- You will find new video footage right before the summary 😉
When it comes to gimbals, there are not many brands that you can blindly trust. One of them is DJI, the famous manufacturer best recognized for its high performing drones. This time we will check their latest, consumer friendly, smartphone gimbal, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2.
We had previously reviewed Zhiyun’s Smooth Q model (you can read our take here) which carried a similar price tag, so it will be interesting to see how the one competes with the other.
Packaging – Specifications
In a similar fashion to all recent gimbal releases, the Osmo Mobile 2 also arrived in a long, rectangular cardboard box. Inside you get the quick guide and the soft foam-type carrying case, within you will find the gimbal itself and the micro-USB charging cable.
Apart from the expected three-axis stabilization, DJI added some extra features to its new model. This time a portrait mode is supported, even if you have to lock the smartphone manually in order to do so. The battery is integrated and not replaceable, but at least its large size (compared to usual rechargeable batteries) will lead to longer runtimes. You also get an additional USB-A out port to charge your smartphone simultaneously in case it is low on battery and you need to keep recording. The claimed battery life of 15hours is the absolute maximum you can get, with the actual score clearly depending from the weight of your smartphone, its correct balancing (there is a counterweight adjustment for that) and usage (three-axis work hours).
Manual controls are implemented on the body in order to offer more options (more on that later).
As most gimbals do, Osmo 2 also supports tripod/stands by using a standard ¼” thread mount at the bottom.
Your smartphone’s weight will not be an issue since it managed our Iphone 8 Plus, Essential Phone (185g) and Samsung S7 Edge (151g) smartphones with no sweat, including their cases.
A plastic body is the way to go if you want to release an affordable gimbal and the DJI Osmo 2 is no different. The grey-ish colored body is sturdy and convincing although we would prefer a slimmer design. On the other hand, the thicker the handle is, the better grip you get.
On the handle you will find all the necessary and important buttons and joysticks for the operation of the gimbal. These arrive in a form of a joystick (allows you to move the camera up, down, left and right), a record button (via BT) and a zoom in/out (digital of course and works only with the DJI GO application) slider in addition to the on/off/mode one. The layout is logical and all manual controls are within reach, even if your palm/fingers are small.
The joystick offers smooth control while panning, in contrary with the jerky one we witnessed on the Smooth Q. The quality of the joystick and all buttons is very good both in feel and during use.
Overall, the first bulky appearance overshadows its great layout and comfort operation. Time is on DJI’s side and you will feel more comfortable with it after every use.
Shooting modes – Performance– Application
As far as shooting modes are concerned, the DJI gimbal offers the basics. In case you don’t use the DJI application, you can switch modes using the mode button. A single click of the mode button locks the position of the smartphone at the same direction. Click again and you will return to follow mode where the phone tries to adopt to your movement. If you click twice you re-center the smartphone. Pretty easy and straightforward.
In casual use (outside the DJI app), the level of stabilization is very good and the three motors appear to be powerful enough to be able to cope with sudden movement and transitions in the best (possible) way. The 4-way joystick provides very smooth panning and you will be able to get great results by just enabling the gimbal and start shooting. Make sure you have balanced your smartphone in the best possible way to avoid unwanted constant stress of a single axis motor. The counterweight works very well and you will be able to fine tune both small and large/heavy smartphones.
The application from DJI offers anything a demanding consumer would ask from a modern gimbal. The highlights of the Osmo 2 model are:
- Active track: Select an object from the screen and the gimbal will make sure to follow it by centering it in the center of the screen
- Motion time-lapse: Just leave the gimbal on a tripod mount and the application will take care of the rest. During shooting you can move the camera to create even more impressive results.
- Zoom Control: More of a gimmick since zooming is digital. You can use the slider on the left side of the handle to zoom in and out
- Panorama shooting: The Osmo mobile 2 moves automatically to capture multiple photos and stitches them together to create a single, seamless image. This mode works both in portrait and landscape modes
All of the above work great and as they should. Our only minor complains have to do with the end result of panorama shots and the video modes supported. In the first case, you will be able to tell where the image was stitched. You can use the photos for small prints but probably not for large high quality ones. In the second case, you don’t get 24p video recording options. Only 30p and 60p ones.
A learning curve is required, especially if this is your first gimbal. You can rest assured that your video results will be better each time you use it.
Video footage shown below is shot using the Essential Phone at 4K resolution (30Hz). The beautiful scenery is part of the astonishing Attica Zoological Park in Athens – Greece. Don’t forget to visit if you are nearby.
And the following one in the same amazing location, but this time on 1080p resolution (60hz)
There are not much to complain about the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 gimbal. For sure we do miss an aluminum handle and replaceable-rechargeable batteries, but the price tag would be totally different. It would be even better if the landscape <-> portrait mode switching was handled automatically instead of manually but we still feel it is not a big deal.
The Osmo Mobile 2 offers really good three-axis stabilization while its software features work really well without major issues or bugs. It seems to be compatible with every smart phone in the market (light or heavy, small or big) and is a big improvement compared to each predecessor in terms of battery, weight, features and cost. Its retail price is ~139$ (can also be purchased via Apple’s website) and is totally justified by its performance.
If you are out for an affordable and very capable gimbal, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is a no brainer.
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