Back in 2016, I backed a kickstarter for a handheld three-axis gimbal for cellphones, to be delivered in 2017. I was eagerly anticipating the product, and was disappointed when delivery was delayed repeatedly. A year after the projected delivery date, and with features being cut by the manufacturer, I finally gave in and requested a refund from them. To my surprise, they acquiesced, and I went out to buy a different unit; the DJI Osmo Mobile 2. Here are my thoughts:
Launched in 2018, the Osmo Mobile 2 is an updated, and significantly cheaper, version of DJIs mobile stabliser. It comes in a cardboard box, in which you get the unit, some paperwork, a charging cable, and what feels like a very sturdy styrofoam case. The unit itself is fairly lightweight, and arrives with an uncharged battery. While the unit charges, I downloaded the companion app, and waited while the battery charged.
Setup is very simple; attach your phone to the cradle, loosen the screw and adjust the arm so that the phone stands horisontal when the device is powered off. Next, turn on the device, start the app, and connect to the camera. The Osmo Mobile 2 (which I, for the sake of simplicity, will simply call “the Osmo” from here-on out) boasts a 15-hour battery life. Though I haven’t measured it exactly, I will note that I have used it relatively heavily over the course of three days before approaching an empty battery.
The build quality of the Osmo feels very good. Though the exterior is entirely in plastic (with the sole exception of the screws to adjust horisontal balance and change between horisontal and vertical mode), it feels very sturdy, and stands up to an impressive amount of abuse. For example, it fell more than two meters – onto cobblestones no less – and worked perfectly fine once I turned it on again:
Likewise, the motors work well, and stabilisation is generally very good; how good does depend a bit on operator skill; the smoother your motions are, the better the end result will be. Even so, the results are a huge improvement over no stabilisation device, and with a bit of practice, getting smooth shots is very easily accomplished.
One of the features I really like, is the addition of a standard tripod-attachment to the base of the unit. I have added an Arca-Swiss quick release plate to the bottom of mine, which lets me attach it to tripods for long exposures, timelapses, and motionlapses, and to a monopod for some pretty impressive boom shots. Though this addition means that I can’t use the case it comes with, that’s a trade-off I’m happy to make.
Operating the gimbal is relatively intuitive, as is using the app. Setting up timelapses and motionlapses with up to five positions is readily accomplished, as is setting the camera up to track a person or object. The app comes packed with a lot of features, and works very well indeed; in fact, the only feature I find missing, is an option to save directly to the camera roll on iPhone.
Many users mention Filmic Pro as a good alternative to the official DJI companion app; I have and use both, and like them for different things; the DJI app is great when I want to set up motionlapses or superlapses, while I prefer Filmic Pro for general filming.
In general, I think DJI have struck a good balance between build quality and price. DJI has a reputation as one of the frontrunners in the fields where they apply themselves, and this gimbal is no exception. It is easy to use, easy to pack, and at a price point of €149, I think they’ve got the price right, too.