DJI Osmo Action was the company’s first attempt to take GoPro into the action camera space, and now it is reinventing GoPro’s long-forgotten but forgotten Hero session camera. The DJI Action 2 manages to offer almost half the size of a GoPro Hero 10 Black and still offer almost the same amount of features, but what really sets it apart is its magnetic locking system that opens up much more innovative ways to mount objects. . On paper, DJI Action 2 Hero 10 looks like a worthy opponent of Black, but is it really? Time to find out.
DJI Action 2 design
The DJI Action 2 consists of two units – the camera itself and a charging unit. The base variant, also known as the Power Combo, includes accessories with two units such as a Laniard mount, dual-prong mount (for connecting GoPro accessories), and a USB Type-C cable. Bundled mounts are magnetically attached to Action 2. The second variant known as the dual-screen combo (which DJI sent me for this review) includes an additional display in the charging unit and an additional ball-joint sticky mount in the box.
The DJI Action 2 camera unit is a small and cube-shaped, weighing just 56 grams. It has an aluminum alloy housing, which gives it a premium look and feel. It is dust proof and water proof up to 10m, and it can be extended up to 60m with an optional casing. Around, you’ll find a single microphone, power / shutter buttons, and contact pins to magnetically attach to the charging unit. The front one corner is dominated by a camera lens with a single status LED.
The DJI Action 2 has a 1.76-inch OLED touchscreen on the back, which is responsive and quite visible on the outside. The charging unit is roughly equivalent to a camera module and includes three additional microphones, a USB Type-C port, a microSD card slot, a power / shutter button, a status LED and an additional 1.76-inch OLED screen in the dual-screen variant. This module is not dust-proof or waterproof, which means you need to be careful about how and where you use it. The USB port and microSD slot are left open without any protection, which I’m not a big fan of.
The screen of the charging unit faces the opposite side of the camera display when connected, so you can use it as a viewfinder when vilging. You can only use one screen at a time to save battery power The magnetic force between the modules is very strong, and holds both units firmly. For added security, clamps on both sides of the charging unit help lock the camera in position. Similar clamps can be found in the bundle accessories. You can attach the camera unit to the mount or, if necessary, to the charging unit.
In terms of design, DJI Action 2 is very innovative because it packs a lot of technology in a very small footprint. The magnetic mounting system reminds me a lot of Insta360’s Go 2 action camera. The build quality of Action 2 and bundled accessories is top notch.
DJI Action 2 features
The DJI Action 2 features a 1 / 1.7-inch fixed-focus 12-megapixel CMOS sensor. The ultra-wide-angle lens has a 155-degree field of view and an AF / 2.8 aperture. One of the highlights of this action camera is the 4K video recording at 120fps, although at ideal temperatures for only five minutes per clip. Other combinations include 2.7K up to 120fps and 1080p up to 240fps. Unlike the GoPro camera, the DJI Action 2 has 32GB of static storage and you can expand it if needed using a microSD card in the charging unit.
You can control the camera remotely using the DJI Mimo smartphone app. It works and lets you do things like update camera firmware, remotely check frames, switch shooting mode, and offload footage from built-in storage. It even has a basic editor for trimming clips and adding text and other effects before sharing your videos. It’s not as polished as GoPro’s Quick app, but it does get the job done.
DJI Action 2 (dual-screen) performance
Using DJI Action 2 is an absolute pleasure because of its size and how easy it is to mount on things. The camera’s magnetic base and charging unit allow you to attach them to any metal surface, which can be easy when you don’t have a proper mount. The supplied mounts make it very easy to quickly attach and disconnect the camera when needed.
The Action 2 has the advantage of being without a charging module, since it has a small footprint and is not as hot. However, even when you’re using the camera for activities such as swimming, you’ll want to keep a charging unit nearby to top up the battery. Also, the charging unit is very useful for offloading content from the camera to the microSD card, if you do not have your phone or laptop with you.
The user interface of DJI Action 2 is sleek and the touch response of both the displays is very good. The video’s aspect ratio is automatically switched based on how you hold or mount the camera. You can swipe left or right in the viewfinder to switch between shooting modes. All the basics like timelaps, slow-motion, photos and videos are present. Quick clip mode lets you shoot 10, 15 or 30 video clips.
While basic functionality such as digital zoom is supported, and it’s easy to change the field of view, frame rate, and stability settings, there are a few features I’ve found missing. For example, photo mode does not allow you to take burst shots and there is no night mode of any kind. For video, the HorizonSteady feature can only be used at 1080p or 2.7K 30fps, but not at higher resolutions.
DJI Action captures great photos and videos over 2 days. Steel shots have a decent amount of detail, and the standard (dew) field of view option corrects the underlying barrel distortion of most ultra-wide lenses. The videos are well stabilized and packed in good detail and color. Low-light performance is a bit poor – there are visible sounds and details and colors are not the best In comparison, GoPro Hero 10 manages to deliver somewhat better results.
I noticed a few things while testing DJI Action 2. If you need good audio from your recording, you should use a camera with charging unit to take advantage of your extra microphone. My unit continues to show a ‘slow memory card’ warning with my Lexar 32GB UHS-II Speed Class 3 card, which I found strange because I’ve used the same before to record 5K footage on GoPros without any problems. DJI has published a list of proposed cards on its website, so it’s best to stick with them to avoid compatibility issues.
Probably my biggest concern with the DJI Action 2 camera was the heat. If you’re shooting at a frame rate of 2.7K or above and more than 60fps, you need to make sure that the ambient temperature is cool enough, or the camera will overheat and stop recording. When you select a framerate higher than 60fps, the menu system specifies a recommended temperature of 25 degrees. Unfortunately, being in Mumbai, India, I did not have the good fortune, which meant that even in mild winters, Action 2 would heat up very easily and stop recording randomly. I also had this problem after changing the high-temperature auto-shut off threshold setting standard to higher. It’s not just me; You will find many such complaints on the internet.
Theoretically, 4K 120fps clips should be limited to four minutes, but the camera will overheat and stop recording after about two minutes. You can continue shooting the stills until the body cools down a bit but not the video. When the GoPro Hero 10 Black indoor is tested under a fan, both recordings at 4K 60fps, DJI Action 2 stops recording within five minutes, where GoPro went on to record for about 30 minutes before finally overheating and stopping. If you are going to use Action2 in a stationary position, you need to make sure that your surroundings are cool enough, or that you need to record at low resolution.
I noticed that even a 4K 30fps continuous run could be challenging for Action 2 when it was in a stable position. However, I was able to shoot for much longer in the same settings while riding the bike, with non-stop air blowing over the camera body, which helped to dissipate some heat – that is, until I had to stop at a traffic signal. The charging unit exacerbates this problem, as it charges the camera during recording, which raises the temperature even faster. Action 2 can be very uncomfortable to hold even after a few minutes of shooting attaching the base.
Considering its size, the battery life of DJI Action 2 is not too bad. The camera’s internal storage allows you to record up to 25 minutes of 4K 60fps footage, and you’ll probably run out of storage space before the battery dies. You can get more continuous runtime (up to 256GB supported) if you record on a large and fast enough microSD card. Long recordings are split into multiple files of different sizes, although it is not clear why DJI does this. The charging unit is fairly fast and good for a complete top-up to top up the camera battery, and then some.
DJI Action 2 is available in India starting at Rs. 31,490 for power combo and Rs. 39,990 for dual-screen combo. It’s a bit more affordable than a GoPro Hero 10 Black, but it’s still a bit expensive for what it has to offer. The biggest strength of Action 2 is its size and versatility. Magnetic attachments make it easy to mount and lower the camera without any hassle. Other positive aspects include responsive display, built-in storage, and good video quality, as well as stability during the day.
Some of the areas where Action 2 can do better are low light stills and video, which aren’t the best. However, the biggest concern is the problem of excess heat, which, sadly, makes it an incredible action camera. Shooting at low resolution and framerate helps to soften it, but then it loses the purpose of paying such premium and makes many buyers dissatisfied.
If the climate and weather are favorable where you plan to use it, DJI Action 2 can serve you well. For everyone else, the GoPro Hero 10 Black is a more reliable choice.