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Ultimate DJI Osmo First Impressions and Tips

by 9to5dji

After waiting much longer than my fellow humans in other parts of the world, I finally received my DJI Osmo… Yay.. Now that I have had a little play, I’m ready to give my first impression of the Osmo and share some tips I have discovered along the way.

Intro
First of all, I am not making one of them stupid “unboxing” videos. All I will say is that it comes in a box within a box. Its well packaged and looks pretty and Apple-Esque in its initial look.

This is by no means a be-all and end-all review. I will be making more specific ones later. Its intended to inform those thinking of buying an Osmo or recently have and could do with the opinion of a normal person who purchased one. My opinions are my own from using the product that i paid for. I have not been paid by DJI and it’s NOT a loan device.

If anything changes in terms of the information provided here, I will add updates at the bottom of the page 🙂

Box Contents
I love the Osmo’s case, very well made and has a premium feel. Wish the hardshell backpack for their Phantom 3 had this premium feel. I have seen some reviews where people moan that the case looks stupid or even more extreme that it looks like a handgun case. The handgun review, as you can likely guess, came from an American as no one in a country not surrounded with guns would come up with this thought. If it looks like anything, it looks like a small violin case. Only little gripe is that no spare battery can be stored in it, that would be nice ( anything else I would be happy to carry in an accessories bag/case ).

Everything that was supposed to come with it was accounted for. Only gripes I have about the bits it comes with is the rosette screw, lens cap and shoulder strap.. They could have made the rosette screw cap out of the same material as the phone mount instead of cheepy plastic, would just finish off the premium feel of the product. Also the shoulder strap could have done with having the DJI logo on it like most other camera manufacturers have, it’s also not very good quality and feels more like a Dog lead than a shoulder strap.. One last design gripe is why DJI made the lens cap such a ball-ache to take off, its was too tight and can lead to people applying way more pressure to the gimbal that needed. Small detail I know but it makes the difference between a normal product and a special one, especially in the mind of a customer who just spent £549 on what is essentially a camera on a stick..

The Osmo itself feels very sturdy and solid, a very well made device. All the materials look to be high quality. Only thing I am not too keen on it the textured look of the camera body. Looks speckly. This is not just DJI though as my Lumix camera has a similar looking body.
Its a very ergonomic design and although a little weighty, does not feel at all uncomfortable to use. If anything, the mobile mount combined with a phone does make it feel a little heavy to one side but again, not a massive issue. Note my point lower down about left handed users.

DJI Osmo In The Box

Battery and Charging
Although there might be some juice in the battery when you receive the Osmo, to get the most from your first play I would suggest charging it fully, only takes about an hour. The battery has a thin transparent film over the contacts so make sure you remove this before connecting it to the charger. When removing the battery from the charger be careful not to damage the pins.

I have seen a video by a very well known and respected reviewer that says the battery is hard to remove and does not “spring back”. I have tested this and can confirm ( with my Osmo anyway ) that this is not correct. When I press the little red retainer clip, my battery does pop out. Not sure what the issue with this reviewers Osmo was ( pre-production maybe ) but I am not seeing this issue. He also moans about the pull tab on the battery, not sure what the issue is either, personal preferences maybe.

TIP: The little black flappy pull tab is supposed to be there to assist in taking the battery from the Osmo handle, so don’t try and pull it off :).
TIP: The battery lasts *about an hour of recording. Some people have reported less but it seems about 45 to 55 minutes is dooable ( will depend on usage, sleep mode and temperature so your time may vary ). More batteries are available to order from DJI and as of writing, they do seem to be shipping. I think you will need more if you do anything more than casual usage of the Osmo.
TIP: The charger gets quite warm when charging the battery, this is normal.
TIP: After the battery charges, remove it from the charger. If you leave it it and turn off the charger, you will notice the GREEN light will remain ON. This will slowly discharge the battery. Not sure if this intentional but worth baring in mind.
TIP: Be careful when fitting and removing the Battery from the charger. The little pins on the charger are very delicate and can easily bend.
DJI Osmo Charger Pins
TIP: When powering on the Osmo, the switch feels a little bit loose and wiggly. This seems to be how the Osmo is so don’t worry too much about it.

Connecting mobile device to the Osmo
In order to view what the Osmo sees and control it on a mobile device you need to connect to the Osmo via WiFi. After powering the Osmo on for a few seconds your mobile device should be able to see a Wireless SSID called Osmo_#### – The #### will be the last three octets of the Osmos WiFi MAC address. The default password to join with WiFi connection is 12341234 ( can be changed later in the App ).

The Osmo’s WiFi can operate in both 2.4ghz and 5.8ghz but you must choose which one it uses because, unlike other WiFi devices that can choose the best depending on the device connecting to it, the Osmo cannot. In my opinion, 5.8ghz seems to be the best. Have a play and see whats best for you.

TIP: If for some reason the WiFi becomes screwed up and you cannot connect to it, a simple reset will put the Osmo back to default. Hold the trigger and shutter button then slide and hold the power switch until the status light flashes GREEN, it will then re reset to factory default.

Register the Osmo
When you first get the Osmo it MUST be registered via the DJI GO App. To do this you will need an Internet connection. I have read some having issues with this and others saying it took some time.. Mine took about 4 seconds and went smoothly.

Unlocking/Locking the Gimbal
All three axis of the gimbal need to be locked for storage and unlocked prior to use. This is a very easy process but care needs to be taken that its done in the correct way to stop the risk of the camera scratching one of the motor mounts.

TIP: You should UNLOCK the motors in the following order. Tilt Motor > Roll Motor > Pan Motor
TIP: You should LOCK the motors in the following order. Pan Motor > Roll Motor > Tilt Motor
TIP: Make sure NOT to unlock the bezel that removes the fimbal from the handle. Seen some people doing this.

Removing and re-attaching the gimbal
It’s possible to remove the gimbal/camera from the handle. This is done with the locking ring on the top of the handle. Unless you are replacing the camera with a X5 or have another reason to remove it I would suggest this is not done too often as the connecting pins on the handle end are a little delicate.

TIP: If you do remove the gimbal and get any dirt/dust in there, use something like the Lenspen HB-1 Hurricane Blower to blow it away instead of your mouth as to avoid the risk of moisture getting in there.

Gimbal Calibration
Like the Inspire 1 and Phantom 3, the DJI Osmo requires its gimbal to be calibrated. Doing this is easy and takes about 2 minutes. I would think it will require this doing more often than its flying counterparts due to more movement being passed through the gimbal as its being held by a person instead of being relatively steady in the sky. You will know it needs calibration when the camera does not face forwards properly when double tapping the trigger.

TIP: Just like its flying counterparts, the Osmo needs to be on a level surface when you do the gimbal calibration.

Horizon drift
Just like its Inspire 1 X3 camera counterpart, the Osmo seems to have an issue maintaining a level horizon. DJI are aware of the issue but not sure if a fix will be introduced. The reason I say this is that they have stuck in an option in the GO App to adjust it on the fly. Maybe its something they are struggling to resolve permanently.

ND Filters
The Osmo can use the same ND filters as the ones available for the Inspire 1 quadcopter. Its VERY easy to remove the UV filter attached to the Osmo. Just grab the front of the filter gently and rotate counter-clockwise.

TIP: When fitting an ND filter or even re-fitting the UV filter, be careful not to thread it.

Camera Control
One thing you will notice when using the Osmo handle to control the camera is that it’s NOT possible to move the camera diagonally. You can move it UP, DOWN,LEFT and RIGHT but not DOWN/LEFT or UP/RIGHT at the same time. You CAN do this using the Go App but pressing and holding your finger on the screen until a blue circle appears, then just move your finger.. Not sure of this is a limitation of the handles joystick hardware wise or just an oversight in firmware. Hope its a feature that can be added with an update.

There are not that many controls on the Osmo handle itself. There is a button to start/stop video recording, a button to take pictures, a little flat joystick to move the camera, a power switch and the trigger. The trigger has a few functions related to how the gimbal operates. Double tapping the trigger causes the camera to re-center to how the Osmo is being held ( upright, under hand, horizontal ). Triple tapping the trigger causes the gimbal to rotate so the camera faces the user in “selfie” mode. Holding the trigger in locks the camera to the direction its facing.

TIP: The gimbal can easily get confused when you change the Osmo’s orientation quickly. The double tap of the trigger if your friend to fic it.
TIP: The double trigger tap to re-center the camera works well to sort out the Osmo’s gimbal when it goes a little crazy.
TIP: The gimbal Pan does NOT rotate 360 degrees in both directions. Sometimes I have seen the Osmo try to do this, get stuck and go the other way.
TIP: The camera movement joystick cannot be reversed ( maybe in future firmware/app updates ). This means that pushing the joystick up tilts the camera downwards, and pulling the joystick down tilts the camera upwards. This is likely to annoy the hell out of people used to other devices that have the reversed movement ( and a LOT do have this as default ).
TIP: DJI seem OK with users manually adjusting the camera’s TILT by hand. This can be useful when in selfie mode to get your face in shot and also when finer positioning is required with the Osmo on a tripod.

Left Handed Use
DJI was obviously not feeling the love towards left handed people when they designed the Osmo.. You can only have the mobile holder on one side of the handle ( left side when looking at it as the operator ). This makes using it with your left hand very uncomfortable. Its not a surprise that the Osmo is like this when you consider that, apparently, only about 1% of Chinese students are left handed [source]. It was designed in China so maybe they didn’t think of it..

It’s not just a case of left handed people being excluded, sometimes holding it in your left hand is needed for a shot.. C’mon DJI, cater for the lefties in the world.

TIP: If you remove the mobile holder, the Osmo feels quite comfortable in your left hand and the controls are easy to use.

Temperature
Although the Osmo’s X3 camera has a fan on the back ( oh the so annoying noisy fan ), the Osmo still gets quite warm to the touch when used, seems normal. What I have also noticed is that the mounting point for the mobile holder gets warm also. Not sure why really as the handle does not do much that would cause heat ( considering the camera does all the video processing and the gimbal motors are nowhere near the mount ). I think the design of the X3 was all good for aerial purpose with air moving over it but in my opinion, the camera should have had a better re-design for ground use.

TIP: Keep a though for the temperature the Osmo camera gets to when using it. I live in the UK so ambient temps are unlikely to have that much of an impact but where you live might well do.

Audio Recording
I cannot continue further without mentioning the sound recording.. There is no easy way to sugar coat it, the on-board microphone is terrible, unusable in most situations. The Osmo microphone picks up the noise from the fan at the back of the camera as well as the gimbal’s motors. In the last few days since “non review” or “demo” versions of the Osmo have been available I am yet to find ANY good video created using the Osmo that uses the on-board microphone.

Not only does the Osmo pick up the noise of the fan and gimbal, its general audio pickup is very very low. Even at arms length the pickup of voice is not at all good.

This issue is the biggest one facing the Osmo and will decide if its a hit product or not. I am in no doubt that DJI will have sold a shed load of these in the early days of release to early adopters like myself but if the audio issue is not resolved then I can see sales declining and a number of Osmo’s being returned by disappointed customers.

Why am I being so hard on this you might ask. Well its because the audio from it is terrible, that’s why. Granted, if you intend to use the Osmo to record professional or even semi-professional you might well want to invest in an external microphone or record audio separately. BUT, many who buy this will not be in this category and at a minimum would expect the sound quality from the device to be usable when they fork out £549 for it. A couple filming their childs first birthday should not expect to have to rig up an external microphone or carry separate audio recording hardware. If an iPhone or GoPro had this issue I’m sure its users would be very upset. At the end of the day, DJI designed,packaged and also market this as a premium device, so the audio it records should at a minimum be usable.

There are many videos on YouTube of people trying various external microphones, I have tried a couple small cheap ones and manage to get rid of the fan noise only to find the external microphone just sounds crap all by itself 🙂 I will eventually make a post listing the microphones people have tested and link to videos.. I will update this post and link to it HERE!

DJI could have also gone to the effort of adding an audio meter in the GO App, that way you could have an idea of the quality of recorded audio without having to watch the video first.

Video quality* *****
I’m not sure I want to get into discussing the video quality in terms of “this specific thing is bad and this specific thing is good” as I believe I am not fully qualified to do so. I am not a film maker nor am I a professional photographer. I think video quality is something that can be subjective and vary from user to user. So I will just comment at a very high level my thoughts on what I have observed.

Firstly, some test footage I have taken shows noticeable shift ( think that’s the term ) when the light changes using manual mode, I suggest playing with the white balance in manual mode to counter this issue. My GoPro 3 does the same thing.

There is very noticeable noise in the 120fps slow motion video. It would be good if DJI allowed you to access the RAW video instead of the slowed down version so the speed and noise count be manually done in post.

Another thing I noticed is the video is not all that good when there is light in front of the camera. Its good with light behind though.. I am sure this is something that can be fixed in firmware or at the most you should be able to do something with it in post production. I hope so anyway as yuo can get better video from an iPhone in some situations than you can with the Osmo.

The Osmo in auto video mode seems to struggle to come up with good brightness/contrast when there is a bright light source in its view. It requires you to change the mode its in to get it to start compensating properly.

The DJI GO App has a LOT of options you can change in the manual mode so I think a lot more experimenting is needed to get a good understanding of the video side of the Osmo. I will leave the video side at that. A good bunch of videos was made by Migthy Richful that tested the Osmo in many situations. None of the videos are perfect even to my amateur observations but are are good resource non the less.. Have a look here at them https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL5zabqisn8xwqVqM7X-uf_ixXQ6uatDMU

Using an iPad or larger Tablet as well as other accessories
The Osmo comes with a very well designed sexy looking mobile holder that can fit devices up to the size of an iPhone 6s Plus. For something bigger you will need a different mount. The Osmo mount looks a little bespoke but uses a standard 1/4 inch screw hole that most tripods use. This allows you to attach almost anything you want that uses that fitment. Take size into consideration as the bigger the device it is likely to start interfering with the Osmos usability, be very heavy and uncomfortable and depending on device, appear in the video recorded by the Osmo.

I have used it with an iPad Mini 3 mounting it to the Osmo using a ChargerCity HDX2 Tablet mount and a 1/4 male to 1/4 male adapter. Its easily dooable but in practice its not all that practical to do. Its too heavy and makes the Osmo too big.

TIP: Using various camera accessories available you could also easily mount the Osmo to a standard tripod or a 3rd party car/bike mount. DJI have a range of accessories available ( shipping slowly at time of writing ) but if you already have a load of camera gear, experiment with this and you will likely achieve the results you want.

Getting video/image off the Osmo
You have three ways to get footage off the Osmo.

1: Plug the Osmo camera directly into a computer via USB cable.
2: Take the Micro SD card out and plug that into a computer using a card reader or USB converter.
3: Edit the recorded footage directly on the mobile device using the DJI Go App.

My preferred option is option 2, removing the SD card from the Osmo. This means I can power off the Osmo and have it stored safely away.

TIP: Getting the Micro SD card out is a pain because it’s on the camera itself. I find its easiest to get it out by putting the Osmo down flat with the tilt motor on the left and the camera facing right.

Taking Panoramic images
The Osmo has a built in feature ( only accessible via the DJI GO App ) to take 180 and 360 degree panoramic photos in either front facing or selfie mode. Its very hard to keep yourself centered. Maybe I am being an idiot but took me a few attempts to get it done.

Another annoying “feature” is that after taking a panoramic image the GO App shows this on the mobiles  screen as a stitched image yet when you look on the SD card, its only available as separate un-stitched images. Granted, stitching them is not a big deal and quite easy, but would be nice if it did it for you.

Osmo Care and Maintenance
Its important to care for the Osmo like you would any other bit of tech ( especially considering the cost of it ). Luckily the Osmo requires very little maintenance. The most you should really foo it keep it dust free, dry and the lens clean.

TIP: Avoid getting dust/sand on the Osmo, especially in the gimbal motors.
TIP: The Osmo is in no way waterproof. Avoid using it in the rain and definitely don’t jump in a swimming pool with it ( get a GoPro instead if you want to do this ).
TIP: Keep the lens dust and smudge free for best results. Get a good lens cleaner like the Lenspen Elitepro Cleaning Kit as well a a good dust blower like a Lenspen HB-1 Hurricane Blower. You can get away with just wiping it with a clean lint free cloth but why risk the lens.
TIP: Give the Osmo a wipe clean after use. Use any thin Micro Fibre cloth, I use the Lenspen MicroKlear Micro Fibre Cleaning Cloth. *Yes, I do love LensPen products :)*

Putting the Osmo down
When having a play with the Osmo I needed to put it down to do something and noticed it needed more thinking that first realized. With the mobile holder and a phone in it, its not possible for the Osmo to balance on its handle. See the video below for tips on how I put it down.

DJI Osmo Wishlist
Here are some things I wish DJI introduce for Osmo in the future via App and device firmware updates. Not in any particular order.
a. Stitched panoramic photos saved to SD
b. LOG video and custom styles NOW ADDED 🙂
c. Panning timelapse. Thought it was to be included but seems not
d. Use the Phantom 3 or Inspire 1 RC to control the camera
e. Allow second device to connect to the Osmo allowing one person to maneuver the Osmo and one to control the camera
f. Control over the audio levels ( after the fan noise issue is fixed ) NOW ADDED 🙂
g. Access to the RAW 120fps video ( non slowed down version ) so you can manipulate it yourself in post
h. Option for a bigger battery
i. Have the gimbal be off when the USB cable is attached to the Osmo to transfer files
j.  Y-control for the joystick reversible NOW ADDED 🙂

Current known issues and annoyances
Annoyance: No LOG recording mode for video. Also no custom styles like you have with the Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 quadcopters when recording. I am led to believe this will be added in the next firmware/app update.
Issue: Audio is terrible to the point of being unusable with the fan noise being picked up by the on-board microphone. NOT FIXED but DJI are adding a free FlexiMic with all purchases of the Osmo.
Issue: The Osmo suffers from more horizon drift that the Inspire 1 and Phantom 3 quadcopter’s do. This is greatly resolved in the latest firmware ( 1.5.x and 1.6 )

Final Thoughts

UPDATED Final Thoughts!

Now that the Osmo has been out for some time, the issues early on seem to have been resolved to a point that my final thoughts below have changed ever so slightly. I do now recommend this device to potential buyers as a great method to capture steady videos for they personal use of commercial projects. With the X5 onboard it also elevates its potential to new heights.

Having had the Osmo for almost 2 weeks I think I have barely scratched the surface of what I ( and everyone else ) can do with the DJI’s little handheld camera. What I have come to the conclusion is that this device is definitely not for everyone. Some users are going to be disappointed with this out of the box purely because of the quality of the audio it captures.  In my opinion, whatever video you make, you are likely going to need an external microphone, there is no other option if the recorded audio is needed.

Its takes some time to get used to getting the shots you want with the Osmo. There is a technique to holding and moving with the Osmo that once you master it, the shots seem to come out very well. The camera does seem to drift a lot when panning and sometimes does point slightly off from where you expect it to.

Video quality wise the Osmo is amazing, yeah some post will be needed if you are filming more than just a casual video but that’s to be expected with any camera in any price bracket. Photo quality is also very good. Its not DSLR quality, or even higher value point and shoot quality but its is very good.

It does seem to have some little niggly issues and daily I am seeing people posting about them in the forums.. Some will be just user issues but many do seem like legitimate problems. I’m sure DJI will get to the bottom of them and fix what they can via firmware and App updates.

So, with everything said, what do I think of the Osmo? Do I recommend people to buy it? Well, at the moment I have a love hate relationship with the Osmo. It’s a brilliant bit of kit and no doubt it’s capable of producing stunning videos if you take the time to work them ( post ) but when the issues like the horizon drift happens or the gimbal just decides to do its own thing, it can get frustrating.

Do I recommend you buy it, this is a tough one. The Osmo is definitely not a cheap device at £549 and with a gaping big problem in terms of recording audio out of the box, then NO, I cannot recommend it to anyone. If, however, you accept this massive issue and are happy to purchase and external microphone or record audio separately, then its possibly the best handheld stabilized camera of its size currently available on the market. I’m in the latter and accept its limitations in terms of audio and will work around it. DJI really need to own up to this issue with audio though and make customers more aware before they buy ( or fix it is possible ) as I see many people returning just because of audio.

The END! – Hope you found my musings/ramblings useful in making your purchase decisions in regards to the Osmo. Keep checking back every now and then for more information on the DJI Osmo.
—————

UPDATE 3: DJI have come a long way with the Osmo since I first made this post shortly after release. They seem to have acknowledged the audio issue is unfixable and are giving FREE FlexiMics with all Osmo’s sold. The FlexiMic is by no means a good device but does make the audio better than without. I still believe a better microphone is required. The gimbal drifting has been fixed almost 100%. They have added the diagonal panning using the thumb joystick. Custom styles and DLOH has been added. Gimbal drifting is resolved as is many other little niggles.

UPDATE 2: DJI seems to have screwed up the firmware 1.1.1.50 and there were many many unhappy people. To rectify this they released a new one, 1.2.1.60, you can read about installing it here – http://forum.dji.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=35247 and here http://www.osmo-guide.co.uk/2015/11/11/new-osmo-firmware-v1-2-1-60/

UPDATE 1: After this was  written, DJI released a firmware update version 1.1.1.50. The firmware hand not resolved the audio issue or horizon issue.

Main fixes
1. When using the Key Combination (Hold down the Trigger and Shutter Button at the same time. Then, pull the power switch down until the System Status Indicator blinks green. Release the power button before releasing the Trigger.) to restore the Wi-Fi settings, the Wi-Fi frequency is also restored to 2.4 GHz.
2. Fixed issue of the camera restarting unexpectedly when recording video at 4096×2160 resolution.
3. Fixed issue of the pan axis drifting in timelapse mode during moving shots.

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