DJI Osmo Pocket Review
So this is an unusual one for me as I don't generally buy things like this but I decided I was going to record a few of my trips for my own pleasure to remind me of how some these spectacular mornings and evenings unfolded and had got fed up with footage from mobile phones so I decided to take the plunge and buy a camera system capable of 4k video.
My current camera (Canon EOS R) is capable of 4k video already but I wanted something that I could easily use, be very portable and not have to worry about switching back and forth between my cameras photo or video selections and something light & small enough to carry round when I wasn't doing photography, The DJI Osmo Pocket seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
The current RRP of the DJI Osmo Pocket is £329.99 but there was a special offer on for it to be priced at £229.99 which made me push the button and go for it.
£229.99 seemed like a pretty reasonable price for this unit but little did I know it was the tip of the iceberg as there would be a whole host of accessories that were deemed as "must have" items to go along with it which would substantially push up the cost, but more of that later.
So lets have a look at the specs of the DJI Osmo Pocket, to start with you can record in 4K up to 60 FPS but this isn't without limits, if you choose to record in 60 FPS then some other functions are not available such as tracking, there is however options to record in 4K 30 FPS where most specs are available still, plus you can record in 25 & 24 FPS. There is also full UHD, 2.7k options and FHD 1080P both have a wider range of frame rates, but I have to be honest I can't really tell the difference between 4k and 1080 at say 24 FPS on a high definition TV but there obviously is some due to the size.
The 4K however will use up a lot more space on your memory card and also take a lot more computing power to process so I really can understand peoples decision to record at 1080P instead, however 4K will allow you to crop in and do much more as its so much more detailed plus you can still export at 1080 if you wish
There is also a slow motion option which is only available in 1080P at 120 FPS.
In fact here is the complete list of video specs for those of you that love the details
4K Ultra HD: 3840×2160 24/25/30/48/50/60 FPS
2.7K: 1920x1080 24/25/30/48/50/60 FPS
FHD: 1920×1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120 FPS
Now one point worth noting here is that everyone says you should shoot in 24 FPS as its "The most cinematic look" but 9 times out of 10 these people saying it are from a country that uses the NTSC system rather than PAL, over here in the UK we use PAL so the FPS is usually 25, which pairs in nicely with my Canon EOS R which has an option for 25 FPS too.
Now before all the Canon EOS R users blast me and say BUT the camera can be switched to NTSC mode in order to get 24 FPS (or 23.976 FPS), this is what I ultimately ended up doing in order to pair with the 24 FPS (Also a true 23.976 FPS) mode on the DJI Osmo Pocket.
Let me explain my reasonings, when you put a film on a timeline that you set at 24 FPS for example which you shot on the Osmo Pocket then add something from another source at 25 FPS, everything isn't equal you will effectively have gaps in your film.
So the main reasoning behind it was I wanted to shoot 1080 at 120 FPS for slow motion and 24 x 5 is, you guessed it, 120 so it means I can combine footage at 24 FPS & 120 FPS from the DJI Osmo Pocket with footage from my EOS R also at 24 FPS seamlessly.
Maybe this is the wrong way and I should be sticking with 25 FPS but after a lot of research and experimentation I decided that 24 FPS made the best choice.
(Worth noting here I wasn't planning on filming inside where TVs and lights have a different refresh rate hence 25 FPS, its purely an outside camera)
The DJI Osmo Pocket is designed to be an all in one solution for portable recording for Vloggers or enthusiast and I have to say, its pretty good really in its basic form.
Its light, it records 4k and it has its own built in microphones to record sound and best of all, the main point of it is that it has a three axis stabilised gimbal to keep everything super steady so you can turn the camera body without the camera itself moving, clever stuff.
I think I'm right in saying that the DJI Osmo Pocket is the most compact 3 way axis stabilised gimbal available today by some margin so it really is something pretty special for that alone.
Basically this camera has a lot of bang for your buck and full of top class features but it does come with limitations too.
Inside the box you will find the DJI Osmo Pocket, A hard carry case which is quite basic but ideal to safely store it in your pocket without damaging the gimbal. It comes with two adaptors to plug into mobile phones, one a lightning adaptor for Apple iPhones and one for the Android range, it also has a simple USB C charging cable, You don't get any memory cards with it and will need to purchase a micro SD card in order to be up and running and you can use up to 256 gig cards with it, Worth noting you will need a card capable of writing 4K so a speed of around 90 or above would be ideal if you want to record in 4k, otherwise if in 1080P then a more basic card can be used.
The DJI Osmo Pocket can be completely controlled with the unit itself as there is a very small touch screen where you can scroll through all the options and navigate to various menus to make changes but by connecting a phone via the adaptor you can have a much larger screen size to view what you're filming and it also allows you to access the PRO mode which means you can really get creative with the settings and have a few more features.
There are options for auto or full manual control where just as you would expect you can have full control over the ISO, the shutter speed and FPS but not the aperture as this is a fixed aperture of F2 and there is no zoom facility on the camera so you are stuck around 26 mm but there are wide angle filters available for it at extra cost, alternatively if you film in 4k then you have a fair degree of flexibility in post to zoom in and crop yourself.
The ISO can be run from 100 to 3200 but from experience anything above ISO 800 brings with it a fair bit of noise, after all the CMOS sensor on this camera is only 1/2.3 inch in size.
The camera on this is capable of shooting raw files up to 12 megapixel which isn't too bad for the sensor size but obviously you are limited with this (That said I had no problem with it as it would never be a stills camera for me)
In terms of size the DJI Osmo pocket is a minuscule 121.9 x 36.9 x 28.6 mm and weighs in at just 116 grams so it really can live up to its name of being suitable to fit in your pocket.
The gimbal is capable of panning from -230 degrees to +50 degrees so it has a really quite good arc of view available, couple this with the -95 degree to +50 degree tilt and +45 degree roll and you get an idea of just
how much scope there is for movement with the
DJI Osmo Pocket gimbal.
Some of the other photo modes included in this which makes it extra fun are the time-lapse, motion lapse & Hyperlapse facility.
If you're not sure what this is ill explain each...
Timelapse - is a series of pictures all stitched together taken at intervals over a period of time
Motionlapse - Same as above but with the facility to pan from up to 4 user set points
Hyperlapse - Essentially a time-lapse that you shoot freehand and walk with the camera while it takes a burst of pictures at a pre determined frame rate then puts them all together.
Part of the joy of filming any of the above is that the DJI Osmo Pocket will do all the hard work for you and stitch all the files together and create a video for you without you having to do anything and I have to say I absolutely love these, by far the most fun thing to do with the Osmo Pocket.
Worth noting here that the motionlapse facility is only 2 points when using just the Osmo pocket itself but if you're connected to the Mimo app then you can select up to 4 positions for the camera to pan to.
Timelapses can be run up to 30 minutes and you have the option to choose how many pictures you take in that time, ie a picture every 2 seconds, every 4 seconds etc... over the selected time period.
The camera is also capable of shooting panoramas automatically and stitching the picture together for you, a handy way to get larger file sizes as well although be aware you can't preview these on the Osmo Pocket itself as they're too big, you will need to be connected to the Mimo app in order to preview.
Returning to the video specs as I would think that's what most people would buy these for.
The gimbal has 3 modes of view, FPV or first person view will follow the direction your hand steers it in but still keeps it smooth, Tilt locked which keeps the gimbal locked onto the horizon no matter which way your hands turn with it and finally Follow mode which can be used to track your face for vlogging or for an object that you select.
Each of these modes offers something very different and very handy and they each have their place in daily shooting.
Focusing options are taken care of by two modes, AFC (Continuous focus) and AFS (Set focal point) and Ive found them to work pretty well but again both have their uses for certain situations.
Face tracking for example uses the AFC continuous mode to good effect but if you look away from the camera to present an item behind you for example it means the camera will then hunt for focus on another item but when you turn back it will focus on your face.
The DJI Osmo pocket comes with WIFI & Bluetooth capability but in order to run it you will need to buy a separate accessory, the wireless module. Can you use it without ? Sure but your phone will have to be connected to the Osmo Pocket via the lightning connector on the side and this does put strain on your phones port.
There are two microphones on the Osmo pocket which utilise an algorithm to cancel out noise but these are at best poor in my opinion, if you are filming inside with no other background noise then they're capable and can do the job but the moment you go outside they lose their effectiveness and pick up everything, especially wind noise.
To combat this you are able to use an external microphone (Sold separately) with the Osmo Pocket but you can't just connect it via the jack plug, oh no, you will need to fork out some more money on the 3.5 mm jack adaptor at a staggering £34.99 for this tiny item.
That said its money well spent as you can get a simple omnidirectional lapel Lavalier microphone with a dead cat cover to plug into it and instantly give you way better audio that will stand up to the wind noise and ambient noise around you.
Once you have heard the audio from the DJI Osmo Pocket outside you will simply buy one of these rather than tolerate the poor audio quality.
Now having mentioned the wifi base and the audio jack plug it seems a fitting time to bring up a major design flaw from DJI, if you are using the wifi base then you can't use the external microphone, despite the base having another Type C connector on the back of it because this connector only allows power through it, no data which makes it pretty pointless other than for charging.
It does mean you are limited to one or the other, if you want wifi connectivity then you're stuck with the internal microphones, and if you want external audio then you can't have wifi ! Someone at DJI really needs a kick for this serious design flaw frankly.
But it gets worse, you buy the wifi base then realise you can't screw it onto a tripod thread so you have to either buy another base which fits the wifi connector and then in turn onto the tripod thread or you have to buy the phone holder and connect it up to the Osmo Pocket via the lightning port which is really flimsy but then you can still use your wifi base while mounted to a tripod, so in theory you could connect to the phone without the lightning adaptor so you can use the wifi but then you can't have external audio, so you reconnect with the lightning adapter and audio jack but now your compact camera has a giant phone hanging off the side of it, really really poor design. If DJI were smart they would re release the wifi base with the ability to add the audio jack to it, I'm certain that everyone would buy it instantly.
The battery life while filming is roughly two hours which does go quite fast if you are doing 30 minute time lapses for example but help is at hand as you can plug in and external power bank (again at extra cost) so it never runs out of battery, unless of course you wish to record external audio then you are again left with the choice of power or audio as you can't use them both at the same time, starting to see a reoccurring theme here ?
Just another simple flaw that does detract from the user experience with the DJI Osmo Pocket and really should have been better thought out by DJI, I know its a small unit but even so these functions are essential in my opinion.
The video can be shot in auto colour or you can shoot in DCinelike colour profile which will give you the ability to have better control over your colour grading for the final video although I have to say you can't push levels on this like you could with a DSLR and Canons C log for example, but this is based on the sensor not the profile.
For those that don't know what LOG profiles are, imagine RAW for video.
The DJI Osmo Pocket shoots in 100mbps too so there is a degree of flexibility in post.
The 1080P slow motion mode is in 120 FPS and gives you that beautiful buttery smooth B roll everyone seems to crave and couple this with a slick smooth gimbal and it really does shine and I have to say one of my favourite features on the Osmo Pocket, credit where its due.
The 4k 60 FPS is also beautiful to use but you can't use active track while filming in this so it does mean its limited to shooting footage only, you can however fall back on the 4k 30 FPS and still use active track but that does mean there is now chance of slow motion footage while tracking unless you go to 1080 at 120 or 60 FPS etc...
So who is this camera well suited for ? Vloggers are the obvious target and if you are planning on making most videos inside then it really is and excellent camera for that and you can get away with the audio from the camera itself inside, it can hold its own outside too with the exception of audio.
One other thing I found with it is if you tried to focus close up on anything it wouldn't do it ? I tried several items around about 10 inches away on both AFC & AFS modes, and neither would get focus, that said it has no problem with infinite focus and usually locks on very quickly to your chosen subject.
The biggest issue with the camera in my opinion is the seemingly never ending amount of accessories you will need to operate it in the way you want to.
It suddenly goes from being a reasonably priced, feature packed camera to something pretty expensive and into the territory of a used DSLR and gimbal which would give you better results perhaps ? at the very least a much larger sensor size.
To elaborate a bit further on this here are some accessories that you will probably end up having to have in order to utilise the DJI Osmo Pocket to its full potential.
Panning Wheel - simple left to right or up and down panning, but you have to switch to either L/R or up and down so you can't do a diagonal pan for example and the switch is cumbersome and awkward to do mid filming. The scroll wheel also seems to have a mind of its own in terms of the speed it will pan at and you have to get used to very small movements on it, a multi directional joystick would have been the obvious answer I would think ? The wheel is tensioned to control the speed of the pan.
Wifi Base - Allows you to operate the Osmo Pocket from your phone without it being actually attached to the phone, very useful but you will not be able to mount the camera on a tripod without using the phone cage mounts which totally negates the point of having wifi or use external audio while its on
Accessory Mounts - You will need a variety of these in order to use the Osmo Pocket to its best potential, suction mounts, roll bar mounts, clip mounts etc...
Worth noting all of the above three come in an expansion pack priced at £99 and it includes and SD Card too (although this card is not suitable for 4k video even though its supplied by DJI, Again doesn't really make sense ? ), but that's a lot of extra money to add to the product.
3.5mm External Audio Jack - If you want to get decent audio you will need one of these, there is no getting around it, you can't have it without it and while this device makes it possible to record excellent sound its very loose fitting, so much so that mine has dropped out often and actually caused me to lose one inside the first month of using it, at £34.99 a pop I wasn't best pleased and wish that DJI would have included a direct port to add a 3.5 jack instead of the adaptor.
External Microphone - If you are filming outside and need audio then you simply can't be without one, the Osmo Pocket is simply not up to the task and as soon as you use it outside you will agree, these can be cheap from around £20 up to hundreds of pounds.
Tripod Base Mount/Cage mount - You will need one of the other if you want to use the time-lapse/motionlapse features
ND Filters - in order to keep your desired frame rate and double the shutter speed you will have to use ND filters, you just can't use it outside effectively in bright light without them.
Sure you can ramp up the speed but then its not in the desired frame rate range to make it cinematic and just looks wrong. I would recommend using variable ND filters for this rather than fixed range filters, they are quicker to adjust and more precision so you can get the exact exposure required.
External Powerbank - If you are out for the day then you're going to go through the battery several times over so this is essential in my opinion (again outdoor use really as indoor you can be connected to power)
Wide Angle Lens - This one isn't as necessary as all the others but you may well benefit from it, saves you extending your arm constantly to film yourself.
So as you can see, the above list are "essential" accessories and now the initial cheap price doesn't look so good does it ?
Some other small gripes but not deal breakers are the fact that the battery can't be replaced as it's a sealed unit, so eventually when it does go the camera is useless and you will have to replace it.
I would have also liked to see some better weather sealing on it, I know its not an action camera but we've all been caught in rain before when outside so I think it was warranted as they don't cope well with water.
Its also quite a fragile unit and the gimbal can take the odd few light knocks but dropping it will result in the gimbal shutting down and will be in need of repair so you have to be super careful with it.
Low light performance isn't the best on the Osmo Pocket and anything above 800 ISO will introduce a lot of noise to the video, but below that it performs very well and in bright conditions id go so far to say its fantastic but you will need ND filters to get the best out of it.
So I've had a bit of a moan about the things that bother me with this but its not all negative, the fact is I love this little camera, it's super powerful for its size and the portability factor is simply off the scale.
If you know the limits of it then you can use it very effectively and what it does it does very well, despite the limitations it is a perfectly useable camera and you can have it with you anywhere you go without even noticing it.
For Vloggers its really a good buy, for more serious film makers then its probably not a viable option but as an entry level camera you could do a lot worse to be fair.
Some handy features are the fact you can display a histogram with it and get the "zebra" stripes when you are over exposed, again a really handy feature to have which will lead you to better exposed shots.
Guide line grids can be set up too so you can obey the rule of thirds and know when your frame proportions are going out of kilter.
There is the ability to shoot in portrait mode too which is handy if you are posting to platforms like Instagram which favour these and there is even a glamour mode to make yourself look a bit smoother, but I can honestly say I haven't tried this out and have no intention of doing so either, not with these looks !
The active track system and face track do work very well and again its ideal for Vloggers to do a piece to camera and not have to worry if they're in focus or not.
The DJI Osmo pocket is pretty easy to use too, it has two buttons, one is a record start/stop and the other is a function button which will let you scroll through menus on the small touch screen and that does work very well.
The screen itself can be used as a position reference only due to its size and in my opinion it has to be used with a phone to bring out the best of it so you can see if far greater detail if you were in focus etc.. This brings me nicely onto the Mimo app.
The app receives a lot of updates and changes that the public have requested and its really easy to use, its feature packed with everything on the DJI Osmo Pocket but just on a bigger screen, it also enables you to have a few extra features that you can't do with just the Osmo Pocket on its own so well worth using.
There is a digital joystick feature on the app to control the direction or to set up motionlapse points which can take a little getting used too, its very sensitive.
Accessing the menus is far quicker through the app too and makes fast navigation easier and of course on a larger display too.
So with many phones these days supporting 4K video does it make the DJI Osmo Pocket redundant ? Certainly not, the three axis gimbal stabilisation is the overriding factor instantly over any phone camera, and the things you can do with it just makes it far better and yields better results.
Would I buy it again ? Yes I really would as like I said earlier I love it and the Timelapse modes especially and face tracking have been really fun to use and now because I have so many accessories for it I guess id have too !
The bottom line is the DJI Osmo Pocket is a great camera for stabilised video and for Vloggers to use on the go anywhere, sure it has faults but the amount of plusses it brings to the table just can't be ignored and I think it represents great value for money in its basic form.
Once you start getting more adventurous with it you will start to see the pricing going up and it won't be long before you're in the price bracket of better gear, but it won't come with a gimbal and that's the essence of the DJI Osmo Pocket and that's what we all need to remember when comparing it.
Quality of Footage 07/10
TOTAL 40/50 80%
I love the DJI Osmo Pocket and if its your first outing into cinematography and filming then you will too, you may outgrow it quickly but I don't believe you can get a better start with as many features for the price.
The DJI Osmo Pocket and all accessories were purchased with my own hard earned cash and this is an honest review without influence or bias.