Micro Media Workhorse
My passion is photography, wildlife, macro, stills and video for capturing the activities of life. Video can be a powerful story teller, using my DJI Ronis SC I wanted something I could pull out push a button and start shooting it must be small and simple and supplements my DJI Ronin SC - Yes I do use GoPros, Yes I use a Nikon Z6, Z7 but now I have the DJI OSMO Pocket that offers performance and pocket sized convenience.
Initial Rumblings: When the OSMO Pocket was initially released many people posted negative reviews concerning the dependency of a smart phone and activation process. DJI addressed the Smart Phone Dependency to some extent but not their intrusive activation process.
- To change many of the settings (PRO Mode) you had to use your smart phone - Firmware has addressed this issue.
- You need a "recent" smart phone that supports USB-C or Apple's iPhone flash adapter - Still an issue for older phone users.
- Smart Phone and Mimo APP still required to activate your camera - Sadly.
- DJI released a firmware update that now enables PRO Mode Setting changes in camera without connecting a smart phone and that update was huge.
- DJI released several hardware accessories that adds both functionality and convenience to the OSMO Pocket such as;
o Extension Rod with Phone Dock and allows full control of the OSMO Pocket
o Wireless BlueTooth/WiFi dock to allow remote control of your OSMO Pocket wirelessly using your smart phone
o Controller Wheel to adjust the pan/tilt using a dedicated wheel
o External Microphone adapter
Accessory Support: Plentiful third-party and accessory support for this OSMO Pocket device - Neutral Density Filters for cinematic effects, Polarizing Filters, Tripod Attachments, Cases, and a slew of other accessories are now available. The problem is they seem not well coordinated - like the WiFi adapter which has no on/off switch or tripod 1/4 mount - I would like to keep the WiFi adapter attached and switch it on when needed without draining the battery when not needed. Some accessories block the use of others - The DJI OSMO Pocket is a nightmare of swapping out gadgets.
Performance in the Field: Once activated via the Mimo App and if needed installed the most recent firmware the camera operation is simple and straight forward. I recommend using the defaults for your initial voyage to acquire a feel for how the camera/video and Gimbal works. Once you get a feel for the camera you can go into PRO mode and adjust many settings and profiles to achieve the look you are after.
Image Quality: Most people buy the OSMO Pocket for it's stabilized video features, in good light the video is crisp and clear and now offers Cinemode for later grading of the video footage or use other built in video profiles of your liking. The Photo mode is on par with current smart phone image quality and nothing to write home about - acceptable. The sensor size is 1/2 inch 12mp so the dynamic range is not sufficient enough to capture extreme highlights and dark areas in the same shot, you will need to decide what is more important the highlights or shadows - this is when shooting in strong contrast shooting situations. Also to note is the increased noise in low light. This camera is better suited for day time shooting, and does poorly in low light with higher ISO above 400, there is some noise reduction setting but you will still notice the noise in low light situations. Video mode supports resolutions up to 4K and as stated in good light the quality is very good.
* Slow Motion, Time Lapses, Hyper Lapses, zebra, face and object tracking along with the new cinematic grading make the video features stand out.
Build Quality: The build quality is good but I would not want to drop this camera, my go pro has been dropped many times with no ill effect, I feel this OSMO Pocket would suffer dire circumstances if dropped. The lens is non user replaceable and if scratched you will need to send it in for repair - there are 3rd party hardened glass lens covers (but may interfere with filters). DJI does not mention weather sealing so using it in rainy situations you take a risk, you can purchase a water proof case if using this device for under water use. There is no secure way of attaching a wrist lanyard on the device out of the box, so be careful. You can purchase a mounting bracket then attach a lanyard if you have slippery hands.
Selfies: The Field of View of the OSMO Pocket is much narrower than say an action camera, and this makes hand held selfies more challenging from a framing perspective. There are a few third party wide lens adapters but I consider them not of quality and when used only the very center is sharp. For better selfies consider the extender accessory. Too bad DJI does no offer two FOVs, one for filming and another for VLOGing.
Gimbal - Stablization: DJI offers several Gimbal settings, FPV, Follow and Tilt Lock, all of which work very good. In 4K video mode you may loose Follow at certain FPS settings. Being this is a 3 axis gimbal when shooting video walking the up and down motion will be detected in your footage. Otherwise the stabilization is very good.
- Activation - why do I need to activate a camera for god sakes? the DJI activation process collects information, ask for location data, access to your phones data all of which you can deny, forces you to acquire a DJI Account.
- Direct Connect to Smart Phone - I could not connect the device to my Samsung Active Phone with my protective case on. The provided DJI adapter is too SHORT.
- Denied Location Access - When I denied the Mimo App access to my location data - it kept sending me to settings to enable it and the Mimo app will not function without me allowing access to my LOCATION DATA - why does it need to know my location?
DJI should rethink "mandatory" activation process to use the product I own. After buying their product and forced to go through their activation process is shameful. I should be able to turn the OSMO Pocket on and use the product I purchased and download any firmware updates without forcing me to acquire a DJI Account and providing my privacy details to use the Mimo App. Sounds Like Facebook.
Not an Action Camera - this is not an action camera and should not be compared to such. In fact it does very poorly if employed say on you bike handle bars - the video will be useless. If you are a rough and tumble kind of person I suggest you purchase a GoPro action camera.
CONS: DJI has built this nice 3 axis stabilized camera in such a way as to push the necessity to acquire accessories that should be part of the experience from the rip. Like WiFi/Bluetooth, Tripod mounting, gimbal controller. Speaking of the optional thumb controller - you can only access one axis at a time, if you wish to change axis you need to slide a switch! DJI should take a look at mirrorless cameras who offer thumb joysticks.
- Some accessories inhibit use of others
- Heat - this device heats up, in the winter that is a blessing but in summer, can you say sweaty palms.
- No native tripod socket - you need to purchase accessories.
- Mimo App is a cluttered mess, with all the marketing hype.
- Battery - non-user replaceable battery and the battery life is barley acceptable. I used 25% in just 20 minutes (4K) total run time is 1 hour 40 min in optimal settings, expect half that if using the optional wireless accessory.
Pros: DJI has a good product that fits in your pocket, easy to operate and can deliver very good video results, for the most part it is a winner.
- Small light Form Factor
- Ease of use
- Daytime video quality is very good
Who is this camera best suited for: I would say those who want a small, light gimbal based video camera that produces good output, is easy to carry and use. If you do not mind the intrusive way DJI forces you to acquire an account for activation of "your" camera and the need for accessories to make the camera fully useful - then this the DJI OSMO Pocket is a good choice.
NOTE: If you do not have a recent smart phone that supports USB-C or iPhone Flash Adapter you will not be able to connect directly to the OSMO Pocket and activate the camera for use.