It may seem odd for a drone company to release a handheld camera, but the Osmo Pocket is right at home in DJI’s product lineup. The company’s drones are equipped with cameras best known for recording exceptionally smooth videos and sharp photos. The Osmo Pocket packs those capabilities into a pocket-size camera.
OSMO POCKET DESIGN
The Osmo Pocket has a simple design that makes it easy to use without fuss. It has a tiny camera that sits on a 3-axis gimbal to keep the camera leveled when moving. The gimbal connects to a sweat-proof, sandstone handle the size of a candy bar.
On the back of the handle you’ll find a small touch-screen, a universal port to attach your phone, a record button, and multi-functional power button. The side of the handle has a microSD card slot and along the bottom is a USB-C port for charging and connecting to a computer. Since there isn’t any internal storage, it’s best to keep a dedicated UHS-I Speed Grade 3 rating microSD card in the slot.
There are also two built-in microphones with a noise-reduction algorithm to improve recording quality.
USING THE OSMO POCKET
When you press and hold the power button to turn on the Osmo Pocket, the gimbal swivels the camera as it powers up.
Once it’s on, the Osmo Pocket is controlled by the buttons on the handle and a series of swipes and taps on the screen.
Some actions are the same whether you tap the screen or press a button. Doing either twice centers the gimbal. Three times toggles self mode swiveling the camera to face you.
Other actions are more specific. Pressing the power button switches between photo and video mode. Swiping down brings up camera settings like video quality, Pro mode, and screen brightness. Swiping up gives you gimbal settings. Different shooting modes are to the left and your photos and videos are to the right.
Using the tiny screen on the back of the Osmo Pocket is doable if that’s all you have. However, for more better control and a bigger view invest in the controller wheel accessory or attach your phone and use DJI’s Mimo app.
Mimo turns your phone’s screen into a viewfinder (just like DJI drones), and unlocks a histogram, virtual joystick, additional settings, and basic video editor. The only downside to attaching a smartphone is how awkward and unbalanced the setup can feel, especially with larger phones.
GIMBAL MODES & TRACKING FEATURES
A few software features from DJI’s drones trickled down to the Osmo Pocket.
To start, it has three gimbal modes: Follow, Tilt-lock, and FPV. Follow mode forces the camera to pan and tilt smoothly with the movement of your hand. Tilt-lock locks the camera at a specified tilted position, which you can change by hand or by sliding a small bar on the right side of the screen. FPV mode gives the effect of looking through the camera with your own eyes. Panning and tilting is fast and sharp versus the smooth slower motions of Follow mode.
ActiveTrack and FaceTrack are also present and help keep the camera focused on moving subjects or faces. They make it easier to create smoother pans and tilts while recording.
VIDEO & PHOTO RESULTS
The Osmo Pocket’s 12MP camera has a small 1/2.3-inch sensor, 80° FOV, and f/2.0 aperture. Despite its tiny size, it records great footage as long as the lighting is good.
It records smooth, sharp 4K/60fps videos, Slow-Mo videos (1080p/240fps 4x). Timelapses and Motionlapses look stunning. Like most cameras, it struggles in dim lighting, loosing detail and adding grain.
The mics do a fairly good job of picking up voices with clarity, but an external mic is still the best way to go.
The Osmo Pocket also takes decent pictures and Panoramas. However, when it comes to its Night Shot feature for night photography, it doesn’t beat the quality of some smartphones with similar features.
Overall, the Osmo Pocket is better suited for recording great videos rather than taking photos. I only wish more color profile options for recording videos were included. Thus far, the only color profiles are Normal and D-Cinelike for greater video editing flexibility.
IS IT WORTH IT?
The Osmo Pocket won’t turn you into a rockstar videographer, but will help you record great looking videos. It’s easy to use with one hand and smaller than a smartphone. The battery can last around two hours with consistent or heavy use. Thankfully, it recharges to full in about an hour and supports charging while recording.
The Osmo Pocket a great tool for video blogging, content creation, or simply recording travel adventures. The gimbal stabilized camera creates smoother videos than smartphones with built-in stabilization features. However, it won’t replace the quality of a DSLR on a gimbal.
For the price of $399, the Osmo Pocket isn’t far from the cost of a DSLR – minus the 3-axis gimbal. Is it worth it? Yes, but only if you plan to make a lot of videos and don’t want to purchase a ton of equipment.