The DJI Osmo Pocket Is a Vlogger’s Answered Prayer
This is why the recent development in video gear is such a huge deal. From drones, 3-axis gimbals, and wide-angle lenses, the things that only professionals had access to is now in the hands of the masses. Aside from becoming more affordable, they've also become a lot less cumbersome to bring around.
Part of this movement is the DJI Osmo Pocket - a pocketable handheld gimbal + wide-angle camera contraption. Now, we all know that DJI is a leader when it comes to drones but, can it handle competition in the stabilized handheld camera segment where the Go Pro Hero 7 currently reigns supreme?
Judging by the name itself, the pocketability of this device is one of its key features. It's basically a tiny selfie-stick handle with a built-in camera at the other end. It's incredibly small and can fit inside the pocket of the typical jeans. It’s definitely a good fit for shirt pockets as well.
There's also a carrying sheath that comes in the box when you buy it that protects the camera lens from scratches and the camera from getting snapped off in your pocket or bag.
With this form-factor, you wouldn't have to bring a special bag. It's a truly pocketable piece of camera hardware that produces professional quality content.
While ordinary 3-axis gimbals used to need third-party cameras such as smartphones or DSLRs, the Osmo Pocket comes with its own. It borrows the same camera system from the bestselling Mavic Air which, in itself, is a great video camera.
It has a 12-megapixel, 1/2.3" CMOS sensor that's capable of shooting 4K at 60FPS. It's non-removable or replaceable though so what you have initially is all you're ever going to get. It's plenty powerful, though. So, the lack of upgradeability shouldn't be a problem.
It's basically the same camera that's on the already well-loved DJI Mavic Air on the end of a tech-laden selfie stick. So, for active videography, you're basically assured of a great shot.
Class-Leading 3-Axis Gimbal Stabilization
DJI's drones have been touted by a lot of the most relevant content creators as their go-to drones. They're inexpensive by industry standards but they don't sacrifice quality in any way.
Their 3-axis gimbal technology is part of this. While drone shots are inherently stable, the 3-axis gimbal makes it take even more pleasing moving footage. It's a huge improvement next to EIS because it doesn't need to crop parts of the frame just to get a stabilized video.
The gimbal system used in the pocket is one of the smallest in the market which is an engineering feat on its own.
Everything about the Osmo Pocket that has vlogger written all over it. From the screen and mic placement to the tracking capabilities, both software and hardware seem to suggest that the device was designed to capture active self-footage.
The backwards-facing 1-inch screen makes it easy to make sure that you're in the frame the whole time you're talking. That's something that not a lot of active cameras can't boast.
With an added touch functionality, these are extremely useful at manually adjusting focus as well. So, whether you're capture something in front of you or just capturing footage of yourself, the screen remains useful.
The screen can even be supplemented by attaching either a lightning or USB-C adapter through a swappable connector. This essentially enlarges the image seen on the 1-inch screen onto either your Apple or Android phone.
Underneath the 1-inch display are two physical buttons. One is for shutter and confirming while the other is for cancelling. The physical record/shutter button is easy to reach from whatever orientation. For vloggers, having something physical to feel instead of a touchscreen button that you can easily get to without even looking is a huge advantage especially in low light situations.
Speaking of low light, because of its excellent stabilization, the Osmo Pocket has a feature called Nightshot. It uses both the gimbal stabilization and the long shutter speed to take extremely detailed low light photos.
The still photo-related feature doesn’t end with low light photography. Because it can mechanically yaw, it can also take excellent panoramic photos.
The 3-axis gimbal is also well-utilized in the built-in videography software features. For example, doing a timelapse on the Osmo Pocket can be enhanced by using the gimbals to steadily and slowly move the camera while filming essentially making a motionlapse. It’s an extremely useful feature for B-Rolls that vloggers love so much.
The most vlogger-magnet feature on the Osmo Pocket is the Active Tracking feature that can follow the subject around almost anywhere. It's something that no other single device can do as of the present moment. Users, then, wouldn't even have to hold the device to their face anymore.
Can it kill Go Pro Hero 7?
The DJI Osmo Pocket can definitely turn users into a one-man content creation machine. Essentially, it’s a vlogger must-have that I’m pretty sure they’ll invest on given that the starting price of $349USD is relatively inexpensive.
Even for non-vloggers, it's also a great device. The 3-axis gimbal stabilization on a 4K video is just a joy to behold. It's also pretty easy to use. The additional smartphone screen extension is also a welcome addition for amateurs and prosumers.
However, the vertical form factor, even if it’s extremely pocketable, can have adverse effects when using it to capture users’ extreme sport escapades makes it a liability. It tends to stick out which, in some cases, can be dangerous both for the athlete and the device.
In conclusion, there’s a special spot in a vlogger’s bag (or pocket) for the DJI Osmo Pocket. It packs a quite the punch for such a small device when it comes to content creation. But, it won't dethrone the Go Pro Hero 7 in the athletic videography department. It's simply too unwieldy in an active setting.