Manufacturer of DJI drones is no stranger to large and small cameras and lenses. The company’s drones capture some of the best aerial footage around, which is why DJI’s first hit in an action camera – Osmo Action – was a hit. It was more or less a clone of GoPro, but added a full-color front screen, a feature that GoPro later copied.
For its second attitude towards the genre, DJI seems to have cast a gentle eye on another competitor – Insta360, which is a pioneer in a system with interchangeable action camera lenses. DJI’s GoPro clone has innovated in some really clever ways, but the new Action 2 is less convincing.
On paper, its characteristics are solid. It has 4K video at 120 frames per second (fps), improved motion stabilization and a variety of automatic shooting modes and features that have become standard for high-end action cameras. But after weeks of Action 2, I’m just not impressed. I can only think of one the reason to choose it over GoPro Hero 10 or Insta360 One R: weight.
Action 2 is not strictly a clone of Insta360 One R. Both are modular, but with One R the modularity consists of changing different combinations of lenses and sensors. DJI uses a different approach, the main device being a working camera. What you can add to this is either a battery pack or a dual screen module; the latter allows you to see yourself when the camera is aimed at your face. (Magnetic sides can also be attached to various stands and brackets, so you never have to screw anything in.)
This modular approach was welcome, but when I first unpacked Action 2, I was most captivated by the camera itself. If there’s one thing that’s not great about the GoPro Hero 10 Black, it’s the weight. Or at least I guess it’s annoying to have a weight of 5.3 ounces on your head. I very rarely attach a camera to my man – I don’t find the shots particularly interesting – but I realize that many people do just that.
If your main case of using an action camera actually hangs it on your helmet, while you, as my snowboarding roommate honestly said, “bomb the slopes”, then DJI Action 2 will probably outperform GoPro and much more on the market. It weighs only 2 ounces, which is not even noticeable when on your helmet. The DJI camera is also small, which means less resistance to wind and water.
In addition to the lightweight design, you can turn it into a more traditional action camera by adding the battery and screen modules to the mix. Here, however, the oddities and shortcomings of Action 2 begin to manifest.
DJI’s magnetic attachment mechanism is ingenious from a purely engineering point of view. It’s simple and reliable. You put the two cubes together and they snap into place. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Two brackets additionally fasten the magnet, but you can still easily disassemble it even with gloved hands. But you should probably not try to disassemble it with gloved hands, because if you wear gloves, then you are probably in the snow and only part of the camera lens is completely waterproof.
Divers, fear not, there is a waterproof case that you can purchase for an additional $ 65, which will make the entire camera waterproof to 196 feet (60 meters). But then you lose the advantage of the system with magnetic clips for quick change. The lack of complete waterproofing is moderately annoying, but does not disrupt the deal, unless you plan to use primarily your camera for action in the water. If so, this is definitely not what you want.