cute and powerful but seriously flawed

Posted by DTG Photography on 26/07/2020

DJI Osmo Pocket - My experiences

I got this little beauty for Vlogging thinking it would be the answer.  Whats not to love ? 4K video, DJI gimbal technology, nice interface, good video quality.. it was surely the answer.
Well, nearly...

Firstly what I love: Its super compact, small, cute even.. slips into my pocket easily (i guess the clue is in the name) and films great video (or way better than I have managed so far with my skillset), timelapses and is better quality than my mobile for filming and walking on location. This it does great and allows me to use the video in YouTube and promo videos that I do. The Osmo Pocket allows up to 4K 60 frames per second filming and works well but I simply cannot ignore the serious flaws and other things that just annoy the hell out of me. 

Firstly.. The 4K 60fps doesnt allow subject tracking, so if I want to talk to the camera (which I need to do) I find it much easier to switch it to 1080p and get full face tracking and 60fps so that I can slow it down so that I am not drifting out of the frame. Switching back to 4K for landscape facing shots is easy enough but it is an unnecessary step at a time of day when light is changing quickly and it is very easy to forget to do something when moments of special light often last less than a minute.

Secondly without accessories it just cant be used for what is needed in my opinion

The microphone is extremely poor for outdoors work so an adapter is needed to run a lapel mic (I use a Purple Panda one).  This fits into the USB C socket at the base of the Osmo Pocket. Great - sound sorted.

Next annoyance is that you can't pan left or right, the on screen controls only allow up and down.. Arghh. It can be done by using the little adapter and connecting to the USB C socket on my android phone.  This is such a flimsy connection and requires you to hold your phone and hope that the OP holds on to the connector adding stress to that socket. It just doesnt seem right to be doing this.  So one option is to buy one of the many adaptor plates that support phone and OP from Amazon, but this then becomes a more bulky item and kind of changes the advantages of the small Osmo Pocket design. If it wanted a gimbal for the phone I would have bought the Osmo Mobile which is much cheaper.

I decided against buying the bracket that held the phone and OP together and opted for the DJI Expansion Pack including the Control Wheel Adapter and Wifi adapter and a case.  Awesome, this would be the answer.. Official DJI accessories would fill in the gaps and make this little cutie perfect... erm no !

The control wheel adapter almost works but you have to click a switch between up/down and left/right panning...ok a little gripe but it wouldn't have been hard to replace the switch with a left right scroll wheel or just put a joystick instead.  It also makes it really difficult to swipe the screen to access other functions, it is still possible but only just.  It also seems to be the most unreliable piece of technology known to man since windows XP... but I will come onto that in a minute. Now for the WIFI base.. yes you can connect remotely to it so that I can set my Osmo Pocket up on a tripod and talk to camera or do timelapes of my shooting, or that was my idea but DJI dudes had different ideas.  There is no tripod thread on the wifi base so I bought a case from Polar Pro that keeps it all protected whilst the wifi base is on (that case is brilliant guys) and still has access to the USB C port at the back and more importantly has a tripod Arca-Swiss mount to sit it on a little tripod.  I thought that the USB C extra socket on the back of the Wifi base would act in exactly the same way as the USB C on the base of the OP and let me plug in the external mic (via the DJI audio adapter).. alas not.  That USB C port is dumb and only for charging so has no ability to carry audio or connect to the PC for file transfer (it wont transfer wirelessy either) ... seriously WTF how hard would it have been to add in a proper audio jack and change the internal wiring to allow data pass through? So effectively the wifi base was useless to me. So when the Control Wheel broke for the first time, Amazon gave me a full refund for the whole expansion pack and I just ordered a new control wheel adapter as I must have had a faulty one.  I can't be bothered to tell you about the action holder as it really defies logic that it doesnt even fit with their own accessories and the memory card so small and low quality that it doesnt meet their own minimum requirements.

So fast forward 4 weeks and the new control wheel adapter has just failed again this morning whilst attempting to film a vlog, again Amazon returns policy is super and a replacement sorted no hassle but in those 4 weeks it has hardly been out of the hard protective case I bought for it all.  Maybe third time lucky.. but I somehow expect this one to fail too.

So in summary, the camera could be epicly awesome but seriously needs the DJI engineers to make some proper accessories for it. A wifi base with 3.5mm jack socket and USB C data pass through would solve all my gripes with that and then I could use my phone to control it if I wasnt holding it. If I am holding it then the control wheel adaptor needs to work and stay working. A redesign to allow up/down and left/right scroll wheels or better still a joystick control would be the icing on the cake. I do love the Osmo Pocket though and I will keep trying to get the combination of accessories right to make this work :)