Released in the fall of 2020, DJI’s Osmo Pocket 2 comes to market, boasting several key improvements over its predecessor, the original Osmo Pocket released two years prior. And on paper, it delivers a larger sensor, 8x digital zoom, larger field of view, better slow-motion, and superior directional microphones. Together, these features give creators more versatility.
It’s predecessor, the original Osmo pocket, initially popularized the pocket-size camera and gimbal combination. And it was the initial release to revolutionize this segment during the time, as it brought about high-level gimbal stabilization to the mass market.
DJI aims this unique device at GoPro’s Hero 9 and Fimi’s Palm. And they also market it towards content creators looking for a powerful pocket-sized solution and a smartphone replacement. But one that offers superior quality and stabilization in an ultra-lightweight form factor. But, considering things have changed, how does this new model compete in an ever-increasingly dominated smartphone world? Let’s find out.
What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies of the DJI Osmo Pocket II?
It features a brand new 1/1.7-inch Quad Bayer CMOS sensor mounted to a 3-axis mechanical gimbal. And this larger sensor is backed with an updated 20mm 93º FOV lens, which is a noticeable but modest improvement over the outgoing 26mm 80º FOV lens. But, this change does correct a notable drawback of the original model. And while some users will claim that 20mm isn’t wide enough for some vlogging applications, the reality is that this is a healthy compromise from DJI to accommodate most users without making the FOV overly wide and action camera-like. Additionally, this lens now has a faster maximum aperture of F/1.8, rather than F/2.0, which modestly improves low light.
The camera itself shoots 4K UHD 60p at 100 Mbps, 2.7K 60p, and 1080p up to 240p for 8x slow motion, rather than only 120p. And it shoots videos to the MP4 or MOV formats with H.264 compression. The larger sensor, faster lens, and updated software algorithms have greatly improved image quality. It’s also important to note here, DJI’s overhauled how videos are recorded. And they now record with a data rate of 100 Mbps, which offers more room for adjustments before losing quality.
Overall, the video functionality has improved over the original model. The higher-end bit rate gives users more flexibility in post-processing. And now gone are the compression artifacts that plagued the original model. Sure, the footage itself is comparable to most current high-end smartphones. However, it remains well suited for semi-professional applications.
Videos have excellent dynamic range, even in highly contrasting scenes where shadow details remain strong. And the footage offers neutral color rendering without any unnecessary over sharpening. Additionally, the gimbal also does an excellent job stabilizing footage, leaving you to walk freely without working about camera shake or bobbing, especially in the corners. And it never loses the horizon. As it stands, this camera is class-leading in this segment.
It also now offers HDR Video, which records videos at serpents exposure levels and merges the result to increase detail. And you can shoot in either 2.7K or 1080p resolutions.
It also obtains the D-Cinelike profile, which records videos to a flat and neutral gamma, increasing dynamic range and post-processing flexibility.
For stills, this camera now shoots 16MP still images, rather than 12MP. And it even has an in-camera Ultra High-Pixel option, which renders 64MP equivalent images. Plus, it shoots to both the JPG and DNG RAW format. Otherwise, it still has a maximum electronic shutter of 1/8000, giving you plenty of freedom when shooting outdoors without using an external ND filter.
It also has built-in Panorama, which captures 180º for an ultra-wide-angle view in addition to 3 x 3 square. And it stitches these results in-camera, which works brilliantly.
Low Light Performance
It features a native ISO range from ISO 100 to 6,400 under most configurations. But, the 64MP and Slow Motion Modes max at ISO 3,200. Compared to its predecessor, this is a one stop improvement in range and low light performance has also improved due to the larger sensor, faster lens, and updated processing. Now, users can expect usable footage up until ISO 3,200. And this camera surprisingly matches larger 1-inch sensors cameras, and it’s excellent for the class.
This camera features DJI’s Hybrid AF 2.0 with FaceTrack when in the FT (Selfie) Mode. Overall, this focusing system works great. It’s reliable and focuses with little hunting, even in low light. And it’s sufficient given the camera’s target audience and capabilities.
Battery life is excellent. It uses the same 875 mAH battery as before, and DJI rates the device to deliver 140 minutes of continuous 1080p or 100 minutes of 4K video. The camera also supports USB charging, so you can charge as needed on the go.
Display & Viewfinder
It features a 1-inch touchscreen display, which shows a live view, shooting modes, battery life, and card information. And the touchscreen is excellent. It intuitively navigates the menu. And it also supports swipe gestures that focus, meter, track subjects, control the gimbal, and others. Even so, at only 1-inch, it’s relatively small. So realistically, you’ll be mostly using it to access composition and exposure. Since at this size, gauging focus is difficult. But, it’s perfect for the intended purposes.
You control the camera using the DJI Mimo, which is available for both Android and iOS. However, you can also connect wirelessly with the optional Do-It-All handle. Once connected, the app displays a 480p live stream for 4K 60p, 1080p for the Story Mode, and 720p for all other modes. The app itself is intuitive, well-designed, and easy to use. And the user interface on the device itself is also simple, clean, and well-organized. So, overall, newcomers will find this device easily mastered.
The Mimo app also provides access to all key parameters. And you can even share footage to social media directly via the Story Mode or edit the footage within the app. However, enabling the Pro Settings option allows you to adjust recording formats, white balance, exposure settings, and other manual settings.
Physical Layout & Ergonomics
Physically, it maintains a similar design and overall layout as the original model. However, DJI’s refined and updated the exterior finish, making it feel slightly more premium and high-end. Even so, at only 117g, it’s equally compact and lightweight.
But otherwise, it has a status LED, lanyard hole, a universal port, shutter button, a function button, and a USB-C port. And it still has a dedicated MicroSD slot, which supports cards up to 256 GBs. However, the function button is a new change, and DJI detached it from the power button. Instead, it now acts as a quick way to switch modes, change orientation, lock the gimbal, and more.
It also features a removable bottom plate, which allows you to attach a tripod mount or the Do-It-All handle.
DJI’s added several software enhancements with this update, namely an updated ActiveTrack 3.0 taken from their drone lineup. ActiveTrack allows you to track moving subjects by drawing a box around them. And it works surprisingly well, though it isn’t quite as smooth as the original model. Even so, it can confidently follow moving subjects, with or without seeing their face. And it’s an excellent feature to track slower-moving subjects.
DJI’s overhauled the internal microphone system, and it now features four microphones, rather than two. These microphones are positioned around the device. And it automatically enhances wherever the camera’s pointing while capturing truly immersive audio. Each also features noise reduction and work in conjunction with the digital zoom, which DJI calls Matrix Stereo zoom. Overall, the audio quality on this device is noticeably improved, more precise, detailed, and less boxy. And DJI fixed a primary shortcoming of the original model here.
It has several Time Lapse modes, including standard Timelapse, Motion Lapse, and Hyperlapse. And you can adjust the duration, interval time, and speed for each. With Motion Lapse, you now also have settings to move from left to right or right to left. Previously, you could only set 4 custom points, so this is a welcomed change.
It has the Story Mode, which uses templates to create mini-movies of the selected clips. And the Mimi app also has an AI Editor, which automatically combines the captured clips, adds transitions and music to create publishable content. Together, these are the perfect options for beginners wanting to immediately share captured footage.
It has the built-in Glamour Effect, which beautifies both your photos and videos.
It now has a digital zoom function. And you can zoom up to 8x for stills, 4x for 1080p, 3x for 2.7K, and 2x for 4K video.
It offers several unique optional accessories, namely the Mini Control stick, which doubles as a physical joystick to control the gimbal pitch and doubles to control zoom. Another highlight accessory is the Do-It-All attachment grip, which extends the non-native functionality of the device. In this case, it adds a 3.5mm microphone/headphone bidirectional port and an external speaker to review captured audio. And it also doubles as a wireless receiver for the included wireless microphone that connects via Bluetooth. Lastly, there is the 15mm wide-angle adapter, which widens the FOV to 110º.
The camera’s 1080p slow-motion video doesn’t look great. You’ll take a noticeably quality hit when recording above 120p. 240p simply isn’t suitable for professional applications. So, to maintain quality, avoid 1080p altogether and use 4K 60p instead.
While autofocus performance is good, using the digital zoom function reduces its accuracy. So keep this in mind.
There are no manual focusing options on this camera. So you cannot focus manually if you wanted to for some reason.
While the battery life is good, the camera doesn’t offer a replaceable battery. And, sadly, the internal battery takes 70 minutes to charge. So if you want to shoot all day, you’ll have to be wary or bring a power bank.
The camera lacks built-in ND filters. And if you want to shoot wide open in bright sunlight conditions, you’ll indeed have to attach one. But, unfortunately, these filters clip-on by magnets. And the magnetic force isn’t particularly powerful. So while they’re convenient, they’re also easy to lose. With that, take caution not to knock off these accessories by accident. We would prefer clip-on accessories here.
It lacks built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, which is a shame, considering rivals offer this feature. For this feature, you’ll have to purchase the optional Do-It-All handle. Additionally, the Wi-Fi connection on the handle itself is somewhat unreliable, especially as you move further away. This is primarily an issue because this module lacks the higher-end 5 GHz band of the original model.
Both the Time Lapse and Motion Lapse Modes only record in 1080p, which is strange considering this a 4K capable camera.
The device is not weather sealed. For this, you’ll want to purchase the waterproof casing.
Strangely, DJI’s removed much of the white balance options. And now, users are left with only Auto or custom Kelvin values, which means you’ll have to do some guesswork while shooting to set it manually. Otherwise, you’re stuck with AWB alone. Strange move.
Is this a good beginner camera?
Given this device’s ease of use, price point, and quality, it’s an excellent option. With practice, you can surely capture cinematic content without a substantial financial burden. And right now, it stands as the best option in this segment.
Is this a good camera for you?
This device is powerful as a vlog or content creation tool. And it’s easily the most complete all-in-one tool for this purpose.
This device is an excellent option for working professionals wanting a run & gun c or d-camera. And for the price, it’s also the easiest option to use.
Osmo Pocket owners should consider the upgrade if they want the winder lens, larger sensor, updated microphones, HDR, and zoom functionality. As it stands, these features make it a worthy successor.
In the end, the DJI Pocket 2 improves all of the shortcomings of the original model. And it creates a full system with a diverse collection of accessories. Right now, this device is the leader of this particular segment and the current benchmark. It’s a solid option for users wanting a straightforward and discrete solution. But one that provides semi-professional footage, outstanding audio quality, all without dealing with camera shake. So, really, there’s no need to whip out a gimbal or shoulder rig anymore here. Overall, they’ve excelled here in making the Pocket series even more straightforward. And it’s the complete solution for creators who want solid imaging and a smart gimbal with a pocket-sized package.
DJI’s Pocket 2 continues revolutionizing this segment. And it stands as the current benchmark, given its price, portability, and feature set.