You can attach DJI Action 2 to the included magnet strap.
Josh Goldman / CNET
DJI released its first action cam, Osmo Action, in May 2019. It didn’t change the game as much as the company’s drone, but it made waves with great image stabilization and a front selfie screen. For Action 2, DJI trimmed the action cam into a cube and, with the help of magnets, created an ecosystem of accessories for immediate use out of the box.
The small square camera can be used alone, but you can also add a front-facing OLED touchscreen module to provide the same selfie experience as the original. It also features three microphones in combination with the camera module’s microphone to capture audio from all directions to create more immersive audio. There is also a battery module that can be installed instead to extend the recording time up to 180 minutes.
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The Action 2 Dual-Screen Combo costs $ 519 and includes a camera and touchscreen module. Australian and UK prices were not readily available, but US list prices translate to approximately AU $ 690 and 375. The Action 2 Power Combo with battery module costs $ 399. I was able to spend a little time with one. This is my first impression.
Like DJI’s Pocket2, Action2 is a great Vlog tool.
Josh Goldman / CNET Familiar original design
For those who love action cams and wearable cameras in general, the shape of the Action 2 cube doesn’t seem very original. The GoPro session (which has its drawbacks, but one of my favorite designs), the Polaroid Cube, and more were the first to appear. (Cube also used magnets to mount the camera.) However, DJI did create its own design.
First, DJI packed a 1 / 1.7-inch sensor in a small box, along with an image processor, battery, 32 GB of storage, and a 1.76-inch OLED touchscreen on the back. The screen is Gorilla Glass, the case is metal and water resistant to a depth of 10 meters (33 feet). With a strong magnetic base, you can easily pop it into the kitchen hood on the stove and shoot a video of your next dish.
But what really makes it stand out is the set of pogo pin contacts on the base. This allows you to quickly connect to the add-on OLED touchscreen module and use the front display or battery module to reduce recording time. (The camera itself can record for up to 70 minutes.) The Insta360 One R camera uses a similar modular design that allows you to combine different camera modules with smaller touch screen modules. However, if you want a pure action camera experience, the Action 2 design is sufficient.
The camera battery is charged via the module’s USB-C port. They also have a microSD card slot.
Josh Goldman / CNET shooting options are standard price
Compared to the GoPro Hero 10 Black and Insta360 One R, Action 2 seems to have limited shooting options. However, for most people, the choice of resolution and frame rate is sufficient. You can capture video at up to 4K at 120 frames per second, 2.7K at 120fps, and 1080p at 240fps. You can shoot timelapse and hyperlapse (also known as motion timelapse) clips and live streams at up to 1080p and 30fps. DJI has also added a Quick Clip option for capturing 10-second, 15-second, or 30-second clips. The camera can also be used as a webcam.
By the way, this camera gets hot when used or charged. This is because the body looks like a heatsink. However, this can overheat like other action cams, and DJI included an “automatic stop recording temperature” setting that could be set to standard or high. If this is set high, the camera warns you that it will increase the temperature and recording time limits. Not used to record 4K clips continuously at 120fps with the camera stationary and no airflow.
Image stabilization or horizon leveling
Action 2 includes the company’s latest version of the RockSteady electronic image stabilizer, which works very well. This gives the video a sleek look similar to that obtained from DJI’s Pocket2 camera and its electric 3-axis gimbal. EIS has some motion artifacts that gimbals don’t get, but in my limited testing the results were very good.
DJI has also added a Horizontal Steady to help keep photos horizontal even without a camera. However, if you use it, you will not be able to take advantage of RockSteady’s full image stabilization features. It’s still somewhat stable, but if you hit the camera with a big impact, such as landing after a jump, you’ll get artifacts that Rock Steady can’t get. Also, Horizontal Steady is not available at frame rates faster than 4K or 60fps.
DJI was the winner in the choice of accessories.
Josh Goldman / CNET accessories make a difference
I like the GoPro’s built-in attachment finger in the camera, but DJI outperforms it with a magnetic clip. Just bring the camera closer to one of the new mounts and it will snap firmly. There are also two small magnetic clips that you can insert into your camera or module for added security.
DJI has created a magnetic mount that works with GoPro accessories, but has also created its own lineup. They include a waterproof case up to 60 meters, a floating handle, a remote control extension rod / tripod, a ball joint adapter mount that can be used with a tripod or its adhesive base. Some macro lenses are magnetically attached to the front lens. Oddly enough, DJI doesn’t provide a protective lens cover, so if you scratch the built-in lens cover, it will stay there forever. Wireless microphones will also be available at a later date.
The magnet on the base of the camera is also strong enough on its own. So you can attach it to the included strap to skip chest mounts that need to be used with other Action Cams (but not Insta360 Go 2). Action 2’s magnetic modular design helps to stand out from the competition over the original, even if it feels like a combination of competitors’ features. We still need to test before we can be confident that it’s worth $ 400 to $ 500.
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