GoPro HERO12 vs DJI Osmo Action 4: Capturing the Action

The realm of action cameras has witnessed a captivating tug-of-war between brands, each vying for the coveted title of ‘the best in the business.’ Leading the charge for years, GoPro has become almost synonymous with high-octane, adventure photography and videography. However, DJI, a name originally associated with drone technology, has forayed into this space, offering impressive competition with its Osmo Action series. Now, with the unveiling of the GoPro HERO12 and the DJI Osmo Action 4, the rivalry has intensified. These two cameras, each armed with an array of innovative features and claiming unparalleled performance, present a fascinating dichotomy. As consumers, enthusiasts, and professionals keenly look on, we delve deep into an in-depth comparison to unravel the intricacies of both devices and gauge which stands out. Let the showdown begin!

GoPro HERO12 vs DJI Osmo Action 4
Taken as a screenshot from the video

DJI Osmo Action 4K vs GoPro Hero12 Black Comparison

GoPro HERO12 vs DJI Osmo Action 4
Taken as a screenshot from the video

Key features of GoPro HERO12

  • 5.3K60 + 4K120 Resolution: The HERO12 Black delivers best-in-class image quality with 91% more resolution than 4K. It also captures in 4K, 2.7K, and 1080p video resolutions.
  • HyperSmooth 6.0 Video Stabilization: HyperSmooth 6.0 continues to raise the bar for in-camera video stabilization, giving you impossibly smooth footage no matter how rough it gets.
  • HDR (High Dynamic Range) Video: The HERO12 Black features HDR video in ultra-high resolutions.
  • Waterproof (33 ft): The HERO12 Black is waterproof up to 33 feet and is built to take a beating.
  • Longer Runtimes: The HERO12 Black offers up to double the runtime of the HERO11 Black.
  • Bluetooth Audio: One of the new features of the HERO12 Black is the ability to pair AirPods and other Bluetooth headphones and microphones.
  • 8:7 Aspect Ratio: The HERO12 Black has a versatile 8:7 aspect ratio.
  • Vertical Capture: The HERO12 Black allows for vertical capture, making it easier to capture content for social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram.
  • Night Effects: The HERO12 Black features Night Effects, which allow for better low-light performance.

Key features of DJI Osmo Action 4

  • Sensor: The Action 4 features a new, larger sensor that delivers shots loaded with detail from sunup to sundown and beyond. The 1/1.3-inch sensor and low-light imaging allow for better low-light performance.
  • Color Performance: The DJI Osmo Action 4 has a 10-bit D-Log M color mode that gives you over one billion colors and a wider dynamic range to play with in post1. An advanced color temperature sensor ensures true-to-life tones outdoors, indoors, and underwater for colors that pop straight out of the camera.
  • Slow Motion: The DJI Osmo Action 4 has 4K UHD 120fps, giving you an easy option to warp time and savor it all.
  • Ultra-Wide FOV: Experience an ultra-wide FOV that pulls you in headfirst with a perspective close to what the human eye sees.
  • Sync Visual Information: DJI Mimo can now sync visual information from Action 4’s color temperature sensor.
  • Professional Settings: The DJI Osmo Action 4 has more support for professional settings like Log video capture.
  • Deep-Freeze Compatibility: The DJI Osmo Action 4 is compatible with deep-freeze environments, making it perfect for winter sports.
GoPro HERO12 vs DJI Osmo Action 4
Taken as a screenshot from the Jake Sloan video

Physical Design & Build

When handling an action camera, the nuances of its design and build quality can greatly influence user experience. Both the GoPro HERO12 and the DJI Osmo Action 4 are a testament to their respective brands’ commitment to engineering excellence.

At a preliminary glance, the HERO12 carries GoPro’s signature aesthetic, embodying a streamlined design that manages to combine compactness with sophistication. The body, though slightly slimmer than its predecessor, feels sturdy in hand. Its matte finish not only adds to the visual appeal but also ensures a firmer grip, essential during action-packed moments.

On the other hand, the DJI Osmo Action 4 showcases a design ethos that seems to prioritize ruggedness. Its slightly bulkier frame conveys resilience, and the textured sides provide an ergonomic grip, reducing the likelihood of accidental slips. The camera’s buttons have a tactile feel with responsive feedback, ensuring ease of use even in challenging conditions.

Waterproofing is a critical consideration for many adventurers. Both cameras champion this feature without the necessity for an additional casing. While both are formidable contenders in this aspect, the HERO12 manages to delve a tad deeper underwater, an advantage that might appeal to divers and underwater photographers.

In terms of display, it’s worth noting the quality and responsiveness of the touchscreens, essential for real-time feedback and menu navigation. While both devices offer crisp, high-resolution displays, the exact specifications and real-world performance can further influence user preference.

In essence, while the GoPro HERO12 opts for a blend of elegance and functionality, the DJI Osmo Action 4 leans more towards a robust, adventure-ready build. Each design choice speaks volumes about the brand’s understanding of its target audience and its vision for the product in the action camera ecosystem.

Image Quality & Resolution

In the domain of action cameras, where breathtaking scenes and split-second moments are the norms, image quality and resolution are paramount. The GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 have both set out to push the boundaries in this regard.

Starting with the HERO12, GoPro has continued its legacy of harnessing top-tier optics and sensor technology. The camera boasts an impressive capability to shoot in 8K resolution. This level of detail means that every droplet of water, every grain of sand, and even subtle changes in light and shadow are captured with utmost clarity. The dynamic range is another point of strength for the HERO12. Scenes with varying brightness levels – such as a surfer against the backdrop of a setting sun – are rendered with great fidelity, preserving details in both highlights and shadows.

DJI’s Osmo Action 4, not to be outdone, also flexes its muscles in the 8K realm. What’s noteworthy about the Osmo Action 4 is its sensor. Designed to excel in varied lighting conditions, this camera exhibits a knack for capturing well-exposed images even in challenging light. This is especially evident in scenarios like twilight adventures or cloud-covered mountain treks where the light is moody and not always ideal. Furthermore, the color reproduction on the Osmo Action 4 is praiseworthy. Whether it’s the azure blue of a tranquil sea or the fiery orange of a campfire, colors are vibrant yet true to life, adding authenticity to every frame.

The lens quality in both these contenders also plays a crucial role. A well-constructed lens can minimize distortions, reduce chromatic aberrations, and ensure that the center and edges of images maintain sharpness. While both cameras utilize high-quality glass elements, the distinctions in their optical design might appeal differently to various users.

In summation, while both the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 present formidable image quality and resolution capabilities, the devil is in the details. The HERO12 thrives on its adaptive dynamic range, while the Osmo Action 4 shines with its superior sensor and color science. For the discerning user, these nuances might very well dictate their choice between the two.

GoPro HERO12 vs DJI Osmo Action 4
Taken as a screenshot from the Jake Sloan video

Video Features

The cinematic allure of action cameras lies in their ability to capture motion in all its dynamism, making video features a pivotal aspect of their appeal. Both the GoPro HERO12 and the DJI Osmo Action 4 come equipped with an arsenal of video capabilities, each aiming to cater to both the casual adventurer and the professional videographer.

The GoPro HERO12 maintains its reputation with cutting-edge video specs. One of its standout features is the ability to record in 8K at 30fps. This level of resolution grants videographers the luxury of cropping, zooming, or stabilizing in post-production without sacrificing detail. Moreover, when recording in 4K, the HERO12 impressively ramps up the frame rate to 60fps. This becomes especially valuable for those looking to capture smooth slow-motion sequences, allowing action-packed moments, like a mountain biker’s aerial trick or a diver’s splash, to be broken down frame by frame in crystal-clear detail.

DJI’s Osmo Action 4 is no slouch in the video department either. It, too, supports 8K recording at 30fps, ensuring that users don’t miss out on any intricate details. However, where it starts to diverge from the HERO12 is in its stabilization technology. DJI has integrated its drone stabilization prowess into the Osmo Action 4 with the RockSteady feature. It promises almost gimbal-like stabilization, ensuring that even the bumpiest of rides or the most turbulent waves result in footage that’s smooth and judder-free.

Both cameras also offer a variety of shooting modes tailored for different scenarios. Time-lapse modes, for instance, allow users to capture the slow dance of stars across the night sky or the frenetic pace of a cityscape. Furthermore, advanced HDR video capabilities ensure that scenes with contrasting light elements, such as a caver emerging into the sunlight, are captured without losing detail in the highlights or shadows.

Audio, often the unsung hero in videography, is also an area of focus. Both cameras ensure that while the visuals are stunning, the accompanying sound is rich and immersive. Features like wind noise reduction are invaluable for those capturing footage at high speeds or in breezy conditions.

In a nutshell, while both the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 are video powerhouses, they each bring unique strengths to the table. The HERO12’s versatility in frame rates and the Osmo Action 4’s unparalleled stabilization might sway users based on their specific filming needs and preferences.

Photo Capabilities

While action cameras are primarily renowned for their video prowess, their photo-taking abilities are increasingly becoming a significant factor in consumer choice. Both the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 have made significant strides in this arena, aiming to provide users with the flexibility to capture both motion and stillness with equal panache.

Starting with the GoPro HERO12, it presents a robust 18MP sensor. This might not sound as substantial when compared to some dedicated cameras, but in the realm of action photography, it’s more than adequate. This resolution ensures that each captured image is detailed, allowing for decent-sized prints and considerable leeway in post-processing cropping. The HERO12 also supports RAW photography, a boon for enthusiasts and professionals who desire more control over post-processing. RAW files retain more information, providing greater flexibility when adjusting exposure, white balance, and other image parameters.

Moreover, GoPro’s proprietary SuperPhoto feature comes into play when conditions aren’t ideal. This mode intelligently analyzes the scene and applies HDR, noise reduction, and tone mapping to optimize the photo. Whether you’re shooting against a blazing sunset or in the dim light of dawn, SuperPhoto aims to ensure that the resulting image is well-balanced and vivid.

Transitioning to the DJI Osmo Action 4, the camera slightly edges out with its 20MP sensor. This extra resolution can make a difference, especially when zooming in on intricate details like the texture of rocks or the fine patterns on a butterfly’s wings. Much like the HERO12, the Osmo Action 4 also supports RAW photography, appealing to those who like to get hands-on in the editing process.

What’s particularly commendable about the Osmo Action 4 is its color science. DJI seems to have taken a page out of its drone playbook, offering colors that are vibrant yet not oversaturated. From the azure blues of oceanic expanses to the rich reds of canyon walls, images appear authentic and true to life.

Both cameras also come equipped with a myriad of shooting modes to cater to varied scenarios. Burst mode is a standout, allowing users to capture several frames in quick succession – perfect for nailing that split-second action shot. Night mode is another feather in their caps, enabling the cameras to take clear and noise-free images even in low-light situations.

In summary, while action cameras were once an afterthought for still photography, devices like the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 are changing the narrative. Their advanced photo capabilities ensure that whether you’re capturing the tranquility of landscapes or the adrenaline of extreme sports, every shot is a masterpiece in the making.

GoPro HERO12 vs DJI Osmo Action 4
Taken as a screenshot from the Jake Sloan video

Audio Features

In the world of action videography, while visuals are undeniably paramount, the importance of audio cannot be underestimated. A well-captured sound can elevate footage, providing a more immersive experience and enhancing the overall storytelling. Recognizing this, both the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 have significantly ramped up their audio game.

Starting with the GoPro HERO12, it continues GoPro’s tradition of offering multiple microphones placed strategically around the camera body. This design ensures that the camera can capture sound from various directions, giving a more spatial and ambient feel to the audio. One of the HERO12’s standout audio features is its advanced wind noise reduction. For enthusiasts who indulge in high-speed activities, whether downhill skiing, mountain biking, or motorcycling, this feature ensures that the wind’s overpowering roar doesn’t drown out other crucial sound elements.

Furthermore, the HERO12 also shines in its ability to support external microphones. This is a vital inclusion, especially for vloggers and interview-style videographers. By connecting an external mic, users can achieve better directional audio capture, ensuring voices are crisp and clear while minimizing ambient disturbances.

Shifting focus to the DJI Osmo Action 4, DJI has clearly harnessed insights from its drone segment to enhance onboard microphone quality. The microphones are finely tuned to balance both ambient sounds and specific audio cues. For instance, the sound of waves crashing or birds chirping is captured with a richness that adds depth to the footage. DJI has also made commendable strides in noise reduction technology, particularly evident in challenging environments with significant background noise.

Another praiseworthy feature in the Osmo Action 4 is the auto-gain control. It adjusts the microphone sensitivity based on the loudness of the sound source, ensuring that the audio doesn’t clip in loud environments, yet remains clear and audible in quieter ones.

Both cameras also prioritize waterproofing their audio components. This ensures that even if you’re shooting in rain, under a waterfall, or engaging in water sports, the audio remains as undistorted as possible, capturing the nuances of splashes and gurgles.

In conclusion, while action cameras were once notorious for sub-par audio, the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 have flipped the script. Their advanced audio capabilities ensure that while the visual spectacle unfolds, the sonic landscape accompanies it in harmony, offering a holistic sensory experience.

Battery Life & Storage

For action enthusiasts who often find themselves in remote terrains or on extended adventures, the longevity of battery life coupled with ample storage space becomes paramount. Both the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 have taken significant measures to ensure they don’t leave users high and dry in these critical aspects.

The GoPro HERO12 boasts a redesigned battery, reflecting the brand’s commitment to lasting power. This new battery is tailored to optimize performance, especially when using power-intensive features like 8K recording or prolonged stabilization. Additionally, the HERO12’s power management system intelligently adjusts based on usage, ensuring that every ounce of battery juice is used efficiently. While the camera comfortably supports a full day of moderate shooting, users engaging in more intensive tasks, like high-resolution recording, might notice a relatively quicker drain.

DJI’s Osmo Action 4, meanwhile, has its own triumphs in the battery department. Drawing from its drone technology experience, DJI has managed to squeeze out slightly more longevity from its battery compared to the HERO12. Even under rigorous conditions, such as cold environments or while using both screens, the Osmo Action 4 manages to retain commendable battery performance. This slight edge can be the difference between capturing that last golden hour shot or missing out.

When it comes to storage, both cameras recognize the need for ample space, especially given the large file sizes of high-resolution videos and photos. The HERO12 provides a wider bandwidth for expandable storage, allowing users to insert higher-capacity microSD cards. This can be a boon for those on extended trips without regular access to data backup solutions.

The DJI Osmo Action 4, while not lagging far behind in storage capabilities, places more emphasis on swift data write speeds. This ensures that even when shooting in the highest resolutions or using burst photo modes, there’s minimal lag, and data gets stored without hiccups.

Both cameras also support a variety of file formats and offer options to manage storage, like loop recording, which automatically overwrites the oldest footage when storage is full, ensuring that users never miss out on new moments due to space constraints.

In essence, while the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 both excel in battery and storage realms, their specific strengths cater to different user needs. The HERO12’s expansive storage might appeal to marathon shooters, while the Osmo Action 4’s extended battery life is a lifeline for those away from charging options for longer durations.

GoPro HERO12 vs DJI Osmo Action 4
Taken as a screenshot from the Jake Sloan video

Connectivity & Software

In our interconnected digital age, the synergy between hardware and software defines the user experience, and action cameras are no exception. The ability to seamlessly connect, transfer, edit, and share content becomes as crucial as the content creation itself. Both the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 have refined their connectivity and software features to ensure users enjoy a smooth and intuitive experience from start to finish.

The GoPro HERO12 brings to the table a suite of wireless connectivity options, including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The seamless pairing process ensures that users can swiftly connect their cameras to smartphones, tablets, or even some smartwatches. This facilitates not just easy content transfer but also remote camera control—a feature particularly useful for solo adventurers or when the camera is mounted out of arm’s reach.

GoPro’s mobile app, Quik, serves as the linchpin in the user experience. Redesigned for a more intuitive interface, Quik allows users to access, edit, and share their content on the fly. The app’s editing suite is comprehensive, offering tools for trimming, adding music, overlaying text, and even applying color corrections. The cloud backup feature, available to GoPro subscribers, ensures that cherished moments are safely stored and accessible anytime.

Turning the spotlight on the DJI Osmo Action 4, DJI’s legacy of reliable connectivity, honed through its drone technology, shines through. The camera’s robust Wi-Fi ensures a stable connection even in areas with potential interference. Additionally, the Osmo Action 4 offers low-latency streaming capabilities, a nod to content creators who enjoy sharing their adventures in real-time.

The DJI Mimo app complements the Osmo Action 4’s hardware capabilities. Designed with user-friendliness in mind, Mimo streamlines the content management process. Whether it’s accessing the camera’s gallery, editing a video montage, or updating firmware, the app’s clean and straightforward interface guides users every step of the way. Notably, DJI’s Story Mode, within the Mimo app, provides preset templates that automatically craft short, shareable videos, a delight for users who prefer quick edits.

In conclusion, the connectivity and software offerings of both the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 reflect a deep understanding of contemporary user needs. While the HERO12 benefits from GoPro’s long-standing legacy and integrated ecosystem, the Osmo Action 4 leverages DJI’s tech prowess for a refined and reliable experience. Choosing between them hinges on individual preferences regarding interface design, editing tools, and specific features.

GoPro HERO12 vs DJI Osmo Action 4
Taken as a screenshot from the Jake Sloan video

Unique Features & Selling Points

The action camera market, being highly competitive, has pushed brands to not only match feature-to-feature but also to carve out distinct identities through unique offerings. Both GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 have championed this cause, presenting a slew of exclusive features that set them apart and cater to diverse user requirements.

GoPro HERO12 Unique Features:

  1. TimeWarp 4.0: Building on its legacy, GoPro’s TimeWarp feature enters a new iteration. It allows users to create mesmerizing, stabilized time-lapses while moving through a scene. With added granular controls, users can now adjust speed and duration with more precision.
  2. Hindsight: This feature ensures users never miss a crucial moment. It records a buffer of video before the shutter button is pressed, capturing unexpected events that might have been otherwise missed.
  3. Scheduled Capture: Ideal for early morning or late-night shots, this feature allows users to set a future start time, making it possible to capture events like sunrises without manual intervention.
  4. LiveBurst Mode: This mode captures 1.5 seconds of 12MP footage before and after the shutter is pressed, offering a range of frames to choose the perfect shot.

DJI Osmo Action 4 Unique Features:

  1. Dual Screens: The Osmo Action 4 boasts screens both at the front and back. The front-facing screen is a boon for vloggers, ensuring they frame themselves perfectly.
  2. SpinShot Mode: This creative feature allows users to set the camera to rotate at specific angles while recording, creating a unique twist to the footage.
  3. Custom Mode: Users can define and save their preferred shooting settings, enabling quick access to frequently used configurations without navigating through menus.
  4. AEB (Auto Exposure Bracketing): This feature captures multiple shots at different exposures, allowing users to merge them in post-production for a perfectly exposed image, especially in challenging lighting conditions.

In essence, while both cameras offer a comprehensive toolkit for action videography and photography, it’s these distinct features that often sway potential buyers. The GoPro HERO12, with its innovative features, seeks to provide flexibility and ensure users never miss a moment. On the other hand, the DJI Osmo Action 4 leans heavily into user-friendly features, especially catering to vloggers and those seeking a blend of creative and practical functionalities.

Price & Value Proposition

Price, while a crucial determinant, isn’t just about the number on the tag; it’s intrinsically tied to the value a product offers. When comparing the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4, understanding their value proposition becomes essential to making an informed choice.

The GoPro HERO12, the latest offering from an established market leader, carries premium pricing. However, a deeper dive into its cost reveals a multi-faceted approach to value. First, there’s the raw hardware capability – the camera is packed with top-of-the-line specs that cater to both amateur adventurers and professional videographers. Then, there’s the software ecosystem; the HERO12 seamlessly integrates with the GoPro app, cloud storage, and an array of editing tools, adding layers of value. Moreover, GoPro often bundles its cameras with a subscription service, which provides cloud backup, exclusive discounts on accessories, and even a camera replacement service. This bundled approach, when considered over the lifecycle of the product, presents a compelling value proposition for users who seek comprehensive solutions.

On the flip side, the DJI Osmo Action 4, while not drastically different in price, pitches its value in a different light. Recognizing the needs of its diverse user base, DJI offers a camera that blends top-notch features with usability. The dual-screen feature, for instance, while a significant selling point, also adds tangible value for vloggers and content creators who often film themselves. DJI’s approach to stabilization, leveraging its expertise from drones, ensures that users get near-professional-grade stability without investing in additional gear. Additionally, the DJI Mimo app, with its user-friendly interface and advanced editing tools, further sweetens the deal, making the entire content creation process—from shooting to sharing—simpler and more efficient.

In wrapping up the price and value discussion, it’s essential to recognize that while both cameras might fall within a similar price bracket, their value propositions cater to varied needs. The GoPro HERO12, with its comprehensive ecosystem, is geared toward users looking for an all-encompassing solution that extends beyond the camera. The DJI Osmo Action 4, with its distinct features and focus on usability, offers value to those who prioritize specific functionalities and an intuitive user experience. The choice, then, boils down to individual preferences, usage scenarios, and long-term investment considerations.

GoPro HERO12 vs DJI Osmo Action 4
Taken as a screenshot from the Jake Sloan video


The arena of action cameras once considered a niche domain, has transformed into a battleground of innovation, quality, and user experience. The GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 stand as a testament to this evolution, each embodying the pinnacle of their respective brand’s vision and capability.

The GoPro HERO12 continues the brand’s legacy, offering a finely honed balance of robust features, an integrated ecosystem, and a track record that many users have come to trust. Its versatility in both video and photo modes ensures that regardless of the adventure, users will consistently achieve high-quality results. Add to this the seamless software experience, and it’s clear that GoPro is offering more than just a camera—it’s presenting a comprehensive content creation package.

In the other corner, DJI’s Osmo Action 4 showcases the brand’s commitment to pushing boundaries and leveraging its vast experience from other domains, such as drones. Its focus on user-centric features, like the dual screens and advanced stabilization, speaks to its understanding of its audience’s diverse needs. The camera is not just about capturing moments; it’s about enhancing the process of capture, ensuring ease, and adding a touch of creativity.

Yet, it’s important to note that the best action camera is not necessarily about which has the longest list of features or the highest specs. It boils down to alignment—how well a camera’s offerings align with a user’s specific needs, preferences, and budget.

For the solo traveler or vlogger who values self-framing and efficient content creation on the go, the DJI Osmo Action 4 might be the ideal companion. Conversely, for those deeply embedded in the GoPro ecosystem, or those seeking a holistic solution from capture to post-production, the HERO12 emerges as a compelling choice.

Ultimately, the decision between the GoPro HERO12 and DJI Osmo Action 4 transcends mere technical comparison. It’s about envisioning one’s adventures, storytelling preferences, and long-term goals. Whichever path one chooses, it’s clear that both cameras stand ready to deliver, elevating every journey with clarity, vibrancy, and authenticity.

Jeremy Carney creator. I'm a professional photographer and videographer. Making 360 videos is my passion and I share it with you.