Reviews |DJI Action 2

DJI Action 2 Review

Review

Price when reviewed

£455

$519
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Our Verdict

Don’t think of the DJI Action 2 as just an action camera; its small size and form make it ideal for all your video needs. It’s robust enough to be mounted anywhere, GoPro style, but has the advantage of being almost half the size. That means it’s truly wearable, mountable and can be attached to almost anything, including drones.

Image quality is amazing, and while the resolutions and framerates might not quite match the GoPro Hero 10, they’re not far behind.
The DJI Action 2 is a phenomenal camera

For

  • Compact size
  • Fast video transmission
  • Modular design

Against

  • Limited to 4K

What is the DJI Action 2?

GoPro has ruled the action camera-top spot for years, and rightly so. Competitors come and go, and however good an action camera is it will always be compared with the formidable GoPro.

The DJI Action 2 is available at Adorama at the below links:

In 2021, things are a bit different, and those competitors, rather than taking GoPro head-on, are trying something different. Insta360 with the One R, an incredible camera that I’m still fascinated by and has so much potential, now there’s the DJI Action 2.

This small cube features a lens at the front, a screen at the back and a record button on top. You really couldn’t get more simple.

There is, of course, more to this camera than just this simple box. Like the Insta360, it’s modular, meaning that other bits can be plugged in. At present, that’s just the battery module that features a second screen, SD card slot, charging port (USB Type-C), more than likely; there will be more modules to follow.

The design is inspired, all controls are accessible through the touch screen meaning that the exterior is smooth and simple and won’t attract mud. It may be small, but DJI knows how to do interfaces, so it’s easy to navigate, and of course, the new Mimo app enables you to connect and control the camera from your mobile phone.

What DJI have created with the DJI Action 2 is another real choice over GoPro. This isn’t a mirror or mimic of the GoPro, it’s something different. A camera that can be adapted to a multitude of different uses, from being used as a straight action camera, part of a more complex imaging solution, personal camera or as part of an FPV, this camera has serious potential.

Specification

  • Dimensions: 39x39x22.3mm
  • Waterproof: 10m without waterproof casing
  • Weight: 56g
  • Touchscreen : 1.76-inches
  • Sensor : 1/1.7-inch CMOS
  • Lens: FOV 155º f/2.8
  • ISO Range: 100-6400
  • Stills : 12mp
  • Video : 4K (4:3): 4096×3072 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
    4K (16:9): 3840×2160 @ 100/120fps
    4K (16:9): 3840×2160 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
    2.7K (4:3): 2688×2016 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
    2.7K (16:9): 2688×1512 @ 100/120fps
    2.7K (16:9): 2688×1512 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
    1080p (16:9): 1920×1080 @ 100/120/200/240fps
    1080p (16:9): 1920×1080 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
  • Slow Motion: 4K: 4x (120fps)
    2.7K: 4x (120fps)
    1080p: 8x (240fps), 4x (120fps)
  • Max Video Bitrate: 130Mbps

Build and Handling

DJI’s last venture into action cameras was impressive if a little overdesigned. The mechanics were excellent, but the design, while well considered with the lens, front screen and a few other touches, was a little mud prone.

The DJI Action 2 has none of those issues; the camera’s main body is so simple that there’s not a great deal to snag or catch mud with.

The only part that may have been susceptible to a good plying of mud is where the quick release clip fits, but seeing as how that small cavity will be filled with the mount in all muddy conditions, there’s no worry at all.

I’m quite enamoured with the design – if I were to sit down and design an action camera, for all its simplicity, it would be like this, simple, understated and incredibly easy to mount.

My only thought on the design is the front lens is exposed to the elements, and as we’ve seen from GoPro, they quickly decided that a non-replaceable lens was a bad idea after the Hero8.

Otherwise, the body is metal and robust, and I mean robust; it’s waterproof to 10 meters, and for all the dropping, throwing and riding, it held up to the wind, rain and everything else without issue.

The lens seems robust enough, and there’s even an optional Macro Lens that can be purchased. This gives me the impression more modules will be along shortly, further extending the use of the design.

On the back is the touch screen, and this is clear, crisp and ultra-responsive; there’s no delay or glitch with how this works.

On top is the dual-use power and record button and a quick tap when the camera is on will enable you to change shooting modes.

On the base are the contacts for the additional modular battery unit, which clips onto the bottom.

The design of the clasp is again simple, with two sprung clasps that grip onto the main camera unit; once in place, they’re good and solid, and a magnet helps position and hold things in place.

In this review, I attached several standard mounts and attachments, including the GoPro two-prong that enabled me to mount the camera on all the standard GoPro mounts.

In all cases fixing the main DJI Action 2 to the mount was easy enough, with the clasp mounting working exceptionally well. I did have a slight fear that I might accidentally release the camera from the mount, but that wasn’t an issue in use.

As action cameras go, the DJI Action 2 looks as simple as they come, just the box with a lens on the front and touch screen on the back. At its simplest, that’s exactly what you have a very simple action camera that’s easy to use and exceptionally easy to mount.

The mounting is even easier than GoPro due to the size, and the new clasp quick release is inspired, although I do worry slightly for those using this system for skiing and high-speed water sports. There seems to be a little more likely that the clamp would release if struck at high speed.

Otherwise love the design, and when it comes to moving the camera from one mounting position to another, this design wins hands down over anything that has come before.

Performance

After a good mornings ride, I checked through the footage and was impressed with the quality of the footage that played back on a 4K screen.

Overall, the detail was clear and crisp, and even at the higher framerates, detail and dynamic range were relatively well preserved.

Most noticeable, the 4K footage at 120fps was more than usable, although the camera did falter on quality in lower light conditions.

Starting with the most popular resolution and framerate for action cameras, 4K at 60fps, this footage was exceptional. The small camera’s sensor and processor work perfectly to produce decent quality footage with smooth motion. Colour, tone and detail are all well preserved.

Dropping down to 1080p footage and again, the quality is superb, and the fact that you can boost the framerate to 240fps, in line with GoPro, is a major benefit.

The quality of that high-speed footage is good, but you can see in the video quality where the camera is being pushed to its limits. The detail is starting to fade, and most noticeably, the dynamic range is taking a hit with quite a bit of clipping in the shadow and highlights.

For the majority of the footage, RockSteady was active to ensure smooth video without camera shake. The Osmo Action DJI’s Image Stabilisation works well, as well as HyperSmooth, taking out small and large camera shake with ease.

One aspect of the camera that did fall a little short was the battery life at just under an hour for the camera module. However, plug in the battery pack and the battery life is instantly extended.

One issue is that once you plug in the battery pack and screen to the base of the camera module, you have a vertical camera, which makes it a little harder but not impossible to mount.

The other issue I found was that in high contrast situations, such as the sun shining through the trees, you could start to see quite a bit of blue chromatic aberration. Not too worrying but something to be aware of.

At the end of the test, I was extremely impressed with the video produced by the DJI Action 2. The 4K footage at all framerates was good, as was the video at 1080p.

Aside from the GoPro and Insta360 One R, few if any cameras come close to the quality of DJI Action 2.

https://youtu.be/JYe9u-pFNsg

https://youtu.be/CHN9xThZzPY

https://youtu.be/lWzYoftQuso

https://youtu.be/ndv-jMnrwNY

https://youtu.be/WJolg_Tw5Mk

Final thoughts

I liked the original DJI Osmo Action; it was a capable camera if a bit of a mud magnet. The DJI Action 2, Osmo once again dropped; however, it is a huge leap forward.

I love that DJI has broken away from the GoPro design and created something a little different. The base simplicity that can be added to due to the modular design is inspired and works phenomenally well. I’m sure that the new clasp mechanism is robust enough to hold the camera in place in almost all situations, although I do have some reservations for those using the camera for skiing or water sports. I’d make sure you tether the camera in some way.

The design is really what makes this action camera stand out as something completely different. It can truly be worn, and there’s a simple lanyard in the box, it can be mounted in the same style as GoPro, and it can be attached easily to drones.

As action cameras go, the DJI Action 2 is about as pure as you get, with loads of flexibility and potential.

Over GoPro, the design gives the DJI Action 2 a slight edge even without the bigger resolutions; this is simply a more open and friendly design for the masses.

What DJI, as Insta360, has done is recognise that there is a need for small cameras go-anywhere cameras. That broke the GoPro mould.

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Keith Simpson
Keith Simpson
1 year ago

Wow, not a single word about 5 minute clip limit due to overheating, which is a deal killer. This reads like a paid post.

It’s an interesting take on a product and I applaud DJI for out of the box thinking. Their use cases are not exactly consumer friendly. Very niche use. Interested if others find the clip length a problem or not.