DJI Osmo Pocket
$350 | dji.com

The Osmo Pocket is an all-in-one camera with a built-in stabilizer that is, as the name suggests, pocket sized and incredibly easy to use. The camera is similar to what is found on DJI's drones and can shoot 4K video and still images in a variety of shooting modes. The Osmo Pocket is aimed primarily at vloggers, and the product's specs seem to reflect that. The camera is housed inside a three-axis gimbal which keeps footage steady even as you're doing the walk and talk.

Although the tech inside the camera and the gimbal aren't particularly revolutionary, the Osmo Pocket is unique because it combines these two products into one, creating a single pocket-sized product that produces quality footage quickly.

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Key specifications

  • 25.7mm (equiv) F2 lens (80 degrees FOV)
  • 1/2.3" CMOS sensor
  • 12MP resolution
  • 4K Ultra HD video: 3840 x 2160 24/25/30/48/50/60p,
  • FHD: 1920x1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p
  • ISO 100-3200
  • Built-in gimbal
  • Weight: 116g / 4oz
  • Dimensions: 121.9 x 36.9 x 28.6 mm
  • MicroSD slot up to 256GB
  • LiPo 875 mAH 6.738 Wh battery, 140 mins operating time when shooting 1080p/30 fps video
  • 48 KHz AAC audio output

Operation

The Osmo Pocket only has two buttons making stand alone operation very straightforward. The button on the right turns the Osmo Pocket on, touchscreen controls allow you to select different shooting modes (photo, video, slow-mo, timelapse, pano), recording resolution (4K or 1080p), access settings like fast follow, slow follow, FPV, or to recenter the camera, and review files. The button on the left with the red dot is how you start recording footage or shooting photos.

ISO 100 | 1/50 sec | F2

There is an option to connect a smartphone to the Osmo Pocket via a small adapter and shoot through the DJI Mimo app. In theory, shooting with the app gives users more control over the Osmo Pocket's features; you get a larger view of what you are filming, can see a histogram, and get alerts if your footage is overexposed. Although the idea is a nice one, in practice attaching a phone to the Osmo Pocket defeats its best feature: its simplicity.

For starters, the smartphone attachment is tiny – during my time shooting with the Osmo Pocket I misplaced this accessory and the plastic cover that slides off a number of times. To ensure that the connection between the Osmo Pocket and my phone was tight I had to remove my iPhone X from its protective case, which is a setup that I didn't find ideal. Although attaching a phone and using the app gives you a better idea of what you might be shooting, once the phone is attached the setup feels really unbalanced. I found it difficult to shoot, walk, use my phone as a touchscreen to control the camera, and also make sure I wasn't about to drop my phone and end up with a dreaded spider web screen.

With an optional attachement it's possible to operate the Osmo Pocket from your smartphone using the DJI Mimo app.

There is an additional Bluetooth accessory that you can attach to the bottom of the Osmo Pocket, which in theory would let you monitor the footage you are shooting without having the phone attached to the Osmo Pocket, but I didn't test this and can't speak to its usability. It would have been amazing if the Osmo Pocket just had built in WiFi or Bluetooth connectivity. More often than not I chose to use the Osmo Pocket without the DJI Mimo app. For me, shooting with the tiny screen as my monitor and trusting that the camera would do its job ended up being the ideal way to use the Osmo Pocket.

Video

The biggest draw of the Osmo Pocket is its ability to shoot stabilized 4K video footage at 30 or 60 fps. It can also shoot slow-motion 1080p at 120 fps. It's similar to the quality of footage that you will get from one of DJI's drones and the most recent smartphones.

The camera has an ISO range of 100-3200 and a lens with an aperture of F2, and for best results you are going to want to use the Osmo Pocket in sunny conditions.

Where the Osmo Pocket really excels is in-camera stabilization as a result of the integrated gimbal. It managed to keep this video fairly smooth despite running after a dog through New York City.

The camera stabilization of the Osmo Pocket is really its most impressive feature. It's easier to use than larger stabilizers and seems to be just as reliable, likely because the stabilization tech inside was initially created for keeping the cameras attached to drones stable. The moment you turn the Osmo Pocket on the camera rotates into place to begin tracking whatever might be in front of it. As you move the gimbal moves with you to create impressively smooth footage.

Although the pre-amps inside the Osmo Pocket aren't the best, the camera did do a decent job picking up sound. You will notice that the clips from a very loud live show have an audio quality similar to what you might get when recording with a smartphone.

The Osmo Pocket delivers sound quality similar to what you would get with a smartphone. Likewise, due to its small sensor, low light video is on par with a smartphone as well.

Still images

If you are looking to shoot stills with the Osmo Pocket you should expect files that look similar to what you will get from your smartphone. Files top out at 12MP and the camera performs best when shooting in bright conditions. The 1/2.3" CMOS sensor and the F2 lens are very similar to those found on standard smartphones and you can expect the images to look about the same.

Unfortunately, the Osmo Pocket seems to have trouble keeping up with fast moving subjects when shooting stills. I noticed a lot of unintentional image blur while using it. One thing worth noting is the ease with which you can swap between photo and video modes on that touchscreen – which isn't always a good thing. On more than one occasion I found that I'd unintentionally switched the Osmo Pocket into photo mode when I meant to be in video mode.

ISO 100 | 1/2000 sec | F2

Conclusion

The DJI Osmo Pocket isn't exactly a must-have gadget in most shooters' professional kits, but it does a surprisingly good job of capturing quality, stabilized video footage for its tiny size.

The Osmo Pocket feels like a good option for capturing supplementary BTS footage on a big shoot or POV video stories for vloggers and influencers. Its simple operation won't intimidate people just getting into content creation. It also seems like it could be a great starter camera for kids who have shown an interest in video production.

The built-in stabilization in the Osmo Pocket is ultimately what makes this gadget so appealing. Although the quality of footage is similar to what you will get from a standard smartphone, the Osmo Pocket provides something that a smartphone simply can't do on its own: seamlessly smooth footage.

What we like:

  • Lightweight and easy to use as a standalone device
  • 4K video capabilities
  • In-camera stabilization
  • Decent audio quality
  • Touch screen controls

What we'd like to see improved:

  • Feels unbalanced when shooting with smartphone attached, which makes the Mimo app of limited use
  • Lack of built-in WiFi or Bluetooth to connect to app
  • Removable cover for smartphone adapter is so small that it's easy to misplace