Five years ago, DJI paired its super-stable drone cameras with a postage-stamp-size screen to create the Osmo Pocket, a tiny vlogger cam. It was neat, and its successor had a handful of key improvements.
But the new Osmo Pocket 3, announced and shipping today, has more than a handful.
While the baby steadicam now starts at $519 — a huge hike over its $349 predecessors — it’s got a way larger sensor, way larger touchscreen, faster autofocus, far faster charging, more battery life, built-in wireless, built-in joystick, a third microphone, and a nifty rotating screen that satisfyingly clicks into portrait or landscape while automatically switching your filming aspect ratio.
I haven’t gone out on a real shoot with the Osmo Pocket 3 yet, I’m sorry to say, but I can already see ways it would beat strapping my smartphone to a standalone gimbal.
First, that sensor — it’s a one-inch type CMOS sensor, which should be nearly 3x larger than the 1/1.7-inch sensor in the Pocket 2 and nearly 4x larger than the original 1/2.3-inch chip. It shoots up to 4K/120 slow-mo video as well as 1080p at 240 frames per second. Also, it has “full-pixel” continuous autofocus, which I’m assuming means every single pixel can be used as a focusing pixel — all I know for sure is that it felt faster than my old iPhone.
Meanwhile, the screen is 4.7 times larger than the old postage stamps — it’s a two-inch OLED that can show 100 percent of the P3 color gamut. It’s clear, crisp, colorful, and big enough to tap and swipe on controls, many of which display helpful reminders about how they work. At 700 nits, it should be bright enough for outdoor use, too.
And if you want to use your phone’s screen instead, you no longer have to buy a special wireless handle module to make remote monitoring work! Where the Osmo Pocket and Pocket 2 were designed so modularly you’d need to click in a joystick or a phone adapter, both a bigger joystick and Wi-Fi are built right into the Pocket 3 — including support for DJI’s wireless clip-on microphone.
There is still some modularity this time, though. There’s a $49 wide-angle lens that magnetically snaps onto the existing one; the $519 basic kit comes with a basic extension that adds a 1/4-inch tripod mount thread and redirects the USB-C charging port; and there’s a longer $69 battery handle that extends battery life by up to 70 percent and adds the same 1/4-inch mount on the bottom.
The $669 Creator Combo kit comes with all of those, plus the wireless microphone, windscreen and magnetic clip, and a mini tripod attachment. There’s also a magnetic ND filter kit for $59 and a black mist filter for $49.
Speaking of battery, the quoted runtime is now 166 minutes of 1080p24 video, up from 140 minutes with the Pocket 2 — and DJI says you should be able to get two hours of 4K/60 on a charge. Better is the charging speed, at just 16 minutes to 80 percent and 32 minutes to top off the tank, though that assumes you’re using a 65W PD adapter. (The Pocket 2 quoted 73 minutes to charge from a 10W wall wart.)
While I absolutely want my friend, colleague, and fellow DJI watcher Vjeran Pavic to put it through its paces by filming some Verge footage (did I mention it can shoot in 10-bit D-Log and HLG and supports timecodes?), I did already see a couple of weird behaviors from the camera.
First, my unit got quite warm just shooting a few minutes of 4K footage in an air-conditioned room — not worryingly warm, just warmer than I’d expect for a you-have-one-job product. (I’m reading this was a complaint with the Pocket 2 as well.) Second, there was one evening when every time I turned on the camera, the gimbal would just shake about uncontrollably. It’s been fine ever since.
I 3D printed a little custom mount to attach my review unit to some GoPro harnesses; can’t wait to try out some gimbal moves in a future Verge social video.
Photography by Sean Hollister / The Verge