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DJI is a company capable of making great drones and with the holidays coming up, there’s no doubt that the DJI Phantom 4 will be the most popular aerial video drone of the year, but what about the DJI OSMO? What makes the OSMO a product worthy of being used as a professional video tool, and at $570 is it really worth the money you’re paying for it? Who was the DJI OSMO designed for anyway?
To be clear, this is not a review but this article will hopefully give you some insight to what the OSMO is and how it can be used in different situations. click here to read my mini review of the new Osmo Pro and watch the Phantom 4/Osmo Pro short film.
Update: On September 1st, 2016 DJI introduced Osmo Mobile a version of the Osmo that stabilizes video shot on your mobile phone.
Technically, the OSMO is nothing more than a fancy camera mount, which is why the original name was “Inspire 1 Mount” back at CES 2015, but after CES something changed. DJI soon realized that their Inspire 1 Mount prototype had much more potential than what they had originally intended.
Instead of calling it a mount and selling it as an Inspire 1 accessory, DJI decided to Trademark the name OSMO, modify the Inspire 1 camera and spend more time developing different types of mounting systems. Meanwhile, they were also working on a new camera for the Inspire 1 with a larger micro-four-thirds sensor and interchangeable lenses which we now know as the X5 and X5R. With all of this going on at the same time, DJI obviously knew that what they were creating was not just an accessory, but a completely new type of camera.
So to answer the question “What is the DJI OSMO” I would say it’s a modular camera system. You could also call it a next gen camcorder, an action cam, or maybe even a cinema camera, but in reality it’s really all of those things.
In general, you could use the OSMO as an action camera, but there are some key differences between the OSMO and something like a GoPro Hero 4. The main difference is that a GoPro is waterproof. That won’t matter however if you plan on using it with any non-waterproof accessories like a brushless gimbal or external microphone.
If you need to have a mount for just about anything, GoPro obviously has more options, but the accessories available for the OSMO are a good start and new accessories are coming out every few months.
Another issue with the OSMO (or any camera on a gimbal) is that it’s not going to be something you can drop 10 times and expect to work afterwords. Basically, the OSMO is like having a GoPro without it’s protective waterproof case. If you want to go mountain biking or mount it on your car, that’s fine, but if you’re a professional downhill rider or a formula 1 racer then a GoPro is still going to be a more rugged option.
Using the OSMO for video work is where you can really start to see it’s advantages to a traditional camera. If you buy the standard OSMO without any accessories, you’re already getting a somewhat capable 4K stabilized video camera with a few manual controls like ISO, shutter speed and white balance. There’s also other features like a microphone input and audio monitoring which is something more commonly seen in higher priced cameras like the GH4. Because the OSMO is fully stabilized, with some practice you can easily achieve extremely smooth pans and dolly shots, but it gets even more interesting when you start using the accessories.
With the X5 and X5R micro-four-thirds sensor upgrades, the OSMO transforms from a consumer level 4K camera to a Professional grade video production tool (hence the name Osmo Pro and Osmo RAW). By using the DJI X5 and X5R, you’re no longer limited to only one focal length, you have aperture control, your videos shot at night will look 10 times better and you get to manually focus on the things that matter in a scene.
Because of how small the OSMO is (even with the X5 attached) and the wireless control from up to 50 feet away, you’re able to get really creative with how you mount it. One example would be mounting it to the hood of your car using the OSMO Car Mount. You could have a driver chase another car, bike or whatever the action is that you’re trying to capture while you use your phone to operate the OSMO remotely (like dual pilot operation on the Inspire 1, but with a car).
Another example: You’re in a large crowd of people and you can’t hold a traditional video camera high enough to see anything. Again, because of the OSMO’s small and light size, you could use the OSMO Extension Stick, mount your OSMO to the top, mount your phone to the bottom and now because the OSMO is always stabilized you end up with a pretty advanced mini camera jib.
Can it still be used with the Inspire 1 camera?
The short answer is yes, you can use the inspire 1 camera with the OSMO. DJI is even selling a version of the OSMO without the X3 gimbal and camera, but there are some differences between the X3 that comes with the OSMO and the X3 that comes with the Inspire 1. The main difference is that the OSMO X3 is focused to somewhere around 3 feet where as the Inspire 1 X3 is focused to infinity. So if you’re a video blogger and you plan on shooting yourself, other people or anything close up then the X3 that comes with the OSMO will give you a sharper picture.
The OSMO X3 also has a gimbal lock which will lock the gimbal to prevent it from being damaged while carrying it around. Buying just the OSMO handle kit also won’t come with the nice mini guitar shaped carrying case or the OSMO shoulder strap, so you’ll need to buy that stuff separately.
The Osmo Plus is a version of the Osmo handle which comes with a modified version of DJI’s new Z3 camera. The Zenmuse Z3 is a camera that produces similar image quality to the original Osmo but with added optical zooming focus functionality. With the Osmo Plus you can get shots with a field-of-view similar to the X5 camera at a fraction of the cost. You still won’t get the aperture control, superior video quality and lens options of the X5. However, if you were planning on getting the standard Osmo anyway, the Osmo Plus is only about $100 more which makes it a no-brainer to buy over the original.
If you’re a cinematographer, the OSMO is about the same price as a lens, so there’s no reason not to have it in your bag of video tools. If you’re looking for something indestructible, then the GoPro will probably be a better option. If you’re looking for the coolest tech related gift that will definitely have people on the street wondering what it is, then you’ve found it.
The thing that most people don’t realize about the Osmo and what I really want to emphasize is that it really is more than just a stabilized camera. It’s a growing platform for creating all kinds of video. Yes you can use it as an action cam but where it really shines is when you mount the X5 camera and give it to a cinematographer or someone who really knows how to use it.
Like I said earlier, check out my mini review of the Osmo Pro to see the Osmo with the X5 in action.
Now Get the Osmo Pro with the all new Quad Charging System, plus 4 batteries, waterproof Osmo Pro/RAW Case, Osmo Universal Mount and External Battery Extender for only $1,999. Or get the Osmo RAW bundle for $3,699.
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