DJI Action 2 Review – so Tiny, yet so Capable
0 stabilization, Music, hello, guys, im jacob, and this tiny little box, in my hand, is djis new action camera simply called dji action 2.. As you can see from its dimensions, dji decided to follow a bit different path than gopro. The last two action cameras from gopro, the hero 9 and hero 10 – have actually gotten bigger than the previous generations. This happened mainly because of the larger battery, which, in the end, is a good thing, but in some situations the gopro can be too large. The new dji action 2, on the contrary, has gotten significantly smaller than the original osmo action. The camera itself has a box shaped body with the lens on one side and a touchscreen on the opposite side. It only weighs 57 grams and its dimensions are only 4 by 4 by 2.2 centimeters. It actually reminds me of the gopro hero session camera that gopro, unfortunately discontinued years ago. Another camera that has a slightly similar form factor is the insta360 go to. The action. 2, however, offers a touch screen along with better build quality and high resolutions and frame rates, but more on that later, just like the insta360 go to it has magnets in the body and comes with various accessories such as this magnetic linear. You can wear it under a t shirt to get a chest mounted. First person footage now, while the insta360 go attaches to the magnetic pad by itself. The dji action 2 needs this additional little plastic piece to go over the t, shirt and hold the camera, because the magnets are placed on the bottom of the camera body.
The build quality of the cameras, aluminum body feels really solid and premium. There is one button on the camera that acts both as power button and, as a record start stop button. The battery is built in. Unfortunately, there is no landscape or removable front glass element on the camera, so i am a bit concerned about possible scratches if you put it in the back with other sharp objects, such as keys. Speaking about the lens dji incorporated a 155 degrees field of view lens with an f 2.8 aperture. That is a wider field of view than the original osmo action, which had 145 degrees. The image sensor used in the new dji action 2 is also larger than most other action. Cameras. Dji used a 1 over 1.7 inch sensor, which is the same size sensor used in the pocket too. It is most likely the same sensor for reference. The new gopro hero 10 has a smaller one over 2.3 inch sensor, which is the same size as the first dji osmo engine when it comes to action cameras. As far as i know, only the insta360 one r has a larger sensor with the one inch camera module. Now, when i already have the insta 361r. In my hand, there is one more similarity with the new dji action: 2, the modular design, the camera module of the insta360. One r, however, cannot function alone. You always need to build the camera together with all three modules.
The modularity of the action 2 is a bit different. The camera body has magnets with communication pins and special side locks that can snap an accessory module to the camera. I have to say the connection is pretty solid. The camera comes with this front: touchscreen module, which adds lots of additional features; an additional battery for longer battery life; better microphones, a speaker to hear the audio for recorded clips playback an additional button, the front facing touch screen, usb c port and a micro sd card Slot for up to 256 gigabytes memory cards, speaking of storage options without the module, the camera only has a 32 gigabyte internal storage. A big chunk of that storage is, however, reserved for the camera system. When i format the internal storage, it only shows 22.4 gigabytes of free space, which is not that much the camera. I reviewed still had the pre production firmware in it, so it was not possible to move the recorded files between the internal storage and the memory card. Dji told me, however, that they will make this possible with the final release version of the firmware, because of that when i tested the camera, the usability of the separated storage was a bit limited for me when used with the camera, the battery of the front touchscreen Module gets drained first, as soon as it is empty. You cant use the module anymore, so you also lose the micro sd card as a storage option, one solution is to purchase an additional battery module that dji also offers.
It looks similar to the front touch screen model, but it does not have the screen. It still includes the memory card slot, though, so, if you run out of battery in the front touch screen module, you can switch the sd card into the battery module snap it on the camera and continue using it as a storage. What i noticed when using the camera setting the files on the memory card took quite long after i stopped the recording it sometimes took up to 5 seconds before the file got saved to an sd card, and i could start recording again. I really hope this will be improved with the final release firmware when it comes to available resolutions and frame rates. My favorite recording mode is the 4k 4×3 mode which is available up to 60 frames per second. It actually has a width of dci, 4k, 4096 by 3072 pixels, which is the full resolution of the 12 megapixel sensor. I like 4×3 modes with action cameras because it produces the widest possible field of view and you dont lose that much of the image when exporting different aspect ratios for social media. When it comes to slow motion, the camera can record up to 120 frames per second. In 16×9, uhd 4k, or up to 240 frames per second in full hd from my testing. However, the 240 frames per second full hd mode does not look very well. There are visible, artifacts and heavy sharpening visible in the image for slow motion.
I would definitely stick to the 4k 120p mode. The recording modes are available in either h.265 or h.264 compression, but the best modes, such as the 4k 4×3, are only available in h.265. The maximum bitrate is 130 megabits per second, which i think is plenty even for the highest quality in h.265. There are two picture profiles, normal and d cinelike, which offers flat colors for further grading. I shot most of my clips in normal picture mode, but i found that some of them were a bit over saturated, so for some scenarios the d cinelike would have probably been better. As with all other action cameras, all the recording modes are in 8 bit only so the color grading is a bit limited. The good thing is that there is a pro mode in the camera which unlocks manual, shutter, speed and iso settings Music. The camera offers three field of view: settings ultra wide wide and standard dewarm. I really like the ultra light, as it includes more of the surroundings in the pov clips in every mode. You can also record with the two times or four times, digital zoom, but that, of course degrades the image quality. The action 2 uses an electronic stabilization called rocksteady 2.0, which works in all the modes and in all fields of view, but it slightly crops into the image. There is also a new horizon, locking mode called horizon steady, but it only works in up to 2.
7 k. 16 by 9 mode up to 60 fps and only in the standard vwork field of view, so the crop in this mode is quite significant. Music, 2.7k mode with horizon steady, is not that wide, but it seems to be wide enough for occasional vlogging. Dji will also be offering a wireless microphone for the camera. Unfortunately, we didnt get it for testing. This is also for me to see if the sound quality from the built in microphones is good enough. I think the rocksteady did a good job in most scenarios, but as soon as i shot a darker scene, there have been some weird artifacts from the stabilization again. I hope dji will have this refined in the final release firmware. I also tried a time lapse with the camera, but, as you can see, the action 2 struggled to expose correctly for quite some time, because i started in a dark garage. I hope this will also be fixed with the final firmware with time lapse. The camera generates a video and you have the option to save the individual photos in either jpeg or dng raw format. I tried to correct the exposure with the dng files that i saved, but for some images it was too far overexposed. You also have the option to expose manually for the time lapse. The action 2 can also use the stabilization to create a moving time lapse. Called hyperlapse dji also sent us this macro lens adapter for the action 2.
. It snaps on the camera with magnets and holds quite well. It can be used to film very close objects, but it introduces heavy vignetting with ultra wide and wide mode. I used it only for a few clips in the standard dwarf field of view. As i said in the beginning, i wish dji also supplied a magnetic landscape for the camera to protect the front element when the camera is not in use. When it comes to any filters, dji told me they will not offer any, but there will be some nd filters available from a third party manufacturer. I suppose this will also use magnets to snap on the lens, just like the macro lens adapter, because the camera is so small and it offers high resolution and high bitrate recording modes on a fairly large sensor. It generates a lot of heat when it comes to a high temperature shutdown feature. There are two options in the menu high and standard i tested how long the camera will record in 4k, 4×3 60fps mode before it overheats and shuts down in an indoor room with a temperature of roughly 25 degrees celsius. With the setting on standard, the camera managed to run for 6 minutes and 23 seconds and with the setting on high it shut down after 14 minutes and 51 seconds. I have to say that after few minutes, the camera body got very hot and after those 14 minutes of recording it was extremely hot and almost impossible to touch.
The body also gets pretty warm when you copy the files to the computer via the usb c connector. If you use the camera outside during some activity, i am sure the maximum recording times will be much longer. Lower frame rates and resolutions will also prolong the maximum recording time. I recorded a half hour outdoor bike ride with the 4k 4×3 mode in 30 frames per. Second and the camera did not shut down at all, and it wasnt even very warm after that, so the surrounding temperature and wind make a huge difference. I think the aluminum body acts as an effective heatsink and thats why the camera gets so warm dont forget that the new gopro hero 10 also overheats in certain modes. Despite the larger body and smaller sensors Music. Speaking of the gopro, i tested the dji action 2 head to head against the hero 10. In a few clips Music, i would say the rocksteady 2.0 stabilization was more or less on par, with gopros latest hyper, smooth 4.0, which i only used in the standard mode. I did not use the boost mode as it crops in even more, and that is not ideal for first person view the action 2 generally offers a wider field of view than the gopro Music. When it comes to the 4k 120 fps modes, i have to say i prefer the image from the action 2 as it is somehow less over sharp when it comes to the 240 frames per second mode.
I did not like the image quality from any of the two cameras, but the gopro was a bit better because it also offers higher resolution of 2.7 k in 240p. The gopros, 5k 16p mode will give you slightly more details and overall, better image quality than the 4k mode in the action 2. So for the ultimate image quality in up to 60 fps, i think the gopro wins, but not by much another interesting feature of the dji action. 2. Is the color temperature sensor underneath the lens which helps getting the right temperature in the footage automatically. I have to say it works quite well when shooting upwards against the sun, the gopro sometimes had a slightly magenta sky color, but the action do manage to capture the blue sky quite accurately. The same happened in the forest. I usually prefer the colors coming out of the action too, to take full advantage of the cameras low weight. I also mounted the action 2 on my dji mini 2 drone. It worked surprisingly well and resulted in almost an fpv like footage when i flew the drone in sport mode. This way, i also equipped the mini 2 drone with high resolutions and frame rates, the rock steady 2.0 stabilized the footage quite well on the drone Music. The camera module by itself is waterproof up to 10 meters, but the additional modules are not waterproof. If you want to use the camera underwater with any of the modules you need to put it in this plastic underwater housing, the dji is also selling.
The good thing is the dji ships, the camera with the magnetic gopro mount adapter, so you can use all the gopro accessories. Furthermore, the camera comes with a ball head adapter that has a quarter inch thread at the bottom and can be paired with a reusable sticky mount. This is especially useful for mounting on smooth surfaces such as glass. It holds the camera quite well, thanks to the magnet in the camera. You can also mount the bare body on any metal surface. I decided to film the review in an ntsc mode, even though i am located in austria, where we have the 50 hertz pulse system. Firstly, i wanted to have higher frame rates for the slow motion footage in case i want to work on a 24p timeline and, secondly, i wanted to test the cameras anti flicker feature. This is available in 50, 60hz or automatic setting, mostly the automatic setting, did a good job, but in some cases with a 60fps footage, there was still some flickering 30 frames per. Second footage was mostly fine. Last but not least, dji offers a new version of the dji memo app, which can control the camera, download the footage and even make some automatic edits for social media. To summarize it, i think the action 2 is a really good action camera. If dji is able to iron out all the minor bugs and missing features with the final release firmware, it will be a fantastic product.
I especially like the small form factor, build quality, ultra wide field of view and the possibility to add the modules if needed, for such a small device. I am surprised: dji used a larger image sensor than most action cameras. The included and optional accessories definitely provide enough mounting possibilities for the camera. If you are looking for the ultimate resolution, the gopro hero 10 will serve you better, but the small dji action 2 really positively surprised me with image quality in all the 4k modes and especially in the 4k 120 frames per second mode thats it from this review. Thank you for watching. Let me know what you think in the comment section below and make sure to hit the subscribe button and click the notification bell in case you didnt.