Nowadays, many people create video content for social media and platforms such as YouTube using their smartphones since they’re easy to use and often handy. However, handheld videos don’t always look great since footage can be shaky, especially if you’re walking while recording. DJI, popularly known for making drones and handheld gimbals for cameras and smartphones, launched the DJI OM 5 or Osmo Mobile 5 in India a while ago. This is the successor to the DJI Osmo Mobile 4, which launched in 2020.
The DJI OM5 is more compact and weighs less than its predecessor. This gimbal could be helpful for budding content creators and videographers, as it boasts of some cool new features, but is it worth the asking price? I spent a few weeks with the OM 5, and here’s my full review.
DJI OM 5 design and features
At the time of writing this review, the DJI OM 5 is available in India priced at Rs. 14,990 on Amazon. Inside the retail box, you get a soft carry pouch, magnetic clamp, riser pad for smaller phones, USB Type-A to Type-C cable for charging, manuals, quick start leaflets, grip tripod, wrist strap, and finally, the OM 5. The gimbal comes in two colours, Athens Gray and Sunset White. I received the former for this review.
Unlike the previous Osmo Mobile models, this new version is not sold as a combo package. DJI does sell a Fill Light magnetic clamp separately, which is absurdly priced at Rs. 4,399. Without the magnetic clamp, the OM 5 weighs in at 292g; the clamp adds another 34g bringing the total weight to 326g. For context, the Osmo Mobile 4 gimbal weighs 390g without the clamp. It seems as though DJI’s goal for the OM 5 was to make it lighter than its predecessors, but this has come at a cost (more on that later).
This time around, DJI has changed the placement of the rubberised handgrip on the OM 5. Instead of the front, it’s now on the rear, which makes it feel like a more conventional handgrip. There’s also an indentation right below the trigger on the back where you can place your middle finger, making the device easier to handle on the go. The handgrip now features an extension rod, similar to a selfie stick, which lets you capture some interesting perspectives of whatever you’re filming.
The DJI OM 5 sports a joystick on the front, accompanied by a button to start/stop recording. The OM 5 introduces a new multifunction button. A single press lets you toggle between the front and rear cameras on your phone, while a double press toggles between landscape and portrait orientation. The power button has been moved to the left side of the handgrip and is placed just above the zoom slider. A single press of the power button allows you to switch between photo and video modes.
The rear of the DJI OM 5 is relatively minimal, with a trigger button and a USB Type-C port for charging. Pressing the trigger button once lets you enable ActiveTrack, and double-pressing it will reset the smartphone to its default position. The gimbal also has a standard quarter-inch tripod thread at the bottom. The OM 5, unlike its predecessors, lacks a USB Type-A port for charging your smartphone during hours-long shoots. It has four status LEDs on the front for the battery level and to show you the connection state with the attached phone.
The joystick is responsive, and the texture helps while executing rapid movements. However, I would have preferred a more extruded joystick. This one feels a bit too recessed, causing my finger to slide off the surface at times. The 3-axis range of motion allows you to perform pans and tilt movements while shooting.
DJI OM 5 performance and battery life
The DJI OM 5 can handle smartphones that weigh up to 290g, which is nearly every smartphone available today. I attached both an iPhone 12 and a Realme 6 Pro to it without any issues. The magnetic clamp worked with the iPhone 12 even when it had a hard case on it. One of the main selling points of the OM 5 is its compactness, and thanks to the well-placed hinge, I was even able to fold this gimbal and fit it in one of my trouser pockets. However, you have to twist the handle at a certain angle to unfold it and the spring-loaded mechanism is a bit cumbersome. It sometimes felt as though the device might snap in half.
Other than that, usage is pretty simple; you just have to adjust the magnetic clamp to the centre of your smartphone and then attach it to the gimbal. To activate the gimbal, you will have to download the DJI Mimo companion app. During the testing period, the app was nowhere to be found on the Google Play store, and the downloaded package from DJI’s own website did not work, so I had to install it from a third-party website. However, the DJI Mimo app is available on the Apple App Store and it’s designed well. It runs you through a brief tutorial of the device’s controls and app functions. Once the pairing process is done, the app will check for firmware updates. After the initial setup process is completed, you can start shooting videos and taking photos using the gimbal.
There will be a slight learning curve to using this gimbal for first-timers. I was soon able to get a hang of the various techniques that can be applied while shooting videos. The DJI Mimo app has ‘ShotGuides’, which show examples of the types of shots you can take with various subjects and locations. This will be helpful for new users as there are tonnes of categories ranging from lifestyle and food to parks, nature, and more. The app allows you to adjust the joystick speed if you are not happy with the default setting. You can also customise some other settings, such as the ‘Follow Mode’, which helps you take different shots, and Spinshot, which many content creators use to add flair to their videos.
DJI OM 5 shooting modes
Besides the usual shooting modes, the DJI OM 5 also offers a couple of other modes such as:
Timelapse – This makes things look like they are moving faster than they actually are. It’s good for weather patterns, cloud movement and sunrises or sunsets.
Hyperlapse – This is somewhat similar to timelapse but lets you speed up slow-moving objects.
Dynamic Zoom – This lets you create a Vertigo effect around your subject, also known as the dolly zoom effect.
Slow Motion – As the name suggests, this lets you record slow-motion videos at 8X speed at 1080p resolution.
Pano – This mode captures a 3×3 image and stitches it together for a wider shot. It can also be used for the CloneMe feature, wherein a subject appears in multiple places simultaneously.
Story – This offers a couple of templates that you can use to shoot videos in specific styles. If you follow the instructions on the screen, the app can create a social-media-ready video with effects and appropriate music. However, it does sneak some text in, such as titles, which cannot be edited out.
The DJI OM 5 cannot be used to record videos with framerates above 30fps on Android devices using the Mimo app. It also does not allow recording videos at 4K on some devices, such as my Realme 6 Pro. However, I was able to shoot at 4K using a Xiaomi Mi 10i. You can use the gimbal with the smartphone’s default camera app too if you need to use specific camera features, but things like ActiveTrack are only available through the Mimo app. You can switch between 720p, 1080p and 4K, and 60fps recording is supported across all resolutions on most recent iPhones.
The DJI OM 5 not only works as a standalone gimbal but can also be used as a selfie stick. The built-in extension rod has four levels of length adjustment and can extend up to 8.5 inches. It also has a hinge at the top which helps you tilt the smartphone towards you for better selfies. This was handy while taking big group selfies or trying challenging angles for a video. The 3-axis system stabilises footage well and compensates for most shaky hand movements.
Many smartphones nowadays implement either Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS) or Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS), which helps stabilise video to a certain level. Still, there’s only so much these techniques can do to compensate for shaky hands or when recording while moving over uneven terrain. I found shooting videos at a lower angle with the gimbal easier when compared to handheld. The gimbal also stabilises your phone when using the joystick for pans and tilts, resulting in smooth, professional-looking shots.
The DJI OM 5 features an updated version, ActiveTrack 4.0. It lets you choose a subject in the viewfinder and then automatically follows it with the gimbal. You can enable ActiveTrack by single-pressing the trigger button. When I placed the gimbal on a tripod and then enabled ActiveTrack, it did all the work while I sat back. It managed to track people and pets without any issues; however, it sometimes faced problems when trying to lock onto a slightly off-centre subject. This wasn’t a persistent issue and I’m hoping DJI can fix it with an update.
The DJI OM 5 lets you shoot videos with the phone’s native camera app; however, as expected, some of the buttons do not work. For example, the zoom slider does not work with the iOS camera app but is fine with the stock camera app on Android. The record button works on both platforms, so you do not always have to use the Mimo app.
Because of its compactness, DJI had to cut some corners with the battery capacity of the OM 5. The gimbal packs in a 1,000mAh battery which is quite a downgrade compared to the 2,450mAh one in the Osmo Mobile 4. The company claims that the OM 5 can last for up to 6.4 hours under ideal conditions with the gimbal fully balanced. In my testing, I was able to extract around six hours of usage. It is unlikely that one would need more runtime for a continuous shoot. Keep in mind that the DJI Mimo app tends to drain your smartphone’s battery a lot quicker than its native camera app.
It would have been nice to be able to charge the phone through the gimbal while shooting, which was possible on previous models. Unfortunately, with the smaller battery of the OM 5, that probably wouldn’t have been very useful. The Mimo app shows you the battery level of both the gimbal and the phone. You can also look at the LED lights on the front to check the battery level. I used a 30W adapter to charge the OM 5, and it took around 1 hour, 20 minutes to charge fully.
The DJI OM 5 could be very useful for people looking to improve the quality of their video content. The gimbal can help make videos shot on even a budget smartphone look way smooth, thanks to the 3-axis stabilisation. It also allows you to capture creative shots at awkward angles more easily.
The gimbal does double-duty as a selfie stick, which was helpful in certain situations. The lack of smartphone charging was a letdown for me, but it’s hard to complain too much when the device is so compact.
The DJI Mimo companion app is handy, especially for first-timers. Tutorials and settings are straightforward. It works flawlessly with iPhones, but recording options might be limited with Android phones. The relatively high price of Rs. 14,990 may deter people with tight budgets, in which case, the DJI OM 4 SE at Rs. 10,000 is a good alternative. Other than the telescopic arm, it offers most of the features of the OM 5.
- Fits almost all phones
- Light, compact design
- Good build quality
- 3-axis stabilisation improves video quality
- ActiveTrack is a handy feature
- Extension pole is useful in certain scenarios
- DJI Mimo app not available on Google Play store in India
- Arm can be tricky to fold and unfold
- Limited video recording options on Android