Review: The DJI Action 2

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It’s the DJI Action 2 is a modular action camera that has very compact dimensions and amazing ability to record 4K in HD. It’s a revamped version that DJI’s Osmo Action camera and features several magnetic module options to allow users to tailor the camera to meet their specific shooting requirements.

Action 2 Action 2 uses a 1/1.7″ CMOS sensor, which is bigger that its 1/2.3″ sensor of the first Osmo Action camera. Its F2.8 lens offers the user a 155-degree Field of View (FoV) as well as a new sensor for color temperature helps the camera rapidly adjust as shooting conditions change.

The camera also has the latest stabilization mode, called HorizonSteady which promises to maintain stable horizon lines regardless of camera angle and DJI’s new RockSteady 2.0 to minimize shake. Other options include Hyperlapse Timelapse 8x slow-mo and “Lapse Control that allows users to regulate the duration and speed of timelapse and hyperlapse modes. The camera can also be used as an online camera or for live streaming at 1080/30p.

Specifications for key components

1/1.7″ CMOS sensor
F2.8 lens with F2.8 lens with a 155o FOV
Video: 4K/120p (16:9, 3840×2160), 4K/60p (4:3, 4096×3072), 2.7K/120p (16:9, 2688×1512), 2.7K/60p (4:3, 2688×2016), 1080/240p
Photo 12MP (Raw or JPEG however not simultaneously)
4x digital zoom, with HorizonSteady off 2x digital zoom, with HorizonSteady on
32 GB internal memory
Micro SD slot in front facing cameras as well as battery packs modules
1.76″ OLED touchscreen
One microphone built-in (increases by three when combined with a front-facing camera module)
Electronic image stabilization to 60 frames per second
Waterproof to 10m (33 feet.) without an enclosure, or down to 60m with a protective case
Built-in Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth

Design and body

The new body design is the most noticeable improvement to DJI’s line-up of camera action. It’s extremely small even without accessories, with a weight of only 56 grams (~2 2 ounces) with dimensions of 39x 39x 22.3mm. Its OLED touchscreen is on the rear of the camera. A just a single button on top lets you capture video or take photographs.

Camera settings can be adjusted by using the OLED touchscreen located on the back, or with the DJI Mimo application. At the bottom side of Action 2, you will discover magnetic contacts that permit users to connect different accessories with the camera.

It is possible to connect the front-facing screen module or an additional batteries pack with Action 2 to Action 2 to increase its battery’s life. The use of either accessory allows you to record your footage onto micro SD cards that can be used to expand the module’s 32GB built-in memory. The front-facing screen increases battery life by 70 minutes the 160-minute mark (shooting 1080/30p) as well as the battery pack can boost battery life to up to 3 hours. Both modules can’t be used in tandem at the same time.

It is also possible to use the DJI Action 2 can also be used with accessories such as the magnetic necklace that can be worn to capture FPV video with a floating handle, a an waterproof bag, ball-joint magnetic mount adapter as well as an extension rod for remote control mini tripods, as well as an accessory for macro lenses.

How does it feel to use

While the design with magnetics can be useful for attaching additional battery packs as well as tiny tripods, it’s ineffective when it’s attached to magnetic surfaces. I tried attaching it Action 2 to a metal C-stand, and was shocked to watch it slide along across the entire length. The magnets on this device were clearly intended to work in conjunction with other DJI devices that use magnetic magnets.

While the camera is attached nicely to the necklace that can be worn However, the FPV footage has a few flaws. I took a few hyperlapses using it, but keeping my hair, headphones cable, or jacket from blocking the camera was a problem. The lines that define the horizons in the footage were also inclined to be slightly uneven.

Hyperlapse from Ridgewood, Queens, shot using DJI Action 2 attached to the necklace with magnetic attachment. Hyperlapse at 1080/30p.

If you’re using an Action 2 attached to the necklace, you’ll need to manage it via the DJI app. However, when the camera is turned on for an extended period of time I noticed that the camera was prone to disconnect from the app which caused the camera to cease recording.

The necklace is less noticeable than a chest harness however, the flashing light that is visible on the back of Action 2 makes it pretty evident that you’re wearing cameras. Based on the size of your chest it could also be uncomfortable as the magnet which allows you to connect cameras to necklace is small and is easy to lose sight of.

The camera is also susceptible to overheating and shutting off, and having the camera close to your body can accelerate the process. While the option to use a hand-free mode on the camera is an excellent feature I would rather hold onto the camera, or connecting it to one of small tripods. To have a hands-free alternative the headband could be an alternative to capture FPV perspectives.

In the end, the speed of the camera’s tendency to overheat is the main drawback. When in use it, Action 2 Action 2 became extremely hot to the touch within about 3 minutes shooting in 1080p. When recording 4K video there was a tendency in my time using it to see the camera become overheated, cease recording and shut itself down.

In an environment that is controlled the longest time we could capture while shooting in 4K/50p before the camera stopped working was about seven minutes. Another option is to record in a lower quality, which generates less heat, however for many, that could be counterproductive to the reason behind purchasing a 4K action camera. But, DJI provided additional details on the camera’s thermal management , which was helpful.

Quality of video and image

While it’s annoying not to be able view any content through the app, the video that Action 2 produces is pretty amazing. The large field of view is ideal for video shooting, even when you shoot using a hand-held camera, the video is very steady. Color reproduction is lovely and vivid, and the auto exposure is very accurate. The video is saved in MP4 (H.264 or H.264 or HEVC) format.

While playing with Action 2 Action 2, I brought it to a variety of events and was amazed by the things it could accomplish. It’s smaller than phones and is much easier to hold and, if there’s a crowd member who comes running into you during the set it’s not necessary to be concerned over your Action 2 taking a tumble. It was a hiccup, but it was a good thing that the Action 2 was just fine. If it was my phone it would have been a major loss.

With only one microphone the quality of audio isn’t going to be perfect however the quality recorded during those events was as good as the quality I would have been in a position to record using my smartphone. The microphone accessory that will be added in December is an important accessory if the quality of the content you’re recording is crucial.

Conclusion

DJI has spent over two years thinking about its position within the world of action cameras its Action 2’s style is creative. The camera is small but the field of view is larger than the majority of its rivals, and the stabilization is top-notch and the video that it can record is impressive.

We’re hopeful that app performance will increase in the future, however the possibility of overheating can be a concern in the manner you choose to utilize the camera. It is logical that cooling via air is a key component of the design considering its small size, but it makes it less suitable for certain circumstances. This is why Action 2 Action 2 is probably not the ideal choice to shoot 4K videos of static locations or indoors, however it may be the perfect choice for outdoor activities or even action sports.

The cost is also a bit excessive for what you receive. Action 2 Action 2 by itself is $399, however if you combine it with the front-facing LCD module it increases to $519. The design here is definitely unique and we were awestruck by the high-quality footage it recorded. However, the cost is expensive for a camera which could overheat and shut down at the time you most likely would not think it would.