The promise of DJI's Osmo Pocket handheld camcorder is not about giving you the same raw audio or video quality you would get when recording with a DSLR and an external microphone. Instead, this is a camera that prioritizes a compact and simple form factor to help you look a lot smarter with a camera than it really is.
Modern vlogs, with their tight editing and many installation shots, require a lot of precision and patience to shoot, and that's where a camera like the Osmo Pocket comes in. Over the past decade, YouTube vlogging has developed its own style of cinematography, with beautifully framed time lapses that serve as frequent transitions of scenes between succinct monologues. Although this is designed to create an impression of ease, its execution is not at all. The new DJI camera is full of features that are designed to close this gap.
In its essence, the Osmo Pocket has a stabilized three-axis gimbal that guarantees that its filming is smooth and looks professional even when operating without the help of a tripod. It also has more advanced functionality such as support for time lapses and movements that make the other staples of the vlogging genre much easier to capture.
DJI's $ 349 Osmo Pocket is recorded in HD or 4K resolution, and once you've captured the images, you can download them via a USB-C cable to your PC or export them directly to your phone through the DJI Mimo application. It is a very capable camera, but it is not the all-in-one vlogging power that it aspires to be.
] The centerpiece of the DJI Osmo Pocket is its three-axis stabilizer. It is a compact and competent mechanism, and Osmo Pocket wishes to remind you of this. Each time you turn on the camera, the cardan rotates to one side and then to the other with a satisfactory click, as if you were doing a morning stretch after getting out of bed.
In general, the camera feels solidly built, but the gimbal mechanism seems delicate. You are not going to take the Osmo Pocket to many of the places where you would use a GoPro Hero 7. The DJI camera is not waterproof, and I worry about dropping it on the concrete, let alone using it to capture me skiing. a mountain.
The DJI handheld camera is much more suitable for vlogging. Its long handle is designed to hold rather than adjust to the side of a helmet, and its cardan can not even move properly if it does not give enough space to the camera.
Below the camera, there are a couple of buttons, a multifunctional one and another to record videos and take photos, and a small one-inch touch screen. The camera also comes with a pair of small, removable connectors (one USB-C and one Lightning), which connect to the camera. Then, they allow the Osmo Pocket to be fixed on the bottom of a phone and held horizontally to allow you to control the camera through the touch screen of your phone or transfer your images. When it is not in use, you can flip the connector so that it does not protrude.
The one-inch screen is small, so it has a basic user interface designed around four sliding menus from a different side You can use them to change the settings, such as the resolution you are using or put the camera in selfie mode. As you would expect from a touch screen of this size, trying to use it directly is a bit annoying. The menu options are small and difficult to touch with precision, and swiping the bottom menu up can be a challenge when you have the phone's connector plug inserted underneath.
Fortunately, unless you're constantly switching between resolutions or frame rates, you can access most of the functions you want to use from the multifunction button, leaving the screen for simpler settings like setting the part of the frame where you want that the image is exposed or choose an object so that the camera stays focused automatically.
Keeping the camera's multi-function button The Osmo Pocket turns on and off, by pressing it once to toggle between video and still photos mode, two more recent pressures from the camera, and three will switch the camera to the mode selfie Almost certainly there will be people who need more immediate access to the advanced features of the camera, but for me, the quick access selection adequately covered the things I needed immediate access to while using the camera.
If you want to get more immediate access to the advanced functionality of the camera, attaching it to a smartphone is an excellent way to achieve it. The only problem is that this converts the Osmo Pocket from a device that can be used comfortably with one hand to something that feels like it needs two hands to function properly. For me, this compensation does not make sense.
Without a connected phone, you can shoot in 10 seconds; Using a phone adds a couple of seconds of configuration. With the Android device he was using (a Pixel 3), the phone was smart enough to open the complementary DJI Mimo application every time he connected the camera. It was never as fast as opening the camera app on my phone, but it was fast enough that I rarely missed something I was trying to capture.
Although there are a lot of additional features such as time lapses, panoramas and movement lapses for those who want them, the Osmo Pocket is at its best when you're just walking, shooting and letting all three
video above will give you a better idea of the quality of the images that the DJI Osmo Pocket is capable of producing.
I was almost ready to believe that I was going to create effortlessly. The Kubrick stable camera takes before I started using the Osmo Pocket for myself, but the reality was much more modest. Yes, you can try to stabilize your shots so that they slide through a space, but according to my experience, you can always see the movement of the camera with each step you take, no matter how careful you are. If you try harder, the images start to look like a scene from a first-person shooter, and this is especially true if you try to run with the camera.
The quality of the images I captured with the Osmo Pocket was also good. The colors are vibrant (if a touch oversaturated). There is a bit of noise when shooting in 4K, but the detail was generally good. Unfortunately, the low-light performance of the camera was not as strong. I recorded a good amount of images on the streets of the city late at night, and there was a lot of noise visible in the resulting shots.
For the most part, you can zoom out by pointing the camera at whatever you want to shoot and press the record button, but you'll still have to be prepared to manually adjust the settings to make sure there are no shots. t overexposed or underexposed. At one point, I tried to capture a building against a bright afternoon sky, and the details of the building were almost completely lost in the shade because I did not touch the building to tell the Osmo Pocket to expose it.
In addition to supporting several resolutions, the Osmo Pocket can also be switched between 30 fps and 60 fps. I spent some time playing with the different options before choosing 30 fps as the one that offered me the best combination of video quality and file size.
The time-lapse feature mentioned above is one of the highlights of the Osmo Pocket. You can make a static time lapse or you can move between two points. The configuration of the latter is surprisingly simple to do; places the Osmo Pocket on a stable surface and then physically rotates its gimbal to indicate the start and end points of the time lapse. The only problem here is that the Osmo Pocket is not exactly designed to hold it that way, and I was constantly worried that the wind would blow it every time I tried to capture a time lapse outside. A wireless module gives the camera a wider and more stable base, and also allows you to wirelessly control the Osmo Pocket from your phone, but it is an optional accessory that costs around $ 100.
The Osmo Pocket is also able to shoot in slow motion, where you can capture at 120 fps to create a 30 fps video. Unfortunately, when I tried the mode, the images came out very noisy and grainy, and it was a definite step from the normal quality of the camera. In the end, this was the way I spent the least amount of time, which is a shame, since it could have been such a useful feature.
Questions about the quality of your recording in slow motion aside, in general, I liked the quality of the video that the DJI Osmo Pocket produced However, the audio was rather a disappointment. Part of it is an ergonomic oversight. The Osmo Pocket has two microphones, one just above the record button and one on the bottom of the device, and if you are not careful, rub your hand over both while changing the grip positions. I improved on not holding the camera "wrong" with some practice, but ultimately, the Osmo Pocket audio always sounded as if it had been recorded from a small built-in microphone, because it was.
Considering how oriented the Osmo Pocket is towards the vlogging genre, it is fair to expect from it a better sound quality than a typical video camera. DJI sells a small USB-C connector converter to microphone for the camera, and there are also microphones available that connect directly via USB-C. You will want to verify that third-party accessories work before you buy one for you. If you intend to do serious vlogging with the Osmo Pocket, I seriously think about buying an external microphone to use with the camera.
You can also use the DJI Osmo Pocket to take pictures. You can change to this mode quickly by touching the multifunction button once. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this mode, since taking pictures is almost a late occurrence with a camera of this type. It's not that the pictures are especially good, I'd say they're on par with an average smartphone camera, but taking them quickly is very easy to do. Every time I take a picture with a smart phone or an independent camera, I always have to take a momentary pause before taking the first shot to avoid blurring due to the movement of the camera. With the Osmo Pocket, this was not such an important problem. I could move the camera, take pictures and worry much less about making sure I was firm before pressing the shutter button. That's the magic of the gimbal at work.
If you are a more thoughtful photographer, you probably do better with a suitable camera. In particular, I often found it difficult to frame subjects correctly with the Osmo Pocket. The camera screen is not only very small, but the stabilization made it difficult to tilt the camera to make sure the scene was level. I would try to tilt the camera and it would work to cancel the movement. It was often a frustrating experience.
DJI's Osmo Pocket does a great job of delivering the capabilities of its form factor. It is compact, easy to use and I liked the quality of the video images it produced (even if its audio does not meet its aspirations as a vlogging camera). But it is a harder camera to recommend than other portable solutions to record videos due to its price and lack of versatility. It's not as sturdy as an action camera, and it's not as cheap as a separate gimbal for your existing smartphone.
The DJI Osmo Pocket is a great example of a gadget designed to fit a particular form factor. It really is very small for the work you do, and if that is the top priority for you, then there is little else like that. But if you do not need ergonomics and pocket capacity, then it may serve you a more general alternative.
Photograph by Jon Porter / The Verge
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