Tony Northrup Reviews the 4K DJI Osmo Handheld Gimbal

Photographer Tony Northrup got his hands on the new Osmo from DJI, which records a 4K image on a gimbal stabilizer through its built-in camera. The whole thing fits into an incredibly small, handheld package and sells for around $625. Is it up to par with competing products, and is it as awesome as the hype has led us to believe? Northrup answers those questions and more.

The Osmo utilizes the Zenmuse X3 camera/gimbal, not unlike the setup on the DJI Inspire. Video can be captured at 4096 x 2160, while 12-megapixel DNG images are the highest quality of still photos you can take. The innovative thing to note is how the Osmo is built with a smartphone in mind, utilizing the screen of an iPhone, for example, as a controller and preview monitor.

Besides holding and turning the handle for your shot, there is a joystick for manual pan and tilt. As Northrup points out in the video (along with showing examples) the Osmo doesn't do well to smooth out the up/down motion from regular walking, but it's still able to capture a great video clip — when it works.

I guess what it comes down to is budget, how compact of a kit you need, and are you under pressure to get results (are you shooting for fun or for a client, for example)? Because something like the Ronin-M can deliver more reliable results, smoother images, and works with higher end cameras — but it is twice the cost and much larger. In any case, the recent release of compact, truly handheld gimbal stabilizers is exciting to see, and hopefully the quality of image continues to improve while the cost continues to go down.

You can check out more of Tony Northrup's video reviews and behind-the-scenes segments on YouTube.

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14 Comments

I have LG G3 that can shoot 4K video and use Lanparte HHG01 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer for Smartphones Video Cameras. The price went up since I bought on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00OXMSZG2?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_...

It does take some practice for to work when shooting and it is cheaper than Tony idea

Wow! Looks like a replica of the ikan Fly x3 that I just bought for the same price but with an extra included battery.
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1201103-REG/ikan_fly_x3_plus_3_axi...

I considered getting the dji gimbal, but having an iphone 6s that shoots 4k, I saved around $300 and have the option of using a gopro as well.

I figured in 5 years it'll work just as well as it does now, and by then phone and go pro quality will be close to indistinguishable from mirrorless cameras. On the other hand, I wasn't sure if the DJI would be obsolete/incompatible due to its use of a cell phone as a display.

The way I see it, for a product that seems so run and gun, the cheaper option will do a fine job, and from my test footage that has held true. Not to say that my set up is better in quality than the DJI, but it is definitely a better value with flexibility in mind.

Dom Stuart's picture

Would love to see a review of the Feiyu Tech G4 pro... It also has a joystick similar to the osmo and paired with a newer smartphone can match the 4k output.

http://www.feiyu-tech.com/products/32/

Dr. Dominik Muench's picture

would be nice if DJI added a mini HDMI output somewhere and you could run uncompressed out of the camera into an ATOMOS recorder instead of a mobile, that would be fun.

Tony Northrup's picture

Good suggestion, Dom. I reached out to FY for a review copy of that stabilizer. If they agree we'll post a review to our channel within a month.

Dr. Dominik Muench's picture

great review thank you, was looking at this thing but I'm not really convinced. I have the feeling that DJI has great concepts but always misses out on something on the home stretch. I worked with 3 different Ronin stabilisers this year and they all had issues that made me go back to the Movi instead. From looking at the Osmo I feel the device is a little bit too small and lightweight to actually work properly. I'd rather have a slightly bigger device that can be held firmer and controlled easier with two hands. The small camera market would be pretty tough to penetrate I'd imagine, the image stabilization in small format cameras like the Sony RX series for example is absolutely spectacular even when handheld. All horses for courses I guess, for small productions and on wedding shoots I can see this thing come in handy.

Martin Del Vecchio's picture

I have owned DJI Phantoms and Inspires, and a Ronin-M, and I agree. Great concepts, often with mediocre delivery.

But this one appears to take the cake. I am surprised at how poorly the Osmo performs in this review; the product was delayed for months, presumably to get it right. And it just doesn't work nearly as reliably as their other products.

Presumably, in a few months, all of the problems that Tony documented will be fixed in firmware updates. I am sticking with DJI until that happens, but who knows how many customers they are losing with this release.

I was really hoping for a micro version of the Ronin-M, for use with my Sony A7 cameras.

Dr. Dominik Muench's picture

if you are looking for something smaller that can carry an Alpha series comfortably, have a look at this baby: http://www.letus35.com/letus-helix-Jr/

Exactly my experience with DJI. Hopefully better competitors soon.

Dr. Dominik Muench's picture

Already some systems out there, Movi for one, but they are twice as expensive. anything closer to the DJI price range would probably be the Besteady Four.

Adam T's picture

I'm I the only one that wishes Tony Northup and JP from the slanted lens combine forces and narrate sex education videos.

I'm a video hobbyist. I've owned the Osmo since mid Oct. Had the same issues of random "Exorcist" head spinning, disconnection from the app or no communication with my iPhone 6+. Updated firmware has seemed to fix those issues. My iPhone 6+ will not fit in the holder with my LifeProof Case on, so I have Ram Mount accessories to correct that issue. The audio is NON-EXISTENT! That was the biggest disappointment for me, so I use a Zoom H1 as the external microphone. The head of the camera has a fan noise that is very noticeable. The video is very good, but I am used to having very good audio at the same time.

gautier pellegrin's picture

my first try out with the Osmo, i am a complete novice with video and this was my first time using premiere pro also. im SOLD!
https://vimeo.com/151448216