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DJI Action 2 Camera Review

Tested using Methodology v0.12
Reviewed Mar 22, 2023 at 09:34 am
Latest change: Writing modified Mar 22, 2023 at 09:34 am
DJI Action 2 Picture
6.4
Travel Photography
6.2
Landscape Photography
4.3
Sport & Wildlife Photography
4.4
Vlogging
4.7
Studio Video
8.8
Action Video

The DJI Action 2 is the follow-up to 2019's DJI Osmo Action. Once again, DJI has tried to reinvent the wheel by creating an action camera with a unique modular design that lets you switch out different magnetic accessories as needed. It's an incredibly portable camera with fantastic stabilization and 4k frame rate options that rival the GoPro HERO10 Black. Unfortunately, it's held back by extreme overheating issues and underwhelming battery life.

Our Verdict

6.4 Travel Photography

The DJI Action 2 isn't primarily designed for photography, though it's fine for capturing photos of your travel adventures. It's especially good for getting action stills of sports or other activities you might do while traveling, like scuba diving or rock climbing. It's super portable, so it's easy to pack and bring with you. However, it's limited by its small sensor, which isn't suited for low-light photography, and its fixed aperture and focal length aren't versatile enough for different kinds of travel photos.

Pros
  • Incredibly portable.
Cons
  • Extreme overheating issues.
  • Terrible battery life.
  • Image quality is limited by small sensor.
  • Fixed aperture and focal length.
6.2 Landscape Photography

The DJI Action 2 isn't meant for landscape photography. It has a small sensor that isn't well-suited for capturing high-contrast scenes with a lot of dynamic range. Also, while its fixed focal length lens can capture very wide-angle shots, it's less versatile and creates a fisheye effect that may be undesirable.

4.3 Sport & Wildlife Photography

The DJI Action 2 isn't meant for sports and wildlife photography. It doesn't have a continuous shooting mode to capture sequential bursts of moving subjects. Also, while its narrow aperture lens ensures everything is in focus, you're limited to a very wide-angle focal length, which isn't suitable for capturing far-off subjects.

4.4 Vlogging

The DJI Action 2 isn't good for vlogging. While you can purchase it with a selfie screen module, which lets you monitor yourself while recording, the camera suffers from major overheating issues that make it hot to the touch and prevent you from filming extended takes. The screen is also very small, and the camera's wide-angle focal length isn't ideal for vlogging. Battery life is terrible as well, and video quality is lacking, especially in low light.

Pros
  • Incredibly portable.
Cons
  • Extreme overheating issues.
  • Terrible battery life.
  • Poor video quality.
  • Wide-angle FOV isn't very versatile for vlogging.
4.7 Studio Video

The DJI Action 2 isn't designed for studio video. The video quality is bad, with muddy-looking footage that lacks detail and clarity. Its fixed wide-angle focal length and fixed aperture are also very limiting.

Pros
  • Incredibly portable.
Cons
  • Extreme overheating issues.
  • Terrible battery life.
  • Poor video quality.
  • Wide-angle FOV isn't versatile enough for studio video.
8.8 Action Video

The DJI Action 2 is excellent for action video if you overlook its overheating issues. Unfortunately, the camera gets very hot to the touch when recording any kind of video for extended periods. That may not be a huge issue if you plan on attaching it to a drone, but if you're using it handheld or with accessories like the magnetic lanyard or magnetic headband, it's a big hindrance. That aside, the camera also has a very limited battery life. Still, it's a remarkably portable action camera with plenty of frame rate options to capture fast action and slow-motion footage. It's also fairly sturdy, with an IP68 rating for water immersion down to 10m, although the attachment modules aren't waterproof.

Pros
  • Incredibly portable.
  • Plenty of frame rate options.
  • Camera unit is waterproof.
Cons
  • Extreme overheating issues.
  • Terrible battery life.
  • Modules aren't waterproof.
  • 6.4 Travel Photography
  • 6.2 Landscape Photography
  • 4.3 Sport & Wildlife Photography
  • 4.4 Vlogging
  • 4.7 Studio Video
  • 8.8 Action Video
  1. Updated Mar 22, 2023: Review published.
  2. Updated Mar 15, 2023: Early access published.

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Differences Between Sizes And Variants

The DJI Action 2 comes in several different accessory combos, which you can see in the chart below. We purchased the Dual-Screen Combo, and you can see the camera's label here.

Combo Included Accessories
DJI Action 2 Power Combo Camera Unit, Power Module, Magnetic Lanyard, Magnetic Adapter Mount, power cable
 DJI Action 2 Dual-Screen Combo  Camera Unit, Front Touchscreen Module, Magnetic Lanyard, Magnetic Ball-Joint Adapter Mount, Magnetic Adapter Mount, power cable
 DJI Action 2 Power Biking Combo  Everything included in the Power Combo, plus Magnetic Headband, Osmo Action Mounting Kit, 128GB SanDisk microSD card
 DJI Action 2 Dual-Screen Diving Combo Everything included in the Dual-Screen Combo, plus Waterproof Case, DJI Floating Handle, 128GB SanDisk microSD card
 DJI Action 2 Power FPV Combo Everything included in the Power Combo, plus Magnetic Headband and 128GB SanDisk microSD card

As of April 2022, DJI also includes a free Magnetic Protective Case with each bundle.

If you come across different variants of this camera, let us know in the discussions, and we'll update the review.

Compared To Other Cameras

The DJI Action 2 is somewhat unique among action cameras, with a modular design that lets you magnetically attach different modules with different functions. It makes the camera much more portable than your typical action camera while giving you some versatility to adapt it to different uses, whether it be vlogging, action video, or drone footage. That said, its battery life falls short of other action cameras, and the camera is prone to excessive overheating.

For more options, check out our picks for the best action cameras, the best cameras for vlogging, and the best video cameras for sports.

Insta360 GO 2

The Insta360 GO 2 and the DJI Action 2 are both highly portable action cameras with unique designs. The Insta360 is a little more suited to content creators and vloggers, with beginner-friendly in-app editing features that make it easy to shoot, edit, and upload your videos from your phone. The DJI, on the other hand, is a little more ruggedly built, and its tiny modular form factor makes it better for FPV drone footage and action video. That said, it struggles with overheating and has poor battery life.

DJI Pocket 2

The DJI Action 2 and the DJI Pocket 2 both have innovative designs, but they're suited to different uses. The Pocket 2 is meant to be used handheld and has a built-in gimbal that allows you to capture incredibly stable footage. Meanwhile, the Action 2 has a very portable, modular design that makes it very easy to mount to drones or action video rigs. Both cameras overheat quickly, but the Action 2 gets a lot hotter. The Action 2 also has a much shorter battery life.

GoPro HERO9 Black

The GoPro HERO9 Black is better overall than the DJI Action 2. While the DJI has a more portable, modular design, the GoPro has a better battery life and doesn't suffer from major overheating issues like the DJI does. It also supports 5k video recording at up to 30 fps, but unlike the DJI, it can't record 4k at 120 fps.

GoPro HERO10 Black

The GoPro HERO10 Black is better than the DJI Action 2. It has a more conventional design, and while it isn't as portable, it doesn't struggle with overheating in the same way that the DJI does. It also has a longer battery life and slightly better video quality. Unlike the DJI, the GoPro can also record 5k video at up to 60 fps.

Test Results

perceptual testing image
Design
9.9
Design
Portability
Height
1.5" (3.9 cm)
Width
1.5" (3.9 cm)
Depth
0.9" (2.2 cm)
Volume
2.1 in³ (34.2 cm³)
Weight
0.12 lbs (0.06 kg)

The DJI Action 2 is incredibly portable. The camera is tiny and lightweight, taking up less than half the space of its predecessor, the DJI Osmo Action, and other typical action cameras. Even with a module attached, it's still very compact. With the Front Touchscreen module attached, the camera's dimensions are:

  • Height: 3.1" (7.8cm)
  • Width: 1.5" (3.91cm)
  • Depth: 1.0" (2.46cm)
  • Volume: 4.6 in³ (75.3cm³)
  • Weight: 0.26 lbs (0.12kg)

Finally, with both the module and the Magnetic Protective Case, the dimensions are:

  • Height: 3.4" (8.6cm)
  • Width: 1.7" (4.3cm)
  • Depth: 1.0" (2.7cm)
  • Volume: 6.0 in³ (97.7cm³)
  • Weight: 0.31 lbs (0.14kg)

6.5
Design
Build Quality

Build quality is okay. The camera itself feels solid and is made of aluminum alloy. The material feels sturdy, but while it supposedly disperses heat away from the camera's internals, it also makes the camera very hot to the touch, which is a big downside. Even when simply scrolling through the menus while charging the camera via USB, we measured a temperature of 49.8ºC (121.6°F), which skirts the line for the safe handling of metal objects. When recording 4k 60 fps video, the camera eventually reached a temperature of 69ºC (156.2°F).

DJI has acknowledged the overheating issues of the camera and released a Magnetic Protective Case in response, which is meant to "reduce surface temperature" and provide better heat management. In practice, it lets the camera record longer and reach even higher temperatures. With the case on, we recorded a 4k video clip at 120 fps, after which the camera reached a concerningly hot temperature of 74.5ºC (166.1°F). While the Magnetic Protective Case, which is made of a heat-resistant polymer, does provide some protection for your fingers, the camera still gets dangerously hot, and it can be especially unsafe when recording handheld or using the Magnetic Lanyard, which brings the camera close to your skin.

Even setting that aside, the camera uses very powerful magnets with clips to attach the different modules. While that creates a sturdy connection between parts, we found that the camera scratches easily, and the coating begins to wear off quickly in high-friction areas around the clips and expansion port. DJI also warns that you should keep the magnetic parts of the camera away from devices that can be damaged by them, including pacemakers and credit cards.

Design
Body
Body Type
Action Cam
Water Resistance
Waterproof
Mirrorless
Yes
Rugged
No
Hot Shoe
No
Customizable Button
No
Command Dial
0
Tripod Mount
Yes, with included accessory
Lens Mount
No Lens Mount
Built-In Flash
No
Fastest Shutter Speed
1/8,000 s

The camera is waterproof, but that comes with some caveats. The camera unit has an IP68 rating, meaning it's rated for immersion in over 1m of water and is dust-tight. DJI advertises it to be waterproof down to 10m. However, they also caution against using it in hot springs or hot tubs or during activities like cliff diving that involve high impact with water. Additionally, neither the Power Module nor the Front Touchscreen Module are waterproof. To use those underwater, you need to purchase an additional waterproof case from DJI, which allows you to submerge the whole unit underwater down to 60m.

Design
In The Box

  • DJI Action 2 Camera Unit
  • Front Touchscreen Module
  • Magnetic Lanyard and attachment
  • Magnetic Adapter Mount
  • Magnetic Ball-Joint
  • Magnetic Ball-Joint adhesive
  • Magnetic Ball-Joint adapter adhesive cover
  • Magnetic Protective Case
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • User manual

3.0
Design
Ergonomics & Comfort
Hand Grip: Small Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Medium Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Large Hand
No Hand Grip
Hand Grip: Extra-Large Hand
No Hand Grip

Though the DJI Action 2 is primarily meant for mounting to various accessories, like the Magnetic Lanyard or attached to a tripod with the Magnetic Ball-Joint adapter, the Front Touchscreen module also allows it to be used handheld for selfies and vlogs. However, because of its small size, the camera isn't the most comfortable to hold, especially if you have larger hands. The size, combined with the placement of the shutter/record button, makes it hard to press naturally. The magnets that connect the camera unit to the different modules are also very strong and could easily pinch you if you aren't careful.

That said, the biggest issue for comfort is excessive overheating, which we detailed in the Build Quality section above.

Design
Viewfinder
Viewfinder Type
No Viewfinder
Advertised Coverage
N/A
Advertised Resolution
N/A
Advertised Magnification
N/A
3.5
Design
Screen
Screen Articulation Type
No Articulation (Fixed Screen)
Screen Max Brightness
471 cd/m²
Advertised Resolution
N/A
Size
1.8" (4.5 cm)
Touchscreen
Yes

The camera unit has a very small back screen, which isn't very useful for monitoring recording because of its size. With the Front Touchscreen module attached, you get an additional front-facing screen that you can use to monitor yourself live when recording in a selfie position. However, it's just as small as the camera unit screen. Neither screen gets overly bright, but they're decent for combatting glare.

The camera doesn't have any physical buttons aside from the power and record buttons, so the touchscreen is used to navigate the menus and adjust settings. However, it sometimes fails to register an input or swipe motion, and at other times, it's easy to accidentally swipe to a menu or setting you didn't mean to. Usefully, you can only have one touchscreen active at a time, so if you're shooting in selfie mode, the back screen will automatically lock, and vice versa.

8.0
Design
Menu System
Guide Mode
No
App Name
DJI Mimo

The user interface is great, considering how small a display area there is to work with. The settings are spread out in different menus that you pull up through different directional swipes. For instance, swiping down brings you to the general settings page, which you can see here while swiping left brings you to shooting settings. Despite the size, the menus are well-organized and quite easy to navigate.

There's also the DJI Mimo app, which lets you control the camera from your phone. Naturally, it's a lot easier to see and access settings through the app, which looks like this. The app includes a 'Pro' mode that gives you control over all the different settings. Unfortunately, there's no in-app help or guide function to explain features or settings in more detail.

7.0
Design
Built-In Lens
Maximum Aperture
2.8
Max Aperture (Full-Frame Equivalent)
f/12.7
Minimum Focal Length
2 mm
Maximum Focal Length
2 mm
Max Focal Length (Full-Frame Equivalent)
12 mm
Optical Image Stabilization
No
Luminance
82%
Light Falloff
83.2%
Design
Sensor
Sensor Type
CMOS
Advertised Effective Pixels
12 MP
Sensor Size
1/1.7-inch
Processor
Unspecified
Extended ISO Minimum
N/A
Native ISO Minimum (Base ISO)
100
Native ISO Maximum
12,800
Tested Firmware
10.00.36.18
4.1
Design
Battery
Battery Type
LiPo 1S
USB Charging
Yes
Use When Charging
Yes
Advertised Battery Life In Photo
N/A
Tested Battery Life In Video
26 min

Battery life is terrible. When recording with the camera unit on its own, it can only capture under half an hour of footage at its highest quality settings. That's far short of other action cameras, including the original DJI Osmo Action, as well as the GoPro HERO10 Black. Since we bought the Dual-Screen Combo, we also tested the camera's battery life with the Front Touchscreen module attached, which supplies some extra power to the camera, and recorded about 64 minutes of footage on a full charge. However, the camera overheated five times during recording. Note that you can also purchase the camera with a Power module that's advertised to boost the battery life to a slightly greater degree than the Front Touchscreen module (180 minutes vs. 160 minutes, respectively, according to DJI).

It's worth noting that the camera unit itself doesn't have a USB-C port. You can charge it via USB, but only with one of the modules attached. That also means there's no way to charge the camera if you happen to lose the module.

Photo General
2.0
Photo General
Photo Shooting Speed
Low Speed Continuous
N/A
High Speed Continuous
N/A
Silent Shooting Continuous
N/A
Raw Buffer Size
1 Photos
JPEG Buffer Size
1 Photos
Buffer Empty Time
1 s

Unlike the DJI Osmo Action, there's no burst mode, but these cameras aren't meant for continuous shooting. You can only capture one photo at a time, with about a 1s delay as the camera records the image to memory before you can take another.

not tested
Photo General
Photo AF-C Tracking
Autofocus Tracking Shots N/A
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
N/A
Usable Focus Hit Rate
N/A
not tested
Photo General
Photo AF-C Center Point
Autofocus Center Point Shots N/A
Perfect Focus Hit Rate
N/A
Usable Focus Hit Rate
N/A
6.6
Photo General
Photo Image Stabilization
Minimum Shutter Speed Achieved
1/30 s
In-Body Image Stabilization
No

We managed to get stable images at fairly slow shutter speeds, but the camera doesn't have any image stabilization in photo mode. The clarity of your photos at slower shutter speeds will depend heavily on how steady your hands are.

Photo Image Quality
not tested
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Dynamic Range
Dynamic Range At Base ISO
N/A
Dynamic Range At 1/500s Exposure Time
N/A
Dynamic Range At 1/2000s Exposure Time
N/A
Dynamic Range At 1/4000s Exposure Time
N/A
not tested
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Sharpness
Vertical Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
N/A
Horizontal Edge MTF50 At Base ISO
N/A
not tested
Photo Image Quality
Photo RAW Noise
SNR 18% At 1/8 Exposure Time (125 ms)
N/A
SNR 18% At 1/125 Exposure Time (8 ms)
N/A
SNR 18% At 1/1000 Exposure Time (1 ms)
N/A
SNR 18% At 1/4000 Exposure Time (0.25 ms)
N/A
Pictures Sample Gallery
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Skate Park Picture
JPEG Skate Park Picture Download
RAW Skate Park Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Polish Church Picture
JPEG Polish Church Picture Download
RAW Polish Church Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Studio Picture
JPEG Studio Picture Download
RAW Studio Picture Download
Pictures Sample Gallery
The Stairway Picture
JPEG Stairway Picture Download
RAW Stairway Picture Download
Video General
Video General
Video Features
Full HD Video
Yes
4k Video
Yes
6k Video
No
Clean HDMI Output
No HDMI
Advertised Max Chroma Sampling Over HDMI
No HDMI
Advertised Max Bit Depth Over HDMI
N/A
Log Picture Profile
No
Recording Light
Yes

The DJI Action 2 has a few different resolution options, including 4k, 2.7k, and 1080p, though it can only shoot 1080p footage in a 16:9 aspect ratio, whereas 4k and 2.7k can be recorded in 16:9 or 4:3. The standard 1080p setting downsamples footage from 4k; there's also a '1080p Power Reserve' mode that downsamples from 2.3k, so quality is slightly worse, but it doesn't drain the battery as much.

You can adjust the camera's field of view between Standard, Wide, and Ultra Wide.

In addition to standard video and slow motion modes, the camera includes a time-lapse mode with different presets for subjects like clouds, sunsets, and crowds. There's also a hyper-lapse mode for moving time-lapse footage.

Finally, there are several different stabilization modes. 'RockSteady' and 'Steady' are the standard stabilization modes that reduce the amount of camera shake in your footage to different degrees. 'Steady' mode incurs a 1.2x crop, while the more aggressive 'RockSteady' stabilization incurs a 1.5x crop. Additionally, there's a 'HorizonBalancing' mode that levels the horizon when rotating the camera up to a 45º angle. You can see how it works here. It also incurs a 1.5x crop. Last, there's 'HorizonSteady', which keeps the horizon level no matter how you move the camera. This mode is only available in 1080p or 2.7k and incurs a 1.75x crop. You can see it in action here.

Video General
Audio
Audio Test Sample
Audio Recording
Stereo
Microphone Level Display
No

Note: The camera unit has just one microphone, while the Front Touchscreen module adds another three mics. We recorded the sample above using just the camera unit.

You can set the camera to pick up audio from different directions (front, front and back, or all). However, we didn't notice much, if any, difference when adjusting these settings.

There's also an 'Audio Zoom' feature that amplifies the audio as the camera zooms in towards the source of the sound. You can see that in action here.

Video General
Video File Format And Compression
MP4 H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
Yes
MP4 H.265 / HEVC
No
MOV H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
MOV H.265 / HEVC
No
AVCHD H.264 / MPEG-4 AVC
No
All-I Compression
No
4k Video
10
4k Video
4k Video Frame Rate
240 fps In 4k
No
120 fps In 4k
Yes
60 fps In 4k
Yes
30 fps In 4k
Yes
24 fps In 4k
Yes
4k Crop At Max Available fps
1 x

The DJI Action 2 has plenty of frame rate options in 4k, including a dedicated Slow Motion mode for 120 fps recording. That said, there's only one playback speed option, 4x slow-mo. Another thing to note is that live view on the Front Touchscreen module is disabled when recording at 120 fps in the Slow Motion mode. Instead, you simply get a resolution and frame rate display, with a red recording indicator, as seen here.

6.8
4k Video
4k Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In 4k
130 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In 4k
90 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In 4k
4:2:0
Bit Depth In 4k
8 Bit
Record Time Limit In 4k
N/A
Overheat Recording Interruptions in 4k
3

4k internal recording capability is just okay. While the camera doesn't impose a recording time limit, it's also limited by its short battery life, so you can't do any lengthy recording without an external power bank anyway. The camera also overheats very easily, which can interrupt your recording.

0
4k Video
4k Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In 4k
0
Face Tracking In 4k
0
Face Detection In 4k
No
Eye Detection In 4k
No

The DJI Action 2 doesn't have an autofocus system because its narrow aperture creates a very deep depth of field that keeps the entire scene in focus.

5.8
4k Video
4k Video Quality
Low Light Capability In 4k
5.5
Test Scene Extract In 4k
6.0

4k video quality is poor relative to larger-sensor cameras but performs on par for an action cam. Because of the camera's small sensor, it isn't well-suited to shooting indoors or in low light, where video looks very grainy and lacking in detail. It's meant for shooting outdoors in bright lighting conditions. However, it does fare a little better overall than the original DJI Osmo Action, which uses an even smaller sensor.

8.2
4k Video
4k Video Rolling Shutter Effect
4k Rolling Shutter
2.0°

Slanting from rolling shutter is minimal when panning the camera. Even if you change the field of view, the angle of distortion stays the same.

Full HD Video
10
Full HD Video
FHD Video Frame Rate
240 fps In FHD
Yes
120 fps In FHD
Yes
60 fps In FHD
Yes
30 fps In FHD
Yes
24 fps In FHD
Yes
FHD Crop At Max Available fps
1 x

The DJI Action 2 has plenty of frame rate options in 1080p. There's a dedicated Slow Motion mode that lets you record at either 240 fps (8x slow motion) or 120 fps (4x slow motion).

8.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Internal Recording
Bitrate Maximum In FHD
60 Mbps
Bitrate Minimum In FHD
32 Mbps
Chroma Sampling In FHD
4:2:0
Bit Depth In FHD
8 Bit
Record Time Limit in FHD
N/A

FHD internal recording is pretty good. However, while it doesn't impose a recording time limit, the camera is prone to overheating and has a limited battery life, which can cut your recording time short.

0
Full HD Video
FHD Video Autofocus Performance
Object Tracking In FHD
0
Face Tracking In FHD
0
Face Detection In FHD
No
Eye Detection In FHD
No

The DJI Action 2 doesn't have an autofocus system because its narrow aperture creates a very deep depth of field that keeps the entire scene in focus.

4.8
Full HD Video
FHD Video Quality
Low Light Capability In FHD
5.0
Test Scene Extract In FHD
4.5

Video quality in 1080p is bad overall but not far from most action cameras. The camera is meant for brightly lit outdoor recording and isn't really suitable for recording indoors or in low light, resulting in very grainy footage with muddy details. In '1080p Power Reserve' mode, the video quality is slightly worse, as the camera downsamples from 2.3k rather than from 4k, as it does in the regular 1080p setting. You can see a test scene extract for the '1080p Power Reserve' mode here.

8.2
Full HD Video
FHD Video Rolling Shutter Effect
FHD Rolling Shutter
2.0°

Slanting from rolling shutter is minimal when panning the camera. Even if you change the field of view, the angle of distortion stays the same.

Storage And Connectivity
Storage And Connectivity
Storage
Card 1 Slot
Built in Memory
Card 2 Slot
microSD Card UHS-I

The camera unit on its own relies on built-in memory, with a capacity of 32 GB. However, both the Front Touchscreen module and Power module include a microSD card slot for added storage.

4.5
Storage And Connectivity
Inputs / Outputs
USB
USB-C
HDMI
No
Headphones
No
Microphone
No Microphone input
Wi-Fi
Yes
Bluetooth
Yes

The USB-C port is also only available when using one of the modules. The camera unit on its own doesn't have any inputs/outputs, which means you can only charge the camera with one of the modules attached.