The DJI Osmo Pocket is my favorite, small new camera. It fills the need for many vloggers, travelers, social media influencers, and casual shooters because of it’s compact size, optimized mobile workflow, and it’s ease of use. The Osmo Pocket price is relatively inexpensive at $350 USD.
I have a DJI Ronin-S and completely love it. It produces great results when combined with my Sony A7iii - but that setup comes with a giant price tag and requires quite a bit of knowledge and patience to get it working. I feel like the Osmo Pocket is a simpler, more causal version of that more expensive setup that is tuned for speed and convenience.
While I don’t expect the Osmo Pocket to replace my Ronin + Sony Mirrorless setup, it does cost less than half of just the lens thats on my bigger setup. Not to mention the cost of the actual Sony camera, or the gimbal. That’s madness.
After using the Osmo Pocket for a while now, I can confidently recommend it as a great addition to anyones camera bag. It is not going to replace my main camera, or even my B camera - but for casual shots that I would typically use my phone or a small point and shoot camera for, I now find myself reaching for the Osmo Pocket instead.
Just like every camera, there are pros and cons to the Osmo. In this article, I’ll go over the good and bad parts of the Osmo Pocket, and I’ll post another article about what you should know before buying, and another article with tips and tricks I’ve used while shooting with the Osmo Pocket. I also have an article about the best Osmo Pocket accessories. I was going to make them all in one article, but the article would be way too long and I’d like to keep these to the point - so let’s get into it.
Disclaimer: I received this camera from DJI to test, but had to send it back. They didn't pay me to write this, or let me keep the camera - and I have since bought a DJI Osmo Pocket of my own because I love this camera so much! All these words are my own and not influenced in any way.
Small Form Factor
The Osmo Pocket is a small camera considering all of it's features and recording settings. While the small form factor is achieved by moving some functionality to accessories (tripod mount, bluetooth for wireless controlling, mic dongle) the overall package is really small enough to fit in your pocket with the case.
Filming in public doesn’t draw attention to yourself since this camera is so small. Coming from the Ronin-S gimbal, which is always a topic of conversation when filming with it, using the Osmo Pocket no one has ever asked me about because it just looks like you’re taking a picture or video with your phone. It’s easy to conceal, and doesn't look like a camera unless you look at it up close.
The Footage is Really Stable
For me, this is what matters most about the Osmo Pocket. For such a small camera, it does a good job stabilizing footage. Horizontal movements are well controlled, while vertical movements are hard to stabilize if they are too dramatic. For big vertical movements, you’ll get the ‘bobbing footage’ look if you’re not careful.
If this is your first gimbal, you’ll need to get to know how to use them to avoid the bobbing footage. Carefully walk in a smooth straight line, this usually takes care of the vertical movement problem. Bobbing gimbal footage is not a problem that is unique to the Osmo Pocket though, most gimbal setups have this issue.
Very surprised that the Osmo Pocket has this feature, and it looks really great. It’s nice to have the option to slow down on 4k footage. Lots of other cameras in this size and price point don't have this capability, and the image it creates is clean as long as you keep the ISO low and have proper lighting.
100mbps Video Bitrate
The Osmo Pocket has a high video bitrate for a camera this small. It's is a big win for overall video quality. While the Osmo Pocket isn’t a camera you’d want to color grade too heavily, having a 100mbps video bitrate allows you to push the footage while color correcting or color grading.
1080p 120fps / Slow Motion
Slow motion and a gimbal are a match made in heaven, and that rings true here with the Osmo Pocket. Slow motion is great for making stable footage look even more smooth, eliminating any long movements in any direction, making them look more deliberate. It's also just looks pretty cool. Great for B roll.
When filming in 1080p 120fps, the footage is softer than filming with 24/30/60fps, but that's because of the bitrate is still 100mbps, but the frames are increasing. For the best results, shooting with proper light and keep the ISO at 100. Keeping the shutter speed at 1/250th will give you nice cinematic motion blur in your shots. Using ND filters may be the only way to film at these settings if your scene is too bright.
Time Lapse / Motion Lapse
Time lapses and motion lapses are one of my favorite ways to shoot with the Osmo Pocket. The ability to simply add points across your scene and have the Osmo Pocket intelligently track to the points during the time lapse blows my mind. To acheive something like this before, you'd need tons of large expensive equipment, but the Osmo Pocket can do it right out of the box. Also allows you to use custom photo settings for night lapse photography - to get those awesome long light streaks in cars. This is one of the features I experiment with the most and love the results.
Ease of Use
The Osmo Pocket is overall pretty well thought out as far as the ease of use. While the app and onscreen touch controls do have their short comings (I’ll get to that later), overall the app is really easy to use. You can even use the Osmo without your phone, and adjust your settings using the on screen controls. Although the on screen controls aren’t nearly as easy to use as the app on your phone.
The Osmo Pocket powers on in about 5 seconds, so you can turn it on and get recording without missing the moment. If you adjust camera settings using the Mimo app and disconnect your phone, the settings are still saved. That’s a nice touch considering I typically leave my camera on roughly the same settings and use ND filters to correct the exposure.
Tripod-like Stills, While Hand Holding
The Osmo Pocket isn’t really that great in low light - but if you’re taking pictures at slow shutter speeds, having the gimbal means that if you’re still enough you can take great low light photos. While you can’t take a photo while moving and have it be razor sharp, if you stand still you can get some great results - all without a tripod. For me, just tucking your elbows into my side and holding steady, I could shoot photos at slower shutter speeds reliably.
Choose Between a Flat Profile, or a Standard Picture Profile
DJI released a firmware update that allowed the Osmo Pocket to shoot in a flat picture profile - and that is huge news for shooters that like to color grade or color correct their footage. While you can’t push the footage as far as a DSLR or Mirrorless camera, you can still get some good results if you properly expose your shots. And if you want to share your photos/videos from the osmo pocket and not do much editing, you can still use the standard picture profile. Great for quick shots on Instagram Stories.
ActiveTrack & FaceTrack
The Osmo Pocket ActiveTrack is awesome for tracking objects in your shots, it can grab onto an object and track it remarkably well. The more contrast your subject has against the background, the better job the Osmo Pocket will do with tracking. Surprisingly, I've had some good results with tracking in lower light situations after golden hour.
Object tracking also works great in 1080 slow motion. Helps so you can lock onto an object and walk towards it, and not need to move the gimbal to get smooth pans. Really awesome. It even works shooting straight up! One downfall though, is that Tracking in not available in 4K 60fps, but works in 2k and smaller resolutions.
Osmo Pocket Hyperlapse?
While this isn't really a the place for an Osmo Pocket hyperlapse tutorial, hyperlapse is easy using ActiveTrack. Using ActiveTrack on a subject, walk very slowly tracking the over time in video mode. This will require you to speed it up in post, but the results are pretty cool. I hope DJI will add this feature in the future.
Overhead Filming Camera
The Osmo Pocket's small size makes a great overhead filming camera. If you use the wireless module or long extension cable, you can even have your device at desk level to start/stop filming or reposition the gimbal all while sitting at your desk. Anyone who has ever filmed overhead will be very happy with this! Filming straight down is a game of minor repositioning, especially if you're filming yourself.
Bonus points if you use ActiveTrack to follow your hands or object automatically! This is a really understated use for the Osmo Pocket. If I have the budget, I'm going to buy one dedicated to overhead filming.
Filming Straight Up
This didn’t even occur to me at first, and I didn’t know I would love it so much. But filming straight up is actually pretty neat and gives you some great perspectives, without needing to look straight up at the sky with your camera. You can hold the camera straight out in front of you and point the gimbal/lens upwards and save yourself from straining your neck. Another pretty cool feature of having a fully articulating gimbal.
Built for Speed, Simplicity & Attention to Detail
The overall operation of the Osmo Pocket is tuned for speed and simplicity, and you can tell that DJI has put a lot of attention to detail. The case the Osmo Pocket comes with fits perfectly in your pocket and still protects the camera - while providing access to the Micro SD card, a cut out in the strap so you can leave your phone adapter on and a cut out on the bottom to charge the Osmo Pocket without taking it from the case.
Starting up the Osmo pocket is really fast, the camera can start, calibrate the gimbal and be ready to record in 5 seconds. It’s amazing how fast the gimbal calibrates - the first time I turned it on, it caught me off guard. Another detail is how plugging in your phone and turning the Osmo on, automatically opens the DJI Mimo app (if it’s installed already). As a person who uses folders to organize apps, it’s nice to not have to tap through a folder or screen to open the app.
When shooting a time lapse, a 1080p version is automatically generated if you want to quickly share it, but the photos are also saved in a separate folder that you can assemble into a time lapse on your computer in full 4000px by 2250px.
Attention to details like that make the camera nice to use overall.
I initially thought the Osmo Pocket would be much less durable, but I’ve had it covered in snow, slipped on ice with it, accidentally turned it on in it’s case and the gimbal got stuck - after all of that it’s still working fine. I wouldn’t recommend doing any of those things, but it’s nice to know it’s made to withstand reasonable everyday wear and tear.
Airdrop/Send Files Quickly
This is a feature that isn’t advertised very much, but with your phone connected, the DJI Mimo app lets you preview your footage and send it via Airdrop or send via text message to your friends. You can save videos directly to your device from the playback screen, but it’s nice that you don’t have to download the video or photo to your device before sending it to your friends.
Portrait filming seemed like a feature I’d never need - but once I tried it for Instagram Stories and Instagram/Facebook videos, I love using the Osmo Pocket for it’s portrait filming. Creating sharable content on Social Media means it will most likely be consumed on a phone, and people hold their phones in the portrait screen orientation mostly. I’ve found that Portrait video does better than landscape video on social media because it looks larger on the screen. Previously, I’d just shoot landscape and crop in post production, but that would usually come with a quality loss and sometimes the framing was a little off. Filming in the orientation that you're going to export in makes the most sense, and looks the best.
No recording limits
The Osmo Pocket doesn’t have a recording limit, like some other cameras do. The battery will last about 2 hours when filming continually 1080p, but plugging the Osmo Pocket into a power source lets you film for as long as your storage can hold.
Advanced Recording Features
Zebra Stripes & Histogram
I like that DJI included more advanced recording features on the Osmo Pocket like zebra stripes, for being able to see where your image is overexposed. It can be hard to tell when your outdoors using your reflective phone screen as a reference monitor to nail exposure. Zebra stripes as well as the Histogram makes getting the perfect exposure much simpler.
I also like the option of the grid lines for framing and keeping your horizon level. I use the 3 line grid to keep an eye on the gimbal not slowly losing a straight horizon, especially while moving and my hand angle changing. Small additions like this, along with the attention to detail mentioned above really makes this camera fun to film with.
Cons of the Osmo Pocket
While this is true for any gimbal, there is a learning curve if you’ve never used one before. Maneuvering the gimbal can be frustrating for new users. For example, making small movements (in follow or tilt lock modes) the Osmo Pocket may not respond thinking the movement should be smoothed out - and when you move the Osmo Pocket more aggressively, it will move the frame very quickly. Finding the happy medium of moving the gimbal around can be difficult, but it's worth figuring out to maximize the effectiveness of the gimbal.
Learning to move and walk with a gimbal will make your footage looks much more stable. Walking “Heel to toe” and rolling your feet instead of stomping your feet when you walk will do a lot of remove the vertical ‘bobbing’ in your footage. Also, the closer you are to objects - the more steady you’ll have to be. When you have a close foreground object, the shake is more apparent than when it if further away.
When in doubt, slow motion smooths things out with gimbal work. Slow motion is a gimbals best friend. It takes smooth footage, and makes it feel even smoother, experiment with 1080P 120fps and 4K 60fps!
The Need For Accessories
While the Osmo Pocket is a really small package, I wouldn’t mind if they made it a little larger but included more of the features into the actual camera so you wouldn’t need as many accessories. I’d love if DJI integrated the wireless module into the Osmo Pocket, and included a microphone jack. While the microphone, is better with the latest firmware update - there is still a need for better audio, and I'd like to use an external microphone. The mic adapter (not available yet) plugs into the USB-C port, and you can’t charge the Osmo while you're using the mic adapter. That is frustrating.
Wish they would have integrated an osmo pocket tripod mount into the bottom of the camera, and moved the USB-C port to the back. If the USB-C port was on the back, you could stand up the Osmo Pocket and charge it at the same time.
The quality of the microphone is just okay on the Osmo Pocket, it's good enough to film quick vlogs with, but you wouldn't want to shoot an interview with it. It's about on par with a point and shoot cameras microphone. While DJI has improved with the mic with firmware updates, there is still room for improvement.
Sometimes when holding the Osmo Pocket, I accidentally cover up one of the microphone inputs and it distorts the audio. Moving the audio inputs closer to the top of the gimbal would help a lot here. Also would love if the Osmo Pocket had a dedicated port for an external microphone without the need for an adapter.
Low Light Performance
The Osmo Pocket's sensor doesn’t do well when it needs increase it’s sensitivity to light - or raise the ISO when you're in a dark environment. Recommend to leave the ISO at 100, especially when filming at higher frame rates. If you need to raise the ISO to 200, or 400 - just know you’ll get noise in your image. But going to 800/1600 will raise the noise levels to almost unusable levels and make the image a little softer. Sometimes it makes sense to raise the ISO that high, just understand that motion and fine details will be grainer.
Fixed Focal Length of 26mm
This is being picky, but the 26mm is a little tight for a hand held device with a ‘selfie mode’. You need to extend your arm a little more than usual if you’re going to film yourself. I would love to have some a slightly wider lens on the Osmo Pocket for vlogging; even just a 24mm would work better.
When filming forward though, I like the 26mm for that little bit of extra reach. It’s a little bit of a trade off here. I think using the technology from the DJI Mavic 2 Zoom here would be really interesting.
The Phone Adapter Connection
The phone adapter can put a lot of stress on the port of your phone. You can hold the Osmo so you’re supporting both devices, but moving while filming can make that difficult. A phone/Osmo holder takes care of this but it’s another accessory to take around with you. Would love to see phone cases that could support the Osmo Pocket while plugged into your phone.
Camera Controls Design
While just using the Osmo, the on screen controls can be clunky to figure out. To customize your camera settings, you’ll need to enable Pro mode, then change the settings. Making this easier to use could be accomplished with a UI redesign. Would like to see them redesign the menus to navigate through them more quickly and efficiently, when not using your phone.
No Tracking in 4K 60fps
Not sure why there is no ActiveTrack or FaceTrack are not available when you’re filming in 4K 60fps, maybe there isn't enough processing power, but I would love to be able to use the tracking features when shooting 4K slow motion in a 30 or 23.976 fps timeline. Love using the tracking features for smooth tracking, but the 4K 60fps restriction is a bummer.
Can't Turn Off Recording Beeps
Alright, some of you are rolling your eyes at this one. It's not a huge con, but I don't know how to turn off these recording beeps! I hope this will be accomplished with a firmware update in the future.
The Osmo Pocket is a small camera that has great stabilization, image quality and rich set of features. It can film in an impressive 4K 60fps (my Mavic 2 Pro can't do that!), 1080p 120fps (my Mavic 2 Pro can do that though!), and has really useful moving time lapse features, tracking, and advanced video features. The camera's small sensor means it's lacking in low light performance, but if you're shooting photos - the stabilized gimbal lets you slow your shutter speed down and still get good results.
There are a wide array of adapters and accessories available for the Osmo Pocket, and I wish some of the accessories were built in (looking at you, wireless module), but I can understand they kept them out to keep overall costs down and save space. Most of the accessories can be found on the inexpensive side, so that isn't a deal breaker for me.
Overall, I absolutely love the Osmo Pocket. And would definitely tell anyone who is a traveler, vlogger, social media user, or wanting to up their mobile photography game