If you haven’t heard of a gimbal before, it’s a device for shooting video, and it works by compensating for your movements while filming. It means you can easily shoot really steady footage, even while you’re holding the camera in your hand and walking alongside your subject. Clever software enables you to pan or track your subject, achieving smooth, fluid moves for professional quality results.

While Hollywood might rely on big rigs to achieve the effect, the Osmo Pocket condenses all that down into the smallest and simplest device you’ll find. Made by drone specialist DJI (which certainly knows its stuff when it comes to gimbals), this is its smallest 3-axis stabilised handheld camera ever. The specs speak for themselves. With its 1/2.3in sensor and an 80° field of view, it’s capable of shooting 4K video at 60fps and photos at 12Mp. Thanks to its diminutive size, rubberised grip and built-in mini touchscreen, it looks just as good in the flesh. Weighing a mere 116g, it easily fits in your pocket. With DJI Mimo, a dedicated accompanying app, you can edit your footage, adding filters, soundtracks and even watermarks quickly and easily.

And there’s more…

While the Osmo Pocket is great at smoothing out video, thanks to a raft of intelligent features it can do so much more than that. Draw a box around your subject and the ActiveTrack mode keeps the gimbal trained on it. The Selfie mode spins the gimbal’s camera around to face you and then automatically keeps you in the centre of the screen. At night time or in low-light situations, the DJI Osmo can light up the scene in front and, when it comes to shooting stills, it can take 2-3-second exposure shots while holding the camera in your hand – no tripod required. Panoramas couldn’t be easier, either.

On top of all that, you have different recording types. Besides straightforward video, you can shoot slow motion video at 120fps (although not in 4K), time lapse, and even motion lapse video. Motion lapse is a time lapse movie combined with preset movements of the gimbal during filming.

The Pro mode enables you to manually adjust exposure settings. You can also save stills in RAW format, while a promised future app update will add the ability to save videos in D-Cinelike format. Both are ideal for post processing when you want to bring out extra detail. 

With the DJI Mimo app, you have editing tools and templates at hand to easily manipulate your footage. There’s also a Story mode that automatically splices together video you’ve shot through the day and adds its own clever transition effects.

When it comes to battery life, DJI claims you have around two hours of use when recording 4K video at 60fps – lower resolutions might give you more than this. A full recharge takes about an hour. As the battery can’t be removed, this means you’d need to consider a separate charger if you’re on the move and need it for a day’s worth of shooting.

Increasing its potential

The Osmo Pocket comes with smartphone adapters so you can connect it to any mobile with a USB-C or Lightning connector. A range of accessories enables you to expand its potential still further. A wireless module adds Bluetooth and wi-fi connectivity so you no longer need to have DJI Osmo plugged directly into your phone (ideal for time lapse video), while the accessory mount kit enables you to make your Osmo Pocket compatible with other action camera accessories. There’s even an ND filter set on the way, giving you greater control over exposure times and the amount of light hitting the camera’s sensor.

The Osmo Pocket packs a big punch. With so much gimbal tech squeezed into its tiny profile (just 121.9mm x 28.6mm x 36.9mm) it’s like a tiny DJI Osmo Mobile 2, except it comes with its own camera so it doesn’t have to be attached to your mobile – your phone merely acts as a bigger viewfinder. If you don’t want to use it, there’s a 1in touchscreen on the rear so you can frame your shots that way.

As GoPro’s new Hero 7 also comes with image stabilisation, it inevitably invites comparison with the DJI Osmo Pocket. The Osmo is a true gimbal offering image stabilisation that doesn’t require cropping your shots to achieve it. In tests, the quality and sharpness of the footage you get from the Osmo Pocket is superior to the Hero. However, although it’s very well built, the Osmo Pocket is unlikely to be as durable as the GoPro, and certainly won’t be going underwater just yet (although DJI is promising an underwater housing in the future).

Safe hands

As a tool for vloggers, the DJI Osmo Pocket is the perfect phone gimbal and couldn’t be better suited to the job. It’s undoubtedly the easiest way to record stabilised 4K video. But even if you’re just shooting stills, it opens up a ton of new creative possibilities. And with DJI’s track record in creating class-leading gimbals and miniature camera technology, you know you’re in safe hands.

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