The obvious first question to ask is “what is the difference between the older DJI Osmo 5 Mobile gimbal and the new Osmo 6 unit?
There are two major areas that have been updated, and the first is the physical controls have been updated to make using the Osmo 6 easier.
The most obvious is the replacing of the original zoom slider with a much more sensible and flexible rotary control wheel. This has made it much simpler to zoom and focus in much smaller increments to aid in fine tuning. When you are in manual focus mode, you can also use this control to set the focus distance if your camera in the smartphone supports that of course.
Totally new – and in my opinion very overdue – is a small LED status panel detailing information on battery level, the mode you are currently in and the status of the gimbal itself. For example, if the magnetic clamp that DJI use to attach the phone to the gimbal is not securely in place and locked in, an LED will glow red in addition to a warning on the screen from the DJI MIMO app.
Also changed, and albeit a cosmetic change, is the Osmo 6 mobile’s colour. The Osmo 5 had two colours available, a grey and a white, but now you can only get in “Slate Grey” which DJI says is “designed to fit in with the rest of your creative toolkit”. How that works is – well your guess is as good as mine.
One small bugbear with Osmos was the wait for the startup period. But wait no longer. As soon as the arm is unlocked and snapped into position, full power is on and the Osmo 6 is ready to go. The magnetic phone clamp certainly aids in the speed with which you can start shooting as against other gimbals where it has to be secured.
Speaking of the phone clamp, DJI also sent me a second phone clamp, which unlike the one in the box with the Osmo 6, has a pair of high intensity LEDs for lighting in darker conditions. It’s pretty much a given that will stay as the primary mount in my case.
On the software / firmware side of things, the Active Track system has been given a makeover, and at version 5, is more capable than ever. It is now optimised to detect faces and can even track subjects if they go out of frame, for example walk behind a tree. If this happens it will re-track and search for the subject which is pretty cool. It will also lock on to specific hand gestures such as an open hand or the “V” victory gesture (two finger solute). This makes is useful for say, self tracking if the gimbal is on its tripod and you are the subject.
Everything else, such as Intelligent Shooting modes like Timelapse and Dynamic Zoom, are all still there. DJI says it has increased the compatibility with smartphones with the range supported now larger than ever.
Initially, my play with the Osmo 6 drove me nuts. It wasn’t an Osmo 6 error per se, more a Samsung A71 quirk, as for some reason until I completely rebooted the phone, it would turn the image upside down. Thinking at first I had it on the magnetic mount the wrong way, I flicked the phone over, replaced it, and it STILL turned upside down.
I have no idea why.
Once that was sorted, as is somewhat obligatory with DJI products and their companion apps, a firmware upgrade was needed and of course you need to register with DJI. The unit was not fully charged so I decided to also do that before any testing; DJI says you should use the USB-C cable that is supplied with the kit.
A lot of people, especially on Facebook I notice, have issues with charging and of course not all USB-C cables are equal thus muddying the eaters. I have taken to labelling each USB-C cable I get with a device these days and try and keep them paired for this reason.
Once I was at the starting line, the Osmo 6 is a dream to use. One tip I find is to write down on a sticky note or similar, the commands that each physical control performs. Writing them down does allow you remember them easier later is my experience, and anyway, if you do this in a phone app (I use Microsoft OneNote), they are always close at hand if you forget.
Examples are the four types of Gimbal modes (FPV, Follow, Tiltlock etc) and how to invoke them, and the different operations of the trigger.
The Osmo 6 is nicely balanced, and the extendable arm increases your range of shooting options in terms of creativity, as does the detachable tripod. It is a fraction heavier than its predecessor, but even with my bunged wrist (from a carpal tunnel operation 3 years back), it was not difficult to use for a reasonable extended period.
The addition of the magnetic clamp / light combo adds to the flexibility, and I highly recommend adding that to the kit. If you are serious about your audio, I also recommend adding the DJI mic system (which I reviewed here).
The DJI Osmo 6 Mobile is available from DJI’s own online store for AUD$239 which I think is a bargain. The magnetic clamp / light is a further AUD$79 (although one retailer bizarrely has it listed at $237!)
I am of the opinion that anbyone who is serious about video or photography, regardless of the actual camera type used, should have a gimbal at their disposal. It dsimply allows you to raise the bat on what you shoot and how you can shoot it.
The DJI Osmo 6 Mobile fits the bill for smartphoines admirably. Like all DJI products (in my experience) it is beautifully built and works well. Recommended.
Having said that, I am looking forward in the very near future too pitting it against the new Zhiyun Smooth5 which I hope to have late next week.