Is The DJI Osmo X5 The Ultimate Steadicam System?

The original DJI Osmo put the power of a studio steadicam rig in the palm of our hand. It's incredible for the price but it didn't have the highest quality camera. The X5 changes that. 

The X5 is a micro four thirds camera that has a built-in electronic gimbal for stabilization. This camera was created to be mounted on the new DJI Inspire One Pro. The DJI Osmo X5 adapter allows you to place this new camera/gimbal on the original Osmo handle. which allows you to get the same super stable footage in an extremely small package, but takes the quality to the next level. 

To control the camera and view your footage you will also need a smartphone. This is convenient in the sense that you can have an extremely large screen with wireless control, but it can also be a bit cumbersome to manage both units rather than one. The X5 comes with a 15mm f/1.7 lens, which is equivalent to around 30mm on a 35mm full frame camera. This angle is perfect for every day moving shots. It's not so wide that it distorts everything and it's not too telephoto either. 

The major flaw with the X5/Osmo system appears to be the auto focus. Although I don't really want a camera to automatically change focus as I walk around, I do need to be able to set the focus quickly. As this video shows, focusing with the iPhone can be quite difficult and because it has a larger sensor and aperture, the shallow depth of field makes things even harder. 

Even still, I'm excited to try this out. I'm currently using my iPhone 6s and a Z1-Smooth gimbal and it works amazingly well as long as you have enough light. Even though I'm quite happy with this system, I'm always excited to find the next best thing. 

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26 Comments

Chris K.'s picture

I believe DJI has a wireless follow focus motor/system-which is definitely a need! It's a shame that it's a 4/3" sensor, but that price point for what it does it is really tempting to buy one!

Bob Davis's picture

This is so yesterday....check this link out. It was live on ESPN...
https://fstoppers.com/video/121894

I think DJI lightbridge also live streaming in 2014
also DJI has 3-axis gimbal for GoPro in 2013
DJI gimbal : youtu.be/ws0yARWD_bM
DJI lightbridge: youtu.be/Xua3uu1LBxs

Paul Lindqvist's picture

It's not a steadicam , it's a motorised gimbal. There is a distinct difference between the two.

Steadicam is a brand name and a product but I consider it a genericized trademark

A genericized trademark on what? I wouldn't lump pendulum-based arm and vest systems with motorized cradle gimbals. If you're substituting "Steadicam" for "any stabilization system." it would be misleading at this point.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

It's not a matter of opinion its a fact, if you don't know the difference between the two you need to read up on it.

Logan Sorenson's picture

Ya know like... "Expo marker" = Dry Erase ... "Post-it" = Note Pad ... "GoPro" = Action Camera ... No one is specific all the time, leave some room for colloquial and relative terminology sometimes.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

There is a misconception, way to common even among photographers... Anyone who have operated a steadicam and Gimbal like M10 or Ronin knows there is a distinct difference between the two. I'm not only referring to the name or terminology , but the misconception that a motorised gimbal is the same as a Steadicam OP.

No matter how you slice or dice it, its not a steadicam not by name and certainly not in terms of function.

Christian Santiago's picture

sometimes brands become ubiquitous with verbs and nouns. It's the natural evolution of language, people. Yes there is a difference between a steadicam and a motorized gimble, but not enough to be a dick about it. And truthfully, these gimbals are getting so good, that the end results are practically the same (except the gimbals are significantly easier to use), and that's all anyone really cares about.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Your last paragraph tells me your don't know what you are talking about, the result are practically the same !? That's why TV productions don't use Steadicam OP's.. anymore huh !?!? You seen motorised gimbals like M10 and M15 replace Steadicam OP's in hollywood movies.. ?

I own a steadicam a glidcam a ronin and 2 mini gimbals. I know the difference. I'll make sure to use the word "camera stabilizer" from now on.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

Then you really shouldn't have any problem with me pointing out the obvious to begin with. :-)

Christian Santiago's picture

Actually since you asked. Yes. Yes I have seen motorized gimbals like the movi used on professional sets. And they're more common by the day. You'd know that if your head wasn't so far up your own ass. Professional film sets are like anything else: some are slow to change stuck in their ways, others are more open to change. I actually see a lot of steadicam operators attatching the gimbals to their exoskeleton arms thereby using both. The tech for these is already pretty good and only getting better. But you go on ahead and keep limiting yourself to chastising others for semantics.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

:-) There there now..

I didn't ask if you seen it been used, the Freefly system is widely used (for good reason) in big productions i asked if you seen steadicam op's been replaced by the likes of the M10 and M15..

For anyone familiar with Steadicam work, in big movies and TV productions they know a motorised gimbal is simply not the same. The vertical stabilisation is not the same, the fine precise movement of the pan on steadicam (in a experienced OP's hands) is very hard to replicate.

Im by no means a full time operator of either Steadicam or the likes of the FF M10. But i'v logged enough hours flying both systems to know there is a distinct difference and there are strength and weaknesses of both systems.

Yes some attach the gimbal to external support due to the weight and the lack of vertical stabilisation. Like a iso-elastic arm (which i assume you meant when you wrote exoskeleton) still not the same in terms of control. The closes you get in motion and control is probably Satchler Artemis.

Funny you mentioned Exoskeleton.. Matt Damon character in Elysium has a similar contraption.. the fight scenes would be very hard to capture with motorised gimbal, the steadicam OP does a marvellous job!

The argument that they are more common is irrelevant, just about anyone can pick up a motorised gimbal and have semi stable footage. Using it correctly and getting the shots is another thing all together. With a steadicam that's not gonna happen.

Having seen a steadicam OP in action i have nothing but respect for their craft and skills. The notion that they are only on set due to DOP/director being old fashioned and won't adapt to new technology is wrong on so many levels.

The technology has indeed improved, but mostly gotten cheaper. Doesn't mean it's the holy grail. DJI for instances is company that while being excellent on marketing, but their software department often bit off more then they can chew, and the quality of their products is certainly not on par with Freefly.

Having had two Ronins fail on me due to cable fault, and a firmware update costing me a production day im not that impressed with DJI or their service.

Christian Santiago's picture

Your whole premise is flawed to begin with. I never said that Gimbals were "better" than steadicams, just that the technology is good enough now that you don't always need to hire a steadicam operator. And hence if my client says " I want a steadi cam shot." Iam going to assume he means some sort of stable tracking shot. I am not going be "well did you mean a motorized gimbal or an arm and vest system?" He's probably not going to care. Brands become synonymous with nouns in language it happens all the time. Are you going correct someone if they call RC Rola a "coke"? If you do, then you have more pertinent social behaviors to address.

On another note: your standard for judging the system is entirely based on whether it "replaces steadicam OPS." Which is a very poor way to measure how effectively something performs. New technologies in every field imaginable come out every day without entirely displacing old ways of doing something. And when they do, it is never over night. But considering how good they currently are, it is not unimaginable to think that their performance won't soon surpass steadicams altogether. I mean geez, just look at how fast camera sensors are evolving these days.

And even the best steadicam operators aren't flawless either. You just don't notice their flaws because you're paying attention to the narrative. But if you watch enough films with a discerning eye you'll notice your wobbles and points in films where stabilization was clearly used in post. The gimbals get more criticism simply because everyone under the sun posts videos online with the intention of comparing their performance, something that steadicam operators don't really worry about.

Again, i am not saying one is better than the other: only that gimbals have developed to the point that you forgive the interchangeable verbs and nouns used to describe a certain type of shot or movement. The average person isn't going to view a shot and know or care what it was shot on. They're going to say "oh that was a steadycam shot" whether it was shot on one or a gimbal. Of course those who bother to look might be able to tell the difference. But that's not different than coke, pepsi, or whatever generic brand cola your grocer sells. Most people won't care, some with more discerning tastes will tell the difference, a select few dorks will remind everyone what the proper title is.

Paul Lindqvist's picture

My stance and the fact is that they are different, not acknowledging that is just silly. The argument that it doesn't replace a Steadicam OP is not flawed, since if they where replacing them there wouldn't really be any difference now would it ?

I have never said once one is better then the other, again they have both their strength and weaknesses. They are different though and not the same.

As for semantics.. if a DOP ask for a steadycam you can be damn sure he means a steadycam...

My client doesn't ask for steadycam or a gimbal they have very little input regarding what gear i use.

Ill end this now, as i think most people have gotten the point by now. :-)

Take care!

True. If someone advertised as a Steadicam Op and showed up with a gimbal they'd be fired. There is a difference.

the raw images from the X5 are very disappointing. bad dynamic, ugly color science, rolling shutter, etc.

any detail review about image quality on youtube?
I think X5R pretty good : youtu.be/TfkUKb6IGFE

Juan Osorio's picture

What about the RAW files? Everybody loves drones for video but they forget that having the freedom to position your camera on the air will take your photography to new levels.
We love photography and and I believe most readers here are photographers, no videographers.
I went to B&H and I asked about that.
It seems so far the possibilities are very few or out of the price range of most photographers. How much would it cost to put a 5D Mark III or a Nikon D810 on a drone?

Christian Santiago's picture

Having operated an X5 for a few months now, I can honestly that at times it can produce amazing aerial footage that comes closer to matching the stuff you get on the ground. But that is not always the case, and whatever Dynamic range you get from shooting in D-LOG is rendered useless when you consider that you're shooting LOG, 4k at a measely bit rate of 60.

There's not enough data in there to really push the grade that far. The footage is quite fragile in post. It wouldn't be such a big deal to me, but considering that my gh4 is the same price with the same sensor and can shoopt at 100mbs. It is disappointing.

The battery life of Osmo itself and the long setup, wake up time is pulling me back from using it as part of my event/wedding videography arsenal. 60mbps is more than enough for 1080p for me though.

Eric Killian's picture

Can anyone comment on using the DJI Focus with the OSMO X5? I can't make any claims but having used the OSMO I'm wondering how intuitive it is to use the controls on the OSMO, the controls on the cell phone plus now the focus system. And yikes, $999!~ But really love the OSMO and enjoy using it so hoping for some feedback.

http://store.dji.com/product/focus-remote-controller?from=related_products

There are some attractive discounts with DJI products recently!!!! http://click.dji.com/G_qeK-Yh_lwa1-sQ?pm=link