DJI Action 2 sports camera experience: a different update, a more comprehensive choice

In May 2019, DJI's first-generation sports camera OSMO Action was born.

Back then, we thought that this was just a sports camera with the DJI name, a GoPro killer that focused on cost-effectiveness and selfie experience, and it was expected to be a regular product with a "change every year".

But the facts are not as we expected. OSMO Action did not enter DJI's regular update list and became a resident competitor of GoPro.

After 2 years, OSMO Action is back. It is back with a new design and gameplay, as well as a new name.

That is, DJI released its new sports camera-DJI Action 2 on October 27th.

The new "modularity"

To talk about the biggest change in DJI Action 2, let's start with this special new look.

DJI Action 2 bid farewell to the traditional sports camera design in the past, and switched to a modular modular design consisting of "camera body" + "functional modules".

Such a combination reminds people of the Insta360 OneR series of modular cameras that Insta360 previously launched. But in terms of design logic, DJI Action 2 and OneR are two completely opposite results.

The "host + lens" design used by OneR is to remove the components of the camera part, and other components will be concentrated on the host module, which is somewhat similar to the relationship between the interchangeable lens camera and the lens. The two must work together, one is indispensable.

On the contrary, the main body of DJI Action 2 is an independent and complete camera, which already contains the camera, screen, microphone, battery, storage space and other things needed for shooting. Only it can start shooting.

Probably because it is all integrated into a small box, the compact design of DJI Action 2 also brings better protection performance.

Compared with other modular sports camera products that are barely waterproof to 5 meters, the main camera of DJI Action 2 can be waterproof to 10 meters in the bare metal state, and its metal body can also provide better drop resistance and durability. Better than models that need to be combined.

Although this comparison is a bit "foul", for a modular sports camera, the external module should be the icing on the cake. The stability and shooting stability of the body are the first factors that the body designer needs to consider. If the stability of the basic shooting is not guaranteed, and users need to improve the stability of the body through more complicated or cumbersome methods (such as adding an external stable frame or waterproof structure) to reach the average level, then this kind of module It doesn't make sense to change it out.

This shows that DJI Action 2’s modular approach is more in line with the logic of sports cameras.

However, after switching to a modular design, it becomes unrealistic to continue to use traditional interfaces such as GoPro Mount with a larger space occupancy rate in DJI Action 2. If you want to switch to a 1/4 screw port, DJI will add an interface to communicate data with the module on the basis of adding a screw port, which is not realistic for the small cube DJI Action 2.

To this end, DJI's answer is to combine the "fixed" and "transmission" interfaces into one, and launch a magnetic buckle design.

DJI added a magnetic structure to the bottom of DJI Action 2, and also changed the bottom two corners into grooves for buckles. When the user combines the DJI Action 2 with the module, the buckle will pop out and automatically fasten when the two are attracted by magnetic force, which increases the stability of the combination from the two corners.

Then the two parts are connected through the metal contact in the middle, and the module and the camera can communicate with each other to realize the functions of dual-screen viewfinder, enhanced battery life, and external microphone.

In addition, the magnetic buckle structure can also be used as a general fixed magnetic attraction.

Users can use magnetic attraction to attach DJI Action 2 to scaffolds, handwriting boards, windows and corners, or guitars and metal cups where they can be attached. DJI has also launched a series of accessories that support the magnetic buckle design, which is convenient for users to fix the camera on the body or other places that cannot be fixed magnetically.

In addition to being easily fixed in different places, the magnetic structure also facilitates switching between fixed structures.

Compared with the GoPro Mount and 1/4 screw that need to be unscrewed to remove, the magnetic structure can be directly sucked to the place you need after being removed directly, eliminating the cumbersome disassembly of the traditional structure and achieving quick assembly and quick disassembly. Effect.

What needs to be tangled at present may be the adaptation problem of the magnetic buckle interface.

If DJI does not plan to "open up" the interface, then the user's choice may only be official accessories. Although DJI has already given some of the most commonly used fixed accessories, it is still lacking for the two huge third-party accessory ecosystems such as 1/4 and GoPro Mount.

However, when DJI launched the DJI Action 2, it also provided a conversion accessory that converts the magnetic buckle to the GoPro Mount and 1/4 screw. It is not difficult to connect the fixed accessories that have been used before. But considering the convenience of quick assembly and quick disassembly of the new structure, I personally hope that more accessories that natively support the magnetic buckle design will appear in the future.

At the end of the appearance part, let's talk about this neatly square body.

DJI Action 2 uses a 39mm X 39mm standard square body design, 22.3mm thickness and 56g weight, the whole machine can be described as light, whether it is worn on the body or fixed on some special camera position All are very convenient.

The only button on the fuselage is at the top, and a 1.75-inch 446×424 OLED touch screen is placed on the back. Most of the operations are done on it in stand-alone mode. When the screen is off, the entire back of the DJI Action 2 will be covered by the glass of the screen, and the integrity and visual texture are outstanding.

The body is designed with metal material, so in addition to ensuring the robustness of the body, it is also necessary to improve the heat dissipation effect of the camera.

Although the body temperature of the DJI Action 2 is relatively high when shooting high-level videos, and the feeling of high temperature is obvious, it is not suitable for holding it in the hand for a long time. It needs to be fixed on a wearable structure or a handheld selfie stick. But compared with those plastic bodies covered with waterproof glue, the metal body of DJI Action 2 has higher heat dissipation efficiency. Even in the event of overheating, the camera body can quickly recover after stopping shooting.

A new generation of shooting experience

DJI emphasized during the release that they put their smallest camera system into the body of DJI Action 2 this time. How to ensure the image quality and functions while controlling the size of the body has become the biggest issue for DJI Action 2.

  • Picture quality

In terms of camera specifications, DJI Action 2 is equipped with a 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor with a lens with a viewing angle of 155° (equivalent) and an aperture of F2.8. Equivalent to our commonly used 135 frame, it is an ultra-wide-angle lens close to a fisheye, with a wider angle of view than OSMO Action.

The 1/1.7-inch sensor is also larger than the 1/2.3-inch sensor used by OSMO Action, and the image quality is naturally improved.

DJI Action 2 supports 12-megapixel photo shooting, and supports JPEG and RAW photo output like OSMO Action. Judging from the default straight-out JPEG, DJI Action 2 performs well, keeping details in highlights and shadows as much as possible. Although the magnification of the dark part is a bit rough, it is acceptable for sports cameras.

In the shooting mode, DJI Action 2 also provides a digital zoom function of up to 4 times, which is convenient for users to change from a relatively extreme ultra-wide angle to a viewing angle close to that of a daily mobile phone, which is more convenient for shooting.

In terms of video recording, DJI Action 2 mainly supports three main resolutions: 4K, 2.7K and 1080P.

In the 4:3 recording ratio, DJI Action 2 can achieve up to 4K, 2.7K and 1080P 60fps shooting. If you switch the shooting ratio to 16:9, the camera can shoot slow motion at 4K 120fps, 2.7K 120fps, and 1080P can achieve slow motion at 240fps.

For video makers who have all switched to 4K shooting, this is a very important update in the DJI Action 2 specifications. In the future, there is no need to forcibly put 1080P material onto 4K for slow motion at 120fps. .

In terms of video quality, the look and feel of DJI Action 2 shots is not bad when the light is sufficient and D-Cinelike is turned on. Playing directly on the 1.75-inch OLED screen on the back, the look and feel is much better than OSMO Action.

In environments with a slightly larger light ratio, DJI Action 2 can still retain a small amount of details. Although smart HDR without a mobile phone is exaggerated, it is okay to restore that part of the details through simple post-processing. Moreover, DJI Action 2 also supports D-Cinelike and HDR, which can bring more post-production space to users.

  • Anti-shake

In addition to image quality, the second major update of DJI Action 2 is anti-shake.

DJI Action 2 is equipped with electronic stabilization technology, and also uses a new generation of stabilization that supports a new generation of anti-shake algorithms-HorizonSteady horizon stabilization technology.

Compared with ordinary stabilization, DJI said that HorizonSteady can automatically detect the jitter in all directions of the fuselage and effectively offset it, and compensate for any rotation in the horizontal direction. It always maintains it under severe turbulence or rotation. The picture level is stable.

To put it simply, HorizonSteady can understand the anti-shake mode that is one step stronger than ordinary stabilization.

▲ Normal stabilization mode: walking

▲ HorizonSteady anti-shake: walking

In the general walking mode, ordinary anti-shake has actually shown sufficient anti-shake stabilization effect. For general hand-held users or wearable users who want to take first-view shots, this mode is sufficient.

Although HorizonSteady will bring a more stable effect, the picture cropping range will be more obvious. Now it is the effect of turning on the 1x lens. If your head ratio is not high, you can turn on HorizonSteady daily, but you have to choose between stability and viewing angle.

▲ Normal stabilization mode: up and down stairs

▲ HorizonSteady anti-shake: up and down stairs

If you switch to holding up and down the stairs, the effect of HorizonSteady is slightly more obvious, and the effect of walking is more flat, and the transition is smoother.

In the combination of running and jumping scenes, HorizonSteady's advantages are obvious. Moreover, the vibration caused by the DJI Action 2 magnetic pendant can also be reduced by HorizonSteady.

If there is no such thing as a headset that can stabilize the body, it is also a feasible trade-off to sacrifice the viewing angle in exchange for better stability.

In terms of anti-shake, it should be noted that the current high frame rate mode of DJI Action 2 does not support anti-shake function, and HorizonSteady can only be turned on in 2.7K and 1080P modes. As with OSMO Action before, users still need to choose between specifications and anti-shake levels.

For me, I personally feel that high frame rate video does not have too much demand for anti-shake, so it is not surprising that DJI Action 2 has not been upgraded to the high frame rate version of electronic stabilization this time.

On the contrary, I still hope that the newly added HorizonSteady can support 4K.

This anti-shake function does not necessarily correspond to long-term walking shots. When fixing DJI Action 2 to small objects with longer bodies such as cups, guitars or chopsticks, I still hope that there will be a more stable 4K picture.

  • Radio

In terms of radio, DJI provided DJI Action 2 with three commonly used options this time.

Users can directly receive the audio through the microphone on the fuselage, or connect to the microphone interface on the "front screen expansion module" to externally receive their usual microphone.

For external microphones, users can choose DJI Mic, a new wireless microphone launched by DJI, to receive audio.

DJI Mic is a one-to-two wireless microphone system launched by DJI this time, which supports wireless radio at a distance of up to 250 meters. The box uses a charging box design similar to true wireless earphones, which can charge the transmitter and receiver modules. Built-in 8GB memory, can realize the function of recording backup

The microphone part adopts a back-clamp design similar to the Rode Wireless GO series, and can be used with a magnetic kit and a conversion board to achieve different fixed passes.

In addition to being compatible with DJI Action 2, DJI Mic can actually be connected to a mobile phone and camera to realize the function of a general wireless microphone.

As for the specific radio effect comparison, you can refer to the test video:

  • Accessories & functions

Finally, let’s take a look at the accessories and functions that DJI launched together with DJI Action 2 this time.

In terms of modules, DJI combined with DJI Action 2 to launch two types of "Front Screen Expansion Module" and "Endurance Module".

The front screen expansion module is equivalent to adding a front screen to DJI Action 2, so that users can directly see the composition when in Vlog. The module also comes with an interface and a memory card slot. The interface is used for an external microphone. The memory card slot transfers the shooting video to the card instead of directly storing it in the machine.

The battery life module is simpler and more straightforward. It is equivalent to an external battery with one more battery to improve battery life. The module also supports hot swap and can be replaced without affecting the shooting.

In terms of battery life, both modules have the effect of improving battery life:

  • DJI Action 2 can achieve 70 minutes of 1080P 30fps video shooting in a single machine
  • DJI Action 2 + front screen expansion module can achieve 160 minutes of 1080P 30fps video shooting
  • DJI Action 2 + battery life module can achieve 180 minutes of 1080P 30fps video shooting

If you just shoot simple and small clips of special camera positions, the battery life of DJI Action 2 is just enough. But if you want to shoot a long time Vlog or video clip, it is best to add these two modules.

In terms of fixed accessories, DJI Action 2 also supports dedicated selfie handles, pendants, back clips, and GoPro Mount adapters. DJI also demonstrated the magnetic structure of DJI Action 2 for drones, as well as conversion 1/4 The screw fittings release the restrictions on fixing the camera.

In terms of functions, DJI Action 2 also supports delay and motion delay functions. In addition to controlling the camera with the DJI Mimo app, you can also use the editing function inside to generate short videos and share them quickly. This is also a very friendly feature for users who are not familiar with video editing.

Different updates, comprehensive choices

In general, DJI Action 2 is a very special upgrade.

In terms of parameters and functional experience, DJI Action 2 has the latest specifications. The image quality and anti-shake shooting experience are much better than those of OSMO Action 2 years ago. The efficient volume compression can also show that DJI is in the industry. Design attainments. The addition of modular design also brings more possibilities for camera functions and gameplay.

Although the newly launched HorizonSteady does not support 4K, and the front screen module of DJI Action 2 has not launched a "wireless version", it feels a pity.

But in terms of overall completion, the performance of DJI Action 2 has actually been satisfactory.

If you want to have a device that can try more possibilities in shooting methods, or want to add more "different perspectives" to your Vlog, then the updated DJI Action 2 will be a fairly balanced and Comprehensive choice.

"Buy it, it's not expensive."

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