No longer do you need a ten thousand dollar camera, a lighting rig and a Steadicam to make great videos. If you’ve got a smartphone, you can be a videographer or a director or a video producer. So anyone can shoot, but what can you do to take your videos to the next level? How about a gimbal? I recently had a chance to try out the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 gimbal so I’ll tell you about my experience including what it can do, how to use it and whether I think it’s a good investment.
What Does DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Do?
The DJI OSMO Mobile 3 is essentially a handle that you hold your smartphone with. It helps you get those smooth, buttery-stable shots that you couldn’t get with your shaky hands and phone alone. The gimbal has on-handle controls so you can move, tilt and zoom without touching your phone. It does need to shoot through the DJI Mimo App to use all the controls (it uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone).
The other thing about this hand-held gimbal is that it leaves you a place to plug in a microphone, which most other gimbals don’t. Because of the angled design of the arm, you can plug things into the charging or aux ports without destabilizing the phone. It also folds up nicely for transport.
Setting up DJI Osmo Mobile 3
Setting the device up is pretty straight forward; make sure the gimbal is charged, then download the DJI Mimo app from your app mall of choice. Unfold the stabilizer arm, and place your phone into the locking bracket, and some lettering shows you which direction to place it in. Try to balance the phone somewhat evenly, then power the gimbal on. You’ll see the device wake up and snap to action, placing the phone front and cebtre vertically for you. You can shoot vertical if you want but please don’t… To switch to horizontal, just gently swivel the phone; the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 will instantly get what you’re doing and make the orientation adjustment.
Osmo Mobile 3: Subject tracking feature
One of the cooler features of this device is that if you use the DJI Mimo app, you can enable subject tracking. This allows you to identify a person or object and the app and gimbal duo will work to always keep it centre-frame. I found this feature worked surprisingly well and was particularly useful if I wanted to do a walking shot.
How Does DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Work?
DJI is one of the biggest manufacturers of drones as well as camera accessories, and through their years of work on DJI drones, they were able to work up mechanical stabilization for cameras. The OSMO Mobile 3 has a three-way axis gimbal that allows it to remain stable even if your hand or arm is moving.
The magic of DJI’s Software
Although the hardware for the OSMO Mobile 3 is very impressive, a lot of the work happens in the software. Not just a gimmicky app for the sake of it, some of the best features like subject tracking and sport mode, come from the app and it really is integral to getting the most from the gimbal. The software that the OSMO Mobile 3 uses also allows you to go through other shooting modes that can add variety to your film or video.
But the best thing that this particular device gets right is the seamless integration of the hardware and software.
The Mimo app integrates with the various buttons and controls on the OSMO Mobile 3 so that you can use them on the fly.
How to use controls on DJI Osmo Mobile 3
The power button on the grip of the Mobile 3 actually has a lot going for it. By clicking and holding it, you’ll power on and off. Double click it and you can automatically change the orientation of the camera from vertical to horizontal. Triple tap to put the camera and gimbal in standby mode.
The record button is for starting and stopping your recordings, naturally.
There’s a flat joystick button or swivel for moving the camera around.
There’s a zoom in and out rocker on the left side of the handle.
There’s also a trigger on the far side of the handle and it too has multiple actions. Click it once, you can start or stop active tracking on a subject. Press the trigger twice, and the gimbal will re-center, going into its default position. Finally, a triple tap of the trigger will switch between the front-facing camera and the back camera.
I will say it does take a bit of getting used to, remembering which buttons need how many taps to execute your shortcuts, so fortunately you can also do all these things by just tapping on the camera in the Mimo app.
Using the DJI Osmo Mobile 3
The DJI OSMO Mobile 3 is designed for portability and to be easy to use. This gimbal is very comfortable to hold in one hand, and all of the buttons and controls are easy to access without needing your second hand. While its weight makes it feel durable and rugged, it’s not overly heavy. I will say that with the weight of the gimbal and the weight of your phone it is noticeable, but the way the handle is balanced makes it less of a strain.
Using a microphone with DJO Osmo Mobile 3
As I mentioned earlier, the way the Osmo Mobile 3 is constructed specifically leaves a place for accessories to be connected into the bottom of your phone. I initially bought a previous version of this gimbal and realized there’s no way to connect audio, so back it went. This gimbal allows plenty of space for your microphone cable to connect without bending or jamming it in. It’s a killer feature.
Overall review: DJI Osmo Mobile 3 gimbal
I found a lot to love about this gimbal; it’s compact meaning I can and did travel easily with it. It adds a new level of stabilization to my videos meaning they look more professional. The Osmo Mobile 3 was easily to set up and use, and the app is quite user friendly. There’s lots of onboard controls you can shortcut, and my only complaint is that they’re hard to keep straight… but that’s really more my problem than the gimbal’s.
In short I can definitely recommend the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Combo Pack if you’re looking to make your videos more professional. It sells for about $130CAD.