If you own any of the latest models iPhone then you have a great camera on hand for both stills and videos. So good that many independent filmmakers use it to shoot both short and feature films.
But such news can make a somewhat misleading impression. Very often iPhone is a capture device, but it is associated with a much more expensive add-on kit for shooting such as professional lenses and motorized stabilizers for smoothing the picture when shooting videos and photos.
What DJI has done with their latest gimbal is the lowest price, and the result of the camera will bring you a smooth picture even when walking fast, tilting the camera or riding a horse. All this and more is becoming extremely affordable. So much so that when you consider the result of the shooting, it can seem like you have a professional camcorder in your hands with expensive equipment for image stabilization. At the moment I would say that this is the best accessory for iPhone related to mobile photography or video.
What can this DJI gimbal do?
One of the things that differentiates professional video from amateur video is the stability of the camera. Professional operators use tripods for static and panoramic shots, as well as a range of motion devices.
Explore the basic set of movies you watch and you'll see everything from camera trolleys that run on rails to huge cranes or attachments for smooth aerial shots.
A Steadicam device is usually used to create a video of where the operator must walk. This smooths out the operator's gait in motion to create the appearance of the camera 'floating' close to the subject. A three-axis gimbal, a mechanical or electronic device designed to do this.
The electronic stabilizer uses gyroscopes and motors. They serve to resist the movement of the person holding it.
DJI Osmo Mobile 2
DJI's first step into pocket gimbals was the Osmo, a complete camera system that used a smartphone as a monitor. This was followed by the redesigned Osmo +, but what really grabbed people's interest was the Osmo Mobile, which for the first time allowed us to use your iPhone (or other smartphone) as a camera.
The original Osmo Mobile was priced at $ 299, but for the next-generation model, the Osmo Mobile 2, DJI has actually improved the product and also dropped the price to $ 129.99. Thus revolutionizing the consumer segment of the market.
The device consists of a gimbal mounted over a battery handle and a handle with four controls. There is a power button, a mode button for turning the device on and off and switching between two different modes, which we will talk about a little later in the text.
4-way joystick control allows you to move the camera up, down, left and right. This is only useful for initial positioning: it is unfortunately not too slow or fluid to be used while shooting.
There is a red record button used to take photos in still mode and start and stop recording in video mode. This works through a bunch of Bluetooth for iPhone.
Finally, on the left, there is a zoom in / out slider that also works through Bluetooth.
On the side, there is a micro-USB port for charging the battery, which has a claimed battery life of 15 hours. And there is a USB port on the back that you can use with the Lightning cable to keep your phone powered. The electronic gimbal can also work as a battery to charge your phone when not in use.
Shooting while walking
The most common use of electronic gimbal is when shooting while walking. Typically, with each step, you get a jerky up and down movement that smooths out the stabilizer. Osmo Mobile 2 (OM2 from now on) does not completely eliminate up and down movement, but it turns very sharp movement into a smooth, soft bouncing movement. You can see this in action in the video at the end of the article, along with examples of other uses.
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This is especially useful for bloggers who walk and talk while looking at the camera. Also, family videos from travel or walks will become much better when viewing the results of the footage!
Smooth panoramas and tilts
OM2 also smoothes out motion when shooting panoramas where you move the camera from left to right. No matter how smoothly you try to do these hand movements, there will always be changes in speed as you turn your body. You also usually make unintentional up or down movements.
OM2 has a mode where instead of blocking in a specific direction, it follows your movements, but slowly, smoothing out any jerky movement.
Automatic tracking of objects.
Until now, this is the standard for any electronic stabilizer. But OM2 has several bonus features, the first being object tracking.
Place the OM2 on a tripod, select the tracking mode and point it towards the person. It will automatically track a person's movements, moving the camera on its own to keep them in the frame of the phone.
Again, this can be useful for bloggers who want to shoot footage while moving around to point out different objects.
Timeleps in motion
One of the most impressive tricks of the OM2, the gimbal is a lifesaver to shoot timeleps in motion.
A standard camera application iPhone can of course do a regular time-lapse. But OM2 can move the camera over a period of time, panoramic video left or right, tilt up or down, or any other combination the device can do. The gimbal is even capable of more than one movement, such as panning from left to right and then tilting up.
This kind of shooting is something that usually requires much more expensive devices. But here is everything that is available to you. The OM2 comes with the free DJI Go app, plus any tripod or optional base for the Osmo.
Time-lapse videos with motion look much more impressive than regular static videos, but it's quite difficult to shoot without special equipment. Again, you can see examples of these in the video below.
It can also take photos: time-lapse video while driving.
Price and conclusions
As a standard motion-smoothing electronic gimbal, I would say the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 is very useful. The price tag of $ 129 puts it in the $ 99-149 range, with lesser known brands in this segment of the market.
This is not often the case, but the choice is obvious and uncontested, at the moment DJI with their portable electronic stabilizer simply has no competitors in the consumer market. You can easily pay hundreds of dollars for other devices that are much less portable and also more difficult to use. With OM2, timeleps are built-in, application driven and the user interface is intuitive.
And as a bonus, there is the possibility of recharging your iPhone, which in turn can help you out at a time when there is no outlet or portable battery at hand. Overall, I would say this is the best iPhone accessory currently available.
Watch the video below to see how to use the gimbal and what it can do.