DJI Osmo Mobile Review – a Steady Cam for your

DJI Osmo Mobile Review – a Steady Cam for your Smartphone –
Introduction – and What is it?
Those familiar with modern camera drones know that stable video is a result of having a
stabilized gimbal – basically a cradle for a camera which keeps it level and vibration free.
Many photographers desire a ground-based version of the same….for various reasons. Many
videos feature a mixture of ground and aerial video. With the use of a handheld device such
as the Osmo, both types of video will match more closely and have the “pro” look.
In the spring of 2016 we took a look at the DJI Osmo, a 4K gimbal mounted hand-held
camera. Although we enjoyed the system, the idea of using the smartphone that most of us
have in our pockets was always appealing. At the time of our initial Osmo review we searched
the market for a worthy smartphone gimbal – but were unable to find any that had US based
support. With the recent release of the DJI Osmo Mobile, that problem appears to be solved.
The Osmo Mobile is a very simple product – which I think is the whole idea behind it. It
consists of a heavy-duty metal stabilizing gimbal mounted on a handheld grip w/internal
battery. The system is driven by the same DJI Go app that runs other DJI equipment such as
the Phantom Camera Drones.
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DJI Osmo Mobile Review – a Steady Cam for your Smartphone –
DJI Osmo Mobile, Case and Charging Cord
In the box you will find the Osmo itself, a soft case and a special USB to 1/8″ jack charging
and upgrade cord. Initial preparation is as easy as installing the battery and plugging the 1/8″
jack into the Osmo Mobile and then into a (not included) USB charging wall jack. Charging
time depends on the power of your USB wall jack, but should be from 90 minutes to 3 hours.
Note – extra cost options include stand-alone battery chargers (single or multiple) and a
higher capacity battery. Battery life is over 3 hours so many users are unlikely to need these
options.
Many popular smartphones will fit into the Osmo Mobile. A listing of the size requirements
and other such questions are answered on the DJI Osmo Mobile FAQ page.
Setup and Operation
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DJI Osmo Mobile Review – a Steady Cam for your Smartphone –
Note – this assumes you already have the DJI Go App installed. If not, install it prior to
starting. Also, be sure that Bluetooth is enabled and turned on as this is how the Osmo
communicates with your device.
Before using the Osmo, you must insert your smartphone with the Osmo powered off and
balance it using the adjustable sliding gimbal arm. Full instructions are noted in the manual.
Once manually balanced, the Osmo can be turned on and the DJI Go App opened. If all is well,
you should be guided through a quick registration after which the Go App will recognize your
Osmo Mobile and present you with the “Camera View” Screen.
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DJI Osmo Mobile Review – a Steady Cam for your Smartphone –
DJI Osmo Mobile in Action
Now you are ready to take pictures of video. As with many high-tech products, you can use
the Osmo Mobile for the basics (stable video) or you can dive a bit deeper to discover the
various features and options that provide extended capabilities. The handheld grip provides
many basic controls:
1. On off and sleep switch (right side)
2. “joystick” large button for panning and tilting camera
3. Two smaller buttons for photo and video
4. Trigger – on far side – provides various functions as follows:
holding trigger locks gimbal into the current view.
two taps on trigger centers the gimbal
three taps on trigger changes camera view to “selfie” view (toward operator).
Here is a short sample video with some clips from the DJI Osmo Mobile along with an iPhone
6s. Note that these are unprocessed and unedited. Much better shots can be had with some
planning, experience and optional (or homemade) mounts.
Sounds Good
The original Osmo had some problems with the built-in mic – it tended to pick up a lot of the
motor noise generated by the gimbal. DJI started including an extension mic to remedy this
problem. The DJI Osmo Mobile uses the smartphone mic – and doesn’t seem to pick up the
motor noise. Some phones may allow for external microphone connections – but it’s hard to
imagine why most consumers would need to add one as smartphone microphones are quite
good.
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DJI Osmo Mobile Review – a Steady Cam for your Smartphone –
DJI Go App Shines
The DJI Go App represents years of development and therefore adds a lot to the value of all
DJI products – including the Osmo Mobile. As an example, DJI offers the “Active Track” first
introduced in the Phantom 4, in the Osmo Mobile. Draw a box around a moving object
(person, pet, etc.) and the Osmo will attempt to follow your selection.
Here are some video examples of Activetrack. Note – it’s far from perfect, but definitely
allows following of objects and people in a way that – until now – was difficult to do. Your
videos will almost instantly graduate from “can’t watch them” to “hey, that’s cool”.
Summary
My first impressions are good – I like this as compared to my (now gone) Osmo. I don’t need
another memory card and camera, so the ability to use my iPhone is a big plus. I suspect that
most buyers of these handheld stabilizers are going to use them sparingly – those looking for
semi-pro or prosumer will look at the higher end Osmos or Ronin (or other brands). There are
inherent limitations in a product such as this – for example, your smartphone camera is not
centered in the gimbal as a “custom” camera would be. The differences, however, to the
average user are negligible.
Getting the most out of the Osmo Mobile will take some experimentation with the various
settings in the Go App. The new owner would be wise to spend 1/2 hour or more playing with
the gimbal before taking it out to the field to capture their family, friends and local events.
At $299 the value is there – the gimbal seems heavy duty (has to be to properly support
heavier phones, etc.). However, keeping that price point means that DJI had to leave out
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DJI Osmo Mobile Review – a Steady Cam for your Smartphone –
some goodies. Specifically, the case is thin and a poor fit and the battery-charging USB cord
may present some problems (we are having some charging issues with ours – more on that
later).
Those who need more reliability and flexibility should order the external Osmo charger as
well as another battery.
Note – Droneflyers.com is a participant in various “affiliate” programs including Amazon, DJI,
Banggood and others. We make a small commission when you purchase an item using our
links. We purchase most of our own equipment for reviews at regular retail price (like you
do!).
Here is a link to the Osmo Mobile at the DJI Site
Below is a link to Amazon for the same product.
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DJI Osmo Mobile Review – a Steady Cam for your Smartphone –
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