At A Glance
DJI are probably best know for their Phantom Drones, and are a major player in the flying camera market. Based on this pedigree, DJI have produced a pretty special handheld camera in the form of the Osmo. The DJI Osmo is a stabilised camera and a seriously exciting piece of kit, not just in its sci-fi form and robotic movements, but the potential it brings to the enthusiast's filmmaking world. In short, no more shaky, jittery and motion sickness inducing clips of the guy in fronts backside. The camera is held steady by a 3D gimbal which promises to keep shots silky smooth and level, even when running, skipping or tripping around the trail. Rather than just strapping a camera to your head, the Osmo is designed to take your filming to the next level and provide professional levels of quality to the amateur filmmaker.Buy Cameras on
On The Trail
The Osmo quickly, in its very nature, smooths out the flaws of the professional and keen amateur alike. Using a selection of sensors and advanced algorithms the 3D gimbal stays level and softens out even quite violent shakes and jerks as you film your subject. This allows steady panning whilst running along side, or even off-piste through the undergrowth following your subject. As well as the stabilising movement of the camera head itself, the Osmo also incorporates a lag on the left to right movement, so as you twist and turn your way down even the most technical trail, the shot remains looking fluid and controlled.
The gimbals movements can be controlled from a small joystick on the handle grip, which also features a record button and an orientation lock. The free DJI mobile app allows all the gimbal and camera settings to be tailored to suit the user. The app also makes your phone a portable HD monitor for the camera, which can be used on the inbuilt adjustable phone bracket or remotely from the Osmo so it can be controlled remotely, allowing you to assess the shot away from the unit, as it simply connects via WiFi. The touch screen controls on your phone really make all the menus incredibly intuitive and fast to navigate, meaning you can easily adjust and correct as you go.
For it’s first outing I used it straight out of the box, factory settings untouched, and I was blown away by its capability, if you were never to touch the settings I don’t think you’d be disappointed with the results from this lovely bit of kit. After that initial experience, I played a bit more with the settings and got it tuned in just so. This involved setting the speed of the reactions and the joystick so that I felt entirely comfortable with it while running, changing direction and using the App monitor on the fly. The results really were amazing to watch back, and got us more enthused to try faster and more creative lines and angles.
There are third party gimbals that can be used with other action cameras, but the Osmo is the first all-in-one, completely self contained unit I have come across. Coming in at a similar price to buying a camera and gimbal separately it seems like a no-brainer.
The camera itself packs a heft punch for such a small package, shooting up to 30fps at 4k, 60fps at 1080 and shooting 12mp still images all through its new design, 9 layer, rectilinear lens that provides a dramatic wide angle whilst having no distortion. This means that as well as providing the smooth video footage, the Osmo can take time-lapse and long exposure shots without the need for a tripod and has a built in panoramic mode so you can really capture the whole scene.
There are a selection of accessories that can be purchased separately for the Osmo as with any action camera set up. These include mounts for any situation, lighting rigs and extension poles for the handle, I didn't have chance to use it, but the chest mount could revolutionise the footage achievable especially on two wheels. One of the elements that really sets it apart from other action cams though, is the built-in ability to use a third party microphone, in DJI’s case they sell the Rode, but the fitting is generic, so although this does add to the size of the unit as a whole it makes for a much more versatile product. A spare battery comes in at a pretty reasonable price, comparable with other action camera official replacements. In my opinion a spare battery is always a good idea, but the one supplied was more than adequate to get out and film for an afternoon and capture and review enough clips to make a short edit.
The Osmo is slightly larger than the action cameras we are used to seeing on the market, but the added benefits of the stabilisation and built-in features mean that for the keen amateur wanting to create something amazing from their trips away, or shredding their favourite trails, this is a must-have upgrade, all it takes is a bit of imagination and some tyres on dirt.
This review was in Issue 41 of IMB.For more information visit DJI