Besides utilizing multiple stealth walking techniques or looking for other hacks, a certain viable option you can opt for to reduce the vertical movement when shooting with your DJI Osmo is getting the Z-Axis extension. Essentially, the device works like a mini Steadicam Arm when mounted on the DJI’s handheld gimbal/camera system and promises super smooth images alongside an easy setup at an affordable price. The main question, however, is does it really worth the money? Tom David of Tom’s Tech Time looks for the answers in the video below by putting the Z-Axis to a real-world test and showcasing the actual differences when shooting with it. The filmmaker also shares a few helpful assembly and usage hints as well as some test footage that he filmed along the way.
Once you attach the Z-Axis to your Osmo, adjust the tension of the spring, make sure that the vertical alignment of the arm itself is set slightly below the horizontal line and try to avoid bumping into the end points for optimal results. Even though some users report that there are minor differences when comparing the footage shot with and without the Z-Axis arm, it’s quite obvious that the extension does a decent job in multiple shooting situations. These results can be especially seen when you need to go up and down stairs or climb over other obstacles.
Keep in mind, though, that you can’t be running, jumping or making any other crazy movements as the Z-Axis arm isn’t designed to work under extreme conditions. The best way to use it is to film while walking as it’s where the Osmo/Z-Axis combo works like a charm. Another obvious drawback of the Z-Axis is that it takes some extra space, plus you can’t use the extension to film with the gimbal when it’s turned upside down.
Regardless of that, the Z-Axis is a must-have accessory for your DJI Osmo, especially if you are shooting multiple walk-and-talk videos or other interview setups on the go where a lot of movement is involved. If you already own the DJI Osmo and the X5 camera you can get the Osmo Pro/RAW Z-Axis that unlike its predecessor provides compatibility with the Zenmuse X5/X5R gimbal and camera. Currently, the Osmo Z-Axis and Osmo Pro/RAW Z-Axis sell for $129 and $179 respectively.