DJI Action 2 review

DJI Action 2 review: RockSteady 2.0 is a game changer

On the surface, the standout feature of the DJI Action 2 is its modular design, primarily holding gadgets and gizmos together via magnetism. And while the design is certainly delightfully unique, I can’t get enough of one piece of technology that’s inside the Action 2: RockSteady 2.0.

The DJI Action 2 was announced this week as DJI’s second action camera, iterating on the DJI Osmo Action which first launched in 2019. It will start at $399 when it goes on sale in November, and it’s the perfect compact camera for on-the-go video recording. In fact, it might give the other cameras and mounts in DJI’s existing Osmo lineup a run for their money. It might give all 3-axis gimbals a run for their money, in fact.

Here’s my DJI Action 2 review (and for a more thorough breakdown of all the specs, check out my guide to Everything you need to know about the DJI Action 2 here):

The DJI Action 2 costs $519 for the dual-screen combo or $399 for the Power Combo. Order (or pre-order) your own from major retailers including:

DJI Action 2’s top feature: RockSteady 2.0

DJI rose to fame with its original DJI Phantom quadcopter drone which was released in January 2013. At that time, DJI wasn’t in the business of making cameras, as the original DJI did not come with a camera. Most drone pilots (including yours truly) turned to action camera giant GoPro to provide a camera to mount to their drones.

But as DJI iterated on it Phantom line came the launch of a big game changer for creating footage that wasn’t just memorable because it was novel (as 2013-era aerial footage was), but rather became truly memorable because of its newfound, cinematic quality: a gimbal.

Gimbals are pieces of tech that provide pivoted support for cameras to rotate on an axis (or 3 axises in this case), as the camera remains stabilized no matter whether it moves up and down, left and right, front or back, or some simultaneous combination of those things in the case of a 3-axis gimbal.

That silky-smooth aesthetic now largely tied to drones then was brought to the ground when DJI announced a new product line called Osmo. These contraptions are essentially handheld gimbals, whether you use one that holds its own built-in camera or one that integrates with your smartphone’s camera.

I can walk and talk with it, and it’s still super smooth!

Goodbye, gimbal

Thus, a huge product shift occurred when DJI launched the Osmo Action in 2019. The square action camera was designed to compete against the famous GoPro action cameras. It just locked DJI’s iconic feature: the gimbal.

To maintain the stabile video that DJI is known for, the company introduced RockSteady, which is tech that combines Electronic Image Stabilization with complex algorithms to deliver stable, shake-free footage. It was pretty good, but it didn’t take long for camera pros to compare it to GoPro’s similar tech called HyperSmooth 2.0 created for the company’s Hero 8 action camera. Reviewers call it “noticeably better” and “more gimbal-like,” suggesting that RockSteady runs short against HyperSmooth 2.0.

DJI took notes. In response toHyperSmooth 2.0, the new DJI Action 2 featuresRockSteady 2.0. It’s incredibly good. And, it’s reason alone for anyone who ever shoots videos to need an Action 2 in their life.

Hello, RockSteady 2.0

Similar to the original RockSteady, this versioncombines EIS with algorithms to stabilize video footage. But the algorithms have improved, and this footage is truly smooth. You can walk around with simply the Action 2 in hand, no Osmo gimbal needed, and footage is nearly as stable in many cases, and just as stable in most cases.

For almost all shooting scenarios, the Action 2 might eliminate the need to have an Osmo, as you get the same silky-smooth aesthetic without having to bring a separate contraption with you that also happens to be fairly fragile. Plus, the Osmo is drop-proof, dust-proof and (with the case) crash-proof, happily making it far from fragile.

One note: EIS does not support RockSteady 2.0 when the video frame rate is 100 fps or above.

Alongside RockSteady 2.0, DJI also gives the Action 2 a program called HorizonSteady, which holds your frame horizontal and steady — level to the horizon — to ensure especially smooth video, especially in situations such as where the photographer is running.

I was shocked at how gorgeous my video footage looked during my DJI Action 2 review even as I walked about my gym with it.

DJI Action 2 review Sally French The Drone Girl camera

Modular, magnetic design

It would be wrong to ignore one of the most noticeable features of the Action 2: its modular, magnetic design. Pretty much everything connects via an adaptive magnetic design. I wondered if this might be sketchy and items could fall off, but once connected via magnetism, locks snap on, and you have to manually unclasp the locks to remove your modular accessories, ensuring they only come off if you want them too.

Magnetic accessories

Naturally, there are tons of accessories, most of which do connect magnetically. They include:

Front Touchscreen Module: I loved this accessory, which gives you both a front-facing OLED touchscreen and an extra source of power. I tested it out with some vlog style of my own and found this incredibly helpful in framing my shots. The extra battery life (160 minutes!) didn’t hurt either. (Included in the $519 Dual-Screen Combo Kit)

Power Module: I never found myself needing this during my own DJI Action 2 review because — while I did need more power than the 70 minutes of power that comes with the DJI Action 2 on its own during my shooting stint — I found the 160 minutes from the front touchscreen to be sufficient. Though, this would extend power to an even-better 180 minutes. (Included in the $399 Power Combo Kit)

The DJI Action 2 Magnetic Ball-Joint Adapter Mount

Magnetic Ball-Joint Adapter Mount: This pretty much enables you to mount the DJI Action 2 anywhere. The 1/4″ screw hole is compatible with most camera accessories. (Included in the $519 Dual-Screen Combo Kit)

Magnetic Adapter Mount: I didn’t find myself using this much as I gravitated more toward the dual-screen combo kit, but I might’ve used it more had I only had the Power Combo Kit. (Included in both the Dual-Screen and Power Combo Kits)

Magnetic Lanyard: This lanyard enables you to show a first-person view while keeping your hands free, as it holds the camera right to your chest. (Included in both the Dual-Screen and Power Combo Kits)

Don’t call it a selfie stick! It’s a “Remote Control Extension Rod.”

Remote Control Extension Rod: It’s basically a selfie stick, and you need this if you want to go for selfie mode, unless you already have a separate selfie stick that could be compatible with the Magnetic Ball-Joint Adapter Mount. The nice thing about using this versus an off-brand selfie stick is that it also serves as a detachable remote controller. (Additional cost)

The DJI Action 2 macro lens

Macro Lens: I never really used this as part of my initial DJI Action 2 review as most of my tests were happening in a gym, and no one wants to get close up to anything in a gym! However, I want to try photographing food or flowers with this. I loved how even this snapped on magnetically. (Additional cost)

The macro lens is great for close-up shots. Like, really close-up.

Magnetic Headband: I didn’t get this accessory, and I’m not sure I would recommend it for most people given its similarity to the lanyard, which is automatically included in the kit. Though, it could work if you really needed that hands-free view but you couldn’t have items on your chest if you were, say, participating in sports. I certainly wouldn’t trust myself to do a Clean & Jerk with a lanyard on my chest, though then again I wouldn’t be too keen on the magnetic headband for that use-case either. Maybe a sport like baseball would benefit from this: get that ball flying at you as you’re up to bat! (Additional cost)

Other, non-magnetic accessories include the waterproof carrying case and floating rod.

If you want to see each individual item I got, check out my DJI Action 2 unboxing video!

DJI Action 2 review accessories

DJI Action 2 Dual-Screen Combo Kit or Power Combo Kit: which is better?

I certainly gravitated toward the accessories in theDual-Screen Combo Kit. But the question doesn’t necessarily have an easy answer, as thePower Combo Kit costs $399 while theDual-Screen Combo Kit is $519.

The big differences are that the Dual-Screen Combo Kit gets you the Front Touchscreen Module (that’s the front-facing screen) while the Power Combo Kit entails just thePower Module (no front-facing screen). I found myself constantly referencing that screen for framing selfie shots. If you’re shooting selfies with any regularity, it’s worth upgrading to the Dual-Screen Combo. Sure, you can frame your shot while taking a selfie through your smartphone via the Mimo App, but you might be tempted to look down versus at your screen. It’s a more clunky experience.

The more expensive, Dual-Screen Combo also gets you the Magnetic Ball-Joint Adapter Mount which I frequently found myself using given the versatility that the magnetic ball provides. Tilt the camera just a smidge up or down to perfectly frame your shot.

If you’re primarily looking for the waterproof camera aspect of the Action 2, then you might be okay with just the Power Combo Kit and saving your money for the waterproof case. Most people, though, would benefit from the extra $100 to get that front-facing camera and better mounts.

If you want to save on theDual-Screen Combo Kit, you could use your smartphone as a live feed to frame your selfie shot, though it’s not as seamless as just using theFront Touchscreen Module.

Gripes with the Action 2

It’s waterproof, but only if…: I don’t have many gripes with the Action 2, but here’s one. To call it waterproof is slightly misleading. The camera can certainly be waterproof, but only if you pay extra to purchase the DJI Action 2 Waterproof Case. Though, if you buy it, it’s certainly great. The case houses the DJI Action 2 camera, as well as either the front touchscreen module or power module for more battery life. It functions at depths of up to 60 meters (that’s about the same height as the Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World in Florida).

I want more lenses! It’s had to call this a gripe, but right now there are only two lens options. There’s the super-wide 155° FOV from the main camera. Or, you can pop on the macro lens for super close up shots. There’s no medium here though.

Overheating is a known problem: One of the biggest gripes with the DJI Action 2 is overheating problems. When it gets ‘too hot,’ the Action 2 typically shuts off, which requires you to wait to let it cool (that typically takes around 15 minutes). Users have reported this happening in warm, but not unreasonable warm temperatures (think around 80 degrees Fahrenheit), causing problems for people wanting to take videos on a warm summer day. In fact, sometimes the camera itself became too hot for some users to touch.

DJI did release a much-needed software update meant to mitigate those issues, including “Timelapse Low Power Mode.” And with Steady mode, power consumption is optimized when Steady is enabled or EIS is disabled, which can help additionally save on battery.

For what it’s worth, even this camera’s closest competitor, the GoPro Hero 10, has the same heat issue. In general, all these small action cameras have powerful computer chips forced into a small, tight frame (it’s like packing a bunch of dancing bodies into one tiny room — you know what happens). With that power, comes heat. And though the firmware fixes help some of it, just beware that it’s a known issue.

DJI Action 2 review front touchscreen module
I love the front touchscreen module!

DJI Action 2 review: Who should get this tiny camera?

In short, anyone who films video! The RockSteady 2.0 is obviously stunning and makes for much higher-quality footage than the shaky video on your smartphone.

The size is small, at just 56 grams (roughly the same weight as a tennis ball). Most people at the gym where I was testing this out called it “cute,” though some thought the uber-small size made it “stealth.” Perhaps it’s a mix of both: cute stealth. You could definitely film without others knowing you have a camera on you.

The camera quality is excellent, even in indoor environments. I filmed inside my gym to put together a test video, and even though it’s a fairly dark, cavernous place, I was thrilled with what I put together. See my test footage here:

It’s easy to use. With footage going straight to your smartphone, it’s easy and quick to get shots to social media incredibly quickly.

I appreciate the automatic video editor feature, which you’ll find when you connect to the DJI Mimo app. For many, editing can be a huge burden tied to filming video, but Mimo does the work for you. Mimo uses an AI Editor to pick out the “best moments” from your reel to compile into a shorter, edited video burst, and while it’s pretty intuitive, it’s not completely perfect. If you’re seriously about your footage, you’ll want to edit on your own. And even without the Mimo AI Editor, you can still edit within the app through a lightweight editing tool which is good for uncomplicated videos. You can add titles, music, splice clips and more through the Mimo editing tool.

DJI Action 2 review Sally French Drone Girl weightlifting weightlifter mini tripod
The Action 2 mounted on a mini tripod.

Everything about my Action 2 experience was seamless — and luckily I didn’t experience the overheating issues that others did.

As for me, the Action 2 was swift to connect. Filming was straightforward, and the way to change settings was straightforward. Editing footage and sending it to my smartphone via the Mimo app was intuitive. Getting footage of my day at the gym posted online was quick.

And thanks largely to RockSteady 2.0, it wasn’t just any old footage. A simple $400-$500 action camera gave me impressive footage. And though I love drones, I can’t exactly bring them into my gym. DJI’s Action 2 enables me to bring their unparalleled camera tech to my other hobby. No drone, and not even a gimbal, needed.

Just beware of some of the technical issues with the Action 2, including overheating (which will be more likely if already operating in hotter environments, or simply just for long periods of time).

The DJI Action 2 costs $519 for the dual-screen combo or $399 for the Power Combo. Order (or pre-order) your own from major retailers including:

Did you agree with my DJI Action 2 review? Why or why not? Leave your own Action 2 review in the comments below!

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