmo Action 4 is a great camera. From its impressive stabilization and dynamic range to its low-light capabilities, it feels like a reliable companion for a range of activities. Whether for FPV adventures or casual vlogging, this camera is poised to deliver top-notch results.
Get the DJI Osmo Action 4 camera from (affiliate link):
Get the GoPro Hero 12 camera form Amazon: https://amzn.to/3Erf2bR
Both the GoPro Hero 12 and Osmo Action 4 are great choices, you won’t go wrong with either. Choosing between them is a matter of weighing their pros and cons against your requirements. Every gram counts in FPV drones, and the Osmo Action 4 being 9g lighter than the Hero 12 is a notable benefit.
For those who already own an Action 3, there are not enough improvements to justify an upgrade in my opinion, unless you’re chasing the absolute best in image quality in the DJI lineup.