Gimbals, steadicams, shoulder rigs and dollies are just a few of the ways in which filmmakers and content creators can get the necessary shot for their projects. With the advances that many companies have made, including cell phone manufacturers, the ability to film high-quality 4K images is at everyone’s fingertips.
Insert the DJI Osmo Pocket. Instead of using a standard gimbal with a GoPro, cell phone or a small prosumer or professional camera, DJI has seen fit to expand on their line of products with the Osmo Pocket. But is it worth the investment? Here are five things that everyone should consider before buying.
First and foremost, the display. The overall size of the display is incredibly small, significantly smaller than most cell phones today. With the limited display size, it makes it incredibly difficult to see what exactly is being filmed at times and to see the settings being used.
A second point to consider that plays into the display size issue is the fact that it’s hard to focus the camera. In testing, the camera would occasionally focus on background images or the wrong subject. Following a firmware update on December 14, the issue still persists; though DJI maintain that they intend to sort out the issue when the Osmo Pocket is released.
A third point to keep in mind is the fact that you are not able to access all menu settings from the display. For instance, if you were shooting in the standard picture profile and wanted to switch to shoot in log, you need to mount your smartphone to make changes. While it’s not the end of the world and isn’t too difficult, it is time-consuming and slightly counter-intuitive. The functionality, in this case, could certainly be streamlined with a future firmware update possibly.
A fourth is the audio. The onboard mic is not the highest quality to begin with, though DJI claim that they did make some improvements with the update released on December 14. In testing it was found to have been very minor in the scheme of things, leaving a lot to be desired.
Another issue with the mic is the fact that it points at the person filming. If the operator intended to shoot an interview or scene with a second party, this would offer very little benefit and likely would serve as nothing more than a scratch audio track. You can get an external mic and hook it up but it sort of defeats the purpose of a lower cost, light and portable camera unit.
The final thing to consider is the price. For $350 it’s not a bad deal or product but consider this. For $99 you can purchase a Moza Mini-Mi gimbal that does virtually the same thing when paired with an iPhone Xs Max. With some testing, it was found that the image quality from the Xs Max was comparable and sometimes even better than the initial quality from the Osmo Pocket. In order to film in Log, however, you would need to download an app like Filmic Pro which would be an additional $15.
DJI Osmo Pocket Highlights
Gimbal Camera with 1/2.3″ CMOS Sensor
Compact 4.1 oz, 4.8″ High Design
Up to 4K Video at 60 fps, up to 100 Mb/s
Connects to Smartphone via Mimo App
12MP JPEG or DNG Raw Still Photos
Includes Lightning & USB Type-C Adapters
Optional Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Monitoring
POV, ActiveTrack & FaceTrack Modes
Standard Time-Lapse & Motionlapse
NightShot & Panoramic Modes
If you already have a phone that films in 4K with HDR, the Osmo Pocket may not necessarily be the best option. On the other hand, if you’re a filmmaker that is looking for an all in one camera/gimbal unit for B-roll footage, vlogging, interviews and run and gun shooting then the Osmo Pocket may be worth considering.