Observations of the DJI Osmo Handheld 4K Camera
Getting set up with the Osmo is pretty simple. There is a three axis gimbal with a locking and unlocking mechanism (to prevent the gimbals from being damaged when not in use). While the handle itself does incorporate a joystick type control button, a trigger on the front, and some other basic functional keys; the main interface for controlling the Osmo is the DJI Go app in conjunction with a smartphone (iPhone or Android platforms).
You do have to connect to a built in wi-fi signal that the Osmo broadcasts each time you want to control it from the app. After setting up a DJIGO account on first install, it takes roughly 10 seconds to connect to the Osmo’s wifi. This is a little different than the connection to the controller for the Phantom 4 where your smartphone is tethered via a cable to your smartphone.
Footage shot with the DJI Osmo
The base level Osmo comes equipped with the Zenmuse X3 camera. This is the same camera that is used in the DJI Inspire 1 drone and several others. However, you can also upgrade to other DJI cameras with the Osmo handle that have bigger and better sensors such as: Zenmuse X5 and Zenmuse X5R. These larger sensors allow you capture more data and shoot in DNG/RAW format. To use the upgraded X5 and XR with the base level Osmo requires an X5 Adapter connector.
Breakdown of the cameras available with DJI Osmo:
There are some things that you will lose when using the Osmo (as opposed to using the DJI Ronin with the Canon C100 ). First and foremost, you won’t have the ability to use the lens of your choosing. Considering the Osmo X3 has a focusing distance set of 3 feet to infinity; this may cause an issue for those trying to shoot a subject at less than 3 feet. If the subject is beyond roughly 3 feet it will be in focus; if its closer there is no way to change your focus to capture this subject clearly. This is not a problem with the X5 as it is able to focus even under distances of 1 foot. There is, however, a upgraded Osmo with zoom lens called the Osmo+ available that includes a zoom lens. This is still the Zenmuse X3 but it is outfitted with a 3.5 zoom lens and a 2x lossless digital zoom combining for a focal range of 22 to 77mm.
DJI released the Osmo in Fall of 2015 and “fully stabilized hand-held 4K camera.” From my experience with the Osmo so far I would agree with this description. Although there are a few areas where I may disagree about the verbiage that they use like “fully”; for the most part this is a really nice piece of gear and I am glad we have it in our arsenal.
So whats wrong with a traditional gimbal like the Ronin?? Well, nothing if you don’t mind back fatigue, stiff shoulders, and arm cramps while you are working. In all honesty, the Ronin is a great machine; and it is light for its size. However, it does become increasingly difficult to operate after a certain amount of time due to the strain it puts on your arms and back.
We started looking at the Osmo because we do many shoots where we need smooth, steady, cinematic motion, but we are under extremely limited conditions- in terms of space. With our Ronin, we can capture some beautiful shots with our Canon C100 – and with a variety of lenses; but it’s cumbersome and unweildy compared to the Osmo. In conditions where you only have a few feet of clearance on all sides; the Ronin just isn’t nimble enough.
What is included with the base Osmo Kit: Handheld Gimbal and Camera × 1
Mobile Device Holder × 1
Intelligent Battery × 1
Battery Charger × 1
Charger Power Cable × 1
Storage Case × 1
Wrist Strap × 1
Shoulder Strap × 1
UVFilter×1 (16 GB)
Lens Cap × 1
Rosette Protection Cap × 1
DJI Promotional Osmo Video
No matter what industry you work in, there is probably a Osmo package combination that will work for your production. People who really need the higher dynamic range and more data that comes with the X5 and X5R models will probably find it worth the extra investment. You may have to purchase an adapter for these to work with the Osmo base package. It may take some time to figure out exactly how the Osmo fits in your production workflow, but once you do it can be an integral tool to help production value. It’s ease of use alone makes it worth recommending for anyone who is looking for a less taxing device than a traditional gimbal.
Our team opted for the base level Osmo package. For our needs in corporate video: this package does a great job. If you use the full auto mode on the Osmo; you can run into some issues with the ISO or color temperature changing as the conditions change; so this is something to be aware of if you are shooting in auto. As long as you aren’t changing from indoor to outdoor (or vice versa) on the fly; then the auto mode can work reasonably well. The Osmo would not be a good rig to use in auto mode as a cinema camera. However, if you set the Osmo in manual mode and have stable conditions; the Osmo could potentially be used as a cinema style camera.
On most of our shoots we are using the Osmo in full auto mode and using it to capture various B-roll of the subjects we are interviewing. We have used it for capturing the subjects in meetings, walking around their various places of employment and a variety of other simple motion shots. If you are using a Ronin or other traditional gimbal camera system (with a Canon C100 or something comparable); its worth checking out the Osmo to see if it could be used to either replace or accent your current production arsenal. Keeping in mind the limitations I listed before, the Osmo can be a lifesaver for your body- in terms of gimbal fatigue- as well as in smaller shooting spaces.