DJI Action 2 Review: Reinventing the Action Camera | Digital Trends

    “The Action 2 breaks the mold that has dictated action camera design for decades with its unique modular design and easy to swap batteries.”


    Versatile and distinctive modular design

    Remarkably small and light-weight

    Great picture high quality

    Gimble-like video stabilization

    Fantastic audio recording functionality


    Image high quality is not fairly as crisp as GoPro

    Low gentle efficiency is not nice

    When DJI launched the unique Osmo Action, it confronted stiff competitors towards the GoPro Hero 8 Black. Surprisingly, DJI succeeded the place so many different corporations had tried and didn’t carve out a chunk of GoPro’s market, and the Osmo Action has been my go-to motion digital camera these previous two years. However, it’s excessive time for an improve, and I’ve received my eye on the DJI Action 2 — DJI determined to drop the “Osmo” identify. The new motion digital camera represents a complete reinvention that goals to create its personal area of interest moderately than battle head-to-head with the formidable GoPro Hero 10 Black, which I not too long ago reviewed.
    The query, although, is whether or not or not the progressive modular method of the Action 2 is sufficient to set it aside from the competitors. Are its distinctive qualities the sting DJI wants to achieve the motion digital camera enviornment?
    There actually isn’t something fairly just like the DJI Action 2. For a begin, it’s small — actually small: Just 1.54 by 0.86 inches and a mere 56 grams in weight. For an thought of what which means in the true world, you possibly can stuff it in any pocket and even put on it comfortably on the magnetic pendant accent.
    Andy Zahn / Digital TrendsThe second factor to notice is that this digital camera isn’t only a single unit however is in reality modular, with the entrance selfie display or battery separate from the digital camera module. The modules join by way of a powerful magnetic clamping system that’s completely rock strong. This permits the digital camera module to be completely sealed with out even a charging port, granting it a waterproofing score of as much as 32 ft deep. It can go all the way down to 196 ft with assistance from the optionally available waterproof housing. Keep in thoughts that the entrance contact display and battery modules aren’t waterproof, so don’t dunk them with out first placing them within the waterproof housing.
    Andy Zahn / Digital TrendsAn extra benefit of this technique is that it means no extra opening fiddly ports to swap batteries. A contemporary battery module will be snapped on in just some seconds to start recharging the first battery. It’s even doable to hot-swap batteries whereas recording. In the long run, I do see a possible draw back to this method in that the first battery will degrade over time and can’t be changed, however this design gives sufficient advantages that this looks like a small tradeoff.
    Andy Zahn / Digital TrendsThe magnetic snap system additionally permits for the Action 2 to be rapidly moved between totally different equipment. You might have it on the Bluetooth distant management one second and effortlessly snap off and onto a magnetic mount hooked up to a headscarf the following. If there’s a steel object useful, the Action 2 can simply be caught onto it, doubtlessly permitting it to be mounted in areas the place a tripod or different help wouldn’t work.
    The 1.76-inch touchscreen on each the digital camera and entrance display module is actually tiny, however I had no hassle working it or filming with it. A single button turns the digital camera on/off and stops/begins recording; double faucet to change modes.
    Andy Zahn / Digital TrendsAn extra intriguing design resolution facilities across the utter lack of ports on the digital camera module. The digital camera module has 32GB of onboard storage. To develop this storage, the battery and entrance contact display modules each function a microSD card slot. This signifies that when it’s separate from these modules, the digital camera can solely document to the interior storage. However, on the plus aspect, it signifies that when you have a number of energy or entrance contact display modules every with an SD card, then these modules is not going to solely juice up the digital camera but in addition present additional storage whereas hooked up.
    One of the extra intriguing equipment accessible for the Action 2 is a macro lens. As somebody who spends a variety of his free time photographing bugs, tree frogs, and flowers, this opens up some thrilling potentialities. It gives respectable magnification, albeit with a wholesome dose of distortion across the fringe of the image.
    Using the Action 2 over the previous few weeks, I’ve actually come to understand how a lot thought and engineering went into this digital camera.
    As intelligent because the design of the Action 2 is, it has to have the ability to ship nice video footage as nicely. Luckily, that is the case. The Action 2 contains a 12MP 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor and f/2.8 aperture. Those aren’t significantly spectacular specs, however in follow, they churn out some nice trying video. The Action 2 can shoot 4K footage at as much as 120fps for prime decision gradual movement, or 240fps at 1080p for 8x gradual movement.
    It is one thing of a pity, although, that it might’t do 240fps at 2.7k decision, however in use, it didn’t hassle me an excessive amount of. I usually favor to shoot in 4K, and after I do need tremendous gradual movement, the motion being captured usually eclipses the significance of decision.
    It achieves that “gimbal-like” stability that makes it doable to get respectable footage whereas strolling and hand-holding the digital camera.

    Regarding picture high quality, I’m usually pleased with how the footage from the Action 2 seems to be. It’s maybe a bit of strongly saturated and contrasty, however I personally actually prefer it, and extra importantly, it did an excellent job dealing with excessive distinction scenes akin to a dim forest with a vivid sky. The Action 2 constantly managed to protect shadows in such conditions whereas not blowing out the highlights too badly.
    As you’d anticipate from a small sensor digital camera, low gentle efficiency is pretty poor — although not the worst I’ve seen. There’s solely a lot you are able to do to beat the physics of gathering gentle onto a small sensor via a small lens.

    Perhaps most significantly, DJI has massively up to date their Rocksteady picture stabilization to the purpose the place it’s nearly as good, if not a tad higher, than what GoPro has achieved with their newest digital camera expertise. It achieves that “gimbal-like” stability that makes it doable to get respectable footage whereas strolling and hand-holding the digital camera.
    There’s additionally a brand new HorizonSteady function that maintains a degree horizon no matter digital camera orientation. Keep in thoughts that RockSteady 2.0 solely features underneath 100fps, and HorizonSteady solely works at resolutions of two.7K or much less. Despite the decision limitation, I discovered HorizonSteady to be completely well worth the tradeoff after I needed to seize clean footage on tough, uneven terrain.

    Additionally, the Action 2 has the hyperlapse and timelapse functionality we’ve come to anticipate from motion cameras. This is actually essential to me, because it’s one in all my main makes use of for motion cameras. These modes work nicely, and I’m excited by the prospect of touring with the Action 2 and using its magnet to seize timelapse video in distinctive areas.
    I used to be shocked at how good the audio recorded by the Action 2 turned out to be. It’s very useable for vlogging functions — or simply video recording on the whole. It’s much better than I’d anticipate from an motion digital camera and is a severe improve over the earlier Osmo Action, which had fairly respectable recording functionality.
    It’s very useable for vlogging functions — or simply video recording on the whole.

    The Action 2 is able to taking nonetheless images, although in my expertise, it is a hardly ever used operate of motion cameras. The 12MP sensor does an excellent job of rendering pleasing photographs, however in all honesty, I’m extra more likely to pull out my telephone to take a nonetheless picture than hassle switching the Action 2 into picture mode. Still, the performance is there for those who want it. Another function that you just could be all in favour of is the QuickClip mode, which captures preset 15-second movies supposed for social media. You also can livestream with the Action 2 at as much as 1080p 30fps or use the digital camera as a webcam.
    Battery life
    On one hand, I used to be solely in a position to document for about 12 minutes of 4K video earlier than the Action 2 ran out of juice within the digital camera module’s 580mAh battery. However, each of the opposite modules are outfitted with 1300mAh batteries, which is a lot for a day of capturing. They cost from empty to full in about 90 minutes.
    Software and connectivity
    I’ve no complaints relating to the software program on the digital camera itself. It’s extremely responsive, and altering settings is fast and simple. The DJI Mimo companion app is a useful gizmo as nicely, because it permits for distant management of the Action 2 and an modifying workflow in your footage. There’s additionally an AI editor that may routinely edit your movies with music and applicable transitions in order that they’ll simply be shared immediately from the app.
    The Action 2 options Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connection to the app and to optionally available equipment such because the Bluetooth distant. I had no points with the digital camera on this regard; it’s a well-developed and streamlined system.
    Price and availability
    The Action 2 is available in two totally different bundles: The energy combo prices $399 and consists of the principle digital camera, energy module, magnetic collar, and magnetic adapter holder, whereas the dual-screen combo prices $519 and comes with all the pieces included within the energy combo, bar a swap of the ability module for a entrance touchscreen module and a magnetic ball head adapter holder.
    The good thing right here is that, whether or not you go for the budget-friendly energy combo or pony as much as get the entrance contact display, you’re getting the identical digital camera capabilities. I wouldn’t say both combo is an actual discount, however it’s about what you’d anticipate to pay for a digital camera with the capabilities of the Action 2.
    The Action 2 might be accessible beginning November 2nd for the entrance contact display combo. The energy combo and most further equipment ought to be accessible someday in mid-November, aside from the DJI MIC — which might be accessible in December — and the magnetic headband — the provision of which has but to be determined as of this writing.
    Andy Zahn / Digital TrendsOur take
    The DJI Action 2 is a genuinely progressive motion digital camera, and its novel method makes it actually stand out from the competitors. It does just about all the pieces you’d need an motion digital camera to do and does it very nicely. It’s an motion digital camera that, when diminished to the naked minimal digital camera module, is so small and light-weight that you just actually don’t have any excuse to not take it with you. By going out of their technique to rethink motion cameras from the bottom up, DJI has hit a real dwelling run with the Action 2.
    Is there a greater different?
    GoPro is all the time the elephant within the room when speaking about motion cameras, and the Hero 10 Black was a straightforward choose for Editors’ Choice after I reviewed it final month. They are so carefully matched that, if compelled to choose a winner, I’d most likely declare a tie.

    They’re roughly in the identical ballpark worth vary whenever you take their totally different pricing fashions into consideration, and each provide excellent picture stabilization. The GoPro can document 5.3K footage, its 4K footage seems to be marginally extra detailed, and it might shoot 240fps gradual movement at 2.7K, whereas the Action 2 can solely hit that framerate at 1080p. However, the Action 2 digital camera module is barely about one-third the scale of the Hero 10 Black, and its modular magnetic system provides really distinctive benefits over the GoPro.
    I might trip for hours evaluating these two cameras, however in the long run, the conclusion I’ve come to right here is that they’re a fair match.
    Its modular magnetic system provides really distinctive benefits over the  GoPro

    How lengthy will it final?
    Unlike GoPro, DJI doesn’t observe a yearly launch schedule for its merchandise, so I can’t say when will probably be changed. Despite its age, my unique Osmo Action continues to be a really succesful digital camera, and I anticipate the Action 2 will stay related for even longer. It’s fairly rugged, so that ought to assist it survive an excellent lengthy whereas — relying on simply how a lot punishment it receives, after all, DJI provides an ordinary restricted guarantee for its units.
    The caveat right here is the beforehand talked about non-replaceable batteries, significantly these within the digital camera module. Eventually, the battery life in that module will degrade to some extent the place you’ll have to maintain a battery or entrance contact display module hooked up for it to operate for a good size of time. That will take a few years of frequent use, although, so it’s not one thing that ought to deter you from shopping for the digital camera.
    Should you purchase it?
    Yes. The DJI Action 2 is a extremely compelling motion digital camera, significantly when you have a particular use case in thoughts that may profit from its small dimension, gentle weight, and distinctive modular design.

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