DJI Osmo evaluation: A hand-held stabilized digital camera worthy of its worth
Because of the rise of small motion cameras, digital camera stabilizers (aka gimbals) have gotten extra moveable than ever. Amazon has loads of these coming from random Chinese language manufacturers, however most are both poorly designed, or solely a partial answer to your drawback. For example, they typically lack a handset mount for many who want a stay display. There are additionally gimbals that use smartphones because the digital camera, however I’ve but to return throughout one with raving evaluations; the present choices look like extra of a nuisance resulting from their awkward calibration and erratic stabilization. So until you’ve got tried one and are sure that it really works nicely together with your telephone, your greatest guess is to go together with a devoted digital camera gimbal.
When it comes to full-featured gimbals, we’ve got solely two compelling choices thus far. The primary one is the Aetho’s Aeon, which takes a GoPro and has its personal show, nevertheless it will not arrive till early subsequent yr. This leaves us with DJI’s newest creation, the Osmo, which we first noticed again in January. This system includes a 4K digital camera module just like the one on the corporate’s flagship drone, the Encourage 1, and it could possibly home your smartphone as a viewfinder on the aspect. Nevertheless it is not simply concerning the hardware, as a result of like the corporate’s drones, the Osmo additionally has a full-featured companion app for larger versatility. Let’s examine if this fancy package deal is worthy of its $649 worth.
- Incredible stabilization
- Good video high quality usually
- Snug grip
- Full-featured app
- Battery life might be longer
- Movies get noisy simply
- Cannot switch 4K movies to telephone
- Microphones aren’t very delicate
This can be DJI’s first try at making a hand-held gimbal, however it’s already by far probably the greatest, if not one of the best, options within the present market. Nice stabilization, intuitive software program and cozy grip make this a enjoyable, full package deal.
The Osmo consists of 4 elements: a Zenmuse X3 three-axis gimbal with a digital camera, an ergonomic deal with with all of the management buttons, a ten.8Wh battery and a telephone clamp. In complete this weighs about 538 grams (1.19 kilos) in response to my scale, which continues to be fairly manageable if you add a smartphone to it, however you will get this right down to 422 grams (zero.ninety three pound) for those who take away the telephone holder. The package deal additionally features a lens cap plus a wrist strap for security measures, in addition to a cute little carrying case which will idiot your folks into considering you’ve a tiny ukulele inside.
For many who are already flying an Encourage 1, its Zenmuse X3 module wants no introduction. This fan-cooled gimbal-digital camera is powered by Sony’s half.three-inch 12-megapixel sensor that may report movies of as much as 4K decision — four,096 x 2,one hundred sixty at 24fps or three,840 x 2,one hundred sixty at 30fps/24fps, to be actual — with a most video bitrate of 60 Mbps. If you would like a smoother video, you’ll be able to go as much as 60fps at both 1080p or 720p, and even do sluggish movement with 120fps at 1080p. As with the drone model, you get a 20mm f/2.eight lens with a ninety four-diploma area of view. The gimbal can also be the place you insert your microSD card, which must be of at the very least Class 10 or UHS-1. Clearly, the quicker the write velocity, the higher. In my case, DJI provided a 16GB Panasonic microSDHC UHS Velocity Class three card with our evaluation unit, and it is labored properly for me thus far.
Whereas the default gimbal-digital camera module on the Osmo and the Encourage 1 share the identical identify, there is a catch: You possibly can’t use Osmo’s module on the drone; it solely works the opposite means round. In line with DJI, the primary distinction between the 2 is that the one on the Osmo has a mechanical construction that is optimized for hand-held use, together with the best way it flattens for storage, the orientation of its tilt motor and different small modifications contained in the digital camera and gimbal.
Very similar to the Encourage 1, the Osmo can also be suitable with the upper-finish Zenmuse X5 and X5R gimbals for some Micro 4 Thirds motion, however you will have to purchase an adapter for them.
The removable, metallic telephone holder hangs onto the left aspect of the deal with by way of a screw thread mount. It clamps onto your smartphone by means of two corners on one aspect and the center of the opposite aspect. All three contact factors, in addition to the elements touching the again of the telephone, are padded with tender plastic, so there isn’t any want to fret concerning the clamp scratching your telephone. The most important gadget I managed to slip in there was the 6-inch Oppo R7 Plus, which is available in at 158mm tall and 82mm broad, so the equally tall, however narrower iPhone 6s Plus will match simply fantastic, though it might be a wrestle if it is in a thick case.
Whereas we’re right here, I ought to add that DJI additionally presents a variety of equipment for the Osmo, together with an extension rod, tripod and straight extension arm — in addition to common, bike and car mounts. Most of those may be put in on the Osmo in the identical approach because the telephone holder.
This leaves us with the deal with, which homes a stereo microphone, a three.5mm audio jack for a lavalier mic, a screw mount on the prime for the gimbal, a battery that goes in from the underside and a number of other buttons plus a few LED indicators dotted across the thumb and index finger areas. Because of the smooth grip and considerate curvature, the Osmo is definitely some of the, if not probably the most, snug hand-held gimbals to carry. When positioned in hand, your thumb can simply attain the slider for energy, a flat joystick for maneuvering the digital camera, a seize button for nonetheless pictures and a video-recording toggle.
On the opposite aspect, there is a set off button that gives three features: Maintain right down to lock the digital camera’s orientation, double-faucet to re-middle the gimbal and triple-faucet to swing the digital camera again for a selfie. Sure, chances are you’ll as properly name this the world’s costliest selfie stick. If wanted, the gimbal does permit minor changes by hand; simply keep away from twisting too onerous and thus by chance locking the gimbal. Don’t be concerned, that is all defined within the app’s tutorial, which provides us a pleasant segue to the subsequent part of this assessment.Software program
Whenever you’re feeling adventurous, the Osmo features simply high-quality with out the DJI Go app on iOS and Android, however that does require some guesswork and you will additionally miss out on a number of options. Most significantly, that is the place you set your photograph facet ratio, video decision and video body fee. You may as well use the app to regulate your gimbal’s parameters and re-calibrate it when essential. To hyperlink up, merely activate the Osmo, join your telephone to the gimbal’s WiFi hotspot after which launch the app.
As soon as you’ve got entered the digital camera view, you’ll be able to toggle between the nonetheless-digital camera and the video-recording interfaces. These include widespread fast settings like white stability, ISO and publicity compensation. You may also faucet on the display to set an publicity reference level, or maintain down and transfer your finger round to regulate the gimbal. Moreover, there are mode-particular options like sluggish-movement toggle (1080p at 120fps) within the video interface, and numerous capturing modes within the nonetheless-digital camera interface: single, a number of, interval, panorama (360 levels or simply one hundred eighty) and time-lapse. However no matter which interface you are in, you’ll be able to nonetheless provoke whichever seize mode you want utilizing the buttons on the Osmo.
As earlier than, DJI Go enables you to browse, switch and even edit content material captured with the Osmo. That stated, the file-switch perform at present solely helps JPEG pictures and movies of as much as 1080p decision, which means you will need to seize your 2.7K and 4K footage plus RAW photographs instantly from the microSD card. Hopefully a future replace will resolve this inconvenience. Going again to the modifying function: With pictures, you get instruments for cropping, rotation, distinction, brightness, saturation and including filters. As for video, you’ll be able to put collectively a easy film utilizing a number of six-second clips, after which beautify it with the identical set of filters together with some music templates. As soon as I obtained the hold of it, I truly fairly loved this video software. It is enjoyable, intuitive and nice for killing time (which jogs my memory of HTC Zoe’s Video Highlights function). You’ll be able to then share your creation to your social networks by way of DJI’s Skypixel platform.Efficiency
Given DJI’s experience in digital camera stabilization, it is no shock I received some nice footage with the Osmo. I discovered it was handiest once I held the gimbal completely nonetheless; it was virtually as if I had positioned the gadget on a tripod. And due to the tremendous-excessive decision, a largely immobile video would trick you into considering it is a nonetheless photograph, till you notice the delicate shifting elements. Nothing new right here, in fact, however coming from a hand-held system, that is fairly superb.
The gimbal additionally did a superb job once I walked round with it. Not even some rocky seashores might embarrass DJI’s newest creation. Having stated that, you possibly can nonetheless see some mild wobbling brought on by my footsteps in a few of the clips, so customers are suggested to not absolutely depend on the Osmo for stabilization and stroll as gently as attainable. When it comes to response velocity, the gimbal managed to maintain up with my small, energetic toy poodle when he ran round me, which you’ll be able to see in my pattern video reel.
Since it is a vast-angle lens, some softening close to the body’s edges is inevitable, however fortunately, that is not too obvious. Video high quality generally is prime-notch in properly-lit environments, particularly outdoors through the day. As soon as I went indoors, the clips turned a bit noisy and obtained just a little worse at night time, however colour accuracy was constant, as you’ll be able to see in my nighttime harbor footage. It is the identical story with the Osmo’s nonetheless-digital camera efficiency, however at the very least you’ll be able to tweak the photographs later in case you shoot in RAW format.
There are two different areas the place I see room for enchancment. To start with, the audio in my video clips could be very quiet, and there is no method to modify the microphones’ sensitivity within the app, so hopefully DJI can do one thing about this. Good factor there’s an choice to plug in an exterior microphone. Secondly, I discovered the 60-minute battery life to be a tad brief. I might ask for a denser energy pack, however the very last thing DJI would need to do is to make the battery heavier, so customers like me can be higher off procuring an additional one for $35.The competitors
To be trustworthy, there’s not a lot of a contest out there proper now. Just about all different hand-held gimbals are simply hardware options in your smartphone or GoPro digital camera, and few include an ergonomic grip, just like the $300 Massive Stability Husky HY3M pictured left. These with a straight grip are barely cheaper, however reliability might nonetheless be hit or miss; our personal James Trew recommends the Feiyu G3 or G4 (from about $200) for these with a smaller price range. By comparability, the DJI Osmo is way extra superior, with its personal app and numerous useful options. Additionally, its digital camera is upgradeable to go well with the wants of professional customers.
Whereas the Osmo’s $649 price ticket might look much less interesting at first, it is truly fairly affordable for people who’re ranging from scratch. For example, in case you go for the HY3M and wish a devoted vast-angle digital camera, you will nonetheless have to spend a bit extra money — someplace round $200 for a primary GoPro with WiFi (the Hero+), or from $300 for one with a constructed-in show (Hero+ LCD or Hero4 Silver) as a result of this gimbal does not have a mount to carry your smartphone as a viewfinder. Alternatively, you in all probability simply need to use your smartphone’s digital camera, however from my expertise, the HY3M’s stabilization solely works nicely with smaller smartphones — ideally these with a display measurement of lower than 5 inches, which is turning into a rarity within the Android world.
Finally, then, it depends upon what you have already got in hand or what you need to obtain. It is also value stating that in case you personal an Encourage 1, you’ll be able to merely buy the $269 Osmo deal with package (battery, charger and telephone holder included) and use it with the drone’s digital camera. That is not a nasty strategy to take advantage of out of your $2,899 drone buy.Wrap-up
It is protected to say that DJI is not only a drone professional, but in addition a hand-held gimbal maestro. This firm took its time to do its homework and tackle a number of ache factors, whereas most others merely rushed to market with unpolished merchandise that left us eager for extra. Merely put, the Osmo provides an entire package deal that is each highly effective and intuitive. Is it good? Not fairly: We might wish to see cleaner footage taken at midnight, improved nonetheless picture high quality, higher microphones and a barely longer battery life. Even so, DJI’s rivals have already got a lot of catching as much as do.