Get a steadier grip on video footage with DJI Osmo Mobile 2
Tech Review: Lightweight, balanced gimbal helps professionalise your mobile filming
DJI Osmo Mobile 2: Battery life is about 15 hours from a full charge, and it uses micro USB rather than USB C.
Osmo Mobile 2: fits multiple smartphones and the spring-loaded holder expands to fit larger devices, and keeps a good grip on them.
Product name: DJI Osmo Mobile 2
Where to buy: www.dji.com
How much video do you shoot? And how professional do you want it to look? If you are using your phone for more than shooting the odd shaky Instagram Story, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 might be worth investing in. The device is a gimbal for your phone that takes your video from just okay to a much more professional set-up, giving you a steady hand and some easy-to-access controls in the palm of your hand.
The device itself is reasonably lightweight and balanced in your hand. The Osmo Mobile 2 has some simple controls, such as a dedicated record button, a control for panning and a zoom function. To make everything work reliably, you’ll need the DJI Go app on your phone, but it’s available for both iOS and Android, so there’s no barrier there.
The Osmo Mobile 2 is made to fit multiple smartphones. The spring-loaded holder expands to fit larger devices, and keeps a good grip on them too, so you don’t have to worry about it falling out while shooting. Because it’s spring loaded rather than held in with screws, you can take out the phone quickly and easily – or more importantly, put it in.
With a few twists of some dials and knobs, you can swing the holder from landscape to portrait mode. Portrait orientation may not be for everyone, but with the rise of platforms such as Instagram Stories and – increasingly less so – Snapchat, having the option for portrait video is a welcome touch.
Most of this stuff will work without any additional software. But download the DJI Go app from the app store and your phone suddenly becomes a smart motion camera. It tracks subjects like a pro, so your film footage gets a professional edge, even if you lean more towards the amateur end of the scale.
Once your phone is paired properly with the gimbal, you can control the panning and zoom from the device. Even the most inept attempts (that would be most of them) produced more high-quality video than you’d expect.
You can shoot high-definition panoramas too, with the Osmo Mobile 2 capturing multiple photos automatically, stitching them together and creating one huge image. It works in both portrait and landscape mode.
Battery life is about 15 hours from a full charge, and it uses micro USB rather than USB C to charge up. On one hand, you’re likely to have a lot of spare cables hanging around; on the other, with everything switching to USB C these days, you wonder why DJI stuck with micro USB.
Overall results were good. The gimbal produced clear, shake-free video the majority of the time, even when moving quickly. Getting the balance right took a bit of practice but, aside from a little shake occasionally, the footage was remarkably good quality.
One thing: you may get a little competition between the gimbal and the phone’s optical image stabilisation. If you can turn the feature off, it might be worth testing the results.
Not only does the Osmo Mobile 2 add a bit of extra professionalism to your mobile videos, it also keeps your device charged. Battery drain is a frequent problem when filming video for extended periods of time, and although you’ll need to remember to keep the Osmo charged, it’s a lot more convenient that messing around with mobile battery packs.
The not so good
This isn’t really a device aimed at occasional users, so if you aren’t doing some serious video, it’s overkill. Serious Snapchatters or Insta-users will love it though.
If you want to flip your phone to portrait mode while filming, you’ll have to physically reorient the phone yourself.
An optional base turns the Osmo Mobile 2 from a handheld to a stand alone gimbal. Plus a tripod connection on the base means you can put the device into any compatible mount, making it extremely versatile.
If you want to clean up your video act, the Osmo Mobile 2 is worth investing in.