What’s up guys, Sagi here and welcome to another Tech Gear Talk. I just spent a couple of days shooting with the new DJI Osmo Pocket and today I’m going to give you my first impressions. If you’ve been watching videos about Osmo Pocket you’ve probably seen everything from “I love this thing it’s great” to “this is the worse product in the history and I don’t know why anyone would buy it”. So I decided to get one of these and see what I think of it and help you decide if it’s something you should consider getting.
Right off the bat I was surprised with how small it is. Sometimes when you only see a product in pictures or in video it’s hard to get an idea of scale, but as soon as I even saw the box, I was like “this thing is small”. Then, during the unboxing, I took it out of the box and I’m telling you, this thing is tiny – and so light. So from a portability standpoint it’s awesome because it really lives up to its name as a pocket gimbal. And even with the case it’s still so compact that there’s really no reason not to have it with you. That’s a huge bonus in my book because no piece of gear is useful if you don’t take it with you. And while I really like my phone gimbals, I don’t usually bring them with me because they are big and cumbersome. With the Osmo Pocket, I really can’t see anyone thinking that it’s too big to bring along.
But there are some drawbacks to having such a small device. And it’s ironic, because maybe it’s too small. I can’t even hold it with my whole hand and end up usually holding it with just three fingers. The other thing is, that it’s not just actual physical size that’s limiting, it’s also that there are buttons and a screen and microphones so you can’t actually hold it how you might want.
The other drawback of it being so small and light, again ironically, is that maybe it’s too light. It’s hard to keep something stable without an appropriate amount of feedback and in this case because the Osmo Pocket is so small, it may not provide enough feedback to help you compensate. When you use something like a ReadyRig, you don’t want your setup to be completely weightless, you want it to weigh around 2-3 pounds so that you can eliminate bounce.
Finally, because it’s so small, it’s hard to get it away from you when you’re using it in selfie mode – you have to really stretch out your arm. I know this is not the only use for this device, but there is also no ¼ 20 thread on the bottom so you can’t directly mount it to a gorilla pod and get additional separation. There are a couple of options for attaching the Osmo Pocket to a tripod and I’ll get to them a little later on.
The last thing I want to say about the size, which I think is a great advantage is that specifically for people who are trying to stay under the radar, and may not feel comfortable dragging around a larger rig, this thing is pretty much invisible. You can vlog on this or get some footage without anyone really noticing you too much. But my real advice there is to get over it, For my detailed review I’ll let you know whether I think portability wins over the few drawbacks I mentioned. But in the meanwhile, I’d love to know what you think in the comments section.
Once I got past the size, I started looking at the build quality and the design. From a build quality standpoint, it’s pretty nice. It’s mostly plastic with the exception of the gimbal and the entire device seems nice and sturdy. The camera looks like the new Mavic 2 Pro camera but has essentially a ½” 12MP sensor instead of the 1” on the Mavic and Hasselblad has no connection with the design or build.. The lens offers an 80 degree field of view or 26mm equivalent with an aperture of F/2. So far I’m fine with this field of view when the camera is pointed forward, and as I mentioned, it’s a little tight in selfie mode but we’ll talk about this more later. I’m impressed that this little camera can shoot 4K60 and full HD or 1080P at up to 120fps which should allow for some slow motion. Moving down the device we see a screen which not surprising… is small. It does let you see what you’re shooting and is also a touch screen so that you can change some of the settings – more on this later. So yes, the screen is small but is also does not give you an accurate preview of what your final footage will look like because it’s not the same dimensions as your video so I’m interested in seeing how that plays out in terms of composition and framing.
Next, we have the universal port which lets you connect the Osmo Pocket to your phone as well as many of the accessories. The fit of the smartphone adapters in the universal port is pretty solid but there is no micro usb adapter. This isn’t an issue to me because I’m using an iPhone Xs but I can imagine there is a fairly large segment which could be frustrated by this. Below the universal port we have one of the microphones, a charging indicator, the record button and a multi-function button. Pretty simple design and together with the touch screen it provides ok, partial, functionality. On the left side we see the micro SD slot and at the bottom we have another microphone and a USB-C port which can be used for charging as well as to connect with some accessories. The provided case is really well thought out. It protects the gimbal and the lens while providing access to the charging port and allowing for the phone adapter to stay attached while stored.
So DJI did a pretty decent job at fitting a lot on such a tiny device but here are some things that came up. First, the USB-C port is at the bottom which means you can’t have the Osmo Pocket standing while it’s charging. This may be an issue for people who are using it to vlog and would like to have continuous power. This becomes less of an issue one we look at how I used the Osmo Pocket on a tripod. The battery life has been really good so far. DJI says you can get about 140 minutes when shooting at 1080p/30fps which works for me. You can charge the device while shooting using a USB-C cable so you’re not going to run out of power while walking around.
I turned the Osmo Pocket on and wanted to start playing around with it, but NO, you can’t, you have to first activate it. Why? For me, activating a product happens when I take it out of the box. It’s annoying to have to activate and essentially register a product before being able to use it. Luckily I have a bunch of DJI products so I just logged into my account and was good to go, but come on, just let me use it already.
Which brings me to the next topic which is having to connect the Osmo Pocket to my phone. The actual connection is super simple, you just plug it in, but then I had to download the DJI Mimo app. So for the record, I now have DJI GO, DJI GO 4, DJI Assistant and DJI Mimo to run my products. Back to the physical connection – I’m not sure I’m a huge fan of having the lightning port be the single point of contact with the phone. I would rather it be part of a mount. First, this required me to remove my normal case and put a more slim case for it to even work, and second, it just isn’t all that secure. I don’t really want want to hold just the Osmo Pocket or just the phone because it seems that it would put a lot of pressure on a port that’s designed for data and power transfer, and not as a a secure mount. I will say that while you can see that there is definitely some play with this connection, the Osmo Pocket haven’t ever fallen out. And even if I hit is (please don’t do this with yours) you can see that it doesn’t come loose – but we’ll see what happens over time.
Back to the whole “having to use your phone” for activation. That’s not the only thing you have to use your phone for. If you remember when I talked about the Build, Design and Functionality, I said that the touch screen and buttons give you partial functionality – that’s because there are many features you can only control using the app. So for example, if you want to turn on some extra frame rate modes, or want to manually control your exposure, you can only do that through the app. You can turn on PRO mode and that gives you some really nice control. And you can even do some long exposure which I can’t wait to do more of. I will say that at least, when you disconnect the Osmo Pocket from the phone, it retains the settings so that you can continue to use them without being connected – but then you have to connect again to make these types of changes.
Finally, I didn’t see some of the advanced options DJI advertised like the D-cinelike which I assume will come with a future firmware upgrade.
So let’s talk about the image and video quality. As far as video, I’m pretty happy with the quality and the functions. I can have different video formats, manual control over my exposure, a histogram, zebra lines, various options and custom white balance, grid overlays and some control over audio gain levels. I’m going to say that whenever I’m I evaluate a product, be it a detailed review or a first impressions video, I’m not doing it in a vacuum. So I do look at price and the rest of the benefits of a product as part of the equation. So I’m not comparing this image quality to my C100MKII and I’m considering that this is a tiny device I can throw in my pocket and take with me anywhere. So for what this device costs (assuming that you don’t fact in the price of the phone) I’m really happy with the results so far. The autofocus works pretty well and it does a nice job at object tracking when facing forward and at face recognition and tracking when in selfie mode. It’s capable of shooting video at up to 4K/60 at 100 Mb/s and the low-light performance is actually quite good – again, considering the device and competition. The microphone does a really good job for what it is. Is it going to compete with a professional external mic, no, but soon you’ll be able to get the adapter and use a 3.5mm jack and connect an external microphone.
For photography, the images are again, better than I expected from such a small device. Am I going to get earth-shattering low-light performance? No. But so far I think that it’s really good for this type of device.
Alright, so this pretty much sums up my first impressions of the DJI Osmo Pocket. After a week of shooting with it, I’m happy with the results. I’m very interested in knowing what you think based on what you’ve seen so far. Is this a device that you would consider? Why and why not? What are some of your concerns? I’ll take as many of those comments and questions into consideration in the full review. I did have some frustrations with activating the device and with the dependency on the phone. I wish I had gotten the Osmo Pocket Wireless Module so that I could control the preview remotely and also charge while the Osmo Pocket is standing. I will get into much more detail in my complete review and will also be comparing the Osmo Pocket with some other popular options so there is a lot more coming.
I really hope my first impressions of the Osmo Pocket were helpful. If they were, please let me know by leaving a comment, sharing it, and if you haven’t yet join our community by hitting the subscribe and notification buttons on my YouTube.
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You know what I always say, buy it nice or buy it twice!
Good luck and see you soon.
DJI Osmo Pocket (updated):
Great Additional DJI Osmo Pocket Accessories:
DJI Osmo Pocket Wireless Module: http://geni.us/tgtosmopocketwireless
DJI Osmo Pocket Controller Wheel: http://geni.us/tgtosmopocketwheel
DJI Osmo Pocket Accessory Mount: http://geni.us/tgtosmopocketmount
DJI Osmo Pocket Expansion Kit: http://geni.us/tgtosmopocketexpansion