Updated: Jan 18
There comes a time when big cameras are just not suitable for certain occasions and while action cams have gotten ridiculously good, there's nothing like the DJI Action 2. But would I consider it to be my go-to action cam? Maybe, and for specific reasons that may have nothing to do with image quality.
Well for starters, it comes in this modular design of having the main camera module being able to detach itself from the power module here on the bottom. Giving you this tiny little camera to work with weighing only 56g that's capable of doing up to 4K120fps, which is magnetic and can be stuck on any metal surface, an included quarter inch thread mount and a reusable adhesive plate right out of the box if you get the Dual Screen Combo.
There was also supposed to be a magnetic pendant that acts as sort of a lanyard for POV shots, but for some reason DJI didn't include it in the box so I had to resort to using some GoPro mounts with an adapter which was thankfully included.
In the main camera module, you get an internal memory capacity of only 32GB and this alone will be waterproof up to 10m and up to 60m with a waterproof case. But it won't be waterproof when attached with the Front Touch Screen Module as the microSD card slot and USB-C input will be left exposed.
Annoyingly I experienced it getting really hot to the touch (even underwater), especially in humid weather like we have in Malaysia/Singapore and after 15 minutes or so of continuous recording at 4K30fps, I experienced the screen shutting off completely and couldn't continue recording. There is a high temperature record setting you could enable to stretch it from overheating, but as far as usability is concerned I didn't want to push it to it's limit till the extent of it accidentally breaking. But DJI does say it has a running time of 70 minutes provided Power Reserve is enabled and recording formats set to 1080p30fps.
The 1/1.7" sensor does great under daylight settings with high dynamic range capturing the sky and D-Cinelike colour profile which gives some flexibility in colour grading but it's not too far off from the Normal look. There's also an option of a 4x digital zoom built-in, but I don't see the benefit of digitally zooming in while you could just do that in post which ultimately gives a better image anyways, so….
Image quality in itself is decent enough shooting indoors at f/1.7 aperture with field of view options of Standard, Wide, and Ultra-wide at a maximum angle of 155 degrees, which super wide. You could easily stand right in front of the camera while having your arms wide open and still fit in the frame. Distortions are a given shooting this wide but it does help with stabilisation and you could get even smoother footage with Rocksteady turned on.
I did however make the mistake of shooting in 4K30fps instead of 4K25fps to sync frequencies, which created a lot of flickering in these footage examples here (even with Anti-Flicker set to Auto) when shooting under fluorescent lighting. So it's best to be mindful of frame rates when switching between indoor and outdoor scenarios.
In the main camera module you do get a decent single microphone to capture stereo audio but when it's attached to the Front Touchscreen Module, you get an extra three more mics to capture a fuller sound. This definitely would be ideal in situations where you'd want to just vlog on this camera without having to lug around a bigger DSLR and keep things to an understated setup, as most of these bigger cameras will likely get you kicked out of certain areas.
I personally love the ability to just fit it into places where no other camera can go given how small it is and I'm surprised DJI didn't go with the " If it's not broke, don't fix it" approach like how GoPro has over the years. Even with high frame rates at 4K120fps, we only just got this feature with the GoPro Hero 10. So I'm truly amazed at what DJI has done keeping up with the times but doing it in their own way.
Even if the desired goal to use this camera was intended for more extreme sports, it doesn't take away from the name in itself which is the "Act" of doing something and having it capture even in the most mundane parts of day to day life.
The DJI Action 2 is priced at US$445 for the Power Combo and US$555 for the Dual-Screen Combo.
Written by Fitri Aiyub