Review: DJI OM 4 Smartphone Gimbal

Back in 2018 on a trip to Augusta in the south west of WA (where we stayed at the magnificent Wrenwood Chalets) I tested the pre-predecessor of the DJI OM 4 (which was called the OSMO 2).

And I was bloody impressed to say the least. DJI has used all that knowledge gained from their famous drones to pack some very clever electronics into something that everyone who shoots on a smartphone should have in my opinion.

And now I have an OM 4 in my hot, sweaty hands …

(Every time I see or say “OM” I keep thinking of Olympus cameras I confess).

Yes there has been a name change for whatever reason, substituting the OM for the “Osmo” and I guess DJI has a reason. The fact is though, it is just as easy to set up and use, and DJI has made some subtle but very nice improvements to the OSMO 2 and OSMO 3 iterations of the gadget.

The most obvious is in the smartphone holding mechanism. It is now a dual choice system, with both employing magnets to grip the phone.

You have a choice of a temporary method whereby the phone is placed in a magnetic cradle which is married to the main unit of the OM4 (if you have a thinner smartphone such as an iPhone SE, some silicon patches are supplied to “bulk it up” a bit).

The second way, which is a bit more permanent involves adding a magnetic ring to the rear of your phone using stick on patches. This ring is then attached directly to the OM 4 bypassing the grippy holder entirely.

The choice is yours, but I suspect most will opt for the non-permanent measure unless it is for example, a commercial shoot with an expendable phone or one not to be used for anything else.

As before (and took me a while to work out with the OSMO 2 as no doccos were supplied for that one), an APP is needed to get the most benefit out of the OM4. Like other DJI devices such as the OSMO Action and the OSMO Pocket, the DJI MIMO app is the one you need to download and install.

As before also, which really got on my wick last time, you need to register the device and app and this needs your phone to use I had to do this as it required a phone with USB C and mine at the time, a Samsung Galaxy 7 was only USB 2.

No such problem this time around – I was testing with the new Google Pixel 4a (reviewed here) and my main current phone is a Huawei P30 also USB C based.

Operation

Once you have the smartphone mounted, all operations are via five controls.

To check the battery status of the OM 4, you simply press the M button once.

To power up the OM 4, the ‘M’ button is used by pressing and holding it. Next, fire up Bluetooth on your phone  When it has started and been activated, on the app you tap the top left corner of the screen where here is a camera icon, and you will enter camera view mode.

At this time, pressing the M button once again will toggle between photo and video modes. Pressing the M button twice toggles between landscape and portrait mode.

Nice and easy.

The next control is a zoom slider on the left side of the OM 4, pushing this up or down with the thumb zooms in or out. Back on the rear and up and to the left of the M button is a button “joystick” which depending on how and where you press it modifies the pitch or the pan of the OM 4.

If you know press the front trigger twice, it will re-centre the OM 4 gimbal. Pressing the front trigger three times switches between front and back cameras.

Finally there is a shutter button marked with a red dot and as expected, this is a simple on / off operation.

If you want to enter a standby mode, a single press of the M button and the OM 4 will beep once to advise it has entered this mode. To exit back to full operation, you press the zoom trigger once.

Finally to power off, press the M button until it beeps twice. You can then simply fold the OM 4 up for storage after removing the phone.

Construction

The main unit is solid but hot too heavy and constructed of a non-slip polycarbonate material. The add on tripod which attaches via standard ¼” thread on the base of the main unit is of a similar construction, but I suspect the legs might be a little prone to damage on being overstressed so am not inclined to try and use it for anything with any weight such as a dSLR.

Power

The OM 4 is charged via USB-C and a cable is provided (as is a soft bag carry case and a wrist strap). DJI claim 2 hours to charge and then 15 hours usage after that.

In Use

In a word, dead easy. It just works. As it should.

Sure, you have to remember what controls what, but after a few goes it becomes second nature.

There’s little more to say about it really! And this is what makes a really good device. There are no gotchas (that I found anyway).

  1. Attach phone
  2. Connect
  3. Go
  4. Choose whatever mode and orientation you want.

Here is a video DJI has put together and you’ll see what I mean. And more information including purchasing options are available at https://www.dji.com/au/om-4

 

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