Most of my cycling photos taken during the past six years have been shot with a GoPro Hero 5 Session in video mode. When I want to snap a picture of myself riding a particular spot on a trail or capture the scenery along a particular route, I place the GoPro on the ground, press the record button, hop on the bike, ride away from the camera, turn around and ride back towards the camera. I have an extendable mini-tripod that is small enough to fit into a jersey pocket and a longer one that needs to go into a backpack or a jersey pocket if I wear a vest over it. Shooting that way takes all but a few minutes, and the video footage the GoPro recorded is often not more than a minute and a half. At home, I view the video footage on my MacBook Pro in VLC and export the snapshots I want. Then, those unedited snapshots are imported into Photos, where I crop and color-adjust them.
The GoPro Hero 5 Session has been the perfect tool for it. I bought a DJI Osmo Pocket in 2019, and while it’s a nice piece of equipment, it didn’t replace the small, cubic GoPro. By action camera standards, the Hero 5 Session is ancient now, and I’ve kept an eye on the market for a replacement that does the job better while remaining as small in size. In November 2021, DJI released just such a compact camera, the Action 2 camera. It’s a magnetic action camera consisting of a camera unit with either a front touchscreen or a power module. As always, with equipment like this, I’m never first in line to buy it. I wait for reviews to come in and then wait some more until demand drops and the manufacturer decides to drop the price. Swiss comparison website Toppreise.ch has a nifty price monitoring tool that can send you an alert if the price drops below a value you set. In early July, I got such an alert because DJI dropped the price to its lowest price yet. So, I pulled the trigger on the Power Combo for CHF 289.00, shipping included.
Action cameras by GoPro, DJI, Insta360, or others are designed as portable POV cameras to capture your adventures on a bike, on skis, in a kayak, or any other outdoor sport. But let's be honest, if you're not a paid madman jumping across canyons at Redbull Rampage and video-editing isn’t a talent of yours, most POV videos won’t generate much more than a yawn if anyone spares a few minutes to watch them. When I had my first few action cameras, I stitched together a dozen Youtube videos. A handful garnered a respectable number of views, but most did not. To produce anything worth watching, one has to spend a big chunk of time filming and an even bigger chunk of time editing. Since I neither have the time nor the drive to spend hours on video production, I've used my action cameras almost solely to capture myself riding short trail segments and extracting the best photo from the short video clips. It is something that doesn’t require a lot of time, either during the ride or afterward on the computer at home. Okay, an action cam use case may be to create short video clips for TikTok or Reels, but I'm honestly too old for that.
|Old Setup||New Setup|
|Camera||GoPro Hero 5 Session||DJI Action 2|
|Size||38x38x36 mm||39×39×22.3 mm|
|Weight||88 g||68 g|
with short 90° extension
|Min. length||184 mm||197 mm|
|Max. length||293 mm||320 mm|
|Weight||78 g||112 g|
|Min. standing length||142 mm||150 mm|
|Max. standing length||250 mm||275 mm|
|Overall weight||166 g||180 g|