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Osmo Mobile 2: To Gimbal Or Not To Gimbal?
One of the best investments I've made in my video kit is the Osmo Mobile 2 gimbal. It should be an integral part of your video kit too.
You may have seen movies with scenes on the bridge of an old ship. The navigator will regularly check the compass which looks like it's floating in a pedestal. Well, that compass is sitting in a gimbal, which is designed to keep it level whatever the orientation of the ship due to the waves.
And a smartphone gimbal is pretty much the same thing, except handheld, and it keeps your smartphone level. Battery powered and driven by motors, a gimbal such as the Osmo Mobile 2 can give you smooth and silky video and lets you get all arty and cinematic with your pans and zooms.
I was an early adopter of gimbal technology. I originally purchased the Osmo Mobile 1 which is a fabulous bit of kit in itself. However, it was new technology so the gimbal motors weren't that strong, the direction of travel was a little limited and, to be honest, I always had range anxiety, both with the gimbal battery as well as the battery on my smartphone when I was recording.
"Then DJI brought out the Osmo Mobile 2 and my prayers were answered!"
Yes, ok, the shell is a cheap grey plastic rather than lovely metal like the original Osmo Mobile, but it has a number of excellent upgrades which made the purchase totally worthwhile.
Firstly, the battery is built-in now rather than interchangeable. It outputs a lot more power and can sustain up to fifteen hours of gimbal usage. That'll vary depending on how heavy your smartphone and accessories are, but that's easily a day's shooting, whether you're wandering up a country lane, vlogging at your desk or travelling the world.
Secondly, the motors are more powerful and have a greater range. Ok, they're not quite 360 degrees, but it's a lot more than the original Osmo Mobile so gives greater flexibility in addition to being able to carry a heavier smartphone and any attached accessories.
Thirdly, there's a tripod mount on the bottom! With the Osmo Mobile 1, it was on the side and was really fiddly to get it mounted. Having it on the bottom (because there's no battery flap now) makes it so much easier to mount it in various ways.
Fourthly, the zoom controls have been separated out. In the original version, you have to hold down the trigger then use the joystick. The Osmo Mobile 2 has a dedicated control which I think is very well positioned and responsive. It must be noted that although it works well in the DJI Go app, it has a different function in Filmic.
However, the hallelujah moment for me was realising I could power my smartphone using the Osmo Mobile 2. Now you may think that the lightning port would be obscured by the gimbal when the smartphone is seated in it, but I've got a short lightning cable with a right-angled adapter.
I also have a right-angled mic adapter for the external mic I use for voxpop, so point the right-angled lightning adapter upwards, point the right-angled mic adapter downwards, make a slight adjustment to the balance arm of the Osmo Mobile 2, and you have a very flexible filming platform.
So do I recommend the Osmo Mobile 2 to you? Yes, wholeheartedly I do. I loved my original Osmo Mobile 1, but the USB power output of the new one and the more powerful motors means I can live with the cheap plastic shell and crappy grey colour.
"Besides, this new version is half the price
of the original!"
If you're thinking of upping your video game and smoothing out those cinematic pans and zooms we all know and love, then a gimbal like the Osmo Mobile 2, priced around £129 on Amazon, will be perfect for you.
Until next time ...
PS ... The only thing that bugs me is when I'm walking, you get a small up and down 'bob' unless you're walking like a ninja. I have found a solution to this, a 4th axis gimbal attachment which I'll be reviewing soon.
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