DJI Osmo+ Handheld Camera
Today we're looking at another DJI product, the osmo+ Handheld gimbal with 4k zoom Camera!
Quickly shifting the balance from GoPro, and grabbing up Hasselblad, since DJI entered the market they've been turning heads. Yes, they've established themselves as specialists in drone, but how do their standalone video products hold up? Let's dive in!
Single Sentence Summary
I love what it is, and I love how well it does what it does, but I can't help but feel like I've bought into version 1.0.
Why I bought it
I needed something to take my video to professional cinematic stabilization quality, but I didn't have the time to invest into mastering other professional means. This offered more than just simple horizon stabilization and smooth motion, but it offers 4k, and a myriad of accessories that increase its versatility and worth.
What I Like
l love 4k. As a predominantly photo-centric shooter myself, I value the versatility that can come in alternate cropping. I don't put out 4k final products, I support 1080p, which affords me the resolution leeway of adjusting my crop in post. In that way I like the value I get in shooting 4k.
I like how it's not the Ronin! As much as I would love to have a Ronin 3-axis brushless gimbal for shooting with my DSLR's, I don't really like having to manage focus while moving in that way. The Osmo+ offers the stabilization, while managing autofocus for me. I love it. Don't get me wrong, I don't much enjoy trusting autofocus for anything ever, but when I'm shooting weddings with a device like this you can trust that I'm concurrently shooting with one or two DSLR's on tripods, and a GoPro or two. That way I have options to cut into, and I'm not left with something that looks like I used nothing more than a GoPro to shoot on.
I love how it's not distorted and super wide like the GoPro is! This actually looks like video camera footage, which is a massive plus in my books. Everything nowadays reeks of GoPro, anything that isn't a GoPro is a good call in my books.
How about that dynamic range? I was shocked at how much play I had in shades with this camera! Sure it's not exactly RAW, but it's pretty good, particularly with your options optimized. It's nice to not have to worry that you're losing details in a bride's dress, or blowing out to the sun any time you're shooting on bright days. Such a nice option to have something so reliable that recovers nicely.
The app is incredibly straightforward. All of the features are right there a couple of clicks away at any given time, and the screen layout is easily customized to feature things you may want such as a histogram.
What I Don't
Battery life, both on the Osmo+ itself and on my cell phone with wifi enabled and video streaming. Man, I've never seen something chew through batteries as effortlessly as the Osmo+. Honestly it's a bit of a jerk move by DJI to sell this thing with only one battery, you're pretty much guaranteed to need a minimum of 2-3 to do any moderate period of filming. Plus the battery drain only gets worse when you add features and modify options to higher quality levels. It's one thing to need to quickly swap an Osmo+ battery, but unfortunately my phone battery dies super quickly with this too, which isn't something I have a series of replacement batteries for. It's brutal. Buyer beware.
It may not be the same with everyone, but for me there was a huge learning curve with tracking smoothly, particularly when it came to stopping motions such as pans. Don't buy one of these the day before a big event, particularly not if you're going to rely on accessories such as the Z-axis. It takes time to get comfortable with, so put the time in and practice tracking things that move.
It's not a DSLR. This is kinda the argument for the Ronin, in that you get so much more pronounced of a shallow depth of field element from using a DSLR with a Ronin. Sometimes that's exactly what you're looking for, but sometimes it's not. When you want it though, the Osmo+ simply won't do what an 85mm F/1.4 will do. It's the unfortunate nature of the trade-off you're in when you go with this. My advice is to use both this and a DSLR with a fluid head on a monopod or tripod.
Sound is a BIG downside with this. Do yourself a favour and don't even waste your time plugging in the microphone they provide you, it's absolutely horrible. Buy something like a Rode Videomic Pro, and an adaptor and use it every single time. I know I've not done a review on the Videomic Pro yet, but here's a bit of a spoiler, if you do go with that, be sure you ALWAYS remember to check your power light before and after filming. A few times I've used it with the Osmo+ and totally overlooked turning it on, which leads to... well you can imagine.
Setup time. Even without using the Z-axis this thing takes some time to power on, connect with your phone, open the app, and get running. Then when you couple in the fact that you're shooting outdoors with a bright sun and need to put on a polarizer to keep your shutter lower, it's a royal pain in the butt. I personally don't like to use this without the Z-axis, so there's an additional bit of time organizing that mess, and none of that includes me packing it up to move it from area to area like you have to do on a wedding day. SUPER tedious. Your best bet is to train your assistants well in how to assemble and disassemble these units quickly, otherwise you're going to be spending a lot of time tearing it down and packing it away, or you'll be traveling without securing it effectively.
Where's the lenscap?!? Man this unit would be MUCH easier to travel with in a rush if they simply had something I could snap onto the lens to cover it so I could move quickly. It probably sounds trivial, but I really do wish the option were there for something to protect the glass when I'm on the move.
It may be just me, but I find it hard to accept the focus I'm shown on the phone. To me it just never looks SUPER sharp when it focuses. I'm relieved to see that when I bring it into the computer the footage is sharp, but I'm always left with an uneasy feeling in my stomach about how the focus is while I'm shooting. I wish there were an option to double tap the screen on the phone so that it could show you a zoomed preview of your focus point to confirm.
The size of the files. UGH. I know it's my own fault for shooting in 4k, but come on, this thing fills a harddrive faster than anything else! I can only imagine how 4k raw files must be from cameras like the C500. I do very much wish I had the options I have with the D810 and an Atomos, but power-wise that's a whole other beast too. I really can't wait for the options that will no doubt be available in 10-15 years that will make shooting on this thing feel like using an Atari.
The amount of accessories needed to make it a functional option for the way I shoot is a bit much. I already own a few GoPro's, I don't need another accessory beast like this one. Just to use it like I use it I needed a Z-axis, polarizers, half a dozen batteries and two chargers, rated micro SD cards, a Rode Videomic, an adaptor, etc., etc., etc. I'm tired of things not being bundled better. Like I said before, this camera system should have at least come with 2-3 batteries.
I would say cost, but let's be real, if you own a GoPro Hero4 Black you've probably spent just as much on video when you include your accessories. That being said, this device is almost as expensive as a Mavic Pro would be, but it doesn't offer the bonus of flight. (Despite how difficult the government has been trying to make it lately)
Finally, there's a sinking feeling I get in the pit of my stomach that we're only 1-2 years away from them releasing something much more streamlined and convenient that will absolutely render this thing obsolete. This unit feels absolutely like a version 1.0, like there's another unit just around the corner that will resolve all of the issues I just mentioned, for the same price, at half the weight, with three times the features. Anyways, that's just speculation, but if I were you I'd probably hold out two years if possible to see what they come out with next. Just my two cents.
I certainly don't regret my decision to get one, but I shake my head every time I have to set it up to use it. And every time I have to change my batteries. And every time I have to dump my memory card. And... and... and...
That being said it's a great value, it provides an incredible final product, and I wouldn't give it the score I did if I didn't honestly think the pros outweigh the cons by a landslide.
I'm all about this life, but I'm not sponsored by anyone. This reflects my own opinions and my own uses, but you should totally research other opinions and test it yourself before you commit. :)