DJI is a brand most tech and hobby enthusiasts have become accustomed with. Known for their impressive drones such as the Phantom range, DJI has become the go-to name for quadcopters, but the Chinese tech giant is also a primary advocate for the evolution of photography and imaging solutions. Enter the Osmo Mobile, a stabalising gimbal for smartphones – and while that may sound like a Lord of the Rings character, it’s actually one of (if not the) most important smartphone accessories you’ll ever buy.
You see, DJI know what makes a great photo or video. While quality is key, it’s not so much the maximum resolution you can achieve, but rather the stability and clarity of the image. And the Osmo Mobile helps you attain that.
The Osmo Mobile works on a 360-degree rotating gimbal, which, once you lock in your device, steadies and supports your smartphone while capturing. And while you may think this is only for video, the difference it makes with still photos is impressively noticeable. It’s difficult to comprehend how much the human hand moves a phone while capturing an image (even if you try your best to remain still); the Osmo Mobile grants you that steady shot without any blur or destabilisation. Here’s how it handles some bumpy stairs (keep in mind how difficult it is to keep you phone still while tackling a staircase):
Now keep in mind this is no glorified selfie-stick; this thing is smart. When you first pop your smartphone into the Osmo Mobile, it calibrates itself when you first switch it on, adjusting itself to the weight of your phone, so a chunky brick will look just as stable as an ultra-thin flagship.
Like other steady-cam type systems, the Osmo Mobile helps your smartphone to stay aimed at one point or general direction, regardless of how the handheld device is moved. If you’re holding it and moving your arm, or if you’re walking, it’ll give you a clear, stable, and cinematic look and feel to your images and videos.
But of course, the Osmo Mobile has some tricks up its sleeve. It ties fantastically to your smartphone with Bluetooth to DJI’s app, letting you line up shots, change picture taking modes, prepare panoramas, set ISO and shutter speed, and even live stream straight to the web. The most useful feature, though, is active tracking, which is also available in some of DJI’s drones. With this, you just outline an object on your phone’s screen and the Osmo Mobile will follow it as you move around automatically, rotating your phone smoothly in the gimbal to keep your target in the frame.
As for the battery, it’s claimed to have a 4.5 hour timeframe on it, and during our experience with the device, we haven’t had to charge it again and are definitely in that realm of time with the Osmo Mobile.
So is it worth it? Well, if you’re a vlogger or keen photographer, this is a no-brainer. It carries a noticeable price-tag (retailing at R5,899), but given the improvement and capabilities it offers to your hobby, craft, or profession, the value is unrivalled.