DJI Osmo Review

With the Osmo, DJI took its X3 camera system and integrated it into a 3 axis gimbal on a handle. It retails for $650 including the camera with a ton of available accessories such as bike mounts, accessory arms, nd filters and a ton more. The links to purchase are listed below and B&H currently has the camera listed below retail so definitely check them out.

Purchase the DJI Osmo at: B&H Photo  

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The build quality in general is very good and I have no worries about this holding up to continued use. The cell phone mount actually takes a step UP in build quality and I felt very secure risking my phone without fear of it falling down. Practically speaking though, it’s tough to get your phone in the holder and if you use a case, you will likely want to remove it from the case before use. That said, I had no issues using my Note 5 with a 5.7” display in the holder. Working your way around the device you will find a micro SD slot, USB port, mic port, joystick for moving the camera, and a few buttons alongside a trigger for controlling the camera. Overall it was comfortable to use with a great layout

Controlling the Osmo takes place in the app and while it is possible to record without it, you have limited functionality. Without the app, A trigger is used for centering the camera or for activating a selfie mode. A joystick also allows for smooth motion of the camera, and a record button is present for use without any additional devices. Fire up the app though and you will have options for the Gimbals advanced settings and also for controlling the video and photo recording options.

Let’s go ahead and get 2 major hardware oversights in my opinion off the table because it is probably enough to keep me from purchasing the Osmo or at least you need to save up for some additional accessories. No matter how much I liked it, I couldn’t help but get absolutely frustrated at the lack of a ¼ tripod mount on the bottom of the handle. While the phone attachment is removable and uses a tripod mount, because of its placement on the side, it makes many uses unpractical and obviously this would require another option for holding your phone. There are so many potential uses for this camera mounted to a tripod, tabletop mount, clamp, or even a monopod for long term use that are no longer easily possible. I say easily because DJI will sell you a solution by way of an extension arm and an extension rod which both house an additional tripod mount. Add to that a universal mount with cold shoe connections and their table tripod and you should have a solid setup...and $160 less money. While you are at it, pick up some proprietary ND filters which you will need and some optional accessories like the bike mount and car mount which thankfully are way less necessary. The other issue is that like other drone cameras, the focus distance is fixed from 1 meter to infinity. This means that anything closer than 1 meter will appear out of focus with no options for isolating subjects or changing focus. What’s interesting is that a triple tap on the trigger puts the camera into a selfie mode which guaranteed that my face would be slightly out of focus until my arm grows a bit longer or I purchase a selfie stick which DJI is happy to sell you but unfortunately it would need to take the place of the phone holder which is the only attachment point. Frustrating.

It’s not all bad though, as a stabilizer, the Osmo is quite good. Motion is smooth with almost no jerkiness and setup is minimal at most. Sure you can tweak the settings, but out of the box, the Osmo just works. The fixed 20mm lens on the X3 camera certainly helps as these wider lenses make jerky movements less pronounced but I wish there was an option for zooming in just a bit as 20mm is a bit wide for me and defeats some of the purpose of a handheld stabilizer.

Video quality is very good for a drone camera but it was obvious enough to me that I wasn’t using a very high end camera. Video compression also seemed very high which led to artifacting, harsh highlights, and muddier footage than I expected even in 4k and the smaller sensor will make you want to stay away from anything higher than about 400 ISO. Battery life is barely ok at just over an hour so plan on picking up a few spares.

While overall, I think I was a bit negative towards the Osmo, let’s get 1 thing straight. This is the FIRST Gimbal I was able to use straight out of the box with absolutely no setup and get amazingly stable footage. The closest competition requires a gopro in conjunction with a stabilizer and the quality and simplicity of the Osmo provided a much better package. Stepping up from the Osmo requires something like the Ronin M which you can check out in my review. This also means a separate camera, and the time for setting up and balancing which is the single biggest reason I would consider the Osmo. Sure the quality may be better depending on the camera, but the Ronin M alone is twice the price of the Osmo which includes a camera. The quality from the Osmo and overall package certainly provides a compelling option. Plan on spending about $250 in some additional accessories and then I think you will have a compelling handheld stabilizer with quite a few potential uses with almost no setup required.

Download the original uncompressed footage from this review in 4k 

Dan Watson - Learningcameras.com



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