The DJI Osmo+: a review of a shambles

Whilst pursuing better video, I obtained first a DJI Osmo Mobile, and after returning that, a DJI Osmo+. Here’s what happened.

Whilst pursuing better video, I obtained first a DJI Osmo Mobile, and after returning that, a DJI Osmo+. Here’s what happened.

DJI Osmo Mobile

The Osmo Mobile is a steadicam-gimbal-thing that should, in theory, allow the user to shot perfectly steady video using the camera in their phone. A wonderful idea, until a certain mobile phone maker (Apple) releases a new phone (the iPhone 7 Plus) that does not allow for the optical image stabilisation to be turned off.

The result? The optical image stabilisation in the iPhone and the image stabilisation in the Mobile fight each other, each trying to correct the other’s wobble.

The solution? Return to Apple. Refund.

DJI Osmo+

The iPhone 7 Plus has a good video camera, recording at 4k 30fps, and of course the product is now weather-proofed: no concerns about recording in the rain (or snow). Additionally, the video recorded on the iPhone is available to edit in iMove, and from their upload to Vimeo, or to YouTube: a simple workflow for efficient communication of an experience.

Accepting that I couldn’t take advantage of the lower cost of the Osmo Mobile, I opted for the Osmo+: it’s the same hardware, but instead of balancing your iPhone, it balances one of DJI’s 4k cameras with 3.5x of optical zoom.

The product is very neat: a stick with controls at the middle, and the camera above that, with a very sturdy mount for your phone on the side. Lights and microphones can also be attached should you need.

Once using it, however, the problems arise:

  • terrible battery life (about an hour)
  • the WiFi connection between the Osmo+ and the iPhone drops, meaning that your viewfinder and controller become inoperable: this even happens in remote areas with no other WiFi networks
  • the device that was shipped to me has a problem preventing it from recording audio, with either external microphone, or the internal one
  • a microSD card (SanDisk Extreme Plus) was corrupted whilst in the Osmo+, losing a morning’s video
  • one cannot copy 4k videos from the Osmo+ to the iPhone, meaning that the edit has to wait until the user is back at a computer

All of these problems are a shame, as they should have been avoided with good QC and product planning. The battery, for example: the sell a high-capacity battery, but really they should include the high-capacity battery in the box, and not waste resources with the ‘standard’ one.

Their support, finally, suggested sending the unit back for diagnosis, before unhelpfully ending the chat session before telling me how and where to send the unit.

It really makes me wonder how the GoPro Karma Grip will fair: should DJI stick to what they know, making quad copters, and leave hand-held filming to others?