The maker of professional drones and film equipment throws everything it knows into a handy package.
No bigger than your average selfie stick, the DJI Osmo might be the only camera you’d ever need. Theory first: Headline act is the three-axis gimbal stabilisation system. What it does is eliminate camera shake when you’re shooting on the move. Filmmakers know this already. For the rest of us, the Osmo puts this power in our amateur hands. How it works doesn’t really matter – it’s the result that counts. And the results are nothing short of astounding. The Osmo is smooth, enjoyable and exhibits deftness in all it does. The 12-megapixel gimbalcamera works from the get go, letting you get professionalquality footage as you dart about a subject, or capture blur-free photos without a tripod. The gimbal is also where you insert a microSD card (preferably one with a Class-10 write speed). You can record clips up to 4K resolution. If you want a smoother video, you can go up to 60 frames-persecond at 1080p or 720p – or do slow motion at 120fps. Take a picture with the panorama function and the camera automatically pans 360 degrees to snap and stitch a panoramic photo.
Your smartphone pairs via Wi-Fi and acts as the viewfinder through an intuitive, fullfeatured DJI Go app, which also lets you playback footage and adjust camera settings. With all these elec-trickery, does it consume a lot of power? Yep. The battery is the weakest link; it only lasts an hour or less. The sleep function generally reduces battery consumption and makes things last longer. It doesn’t, however, improve efficiency, as the app can be unresponsive when you wake it up. You do need to get a spare battery to make the most of the Osmo. But if you do, you’re getting an experience that really isn’t far off from a filmmaker’s. Although this is DJI’s first attempt at making a hand-held gimbal, the build quality and finish is all you’d expect from the manufacturer best known for its Phantom drones and Ronin film-making equipment. The ergonomics are excellent. The standard set-up weighs just over half a kilo – with your smartphone attached using the holder that comes with the primary package. This makes it less cumbersome than a DSLR and more versatile than a compact camera.
Also, DJI offers a range of accessories for the Osmo, including an extension rod, tripod and mounts for your bike and vehicle. Plus there’s a trigger button that provides three functions: hold down to lock the camera’s orientation, double tap to re-centre the gimbal, and triple tap to swing the camera back for a selfie. Sure, the 94-degree-wide lens lacks depth of field when it comes to focus and dynamic range when it comes to lighting. The in-built microphone pales significantly in comparison to what your iPhone can do, and the noisy cooling fan won’t work for serious filmmakers. But you have the option to plug in an external microphone with a 3.5mm jack (and hats off to DJI for including a free microphone upgrade in the basic bundle). Still, this is a very well-rounded machine, and the best portable gimbal camera on sale. You’ll be seeing a lot of these in the future. But right now, the Osmo is pretty much in a league of its own, and doesn’t have any worthy rivals
The standard set-up weighs just over half a kilo – this makes it less cumbersome than a dslr and more versatile than a compact camera.