DJI Action 2 initial review: King of the mods

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(Pocket-lint) - DJI is much than conscionable a drone company. It's a camera company, arsenic it's proven with the motorboat of respective gimbals and handheld products of each sizes and shapes. It adjacent got progressive successful the enactment camera marketplace with the Osmo Action successful 2018

Since past though the shaper hasn't done each that overmuch successful GoPro's territory. Perhaps realising it couldn't vie by offering fundamentally the aforesaid camera successful the aforesaid signifier origin arsenic the marketplace leader. So it ripped up the regularisation publication and started again with thing wholly different. 

It's hep to beryllium square

  • 39 x 39 x 22.3 mm
  • 56 grams
  • 10m h2o proof
  • Single button, aluminium frame
  • Magnetic mounting system

Think 'action camera' and it's apt you person a representation successful your caput of a rectangular camera that's compact, with a lens successful 1 country and a small surface successful the other. DJI's caller Action 2 is thing similar that. Instead, it's wholly square, with a large, circular camera lens connected the beforehand and a touchscreen connected the back. 

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For the spec conscious: that's a 1.76-inch LCD 446 x 424 touchscreen with a pixel density of 350 pixels-per-inch. 

It's astir similar idiosyncratic took a quadrate cooky cutter, stamped retired the camera portion of a GoPro and near the rest. Describing it that mode would beryllium doing a disservice to the acceptable and decorativeness though. There's thing precise elegant and purposeful astir the mode DJI has designed its latest enactment camera. 

There's nary integrative anyplace to beryllium seen. The framework is made from a grey anodised aluminium, arsenic is the beforehand sheet surrounding the solid lens. The surface connected the backmost is covered successful glass. In the manus it feels truly solid, and DJI has built it to beryllium drop-proof arsenic good arsenic particulate and h2o proof. And successful an effort to marque it seamless - and to seal the full assemblage - determination are nary existent inputs, ports oregon holes anyplace but for a mates of tiny grooves wherever assorted mounts and mods grip on. 

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The lone carnal fastener is the multifunction fastener connected the apical of the body. This is utilized for powering the portion connected oregon off, oregon starting and stopping recording. There's nary USB-C port, and nary microSD paper slot connected the existent camera unit. However, determination is simply a charging/data transportation constituent connected the basal with 5 interaction points. This is your archetypal hint astatine its modular capability. 

It's wholly proprietary, truthful that fundamentally means the lone mode to complaint the camera is to drawback it onto either the powerfulness mod oregon show mod. Both of those mods person a built-in battery, positive USB-C and microSD ports. This besides means that if you privation to manually transportation footage from the built-in retention oregon usage the camera arsenic webcam, you'll request a mod attached. 

Thankfully, you're guaranteed to person 1 of those successful your kit if you bargain one, due to the fact that DJI volition either merchantability you a Power Combo oregon Display Combo (the second much costly than the former). 

The existent method of snapping connected mods and mounts is really rather clever. Strong magnets wrong the bodies of the mods drawback onto each other. And - for mods similar the powerfulness and show mods - determination are small arms/catches that fastener successful spot connected the camera assemblage to guarantee the acceptable is secure. 

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For basal functionality, the azygous fastener attack is simple. Just 1 fastener to powerfulness it connected and commencement capturing. However, if you privation to alteration immoderate settings you either person to navigate the tiny touchscreen - which tin beryllium fiddly - oregon link the camera to your smartphone and usage the DJI Mimo app. 

Mods and mounts 

  • Power mod
  • Display mod
  • Wireless mic kit available
  • Lanyard, magnetic mounts, stands and selfie sticks

As mentioned, the full mounting strategy for the Action 2 is built connected the instauration of magnets. The cardinal mods are the Front Touchscreen Module and the Power Module, and you'll get 1 of these with your camera depending connected which combo you buy. 

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The archetypal of those features a touchscreen conscionable similar the 1 connected the backmost of the camera itself. Except the surface faces forwards erstwhile attached, truthful you tin spot yourself erstwhile signaling bits to camera. It besides features a 1300mAh artillery that - erstwhile attached to the camera - volition support it topped up. 

The Power Module is the aforesaid size and signifier arsenic the Touchscreen Module, but conscionable doesn't person a surface connected it. It besides features a 1300mAh battery. 

Along with either of those 2 mods successful the box, you get a magnetic grip with a shot associated and a mounting screw for cosmopolitan tripod attachment, positive a lanyard attachment. You tin either bent this loosely astir your neck, hanging implicit your shirt/top, oregon person the magnetic lanyard spot down your garment and the camera attached to the outside, with the magnets holding it successful place. 

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Various different accessories are disposable too, including a mini tripod basal with an extending limb and a carnal distant power you nexus to the camera. Plus, there's a caput strap for mounting it to your forehead oregon a modular mini extending tripod/handle and a floating handle. The second is designed to interval - conscionable successful lawsuit you driblet it successful h2o - and has a agleam orangish basal to marque it casual to spot. 

Video and photograph quality

  • 4K up to 120fps 
  • 2.7K up to 120fps
  • 1080p up to 240fps
  • 12MP stills - up to 4x integer zoom

DJI's latest compact camera portion features a 1/1.7-inch 12-megapixel sensor which promises to present beardown debased airy performance. But, portion it tin evidently instrumentality photos, it's successful the country of video it has the astir appeal. 

The Action 2 tin movie successful 4K solution astatine framework rates up to 120 frames per second. There aren't galore compact enactment cameras oregon adjacent smartphones capable to scope those sorts of levels of framework complaint and resolution. That should alteration you to get beauteous dilatory question footage that's besides precise sharp. You don't person to power down to 1080p to get much than 60fps for once. 

However, if you are blessed to driblet down to afloat HD resolution, you tin crank the framework complaint each the mode up to 240fps, to get adjacent slower footage. 

We've lone tested it a small truthful far, but the footage that comes retired of seems beardown successful bully daylight. That's portion successful acknowledgment to the processing of airy and colour, but besides down to the precocious algorithms that instrumentality attraction of stabilisation and skyline levelling. So if you deterioration it portion running, walking, cycling oregon whatever, the extremity effect is creaseless footage without immoderate juddering you'd get from shooting without stabilisation. Low airy footage tin get rather noisy, however. 

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What's more, there's an accelerometer wrong that tin flip the footage astir if you're needing to sprout with the camera 'upside down'. For instance, erstwhile you person it attached to the lanyard astatine your chest. 

Other features and performance

  • Webcam mode and Livestreaming ability
  • 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • 24GB disposable storage
  • microSD up to 256GB - UHS-1
  • 580mAh artillery (1300mAh further successful display/power mods) 

Once you've changeable your footage you person a mates of antithetic ways to summation entree to your footage. You tin usage the Mimo app and link via Wi-Fi to your camera and import it to your phone, utilizing the app to edit and set it. Your different enactment is to manually resistance and driblet the footage from the camera to a computer. 

Now, of course, successful bid to bash this you request to connect either the powerfulness oregon touchscreen module truthful that you tin past plug a USB-C cablegram into the port. Again, the main camera portion doesn't person one. Similarly, if you privation to grow beyong the minimal 24GB disposable retention to grounds onto a microSD card, you'll request a module.

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As acold arsenic transferring speeds go. Wired oregon wireless transportation is comparatively quick, with the camera capable to usage some 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi frequencies. Battery beingness seems conscionable 'ok' truthful far. We astir drained it afloat aft astir 25 minutes capturing 4K footage. DJI claims up to 70 minutes is possible, but we fishy that's astatine afloat HD solution with nary of the precocious stablisation features enabled. 

As we hinted adjacent the beginning, the Action 2 tin beryllium utilized arsenic a webcam. The thought being that not lone tin this beryllium your enactment camera, but tin besides beryllium hooked up to your desktop astatine location to usage it connected 1 of your many, galore Zoom calls. 

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First Impressions

DJI's Action 2 has taken things successful a antithetic absorption compared to its archetypal enactment camera. It's thing similar a GoPro and - alternatively - introduces a premium metallic physique and a clevel modular design. It's not inexpensive though, and the information you person to drawback connected a module to get execute basal tasks similar expanding retention and transferring files manually means it whitethorn not extremity up being the astir intuitive strategy successful the world. 

Writing by Cam Bunton. Originally published connected 27 October 2021.

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