For this review, we cover the Zenmuse X3 camera, gimbal and handle as a kit. With a price tag of $570, you get the X3 camera with gimbal, handle, phone holder one battery, charger with cable, storage case, wrist and shoulder strap, 16GB micro SD card, UV filter and a lens cap. The handle gives the user control of the camera and gimbal along with a place to mount a phone for use as a live view monitor. Equipped with a joystick for manual panning and tilting, a trigger for toggling between modes and a start and stop record button. It shoots up to DCI 4K at 24p with its 1 ?-inch Sony Exmor R CMOS image sensor with a maximum aperture of f2.8. It requires a Class 10 or UHS-1 microSD card, although it comes with a 16GB card, we’d recommend that you get a larger card for extended shooting. Along those same lines, an extra battery is also a requirement for us.
We traveled with the Osmo to Miami Beach, Reno and a small local airfield. When testing out Osmo we found ourselves enjoying doing following shots of people walking from behind. Gimbals in general make following shots easy and interesting. We attempted fast movement and did get a bit of shake from our steps. The new Z axis accessory for the Osmo is meant to help smooth out the walking shake.
A big takeaway from our experience shooting with the Osmo is that it’s just fun to play with. Its size makes it easy to bring along and takes a normal hand held shot to the next level. We were even able to get some nice jib-like shots using it with some great results.
A big takeaway from our experience shooting with the Osmo is that it’s just fun to play with.
If there’s anything negative we can say about the Osmo is that it doesn't do very well in low light, offering a sensitivity of ISO 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200. If you ever need to shoot over ISO 800, what you get wouldn’t be suitable for professional work. The noise becomes too much above ISO 800.
In some situations the 94-degree Viewing angle was just too wide. When on an airfield watching and filming aircraft landing it would have been nice to be able to fill the frame with the main subject. For some things, you just can't get close enough with that wide of an angle to make the shot. This is when the Zenmuse X5 detachable lens camera and gimbal would be a better fit.
Toward the end of our review period with the Osmo, DJI released a firmware for it, and it’s good they did. Prior to firmware update we were concerned by its 50 minute battery life, that it crashed whenever trying to record in DCI 4K and that the fan was too loud to get good audio. The general audio input level was also low. However, all of those issues have been resolved with the firmware update. The battery now lasts 90 minutes, DCI 4K is no issue and the fan can be turned off while the overall audio level is higher. This is a good demonstration that DJI is motivated to keeping their customers, new and old, happy.
We only have two outstanding issues worth considering. The case can’t fit extra battery, so you can either jam it in (not recommended) or you’ll need to carry it somewhere else. Lastly if you have a large phone, like our iPhone 6 Plus, the phone holder is a bit too strong and feels like it could cause damage. For the record, it never actually caused any damage, but it’s not exactly confidence inspiring.
If you can accept the low light performance, and the see-all wide perspective, then this camera is for you. Producers working in many different shooting situations would find use for the Osmo in at least one of your production needs.
The picture quality you get with the X3 Osmo isn’t for everyone. Although it looks good, it’s still a consumer camera, and you should expect consumer-grade image quality. Any need for a shallow depth of field or a different focal length would be better suited with the X5 camera and gimbal. Take it one step further and get the X5 RAW and you’ll really have a good professional production tool.
There are a few other options outside of the Osmo that would get the job done. There are now action camera gimbals that would fit a GoPro or similar camera, costing you less if you already own one. Yuneec makes a similar product to the Osmo called Typhoon ActionCam, which goes for $550. The biggest difference between the Osmo and the ActionCam is that the ActionCam is held like a gun with the gimbal in front of your hand instead of on top. We can say that the X3 camera’s image quality looks better than a GoPro HERO4 Black, so unless you already own one, we would recommend the Osmo. We have not used or seen the quality Yuneec’s product, so we can't attest to its ability, but it is another option to look into.
When it comes down to it, the Osmo is just fun to use. If operated in ample light, it offers great picture quality. The gimbal is easily operated via its interface on your phone with the DJI GO mobile app. Prior to the firmware release, our opinion was mixed, making us unsure whether we could give it our recommendation or not. However after the firmware, all major issues for us were resolved. If you want a fun, good looking camera and gimbal for capturing memories, stepping up your game or just for fun, we would recommend the DJI Osmo.
- Easy to use
- Interchangeable gimbal and camera
- Low light performance
- Phone clip stretched hard for larger phones
- Second battery doesn't fit in case
Dimensions: 2.4 x 1.9 x 6.4 inches
Weight (Including Battery): 201 g
Tilt: – 35° to +135°
Tilt: – 90° to +150°
Roll: – 50° to +90°
Sensor: Sony Exmor R CMOS; 1/2.3”
Effective pixels: 12.40M (Total pixels: 12.76M)
Lens: 94° FOV 20mm (35mm format equivalent)
ISO Range: 100-3200 (video);100-1600 (photo)
Electronic Shutter Speed: 8s ? 1/8000s (up to 30s when camera is on M mode)
Max. Image Size: 4000 x 3000 pixels
Still Photography Modes: Single Shot, Photo Burst Mode: 3/5/7 shots,
Timelapse: Auto Panorama, Selfie Panorama, Video Resolution
UHD: 4K (4096 x 2160) 24/25p
UHD 4K (3840 x 2160) 24/25/30p
2.7K (2704 x 1520) 24/25/30p
FHD: 1920 x 1080 24/25/30/48/50/60/120p
HD: 1280 x 720 24/25/30/48/50/60p
Video Recording Modes: Auto; Slow Motion(FOV 47°)
Max. Video Bitrate: 60 Mbps
Supported File Formats: FAT32(≤32 GB);exFAT (>32 GB)
Photo Formats: JPEG, DNG
Video Formats: MP4/MOV (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
Supported SD Cards: Micro SD; Max. Capacity: 64 GB; Class 10 or UHS-1
Operating Temperature: 32° to 104° F (0° to 40° C)
Audio Output: Two channel, 48 KHz; AAC
Chris Monlux is “tall, but not too tall,” as his mom likes to tell him. He is also Videomaker’s Multimedia Editor.