Gear Review – DJI Osmo

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We are always looking at new gear and trying to keep up with the latest and greatest toys. Last weekend we were fortunate enough to have 3 weddings booked, which gave us a great opportunity to rent and test out some new gear.  We have really been interested in the DJI Osmo for a while. It looked like it could be a good contender to replace our Glide Cam. It is an all in one, 3 axis gimbal, camera stabilization system. It has a 4K camera and can shoot at up to 120fps in 1080. The best thing of all, it weighs in at under half a pound.

We thought this would be a great little camera to give our arms a break from the Glide Cam, and still deliver exceptional footage. However we found some signifant drawbacks to this system.

The Phone
Leave it up to DJI to design a hand held product that HAS to be linked to a phone to work. The phone is the viewfinder, and has all the camera settings controlled through the DJI Go App. The Go app is great when you have your camera bolted to the bottom of a drone half a mile away, but to have to stick your phone on the device kind of sucks.
The first major issue that the phone posed was battery life. You can buy as many Osmo batteries as you like, but once your phone dies your shoot is OVER! Shooting on the iPhone, there is nothing to do but throw the phone on the charger for a couple of hours.
The second issue was link time. It was never consistent. Some times the system would be up and ready in just a couple of seconds, some times it took as long as 2-3 minutes before an image would display. Some would say that is not a huge deal, just leave it on. See the previous point about batery life. Constantly running the video through the phone screen drains it extremely fast. There were several times I needed it and didn't have the time to wait for it to connect.
The final issue was phone calls. When a phone call interrupts your shooting, what can you do. Putting the phone on airplane mode is not an option when coordinating with planners and second shooters. You HAVE to be reachable.

Low Light
The low light performance left a lot to be desired. Again, we are looking for something to replace the Glide Cam. Currently we are using a 60D on our rig. The biggest issue we have is that after opening the aperture up to keep a wider focal range, you loose so much light. This camera gave so much grain to the image in low light that it was almost not usable. There are some different Osmo models with different sensors that may work better, but I was not at all impressed with this aspect of their flagship model.

Card Capacity
I don't know if I missed it somewhere but we looked and looked and could not find any information on how to find the remaining card capasity. That is critical for shooting weddings. The last thing you want is to either burn cards changing too soon, or get a "card full" error right as the Bride comes down the isle.

Looks
It looks cool, but it looks like a toy. It has been a hard road for videographers in the transition to DSLR. It tool along time before people stopped thinking you were crazy when you showed up to shoot their wedding with a "photo camera". This little guy just dosent have the professional look that a Glide Cam has. (I know this has NOTHING to do with quality, but id deals with the perception others have of you as a professional).

 

The Osmo did have some advantages. It is super light and easy to handle. It was a lot less strenuous on the arms. In good lighting it looks beautiful. It is a cool toy to keep in your bag, but for the professional wedding videographer, I would stick with the Glide Cam with a good low light camera. We also rented 5D mkIIIs for that reason. I will soon have a review on those soon.

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