DJI Osmo Pocket is a great semi-useless camera *update its better now

The DJI Osmo Pocket kind of reminds me of those Chinese GoPro “killer” clones like the YI, on paper it’s awesome, the resolution, sensor size, camera size, frame rates, and it’s overall tiny size should make this the most compact and best quality camera out there and in many ways it is, but not really….

Size is crazy

It’s compact size its key feature in my opinion. Its discrete minuscule size allows for more candid hand held shots so you don’t get kids running up asking “is that a GoPro, which one!?!” Less attention means less staring at the camera, less weird faces and reactions to the camera and more realistic reactions to whatever your doing at the moment, be it riding a kids ride at the local theme park, running down the street, riding bikes or just simply playing in the house.

Features are Bonus

One of the things I loved about the original Osmo and Osmo Mobile were their software features. Unique modes like the 9 image Panoramic stitching, ActiveTrack and the Motionlapse mode were features that my GoPro couldn’t and didn’t offer even with the Karma Grip. This made the Osmo line of stabilizers stand out over GoPro’s offering and make a compelling competitor to the king of action cameras.

One Major Setback

There has been one major flaw with users of iOS ecosystem which has led to me not really using the OSMO as much as I would like to have and that is importing to and iOS system, whether it be iPad or iPhone the DJI MIMO app wont let you import any files that are “4K 60fps + high bit rate + H.264 videos” This means if you want to use any of the powerful features like high framerate, high bitrate or HEVC encoding, or you know the videos the camera is designed to shoot best with, then your left with your files hostage on the device itself until you connect to a desktop.

Being a very portable “Action Camera” I expect the use case for this device to have been very mobile centric and to have it not be able to import a majority of my videos is a big hindrance to my work flow as well as planning process. If i cant rely on being able to get my videos in a mobile setting it severely lessens likelihood that i would choose that as the camera of choice in situations that are typically spark of the moment and where i can only have one camera in my pocket. The best camera is the camera you have with you, and if you cant rely on that camera to deliver the goods then thats not the camera your going to have with you when the time comes. that has led my Osmo Pocket to be less Pocket and more a Osmo Bag or Osmo drawer because it no longer can take up room on my go bags or pockets.

Unnecessary Workaround

One of the ways I was able to get around this major limitation was through the Apple Lightning to USB3 Camera Adapter and a MicroSD card reader plugged into a power brick and lightning cable. With these four items I plug the Lightning cable into the power brick, then into the Camera adapter, then plug the SD into the card reader and that card reader into the adapter, and then the adapter into my iPad or iPhone. From there you simply tap the videos you wish to import and iPhoto will import them REGARDLESS of the resolution, bitrate, frame rate nor codec. The fact that the phone natively matches all the same specs makes no sense that DJI can not import them, nor the fact that they can indeed be imported into the phone/tablet through the native file system/app makes it disappointing that its been several months that me and others have been bugging DJI to fix this issue and they have continued to say either its not possible or they are working on it.

This Workaround, albiet requiring the use of dongles, card readers and cables is somewhat clumsy, but at least it works.

Finally an Update.

During the Lengthy process of writing this and between the Osmo Pocket launch in December and now (May 2019) Osmo recently released an update that will offer the option to transcode the videos that wont transfer into the phone and allow you to have a 1080p/60 version of the video.

Now being a downres video you do lose quality and clarity that 4k offers, i personally would have preferred they at least offered an option to transcode to 2.7k or 1080, but i guess its better than nothing. The convenience of being able to connect and transfer through one single app with no dongles or wires (if you have the Wireless Module Base) significantly helps with mobile editing those in between shoot clips for social media where 4k isn’t needed anyways and leaving the high res videos to be imported through the workaround method mentioned above for higher quality edits during the drive home.

The Last Mile

One benefit GoPro has for it is when they acquired Replay from from Stupeflix, this app has made a world of difference from the average joe to even professionals who want a quick video from some extra footage and don’t want to spend hours with the whole video creation process. GoPro renamed Replay to Quik and has had in their hands one of the best mobile video creation apps out there. To Create a video simply select some video, select a song from its library or your phones library and hit create, you can get a really great video from a few clicks and a few minutes of rendering. This is where DJI totally falls short as once you get your video, IF you get your videos(so long as you shoot in one of the reduced video modes listed above)  you have them there in the DJI MIMO app, with a simple linear editor of years past, good enough if you had a vision in mind, a story board, set amount of shots, b-roll and all the other footage to create a good video from clip to clip with minimal edits, but most people don’t think that far ahead, most people don’t have the chance to story board a story or idea together, most people don’t even know what that is. Most times Action Cameras are designed for split second action where you hit record at the split second of the action and just try to capture what you can in the limited window of time you have to the best if your limited abilities.

Categories: action cameras, Articles, ReviewsTags: , , , , , ,

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