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

Pros

  • Versatile and distinctive modular design
  • Remarkably small and light-weight
  • Great picture high quality
  • Gimble-like video stabilization
  • Fantastic audio recording functionality

Cons

  • 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 in opposition to the GoPro Hero 8 Black. Surprisingly, DJI succeeded the place so many different corporations had tried and did not carve out a bit of GoPro’s market, and the Osmo Action has been my go-to motion digicam these previous two years. However, it’s excessive time for an improve, and I’ve acquired my eye on the DJI Action 2 — DJI determined to drop the “Osmo” identify. The new motion digicam represents a complete reinvention that goals to create its personal area of interest somewhat than struggle head-to-head with the formidable GoPro Hero 10 Black, which I lately reviewed.

The query, although, is whether or not or not the revolutionary modular method of the Action 2 is sufficient to set it aside from the competitors. Are its distinctive qualities the sting DJI wants to reach the motion digicam area?

Design

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 meaning in the true world, you possibly can stuff it in any pocket and even put on it comfortably on the magnetic pendant accent.

DJI Action 2 Lens.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

The second factor to notice is that this digicam isn’t only a single unit however is the truth is modular, with the entrance selfie display or battery separate from the digicam module. The modules join through a robust magnetic clamping system that’s completely rock strong. This permits the digicam module to be completely sealed with out even a charging port, granting it a waterproofing ranking of as much as 32 ft deep. It can go all the way down to 196 ft with assistance from the elective waterproof housing. Keep in thoughts that the entrance contact display and battery modules usually are not waterproof, so don’t dunk them with out first placing them within the waterproof housing.

DJI Action 2 waterproof housing.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

An extra benefit of this method is that it means no extra opening fiddly ports to swap batteries. A recent battery module will be snapped on in only a few seconds to start recharging the first battery. It’s even attainable 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 supplies sufficient advantages that this looks like a small tradeoff.

DJI Action 2 connection plate.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

The magnetic snap system additionally permits for the Action 2 to be shortly moved between totally different equipment. You may have it on the Bluetooth distant management one second and effortlessly snap off and onto a magnetic mount connected to a headscarf the following. If there’s a steel object helpful, the Action 2 can simply be caught onto it, probably permitting it to be mounted in areas the place a tripod or different assist wouldn’t work.

The 1.76-inch touchscreen on each the digicam and entrance display module is actually tiny, however I had no hassle working it or filming with it. A single button turns the digicam on/off and stops/begins recording; double faucet to modify modes.

DJI Action 2 Touchscreen.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

An extra intriguing design determination facilities across the utter lack of ports on the digicam module. The digicam module has 32GB of onboard storage. To broaden 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 digicam can solely document to the interior storage. However, on the plus facet, it signifies that in case you have a number of energy or entrance contact display modules every with an SD card, then these modules won’t solely juice up the digicam but additionally present further storage whereas connected.

One of the extra intriguing equipment out there for the Action 2 is a macro lens. As somebody who spends a whole lot of his free time photographing bugs, tree frogs, and flowers, this opens up some thrilling prospects. It supplies first rate 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 digicam.

Performance

As intelligent because the design of the Action 2 is, it has to have the ability to ship nice video footage as properly. 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 notably spectacular specs, however in follow, they churn out some nice wanting video. The Action 2 can shoot 4K footage at as much as 120fps for prime decision sluggish movement, or 240fps at 1080p for 8x sluggish movement.

It is one thing of a pity, although, that it could possibly’t do 240fps at 2.7k decision, however in use, it didn’t hassle me an excessive amount of. I usually desire to shoot in 4K, and after I do need tremendous sluggish movement, the motion being captured usually eclipses the significance of decision.

It achieves that “gimbal-like” stability that makes it attainable to get first rate footage whereas strolling and hand-holding the digicam.

Regarding picture high quality, I’m usually proud of how the footage from the Action 2 appears to be like. It’s maybe just a little strongly saturated and contrasty, however I personally actually prefer it, and extra importantly, it did a great job dealing with excessive distinction scenes equivalent to a dim forest with a vibrant sky. The Action 2 persistently managed to protect shadows in such conditions whereas not blowing out the highlights too badly.

As you’d anticipate from a small sensor digicam, 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 by way of a small lens.

Perhaps most significantly, DJI has massively up to date their Rocksteady picture stabilization to the purpose the place it’s pretty much as good, if not a tad higher, than what GoPro has achieved with their newest digicam expertise. It achieves that “gimbal-like” stability that makes it attainable to get first rate footage whereas strolling and hand-holding the digicam.

There’s additionally a brand new HorizonSteady function that maintains a degree horizon no matter digicam orientation. Keep in thoughts that RockSteady 2.0 solely features below 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 wished 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 admittedly essential to me, because it’s one in every of my major makes use of for motion cameras. These modes work properly, 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 typically. It’s much better than I’d anticipate from an motion digicam and is a critical improve over the earlier Osmo Action, which had fairly first rate recording functionality.

It’s very useable for vlogging functions — or simply video recording typically.

The Action 2 is able to taking nonetheless pictures, although in my expertise, it is a not often used perform of motion cameras. The 12MP sensor does a great job of rendering pleasing photographs, however in all honesty, I’m extra more likely to pull out my telephone to take a nonetheless photograph than hassle switching the Action 2 into photograph mode. Still, the performance is there in case you want it. Another function that you simply is likely to be eager about is the QuickClip mode, which captures preset 15-second movies meant for social media. You can even livestream with the Action 2 at as much as 1080p 30fps or use the digicam 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 digicam module’s 580mAh battery. However, each of the opposite modules are geared up with 1300mAh batteries, which is loads for a day of taking pictures. They cost from empty to full in about 90 minutes.

Software and connectivity

I’ve no complaints concerning the software program on the digicam itself. It’s extremely responsive, and altering settings is fast and straightforward. The DJI Mimo companion app is a useful gizmo as properly, because it permits for distant management of the Action 2 and an enhancing workflow in your footage. There’s additionally an AI editor that may mechanically edit your movies with music and acceptable transitions in order that they will simply be shared instantly from the app.

The Action 2 options Wi-Fi and Bluetooth for connection to the app and to elective equipment such because the Bluetooth distant. I had no points with the digicam 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 contains the primary digicam, energy module, magnetic collar, and magnetic adapter holder, whereas the dual-screen combo prices $519 and comes with every little thing 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 great point 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 digicam capabilities. I wouldn’t say both combo is an actual cut price, however it’s about what you’d anticipate to pay for a digicam with the capabilities of the Action 2.

The Action 2 will probably be out there beginning November 2nd for the entrance contact display combo. The energy combo and most further equipment needs to be out there someday in mid-November, except for the DJI MIC — which will probably be out there in December — and the magnetic headband — the provision of which has but to be determined as of this writing.

DJI Action 2 Unboxing 3.Andy Zahn / Digital Trends

Our take

The DJI Action 2 is a genuinely revolutionary motion digicam, and its novel method makes it actually stand out from the competitors. It does just about every little thing you’d need an motion digicam to do and does it very properly. It’s an motion digicam that, when decreased to the naked minimal digicam module, is so small and lightweight that you simply actually haven’t any excuse to not take it with you. By going out of their option to rethink motion cameras from the bottom up, DJI has hit a real house run with the Action 2.

Is there a greater various?

GoPro is at all times 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 intently matched that, if pressured to choose a winner, I’d in all probability declare a tie.

They’re roughly in the identical ballpark worth vary if you take their totally different pricing fashions into consideration, and each supply excellent picture stabilization. The GoPro can document 5.3K footage, its 4K footage appears to be like marginally extra detailed, and it could possibly shoot 240fps sluggish movement at 2.7K, whereas the Action 2 can solely hit that framerate at 1080p. However, the Action 2 digicam module is simply about one-third the scale of the Hero 10 Black, and its modular magnetic system gives really distinctive benefits over the GoPro.

I may commute for hours evaluating these two cameras, however ultimately, the conclusion I’ve come to right here is that they’re a fair match.

Its modular magnetic system gives 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 it is going to be changed. Despite its age, my authentic Osmo Action continues to be a really succesful digicam, and I anticipate the Action 2 will stay related for even longer. It’s fairly rugged, so that ought to assist it survive a great lengthy whereas — relying on simply how a lot punishment it receives, after all, DJI gives an ordinary restricted guarantee for its gadgets.

The caveat right here is the beforehand talked about non-replaceable batteries, notably these within the digicam module. Eventually, the battery life in that module will degrade to a degree the place you’ll have to hold a battery or entrance contact display module connected for it to perform 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 digicam.

Should you purchase it?

Yes. The DJI Action 2 is a extremely compelling motion digicam, notably in case you have a particular use case in thoughts that may profit from its small dimension, gentle weight, and distinctive modular design.

Editors’ Recommendations



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