The Action 2 ($399 and higher) is DJI’s follow-up to the Osmo Action, which was released in 2019. Action 2 is more of a departure from the Osmo’s form factor. Using a lens on the front and a screen on the back, it’s a square camera that connects to other peripherals and mounts with powerful magnets. There are some interesting design elements in this camera, but there are also some problems, such as the fact that it generates too much heat to be useful for long-form recording, and the fact that it’s easy to lose track of one of the camera’s microscopic components. The GoPro Hero10 Black is still our Editors’ Choice winner, but the Action 2 is a fun and capable alternative.
- Minimal, mobile design that can go anywhere
- Magnetic and snap-on attachments are included
- Digitized stabilization that actually works
- Up to 120fps video recording at 4K resolution
- Taken at 12 megapixels, these images
- 33 feet of underwater protection
- A webcam is included
- The inclusion of a front-screen monitor raises the purchase price
- Concerns about overheating are expressed here
- On the main camera module, there is no card slot or charging port
- Battery and display are not watertight
DJI ACTION 2 SPECS
|Dimensions||1.5 by 0.9 inches|
|Sensor Resolution||12 MP|
|Sensor Size||1/1.7″ (7.6 x 5.7mm)|
|Memory Card Slots||1|
|Memory Card Format||microSDXC|
|Display Size||2 inches|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, USB-C, Wi-Fi|
|Maximum Waterproof Depth||33 feet|
Magnets, Modulars, and Squares
In order to simplify things, the Action 2 is a stripped down action camera. In terms of size and weight, the main module is a tiny square that measures 1.5 by 1.5 by 0.9 inches (HWD). It comes with a sidecar module that attaches to the bottom and more than doubles the width and weight of the bike.
There are two sets of components. To make it more economical, the Action 2 Power Combo comes with a Power Module add-on pack for an additional $39. The release date has been set for the middle of November. A USB-C charging connector and a microSD card slot are housed in the battery pack, which isn’t water-resistant like the camera.
The Dual-Screen Combo, the second kit, will be available a day sooner, on November 2. In addition to the battery reserve, USB-C port, and microSD card slot, the module’s add-ons feature a touch LCD display on the front and three additional microphones. However, it is an expensive option for those who want to make money from their videos.
If you happen to misplace one of your battery packs or front-facing screens, you can purchase them separately if you like, or you can purchase both if you prefer. Purchasing just the Power Module will set you back $75, while the Front Touchscreen Module will set you back $169. The Action 2 camera is not marketed as a stand-alone item.
When it comes to the GoPro Hero Session, which was notably square, screen-free design made it less functional than the Action 2, the innovation here isn’t only the form shape. The DJI Action is distinguished by its magnetic mount. My fridge, my car’s hood, and the containers I use to hold my coffee beans all had magnets attached to them, and the camera snapped right on.
As of yet, the magnets aren’t ready for action—I was able to shake the camera out of my coffee containers, so I wasn’t about to put it on the roof of my CR-V. There are a few drawbacks to using magnets for attaching the camera, such as the difficulty of removing it from a small tripod.
A lanyard provided with the Action makes it a wearable camera that may be used without the need for a chest harness or other complicated apparatus. However, wearable life-logging is something that I simply don’t understand. In spite of DJI’s digital stabilization being incredibly excellent, the horizon was distorted in my chest mounted footage. With the Insta360 Go 2, which costs $299, you can get away with spending less if you’re just looking for a wearable camera.
Both kits come with a few fundamental necessities. In addition to the normal 1/4-20 tripod thread and ball head, you now receive a camera mount for GoPro cameras. Included accessories include a magnetic lanyard, a necktie for chest-mounted footage, and a USB-A-to-USB-C charging cable for charging.
You’ll have to pay more if you want additional services. If you plan to carry your camera underwater, you’ll need a case with a water resistance rating of at least 60 meters (180 feet) (60m). For an additional $65, you can get a casing that accommodates a screen or battery add-on. There’s a $75 selfie stick with a Bluetooth control, a $39 floating handle, and a $35 magnetic headband, among other alternatives, according to the site. With the included GoPro and standard tripod mounts, you’ll be able to utilize most standard photo, action camera, or video mounting accessories as well. The macro lens accessory, a $79 close-up optic that attaches to the front of the camera via magnets, is a favorite of mine. Rather than focusing on things that are far away, action cameras are designed to keep anything within a few inches of the lens clean of obstruction. For best results, place the camera as near as possible to the subject of your photography or filming as the focus range of the macro lens is limited. Because GoPros and other competitors don’t allow for macro photos, the Action 2 is worth considering if you plan to do a lot of close-up shooting.
Intuitive Controls for the Hands
Despite the fact that it has two buttons—one on the primary camera and another on the add-on module—the Action 2‘s two buttons perform the same function. You can start and stop films and take pictures by long-pressing the camera button and then releasing it quickly.
A little touch screen is all that remains as your primary controller. It’s about two inches across, and my clumsy fingers have a hard time navigating it without stumbling. With the right finger location and DJI’s decision to use large icons to switch settings, it’s not awful.
Using the swiping motion described above, you can navigate your media by swiping left, right, bottom, resolution, frame rate, and up to access the entire menu. Switching modes is the most difficult element of the process. To switch between photos, videos, timelapses, fast clips, and slow motion, simply swipe left or right from the center of the screen.
Also, you can use voice commands to get things done. “Record,” “Stop Recording,” “Take a Photo,” and “Shut Down” elicited the expected responses from the camera. If you’re using it in a noisy area, it’s a good idea to switch off the function. At the beginning of a recent episode of Jeopardy, when Mayim Bialik was introducing the categories, the Action started rolling video. Similar to GoPro’s voice control, it works but can be triggered by an offhand remark.
DJI Mimo, a smartphone app for Android and iOS devices, provides full control of the camera. I used a beta version of iOS to test the camera (we received the Action 2 prior to its on-sale date for evaluation, but the official version should be on app stores in short order). A live feed from the Action 2‘s lens appears on your phone’s screen as predicted. When using the Action on a tripod or mounted, it’s a convenient alternative to the camera’s small, but perfectly adequate, touch screen.
Modes like photo, video, and slow-motion video are self-explanatory in their names. The 15-second video is ideal for posting on social media. DJI’s presets for crowds, clouds, and sunsets all show how long the camera records and how long the finished movie will be, which is a nice touch. Let the camera decide how much to speed things up, or select from 2x, 5x… 30X speed-up choices when using Hyperlapse, the word for timelapse with camera movement.
Use the Action 2 to make conference calls or livestream your vlog with its USB webcam feature. When you link the camera into a computer, it asks if you want to use it as a webcam or transmit files.
Lifespan of the Battery and Recording in Continuous Mode
Only 17 minutes of 4K60 recording time may be captured by the Action 2 camera module’s battery. Both the front-facing display and the battery pack have their own power cells for long-term records of performance. Recording time is increased by around 49 minutes, to a total of 68 minutes. The battery pack extends the record by 66 minutes, bringing the total record time to 83 minutes.
When compared to the GoPro Hero10 Black, which has a maximum resolution of 5.3K60 and a maximum run life of roughly an hour, this is significantly less. In our GoPro tests, we used a regular battery; the firm recently announced an extended-life battery for the Hero10, the Enduro, although we have yet to test it.
Long-form video recording, especially with small cameras, can lead to overheating. With heat, the DJI Action 2 isn’t immune. Because I couldn’t get the camera to run for more than 15 minutes without shutting down due to overheating, our battery life rundown tests were conducted piecemeal. When we tested the Hero10, we encountered a similar problem, but the test was longer (35 minutes continuous) and took place in the same temperature chamber.
There are ways to avoid the heat if long-form recording is something you’re interested in. You can keep the temperature down by using lower resolutions and frame rates, mounting the camera on a tripod in an environment where the camera is being cooled by air movement, and turning off the camera’s stabilization for tripod work. Running the camera off USB-C power instead of battery is also a good trick to remember. The Hero10 Black, which is getting a firmware update this month, is a better option if long-form recording in an action camera size factor is a must-have.
Imagery and Video
The Action 2‘s image and video capabilities are impressive. For extreme sports enthusiasts and vloggers alike, the Hero10 Black lacks a wide-angle lens and a bigger sensor. As a result, the Action 2’s color is closer to reversal film than the GoPro’s color negative look when we compared them side-by-side at sunrise.
When it comes to that, the Action 2‘s color sensor can be counted on to help. Unlike the image sensor, it reads ambient light in a different manner, allowing for more accurate white balance and exposure settings.
Even in Pro mode, the camera’s color and video adjustment capabilities are very constrained. DJI’s default color appearance, or D-Cinelike, a profile with a reduced contrast and color saturation, for a more flat look, is available. LUTs can be used to give your video a new look if you know how to apply them correctly, so don’t be afraid to experiment.
Still images can be taken in JPG or DNG format at a resolution of 12MP. With rich colors and a wide dynamic range for challenging scenarios with varying levels of light, out-of-camera JPGs look exactly as nice as the video. A excellent example is a dawn. The image below was taken straight from the Action 2 without any post-processing.
During the Osmo Action‘s early years, digital stabilization was just beginning to take off, and DJI’s RockSteady stabilization was just a few years behind GoPro’s Hero7 HyperSmooth. The RockSteady of the Action 2 and the Black HyperSmooth of the Hero10 Black are now on equal footing in a side-by-side comparison. For those who don’t need it, you can leave the gimbal behind. It’s easier to see the difference in point of view between the two of them. With the Action 2, we were able to capture a larger perspective of the surrounding area during our walk-and-talk shoots because of the camera’s greater field of view. The Action 2 simply sees a little more of the world than the uncorrected vision. Max lens add-on costs $99 for GoPro customers who wish to capture more of the scene.
There’s a wide range of quality in terms of audio. With a single microphone, the Action 2 is able to clearly hear my voice, but it can’t handle wind or background noise. There are still issues with wind noise and background noise on my local trail, even with the front-facing LCD, which adds three additional microphones but still has issues. A USB-C converter or DJI’s add-on microphone gear will be available in December if you have a better mic. Most action cameras require additional microphones in order to record high-quality audio. The 360-degree GoPro Max has exceptional microphones and a 16:9 filming mode, making it an unusual.
Compare with similar items
|DJI Action 2||DJI Osmo Action||DJI Pocket 2||GoPro HERO8|
|Customer Rating||3.6 out of 5||4.6 out of 5||4.5 out of 5||4.3 out of 5|
|Item Dimensions||1.54 x 1.54 x 0.87 inches||2.56 x 1.65 x 1.38 inches||4.91 x 1.5 x 1.18 inches||1.89 x 1.14 x 2.6 inches|
|Item Weight||1.98 ounces||4.40 ounces||4.13 ounces||0.92 lbs|
Innovation comes at a high price.
DJI delayed the release of its Osmo Action sequel for two and a half years. Action 2‘s modular form factor deserves recognition for its ground-up redesign during that time. With its small size, the GoPro is able to get into areas that other cameras can’t, and the magnetic mount is practical, but it falls short of being game-changing.
Compared to the Hero10 Black, the Action 2 has a far broader field of view, and the 4K footage it produces is excellent. The gimbal-free vlogging experience is made possible by the exceptional stabilization, which is on par with that of the competitors. You’ll still need a stronger microphone for audio-sensitive shots, but that’s true of practically every action camera.
It still can’t unseat GoPro Hero10 Black from its position as Editors’ Choice for an action camera, even after receiving improvements from the Osmo Action 2. In terms of value, the GoPro offers 5.3K60 resolution, an integrated front LCD, and one year of cloud video storage for the same price ($399 for both models). While the Action 2 is a compact, revolutionary video camera, it costs a lot of money when it’s outfitted with its front-facing LCD.