I was about to take a vacation to the US and not wanting to lug around my DLSR and its assortment of lenses. I needed something with great video and photo quality and also be small enough to carry anywhere.
So, in this video we review the DJi OSMO pocket a pocket sized “gimbal” with a built-in camera?
Yes, you heard right. This is a pocket-sized gimbal which has an in-built camera. If you don’t know what a gimbal is, a gimbal is basically a device where you would mount your mobile phone and it would provide stabilization to your videos by keeping the movement of the mobile smooth using in built motors and sensors.
DJi are class leaders in the motorized stabilization space, due to their experience with drone’s that they make themselves.
The drones need the in built cameras to stay steady else there would be too much vibration in the footage, making it unusable. They also have a mobile version of a gimbal where you use your existing mobile phone with it. But installation and usability, let alone size and weight makes it a not so easy solution to carry around.
So, the OSMO pocket is a merger of the two technologies, a mobile size camera with its own motorized gimbal.
In the pint sized box, we have first the warranty cards, and on opening the box we have the DJI OSMO pocket and its case. You have to really see it to understand just how small this device is.
The case holds the instruction manual, mobile interface connectors, a USB-A to USB-C cable, and a wrist band, which is for the case.
The device fits snugly in the case and is well protected. Follow the diagram on the case to place the OSMO pocket in properly for best protection. The device when turned off, orients itself to the docking position for a few seconds to make it easy to place it in its case.
The build quality is quite good, and to control the device we have a tiny touch screen on the front.
Two buttons on the front are the record and the mode/power button. On the bottom we have a USB-C port which allow to charge the device, and on the side, we have a micro-sd card slot.
On the OSMO pocket we have interface connector pins, in order to access, we need to first take the protective covering off. We have two connectors provided, one is USB-C and the other is lightning.
There is no micro USB connector provided sadly. Just slide in the connector and it’s ready to be used with a mobile phone, which is required the first time you use it to activate the device.
This is how the device activates, with the motorized gimbal moving to its extremities to calibrate itself.
It still wows me when it does that.
Bootup is within 5 seconds and it’s ready to shoot.
Being a new device, during Initial setup, we need to select the language, and this is done via the app using the small stamp sized touch screen in front. Connect the OSMO pocket using the USB-C connector to your android phone or use the lightning connector to connect to your iPhone.
When the device is activated while connected to a phone, if installed the DJI mimo app will open up automatically.
Login using your DJI account and follow on screen instructions to activate the device.
The device doesn’t have internal memory and you will need to add an external microSD card.
There was a new firmware available, so I updated to it.
The camera is 12mp camera with a 1 over 2.3 CMOS sensor, the FOV is 80 degrees which compared to a GoPro’s 120-degree FOV is paltry but the use case being different we will discuss it later.
4K 60fps video is surprising on a device so small, my DSLR doesn’t have 4k. At 116 gms, is quite a pocketable weight.
Now that the camera was ready, I was ready for my vacation.
I was travelling to the West Coast and this truly pocketable camera helped me throughout. No need to lug my big DSLR bag around and the motorized gimbal promised highly stabilized shots.
Do note that the sensor being so small, it in no way can compare to a DSLR in image quality, but as mobile cameras go, this camera is as good or close to the ones available on flagship phones.
So, let’s see how well it performed during my trip.
The device has quite a lot of intelligent modes, such as object tracking and face tracking which makes blogging or making sure an object stays in frame easier.
Time Lapse and Motion time-lapse modes are a bonus.
Shooting around the quality of the footage looks quite impressive.
There are various modes available on the device, which are
Follow mode , which i used most of the time as it smoothens out the movement as i move in different directions. The camera lags behind a quarter of a second and smoothly reaches the current position, giving you fantastic pans and tilts.
Tilt Lock mode: this mode locks the camera angle and any direction you move the camera keeps pointing in the same direction.
FPV mode: this mode simulates the first-person view mode and is similar to how classic cameras operate allowing to be able to invert the camera but keeping the motion smooth.
The FOV as discussed earlier is only 80 degrees, but not being too wide the footage doesn’t have the distortion that plagues action cameras. So I respect Dji’s decision on this as this won’t get as much of the scene as an action cam would, but would yield distortion less footage.
Here’s a comparison between a Gear 360 and the same shot on the OSMO.
Another point to note is that the action cameras have focus at infinity, which means everything in the scene is in focus.
The OSMO on the other hand can focus which allows to bring in depth of field effects where we have a smooth gradation of focus between the object in focus and the background. If you need everything in scene in focus all the time, then an action cam is a better bet. But i loved the look you get off this device.
The gimbal works really great, and how well it worked can be gauged on the footage i shot in a helicopter where the entire chopper was vibrating but the footage came very smooth.
But I did notice the battery drained faster as it had to do lot of stabilization. So how do you solve the faster drain, being a USB-c device, you can use a power bank to power it. I had a 20,000 mAh power bank with me, and it not only kept my OSMO pocket charged, but also kept my phone topped up (not 100%) for 3 days. The link to the review of the coolnut power bank can be found on the top right.
Continuing on, when on flat ground the device can record continuously for 2 hours, so if you shoot a minute or less of footage when walking around at spaced out intervals, it lasted me a whole day. In Las Vegas, i was walking in and out of casinos and other attractions and i had close to 15% power once i reached the hotel. In emergency I did connect the device to my power bank and place it in the bag and continue shooting with my phone.
Stabilization was fantastic and you can see just how well it works in the footage (in video on top of the page), I shot all of the footage at 1080p 60fps, as i wanted to make sure i had enough storage for my entire trip. It ate through a 128 gb and a 32gb card quite fast even at 1080p60 fps. Photos didn’t take much space though.
The touch screen is the only method to change settings on the device, if not tethered to a phone.
A small bar on the right allows us to tilt the gimbal up and down.
Swipe up from the bottom to access the gimbal settings.
Swipe down from the top, we have the overall device settings.
Swipe from left to the right we can preview current recordings on the microSD card, but do note, the device doesn’t have a speaker, so it won’t playback audio.
Swipe in from the right to left we have the shooting modes.
In photo mode we have options to select the aspect ratio of 16:9 or 4:3 and also if we need a countdown timer, if we want to be in the shot.
Video mode allows us to choose 4k or 1080p resolution and also the framerate we want to record at.
We have a slow-motion which records at 120 fps in 1080p, and it looks quite cool.
Time-lapse mode takes photos at regular intervals and renders them into a single video.
We select the shot intervals and also the total duration we would like to shoot for like 5 minutes, 10 etc,20 30,1hr etc.
Five minutes of time-lapse lasts only 3 seconds in video, and 1 hr only plays back for 40 seconds, so patience plays a very important role for time lapses as you will need the camera to be placed in one position for that period of time. I don’t think the battery might last that long and considering you can’t place the device anywhere when a USB power cable is plugged in, this makes me a bit sceptical?
I did purchase a wireless connection kit which allows for the device to stand when powered as it provides a USB-c port at the back, but this device has to be purchased separately, and is a bit pricey.
Motion lapse is a step above standard time-lapse where it has similar settings, but also has an added setting of a movement between multiple points. On the device you can only set 2 points to move to but using the mobile app you can set much more. The results are stunning. You will need to manually turn the camera on the device to set the secondary position when not using the phone.
Pano: this is one of my favourite modes, the device can automatically take a 180-degree shot by moving the lens from the left to the right or can also take 9 photos at multiple angles which can be put together to make a big high resolution photo. This is one mode i used a lot to get more of a scene into one photo, but the motors being activated quite a few times, the battery can drain faster.
There are physical buttons present on the face, the one with the red dot is to start stop recording and the other is used to change the modes between photo and video. To access the other modes, you will need to use the touchscreen.
A new firmware update did give us new features on the power/mode button. A double tap on the mode button re-centers the camera.
A triple tap on the camera turns it into selfie mode when in photo or vlogging mode when in video mode. When in selfie/vlogging mode the camera activates face detection which then follows your face even if you try to move off screen, which is great as this makes sure you are in the shot even if you keep moving.
The device also supports object tracking, which is activated by tapping on the object on screen, a yellow box appears on the object and is kept in frame even if moved.
Attaching the OSMO pocket to the mobile phone bring out even more options.
We can control the gimbal using the onscreen virtual joystick.
There is also a pro mode which allows for more granular control of the camera’s settings.
You can also choose to shoot in a cinelike color profile which is more flat, and you can use a LUT in an editing program bringing out much more colours and details.
The pro settings don’t change even if the OSMO pocket is disconnected from the phone, only when you try to change the mode will it pop the message, if you would like to exit pro mode.
It would have been great to be able to save presets to the pro modes, but at present it is not available.
If you don’t want to have the phone connected via the small connector, you can always get the wireless module, which allows for a Bluetooth Wi-Fi direct connection and the phone can be used away from the device, without having it hanging off the device.
I mostly used the OSMO Pocket standalone, as the reason I purchased it is for its portability.
I was surprised that the camera did work well in low light as well, with quite acceptable noise in the video.
There are a few accessories available, like the expansion kit which i purchased, which has the wireless module, a pan and tilt control and a GoPro mount. The go pro mount makes the device mountable to any existing GoPro mount like tripods, suction cup holders etc. Also included was a 32gb microSD card which saved me during the trip as i had filled up my 128 gb memory card.
Super compact and easy to use, and most importantly pocketable
People don’t notice you’re filming, being so small
Focus is a little untrustworthy, and I have had my photos come out of focus. I always make sure to shoot a little video at the same time as the focus seems to work better in that mode. You could always tap the screen to force the focus, but being such a small screen there’s no way to know if it has focused well.
This is not as durable as the GoPro but being aimed at a completely different market is very good at what it does.
The dynamic range could be better but being such a small device, the performance is quite admirable.
So that’s it from me, hope you liked the video and if you have any questions message us on our WhatsApp number or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for watching and see you all next time.