The second quarter of 2016 was especially marked at DJI by the release of the Mavic Pro drone which really amazed us during our reviews. The manufacturer is also riding a wave of products that are on the rise: accessories for smartphones. But not just any. The increasing video quality of these devices means that they have become veritable pocket cameras that can be unsheathed at the first opportunity. When viewing the videos recorded at arm’s length, without any stabilization, the result is unfortunately not always flattering. It was in the face of this unpleasant observation that DJI created the Osmo Mobile, a small pole equipped with motors to stabilize the smartphone.
For almost all smartphones
It is first important enough to point out that the Osmo Mobile can accommodate smartphones whose width is between 5.1 and 7.6 cm, that is to say the largest number. And to ensure the stabilization of the mobile, it suffices to adjust the balance while ensuring that the smartphone remains as straight as possible when the pole is switched off and therefore that its motors do not correct the inclination or the orientation. A setting that suffices to do the best, because, once the pole is lit, the engines of this Osmo Mobile do the rest. We reviewed it with a Samsung Galaxy S6, but also an iPhone 6S Plus and there was no critical imbalance. Besides, the grip of the pole is generally very satisfactory.
In addition to this rapid hardware configuration, the Osmo Mobile requires above all, to be used optimally, a mobile application. It is quite possible to use the stabilizer without the DJI application, but that is to deprive yourself of many advantages.
Buttons that facilitate video capture
Once the 90 MB app is installed on the Android or iOS smartphone and the mobile paired in Bluetooth with the stick, you can quickly take advantage of the buttons on the Osmo Mobile.
Thus, in addition to the button for triggering the recording, there is on the front, accessible from the thumb, a kind of small joystick which allows to rotate the cradle containing the smartphone, from left to right and from bottom to top. A first function which is quite brilliant for achieving fluid and stabilized panoramic shots. Because the three engines present on Osmo Mobile perfectly fulfill their mission on this last point.
The trigger accessible with the index offers several functions. A quick double press, for example, returns the Osmo Mobile to its original axis. The image is then centered. It is very practical, because by dint of movements, the framing ends up being random.
A quick triple press switches between the main camera and the one located on the front. In other words, you can film yourself with a stabilized image. A great and really intuitive shortcut for selfie lovers.
Finally, a prolonged pressure on the trigger makes it possible to lock the horizon to effect well stabilized plunging effects or even “traveling shots”.
Effective monitoring of subjects
Better yet, the Osmo Mobile allows you to make sequences that would be very difficult or impossible to shoot without this kind of stabilizer. To this end and to distinguish itself from all competing products, DJI uses all its know-how.
Thus, we find in the app a subject tracking function. Called Active Track, it is really effective and very simple to implement. Once in the dedicated mode, you frame the subject and the pole follows it … within the limits of its capabilities of course. If the subject moves too quickly, no miracle, the Osmo picks up. To limit the phenomenon, the user must best support his framing. The effort is minimal but the result convincing.
We had the opportunity to try this function during the presentation of the Osmo Mobile at the IFA in Berlin.
The application also offers other functions, such as creating TimeLaps with the most beautiful effect and with a minimum of configuration for the user. To finish with this application, we only regret that it does not allow direct streaming on Facebook. A gap that is not the responsibility of DJI, but of Facebook, which requires the use of its own smartphone application for this type of function. However, it is still possible to take advantage of the stabilizer for Facebook Live, simply by lighting the pole with the smartphone installed in its cradle. We then do without the functions of the DJI application.
Accessories and autonomy
For those who would like to customize the Osmo Mobile, DJI has planned it by integrating a thread (universal in photo) to couple the pole to external lighting, to a microphone stand, to a tripod or to a second, even larger pole for filming a crowd from a height, for example.
The Osmo Mobile pole offers an autonomy of approximately 4 hours. And if that’s not enough, its connector allows you to use it while recharging it via an external battery.
The verdict of the review
DJI Osmo Mobile
For 339 euros, DJI’s Osmo Mobile offers satisfactory stabilization, good manufacturing quality and really efficient software functions. This pole is not necessarily the best stabilizer on the market but to access a more sophisticated model (no Bluetooth connection required, for example, or capable of hosting an action-cam), it will cost a little more money.
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