Photography

DJI adopts a modular approach to extend actioncam functionality

DJI adopts a modular approach ...
DJI's Action 2 camera unit is tiny, and can be mounted to handlebars or helmet to capture all the action in 4K at up to 120 frames per second
DJI's Action 2 camera unit is tiny, and can be mounted to handlebars or helmet to capture all the action in 4K at up to 120 frames per second
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DJI's Action 2 camera unit is tiny, and can be mounted to handlebars or helmet to capture all the action in 4K at up to 120 frames per second
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DJI's Action 2 camera unit is tiny, and can be mounted to handlebars or helmet to capture all the action in 4K at up to 120 frames per second
DJI extends functionality through magnetically attached modules, such as the extra display for selfie moments
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DJI extends functionality through magnetically attached modules, such as the extra display for selfie moments
The main camera unit is IP68 waterproof, but you'll need to invest in cases if you want to add modules to the setup
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The main camera unit is IP68 waterproof, but you'll need to invest in cases if you want to add modules to the setup
The main camera unit has a 1.76-inch touchscreen around back for control and framing
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The main camera unit has a 1.76-inch touchscreen around back for control and framing
The maximum resolution is 4,096 x 3,072 at 60 frames per second, though users can record at up to 120 fps in 4K UHD
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The maximum resolution is 4,096 x 3,072 at 60 frames per second, though users can record at up to 120 fps in 4K UHD
The main camera unit of the Action 2 measures just 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.8 inches, and weighs 1.9 oz
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The main camera unit of the Action 2 measures just 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.8 inches, and weighs 1.9 oz
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China's drone and photography titan DJI has announced the follow up to the very GoPro-like Osmo Action launched in 2019. The Action 2 follows a somewhat different design path this time around, opting for a stripped down main unit and modular attachments for expanded functionality.

"We stripped our action camera down to its fundamentals and rebuilt it from the ground up to create DJI Action 2," said the company's Paul Pan. "You can configure this camera for neighborhood walks, hang gliding off a cliff, music festivals, and countless other action-packed moments. DJI Action 2 embeds DJI’s legendary technology in a revolutionary new series of mounts and fittings, making it easier than ever to see your life in action."

Measuring 39 x 39 x 22.3 mm (1.5 x 1.5 x 0.8 in), and weighing just 56 g (1.9 oz), the main unit sports a 1.76-inch, 350-ppi OLED touchscreen to the rear for control and framing, and a F2.8 wide-angle lens to the front (with a 155-degree field of view) that allows light through to a 1/1.7-inch CMOS sensor for 12-megapixel stills and 4K video.

Light sensitivity for photo and video runs from ISO100 to ISO6,400, a Color Temperature Sensor is reported to help the camera deliver more vibrant results in challenging conditions or underwater, and zoom is digital only.

The main camera unit of the Action 2 measures just 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.8 inches, and weighs 1.9 oz
The main camera unit of the Action 2 measures just 1.5 x 1.5 x 0.8 inches, and weighs 1.9 oz

When the video resolution is set to 4,096 x 3,072, footage can be recorded at up to 60 frames per second, but 120 fps is available when that's dropped slightly to 4K UHD (3,840 x 2,160) for four times slow motion possibilities. RockSteady 2.0 image stabilization can be employed for video below 100 fps, and HorizonSteady stabilization is available for 2.7K or 1080p. Video bitrate maxes out at 130 Mbps, and footage is recorded to H.264/HEVC format.

The Action 2 can be mounted to a helmet, surfboard, clipped to clothing or attached to a gimbal, and is reported dustproof, waterproof and drop-proof so should survive many an adventure relatively unscathed. Bluetooth 5.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi are included, and the 580-mAh battery is reckoned good for about 70 minutes per charge.

Hyperlapse and timelapse are among the creativity options, along with a feature to grab short clips, and another to livestream footage at Full HD/30 fps. And the camera can serve as a webcam or to stream live gaming sessions. A mobile app running on a smartphone connected over Bluetooth or Wi-Fi can open up more features and settings, including an AI Editor function to prepare footage for upload to social media, a live camera feed, and story templates.

DJI extends functionality through magnetically attached modules, such as the extra display for selfie moments
DJI extends functionality through magnetically attached modules, such as the extra display for selfie moments

Functionality can be enhanced with the help of modules, including an additional touchhscreen that can be clamped onto the main unit using magnetic locks and pointed forward for selfie action. This offers the same 1.76-inch OLED touchscreen as the main camera unit, and comes with a 1,300-mAh battery cooked in so that operation time is extended to 160 minutes. This module also has three microphones to complement the main unit's single mic, for immersive audio capture potential. And there's a separate power module too, which adds another 1,300-mAh battery into the mix. Neither of these modules is waterproof without a case.

Of course, the Action 2 system is compatible with a host of optional DJI accessories, such as a 3-in1 extension rod, magnetic headband, a macro lens that magnetically mounts over the front of the unit's own lens, and a dual-channel recording system.

The DJI Action 2 goes up for pre-order today for US$519, including the additional display module, magnetic lanyard, ball-joint adapter mount and magnetic adapter mount. A package comprising the main camera unit, the power module, a magnetic lanyard and adapter mount can also be had for $399. Either way, November 2 is when the Action 2 goes on general sale. The video below has more.

DJI - Introducing DJI Action 2

Given the healthy rivalry among actioncam makers, we should mention that GoPro launched a new model last month. The Hero10 Black isn't modular but does offer higher resolution video recording than DJI's new actioncam, topping out at 5.3K/60fps and offering 4K/120fps too – all for $399.98.

Product page: Action 2

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1 comment
1 comment
paul314
If they were going modular, wouldn't it make sense to make the rear OLED one of those modules, so that they could save weight and cost by allowing control through bluetooth or wifi as well as on-device? (A lot of the places where you might want to mount a truly modular action camera aren't places where a rear touchscreen is convenient for control.)