RedShark Review: The DJI Osmo Mobile is capable of turning your smartphone into a true run-and-gun or B-cam option, which is an impressive feat for a $299 piece of hardware.
Wow, it has come to this. I have a confession to make.
I created a video on my cellphone and I'm kinda excited about the quality… there I've said it. You might be saying, "Really, Kevin, reaaaaaally…a cellphone?!" but I am seriously excited about my new gear purchase, the DJI Osmo Mobile ($299). And you might be too if you get your hands on one.
There are so many gimbals on the market that it can make your head spin. With so many options, you have to sift through the pros and cons to figure out exactly what you need. I have been a DJI user since the early days of the S800 and, while I am brand agnostic, DJI does have a tendency to get things right. I perform a lot of run and gun operations in my line of work and I like to travel and capture video in my free time. The thought of having smooth video without having my professional camera rig with me at all times is sort of a dream. I think to some degree that dream has become a reality with the Osmo Mobile.
"But it's a cellphone."
This is an argument I hear a lot, but lets not forget another saying, "the best camera is the one you have on you." I have the Samsung Galaxy Note 3; it's practically a dinosaur since we are now on the 7th iteration. Conversely, the Osmo Mobile has breathed a new life into its viability. Through the art of motion, it appears to be a nice option on-the-go. To better understand the Osmo Mobile and everything you can get it of it, however, let's take a look at what it offers.
Form and Function
The DJI Osmo Mobile sports a 3-axis gimbal stabilizer with a cradle that can support phones measuring up to 84mm wide and 8.4mm thick (iPhone 6s Plus or equivalent). It is powered with a small 980 mAh smart lipo battery and is charged through a 3.5mm jack on the front of the handle (cable supplied). There is a joystick that can articulate the gimbal head and two buttons, one to trigger photos and another to trigger video. Lastly, there is a third trigger button where you place your index finger in the front of the stick to add a locked position functionality or return to center by double tapping.
The Osmo Mobile is rather lightweight, weighing 201g with the battery installed, fitting neatly into a supplied zip up pouch. If you would like to add accessories to your gimbal, there is a rosette on the left of the stick to attach a variety of them, such as an independent sound recorder, or to lock it down to a tripod. The battery is a treat; it lasted me a solid two hours without noticing any significant loss or need of swapping. I will have to push this to its limit and see how far I can run it until it depletes.
DJI Osmo Mobile Rozette
For me, the biggest selling point was the Osmo Mobile's functionality. Sure, a lot of gimbals have similar features, like flashlight mode and spot lock, but DJI has done something different with its gimbal: the DJI Go App. The Osmo Mobile has its own application that will pair and sync with your phone via Bluetooth. That means no more pesky wifi scans, setups and passcodes. This a true plug-and-play scenario. Simply turn on Bluetooth on your phone, open the app, press the 'connect to camera' button, and away you go!
DJI Osmo Mobile Triggers
What does the app do? For starters, you can auto balance your gimbal, manually adjust your horizon and even adjust the speed in which the gimbal responds. In addition to these features, you can trigger video and photo capture in the DJI Go app (only) via the physical buttons on the Osmo. This means you do not need to touch your screen in order to capture your content. You can, of course, change all the features you'd presumably be able to change through your camera settings, such as the basics of resolution, white balance and flash.
The app also has shooting modes to enable single photo, panoramic, long exposure and even motion control time lapse. Active track is pretty spectacular; draw a box around your subject and the software will move the gimbal, keeping the subject in frame at all times. Think of it sort of like a camera machine vision. Pair this with the live broadcasting feature and you have your very own cameraman for your Internet shows! I especially enjoy the motion control time-lapse, as this was a big selling point for me. It's a rather an intuitive affair. You enter the mode through the app, position your gimbal to where you'd like it to start, use the joystick to position an end point and set the intervals you'd like to create for a capture. This enables you to create multi-point movements with organic motion. The gimbal head moves from point-to-point ever so slightly, snapping photos over your set interval as it moves to its next position.