This is DJI’s hand­held gim­bal, which they claim brings silky smooth pro­fes­sion­al cin­e­ma qual­i­ty sta­bi­liza­tion to the mass­es, not to men­tion a fun, adven­tur­ous lifestyle. I’ve spent a few weeks with the Osmo, and my ver­dict? Fun and adven­tur­ous: yes. Pro­fes­sion­al: not so much.

The sell

The day DJI announced the Osmo I watched the pro­mo video and read every­thing I could about this new lit­tle gad­get for $650. I imme­di­ate­ly start­ed telling myself how much we could use it at Price­less.

I’ve used oth­er DJI gear, includ­ing the Ronin and the Phan­tom 3 drone, and love how they push the abil­i­ty to cap­ture cin­e­ma grade video to the mass­es.

There have been shoots in the past where this would have been a great tool, get­ting shots that nei­ther a drone or Ronin could real­is­ti­cal­ly pull off. Our shoot for the 525 North devel­op­ment in Atlanta came to mind, and how the bulk of the Ronin pre­vent­ed us from get­ting some free­hand­ed inti­mate shots that the Osmo could seem­ing­ly pull off effort­less­ly.

So of course I con­vinced myself this was a neces­si­ty, and a few days before its release I got Ama­zon to ship it to my door on launch day.

First weekend


When the Osmo arrived I was pret­ty pumped. I had some ideas of what I want­ed to shoot and things I want­ed to test it on. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the rain had oth­er ideas, so I was stuck inside with the Osmo and my pug Roxy.

The Osmo is easy to learn, and after only a few min­utes glanc­ing at the instruc­tion­al card packed inside you know how to do near­ly every­thing. But know­ing how to tech­ni­cal­ly use it and know­ing how to make video that looks good with this new tool are two com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent things.

Walk­ing around the house, chas­ing the dog, and tak­ing self­ies all look great. Way bet­ter than my iPhone. But it quick­ly hit me: who real­ly needs to have these but­tery smooth shots?

Who needs this?


No one com­plains about the some­times-shaky video I usu­al­ly post of Roxy, and the pho­tos I take are def­i­nite­ly not blur­ry.

Think­ing about it as sim­ply anoth­er tool in your tool­box is the right approach with the Osmo. It’s not going to replace your Ronin, but for some­one who doesn’t have a Ronin or Movi, it’s a great, cheap alter­na­tive.

Although it’s some­what lim­it­ed cam­era falls into the realm of unus­able in low light (just like the Phan­tom 3 and Inspire 1), where I see this shin­ing are the places where you can’t or don’t want to fit a Ronin. You can strap it to your car to get great hyper­lapse city shots with­out fly­ing thou­sands of dol­lars of gim­bals and oth­er gear. And it’s small enough that it opens up even more cre­ative oppor­tu­ni­ties. For instance, I’d love try the bicy­cle attach­ment for this, and take it cruis­ing around my neigh­bor­hood.

And this just empha­sizes my point: I keep com­ing back to think­ing of it as a device I want to trav­el and explore with, more so than one I’d do a lot of work with. I’m sure that now that we have this in our tool­box we’ll use it in new and cre­ative ways, but the real draw for me is mak­ing sure it’s in my bag next time I trav­el.

Being more professional

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Along with trav­el­ing, I can also see this being used in the micro bud­get doc world. It’s a great lit­tle cam­era for telling sim­ple sto­ries with, and will pro­duce bet­ter footage than try­ing to hand hold your 5D while walk­ing around. You won’t have the col­or fideli­ty and ful­ly man­u­al con­trols of a bet­ter cam­era, but it’s very well suit­ed to a more POV-style doc­u­men­tary.

But beyond that, I can’t help but think that in a few gen­er­a­tions, this could be a lot more pow­er­ful. Sure, it’s not a Ronin replace­ment, but con­sid­er­ing its grab-and-go ease, the vari­ety of ways it could find itself, now and in the future, are very appeal­ing.

Next I want to get my hands on the new DJI Zen­muse X5R, DJI’s RAW micro 4/3s cam­era that will fit on the Osmo. This is where the Osmo could break out of its pro­sumer mold. But at $5,500 you could buy a Ronin and fly a much bet­ter cam­era for your hand­held gim­bal shots. Though if you already have an Inspire One and the X5R, then adding an Osmo to the mix is an easy deci­sion.

The X5R is, in my opin­ion, the real direc­tion DJI is going. They want to com­pete with Canon and Sony in the cam­era game, all the while get­ting us hooked with their amaz­ing acces­sories. It’s a page out of the Black­mag­ic play­book (except of course DJI tends to deliv­er their prod­ucts on sched­ule).

Final thoughts

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The Osmo is can be a great tool, and a fun toy, for pro­fes­sion­al and hob­by­ist film­mak­ers alike. It is a good way to dip your toe into a new world of film­mak­ing, but don’t buy it expect­ing to replace your Steadicam oper­a­tor.

If you like to cap­ture awe­some video of your trav­els and adven­tures, this could be a great invest­ment of $650 and a lit­tle extra space in your suit­case. Shoot in slo-mo and in 4k while casu­al­ly walk­ing around will give you a lot of oppor­tu­ni­ties to cap­ture some tru­ly amaz­ing images.

I’m hap­py with my pur­chase, and look for­ward to what DJI has in store for this strange lit­tle gad­get.



We used the Osmo for some behind the scenes for our shoot with the Oppor­tu­ni­ty Task Force. Here is a quick pro­mo video we put togeth­er using some of the Osmo footage.

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