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No matter how good your smart phone camera is, shaky video still sucks, and theres only so much optical and digital image stabilization can do. And thats where the Osmo 2 comes in. DJI made their new DJI Osmo 2 smartphone gimbal better and cheaper than their previous smart phone gimbal. And although the DJI osmo 2 does perform very well, the new price reduction does mean a few sacrifices.
The DJI Osmo Mobile 2 currently retails for $129 versus the original DJI Osmo Mobile which used to retail for $200. Regarding whats in the box, its very straightforward. The Osmo 2 comes in a hard Styrofoam carrying case very similar to the one the DJI Spark comes in, you get the gimbal, a micro usb cable for charging, and your manuals. Thats it. Theres no wall charger, no wrist strap, or no extra accessories. If you want to pick the DJI Osmo mobile 2 up I’ll have a link in the description below and if you use the link it really helps out the channel.
Ok, lets do a quick run down of the controls and ports on this guy. Theres a micro USB cable for charging, which obviously I wish was a USB C instead. Theres a USB port on the back so you can charge your own phone if you’re running low on battery after a long day of filming. Theres a universal mount on the bottom of the handle so you can attach the gimbal to a tripod or any other accessory you might have. On the left side theres a toggle so you can zoom in and zoom out, theres a shutter button, and theres a joy stick so you can tilt and pan the camera. Now you can go into the setting menu and adjust how fast you want the joystick to adjust the camera. You have three settings to choose from, theres fast, medium and slow. After filming with the osmo 2 I found medium works best. Fast is just way too twitchy and slow takes for ever. The Mode button does a few things… if you press and hold for a second and a half it’ll power the gimbal on or off. If you press once it’ll toggle between follow and lock mode. The little LED will also change colors, when its green it means the gimbal is in follow mode and when its yellow it means the gimbal is locked. If you double press the mode button then the gimbal will reset the camera to the horizon and if you triple press the mode button it will switch between the back facing camera and the front facing camera. Just keep in mind that once you start recording you can’t swap from one camera to the other, hopefully this feature will come in a future software update.
Now here are the improvements DJI is claiming on the their new Osmo Mobile 2 over their previous gimbal. You get a much better battery life of 15 hours vs the previous gimbal’s 4 and a half hours, the Osmo mobile 2 weighs less, you can now mount your phone vertically and over heating motors shouldn’t be a problem any more. With a naked iPhone 8 plus installed I found the total system weighed in at 1 a half pounds or 686 grams and I could go about 15 minutes of shooting before needing to put the gimbal down for a rest. Also while I was out getting footage, panoramas, and multiple ten minute time lapses not once did the Osmo mobile 2 over heat. How ever I did manage to over heat the system by aggressively moving the gimbal around for about ten minutes straight. At which the point the gimbal would refuse to stabilize itself and the front motor got extremely hot. For regular use cases I don’t think the Osmo 2 will really have an issue over heating. I think the only way the Osmo 2 will over heat is if you're on a mission to over heat your osmo 2.
Flagship smart phones these days have the best optical and image stabilization we have ever seen in a smartphone, but there is still a major benefit for using a gimbal to smooth out your video even more. First off your framing stays much more consistent, and you don’t get those constant shocks every time you take a step when you’re walking. Sure gimbal systems aren’t going to completely eliminate everything cause there is still some slight undulation with the Osmo 2, but its a lot better than having shaky video. Now you could stabilize your footage in post with final cut pro, but things still like to warp around. Its not going to look as good if you had a gimbal.
The Osmo 2 also has a tracking feature that works pretty well. Just like how you do with their drones all you have to do I highlight what ever you want to track and the gimbal will try to keep that object in center the best it can while you freely move about. This feature is pretty cool but it does have its limitations, you cant move too fast or your subject might get out of frame but the osmo will automatically lock back on to it once it finds it again. This feature is pretty useful if you have to keep moving but you want to keep a specific car or person in frame.
But the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 isn’t just good for videos, its can also capture some really cool moving time lapses which I really like and you can also capture some pretty stunning panoramas. And these different panorama modes take a few seconds each, 180 degree panoramas take about 11 seconds to complete, 330 degree panoramas take about 16 seconds to complete and 3 by 3 panoramas take about 19 seconds to complete. And personally the 3 by 3 panoramas are my favorite and I think they are much more useful. They allow you to take in a scene much better without having to get super far away from your subject. The Time lapses and motion time lapses are good for capturing B-roll and DJI lets you play around with their duration and intervals so the looks of these time lapses can vary.
But the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 isn’t without its problems. First lets talk about the software which can eventually can be fixed. At first I was surprised the Osmo 2 used the older DJI Go App instead of the newer DJI Go 4 App. The camera app has a bit of a problem automatically accurately setting itself to capture the best quality pictures and videos. Sometimes images will be over or under exposed. Obviously you don’t have to use the DJI Go App but to get the most out of the stabilizer you should. I also hate that for some reason the app will automatically set itself to shoot in 720P 30 FPS without you knowing. So you might accidentally end up capturing multiple 720P time lapses and not realizing after the fact like me. Also, 180 and 330 degree panoramas don’t really work in vertical mode. Theres a lot of warping going on but for some reason the 3x3 panorama work just fine.
But the biggest problem with the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is hardware, I absolutely hate the spring loaded clamp on this gimbal. Its easy to slip your phone in but it is a nightmare to get your phone out. Also the clamp rotates in the wrong direction. So when you want to switch from horizontal to vertical mode you just cant just rotate your phone, you actually have to take it out, rotate the clamp and then put it back in. Also, the handle on the Osmo 2 is very slippery, its ergonomic but there are no groves or hatching on the handle to get a solid grip. Obviously this is a cost saving measure, but I find it odd theres not wrist strap. Cause when you drop this, and you will you’re not just dropping your $130 gimbal, you’re also probably dropping your thousand dollar phone.
Performance wise the DJI Osmo mobile 2 is a great smart phone gimbal. Its stabilizes your video, it doesn’t over heat, the 15 hour battery life is solid, and the Osmo 2 lets you capture some stunning motion time lapses and 3 by 3 panoramas that just wouldn’t be possible without a gimbal. Obviously DJI did need to find a way to reduce the cost of their gimbal system from $200 to $130, but DJI needs to work on their software, they need to redesign the clamp to rotate in the opposite direction, and if you do pick one of these up I highly advise you get a wrist strap or figure out how to jerry rig one on.