Best known for its drones, DJI took to the stage at the launch of the new Osmo and talked about itself as a camera company.
The real aim of DJI's efforts is to remove the barriers to capturing the action, letting you get the camera to wherever it is needed. The DJI Osmo continues this ambition, moving away from the zeitgeist of flying gadgetery, but following the same ideals.
What DJI really does is deconstruct the camera. It provides the necessary elements for capture, but doesn't impose those physical limitations by sticking to all the conventional norms. In the case of the Osmo, DJI presents the necessary, but doesn't just stick a camera unit on a gimbal.
Well, that's what the Osmo really is - a stabilised handheld camera - but while the device offers plenty of clever features, it doesn't come with a display. If you want to see what you're doing, you'll need to use your smartphone, with the option of attaching it to the side.
It supports both Android and iPhone, with a great solidity to the mount that screws into the side of the handle. That solidity is reflected across the entirety of Osmo: it feels great in the hand, with a good quality of build and construction. It's comfortable when gripped, but at 422g, it's light enough to hold for long periods.
There's a 3-axis gimbal on the top of Osmo, that DJI boasts will give you professional grade stabilisation. You get a lot of options for how you control the direction of the camera too. You can position it by hand, you can change the angle you're holding the handle in, or you can have the camera pointing towards you for the ultimate stable selfie.
There's also a thumb controller on the handle meaning you can easily pan the camera or change the direction, and once connected to a smartphone, you can change the camera's direction using the display on your phone.
It's very clever and from the time we've spent playing with it, it's simple and compact enough to be appealing to those who have never considered using a device like this before.
The camera itself is DJI's Zenmuse X3, which houses a Sony Exmor R sensor. It's a 1/2.3-inch type sensor with 12-megapixels. But this is a modular system, so if you have existing DJI kit, you'll be able to attach the handle to existing Zenmuse cameras. The price for the handle alone will be announced in the future.
DJI says that the camera is designed to capture wide-angle action without the distortion that's common to other small action cameras (like GoPro), so the video you capture can be used without the need for lots of post-processing.
The Osmo will let you capture UHD 4K (up to 30fps), as well as 2.7K and regular FHD and HD options. There's slow motion, long exposure and panorama options too. DJI boasts that because of the stabilisation offered, you'll be able to handhold long photo exposures of a couple of seconds without the need for a tripod. The maximum bitrate is reported at 60Mbps, so you can expect some high quality results.
For those interested in getting the highest quality sound, there's also a 3.5mm socket for external audio gear.
DJI has a wide range of accessories to go with the Osmo, including various mounting options, so you can have your Osmo secured to a bike for example. There's also an extension rod if you want to turn it into a proper selfie stick, or just to give you greater elevation.
Priced at £579, there's no doubt that the DJI Osmo is expensive for those who might want to use it casually. If you're a video producer then it's really not that expensive for the convenience that it offers.
But at the same time, considering many are happy to spend £400 on a GoPro, the jump to this bigger system isn't too far fetched. We can see it being popular with those who like to film holidays, family or other action, but this isn't going to take the abuse that your GoPro might.
The DJI Osmo is available for pre-order now, expected on sale on 14 October.
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