I’ve been using my DJI Osmo Pocket for three months. I’m almost willing to say that I couldn’t be happier with this thing. There’s always something that could be improved, but the Osmo Pocket is definitely the only product on the market that so perfectly fits my portability, ease of use, and comfort needs while still producing video of acceptable quality.
I bought the Osmo Pocket for vlogging
Before the Osmo Pocket, I was using my smartphone on a Zhiyun Smooth 4 gimbal. It works quite well. I could get a nice, steady shot of myself while I’m walking. The Smooth 4 wasn’t all that heavy, so it wasn’t difficult to hold it up in front of my face for extended periods.
What is the upgrade path from a smartphone on a $120 gimbal? I’ve used my enormous Canon 6D paired with my Zoom H1 mic to record here at my desk. That’s just about the only place I’d ever record myself with this setup. The camera and lens weigh just over 4 pounds. It doesn’t autofocus while recording, and the screen doesn’t flip around, so there’s no way to tell if I’m even in focus.
The upgrade that was in my sights before the Osmo Pocket was announced would have been the Sony a6400 or a6500. The screen on the a6400 flips around, it is just light enough to hold in front of my face, and the quality is definitely close enough to what I can get out of my Canon 6D. Not quite as good, but it would do the job!
- My First Week With The DJI Osmo Pocket at patshead.com
- I Upgraded to a Canon 6D Full Frame DSLR at patshead.com
- DJI Osmo Pocket at Amazon
The best vlogging camera is the one you have with you
Vlogging with your phone is smart. You always have your phone in your pocket. Sure, the guy hauling around a Sony a7ii with a giant gimbal is going to capture much better footage, but he has to carry that setup around with him. When I crash my quadcopter, am I going to remember to pick up that camera to take it with me? I rarely remembered to pick up my Smooth 4 gimbal when I crashed!
The Osmo Pocket literally fits comfortably in your pocket. The form factor is a bit different, but it is comparable in size and weight to your smartphone. I designed a little 3D-printed cover that I stick on mine, and I put it in my front pocket with my cell phone. The Osmo Pocket is smaller and weighs less than my Zhiyun Smooth 4 gimbal, and the Osmo Pocket has a camera built right in! Not only that, but the Osmo Pocket’s camera is definitely an upgrade over my budget Android phone.
When I crash my quadcopter, and I have to take the walk of shame to hunt for the wreckage, my Osmo Pocket is already with me. Since it is small enough to fit in my pocket, I don’t have to remember to pick it up. I can have it out of my pocket and recording in roughly five seconds. This is fantastic!
Vlogging in the car with the Osmo Pocket
This is my favorite thing to do with my Osmo Pocket. We have a little gravity-assisted phone holder in the car. I kludged together an Osmo Pocket stand thing from Thingiverse with a simple rectangle. This lets me drop the Osmo Pocket right into the phone holder in the car.
It works quite well! The angle is a bit lower than I’d prefer, but it isn’t too far off. I enjoy the Osmo Pocket’s face tracking. People talk to the camera in the car quite often, but their journeys are more static than mine. As I turn corners, the Osmo Pocket attempts to stabilize things while also attempting to track my face. That makes for a slightly more dynamic experience for the viewer.
I expected road noise to be a huge problem. In our box of a tiny SUV, wind noise is a huge problem at 70 MPH on the highway, so I don’t vlog on those longer trips. The speed limit on the country road out to Brian’s house is 55 MPH, and that doesn’t cause problems at all. Somewhere between these two speeds, the noise in our SUV increases dramatically. Your mileage may vary, of course!
Vlogging at home
I vlog at my desk with the Osmo Pocket. I’ve even been using the Osmo’s internal microphone for that, too. I have a Zoom H1 mic, and I’ve thought about recording the audio on there, but I’m almost pleased enough with the quality of the Osmo Pocket’s mic. The increase in quality when using the Zoom H1 isn’t big enough for me to justify the extra step of synchronizing separate audio and video tracks in post!
In the car, I have the Osmo Pocket set to fully automatic with D-Cinelike enabled. At my desk, I manually control all the settings. These are the settings I use.
- 4500K white balance (approximately)
- 1/30 or 1/40 shutter speed
- ISO 400
My office has three light sources: two lamps with 150-watt equivalent daylight LED bulbs, and a fixture on the ceiling with a 175-watt equivalent daylight CFL. I can’t use the light on the ceiling, because it just makes the top of my head glow.
My Canon 6D has me spoiled. Video recorded on the Osmo Pocket at ISO 400 has nearly as much noise as the Canon at ISO 1600 or 3200. This is to be expected. The full-frame Canon’s sensor dwarfs the sensor in the Osmo Pocket.
I would say the Osmo Pocket’s video is acceptable at ISO 400, but it isn’t ideal. I’d like to add more lighting to my office so I can bring the ISO down to 200 or even 100.
Just like in the car, I enjoy the Osmo Pocket’s face tracking in the office. It makes the vlog just a little more dynamic. It is almost like I have a cameraman in the room with me.
With a lot of manual work, my Canon 6D with my Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 lens can capture video that rivals just about anyone’s vlog. It is just too much work for me to record with the Canon 6D. If I had a Sony a6300 or a Canon 6D mk2, I would definitely use them for vlogging at my desk. Attempting to manually focus my first- generation Canon 6D from the wrong end of the lens is just too difficult!
I wish the Osmo Pocket had WiFi
Yes, I am aware that I can spend $100 or so for the WiFi module. So far, though, I only have one use case where I’d like to actually make use of the WiFi, and I could just run a cable to my phone.
I have a webcam attached to an arm taken from an IKEA arm lamp. It is affixed to my dual-monitor mount. I learned that I can strap my Osmo Pocket to this arm, and it has no trouble holding the extra weight! I plan to use this to record things from directly above my desk in the future.
Looking up at this rigging to see what’s in focus requires some terrible gymnastics. It would be nice if I could mirror the Osmo Pocket’s screen to my smartphone over WiFi for this. I will probably just run a cable when I do this instead.
What about the DJI Osmo Action?
When I saw the Osmo Action announced last month, I was worried that I made a mistake in buying the Osmo Pocket. The Osmo Action has the same sensor as the Pocket, but with a slightly wider field of view. The mic seems to be of similar quality, and the Osmo Action’s RockSteady image stabilization is as good as a gimbal—sometimes even better!
So what? Just about the same things can be said about the GoPro HERO7 Black. That was available when I bought my Osmo Pocket. What’s so exciting about the Osmo Action?
It is the front-facing screen. It is hard to vlog well if you can’t see yourself. If you’ve ever tried vlogging with a GoPro, you know that you just have to guess that you’re in frame. Adding that front-facing screen eliminates that problem.
The Osmo Action could most definitely handle all my vlogging needs. The more I think about it, though, the more happy I am about owning an Osmo Pocket.
The Osmo Pocket is like having a robot for a cameraman. I can set her on a tripod, and she’ll follow me around the workshop. I can set her on my desk, and she’ll follow my face around as I move around my desk. That feels a little more organic to me, and I like it.
The Osmo Pocket can also record motion timelapse videos. You can choose two points on the Pocket, set the timing options, and it will slowly pan from one point to the other as it records the video. You can add additional point using the app on your phone. I don’t use this feature nearly often enough.
- My First Week With The DJI Osmo Pocket at patshead.com
- The DJI Osmo Action at patshead.com
- DJI Osmo Pocket at Amazon
With my tiny YouTube channel, the Osmo Pocket is easily the best vlogging camera for me. It fits in my pocket. The quality of the video is better than my phone’s camera. Recording video with the Osmo Pocket is much more comfortable than holding a phone.
Maybe someday I will graduate to the point where I need to improve my video quality to improve my YouTube channel, but I’m not there yet!
Is the DJI Osmo Pocket the perfect vlogging camera? Probably not, but it is the perfect vlogging camera for me!
What camera setup do you use for vlogging? Are you using an Osmo Pocket? Or are you using your Osmo Pocket for something else entirely? Let me know in the comments below, or stop by the Butter, What?! Discord server to chat about it!