DJI Osmo Mobile 2 full review
DJI has been making handheld gimbals for ages: the Osmo range is quite broad these days. The 'Mobile' version has no camera as the idea is that you use your phone's camera instead. And unlike the expensive original, the Osmo Mobile 2 is much more affordable.
There are other upgrades too, so this isn't some cut-down model no-one would want: it's probably the best phone stabiliser out there.
DJI Osmo Mobile 2: Price
The original Osmo Mobile cost £319/US$299, which is a lot. It's since been discounted to £219/US$199, but even that is a lot to fork out for a stabiliser.
That's why the new low price of the Osmo Mobile 2 is such good news. You can buy it from DJI for £129/US$129.
Recently, there has been a proliferation of similarly priced gimbals coming out of China such as the Xiaomi Mijia, and it could well be that DJI didn't want to be undercut any longer.
Features and design
Aside from the colour change from black to grey, there are quite a few differences. The Mobile 2 is more ergonomic, (slightly) lighter and simpler to use (with fewer buttons) than its predecessor.
It also has a spring-loaded clamp rather than a thumbwheel to tighten or loosen it. We've mixed feelings about this: it can be tricky to insert or remove your phone from the spring-loaded clamp without the risk of dropping either the phone or gimbal. It's fine once you have the knack, but until then, it's best to lay it down on a surface first.
The gimbal is no longer removable, nor is the battery, but neither of these are bad things. In fact, battery capacity has increased from 980mAh to 2600mAh, so the Osmo Mobile 2 lasts up to 15 hours, rather than 3-4.
That's why its non-removable nature is no problem: you can shoot all day, then recharge overnight if needs be. There's even a full-size USB port so you can charge your phone from the Osmo.
You get the same joystick for smooth panning, but some buttons have dual functions such as the power/mode button.
There's a new zoom slider on the side which works only if you use the DJI GO app. But remember that it's only digital zoom for the majority of phones.
What's missing is the trigger which locks the original Osmo Mobile so it doesn't pan. To do the same with the Mobile 2, you have to tap the gimbal symbol in the app and enable 'Lock orientation'.
As before, you pair your phone with the gimbal using Bluetooth, and it's important to check if your phone is supported on DJI's list. If not, you might have problems.
For example, we tried it with the new Huawei P Smart and found that although it paired fine initially, it would refuse to reconnect when we subsequently turned on the Osmo, or take several minutes.
With a compatible phone, you'll have no problems, and the two devices will play nicely with each other.
There's a standard tripod thread in the base of the Osmo, so you can attach it to a tripod or use one of several accessories available such as DJI's base. This is useful when you want to capture timelapse video.
Standard timelapse is one thing, but the Osmo 2 lets you pick a start position and end position so you can get those cinematic clips where the camera moves smoothly during the timelapse. It takes a little effort to set up as you have to choose the interval time and duration of the final clip: it would be nice to see a third option of 'how long do you want to record for'.
The base (or a tripod) is also useful if you want to capture panoramas as the gimbal can automatically reposition the phone multiple times, take photos then stitch them together. And the results are better than the usual sweep-panorama modes you'll find built into your camera's stock photo app.
As you might guess, the Osmo Mobile 2 also uses DJI's ActiveTrack feature. When enabled, you drag a rectangle around your subject and the gimbal will lock onto it and keep it in the middle of the frame as you move around.
This works well, but not if your subject is moving around quickly (young children, pets etc).
Finally, there's a hyperlapse mode which lets you shoot timelapse video while on the move.
The gimbal is supplied in a Spark-style hard foam case, which protects it in your bag.
If you have a recent iPhone or an Android phone with good optical stabilisation, you might not notice a massive difference immediately. But the biggest improvement will come when using a phone which lacks video stabilisation, or lacks it at higher resolutions.
Anyone can pick up the Osmo Mobile 2 and quickly get decent results. The default settings, such as the rotation speed, mean all movements are smoothed out.
However, it's only with practice that you'll get really stable, smooth video. Learning to slow down your movements and walk without too much up-down motion will help here.
It's handy that there are two preset modes: walk and run. This adjusts the gimbal speeds to compensate for both types of motion, and it will react much quicker when you're running to mitigate the extra movement.
If you notice that the horizon isn't quite level, it's easy to adjust this using the calibration options in the app. Not all stabilisers offer this, so it's good to see.
As well as landscape, you can also shoot in portrait mode. You can do this on the fly with a simple flick of the wrist: the Osmo understands the gesture and rotates the phone to portrait. Flick in the opposite direction to return to landscape mode.
The only thing you can't do while recording is to switch between front and rear cameras. This won't be an issue for everyone, but those who often switch when recording a video (say for YouTube) it will be a nuisance.
YouTubers may also mourn the lack of a microphone / cold shoe mount.
DJI Osmo Mobile 2: Specs
- 3-axis gimbal
- Weight: 485g
- Dimensions: 72x113x295mm
- Battery life: up to 15 hours
- Charging time: 2 hours
- Controllable Range: Pan ±160°, Tilt?±155° (landscape orientation)
- Mechanical Range: Pan?±170°, Roll?-90° to +70°, Tilt?±170°
- Max Controllable Speed: 120°/s
- Width of Compatible Phones: 58.6 - 85 mm