If you think you need a ten thousand dollar camera, a major videographer lighting rig or a Steadicam to make great videos, think again. If you’ve got a smartphone, you can produce killer videos. But how can you go from basic smartphone shooting and take your videos to the next level? How about getting a gimbal to bring a new level of smoothness and stabilization to your videos? I recently had a chance to review the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 gimbal. I’ll share my experience including what it can do, how to use it and whether I think it’s a good buy for us average Jane and Joe YouTubers.
What Does DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Do?
The DJI OSMO Mobile 3 is for all intents and purposes, a handle that you grip your smartphone with. It helps you get smooth, stable shots that you couldn’t otherwise get with wobbly hands and your iPhone or Google Pixel phone alone. The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 gimbal has on-board controls so you can move, tilt and pan without actually touching your phone. To get the best results from this gimbal, you need to shoot through the DJI Mimo App, which uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone.
Plug a Microphone into DJI gimbal
The key and most important feature for me about this hand-held gimbal is that it leaves you a place to plug in a microphone, which most other gimbals don’t.
Because of the angled design of the arm and where the phone grip is placed, you can plug things into the charging or aux ports without destabilizing the phone or jamming in wires bent at 90 degrees.
Lastly, this version of DJI Osmo Mobile also folds up nicely for transport.
Setting up DJI Osmo Mobile 3
Setting the device up is clear and simple; make sure the gimbal has a full battery, then download the DJI Mimo app. Unfold the gimbal arm, and lock your phone into the sliding bracket (some lettering shows you which direction to place it in and which way the camera needs to face). Try to balance the phone somewhat evenly, then push and hold the power button to turn the gimbal on.
You’ll see the device wake up and snap to action, placing the phone front and centre vertically for you. You can shoot vertical if you want but please don’t… To switch to horizontal, just gently swivel the phone with your hand; the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 will instantly get what you’re doing and make the orientation adjustment, and stay there.
DJI Osmo3 – no audio when using Apple Final Cut Pro & iPhone 11
So I was all set to show you a video I shot so you can see the stabilization and subject tracking. And while it looks great, you’re probably on edge right now because my audio doesn’t match the video. And that’s because I found a huge problem with the Osmo Mobile 3. When your video is shot on an iPhone 11 using the Mimo app, and imported into Apple’s Final Cut pro for editing… it doesn’t bring the audio track. That is a pretty big problem. You can get around it by using the native camera, but that kinda defeats some of the purpose of having this device. I’ll post a link to a forum about this problem below. This is a pretty big problem for me with this device. Anyhow.. let’s look at some of the other features…
Osmo Mobile 3: Subject Tracking feature
One of the cooler features of this device is that if you use the DJI Mimo app, you can enable subject tracking. This allows you to identify a person or object and the app and gimbal duo will work to always keep it centre-frame. I found this feature worked surprisingly well and was particularly useful if I wanted to do a walking shot. Just tap on the screen and drag your finger to draw a box around the area you want to focus on.
How Does DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Work?
DJI is one of the biggest manufacturers of drones as well as camera accessories, and through their years of work on DJI drones, they were able to work up mechanical stabilization for cameras. The OSMO Mobile 3 has a three-way axis gimbal that allows it to remain stable even if your hand or arm is moving.
The magic of DJI’s Software
Although the hardware for the OSMO Mobile 3 is very impressive, a lot of the work happens in the software. Not just a gimmicky app for the sake of it, some of the best features like subject tracking and sport mode (which increases the gimbal’s response times), come from the app and it really is integral to getting the most from this gimbal. The software that the OSMO Mobile 3 uses also allows you to use other shooting modes that can add stability and variety to your film or video.
But the best thing that this particular device gets right is the seamless integration of the hardware and software. The Mimo app works in harmony with the various buttons and controls on the OSMO Mobile 3 so that you can use them on the fly, easily.
How to use controls on DJI Osmo Mobile 3
The power button on the grip of the Mobile 3 actually has a lot going for it. By clicking and holding it, you’ll power on and off. Double click it and you can automatically change the orientation of the camera from vertical to horitontal. Triple tap to put the camera and gimbal in standby mode.
The record button is for starting and stopping your recordings, naturally.
There’s a flat joystick button or swivel for moving the camera around.
There’s a zoom in and out rocker on the left side of the handle.
There’s also a trigger on the far side of the handle and it too has multiple actions. Click it once, you can start or stop active tracking on a subject. Press the trigger twice, and the gimbal will re-center, going into its default position. Finally, a triple tap of the trigger will switch between the front-facing camera and the back camera.
I will say it does take a bit of getting used to, remembering which buttons need how many taps to execute your shortcuts, so fortunately you can also do all these things by just tapping on the camera in the Mimo app.
Using the DJI Osmo Mobile 3
The DJI OSMO Mobile 3 is designed for portability and to be easy to use. This gimbal is very comfortable to hold in one hand, and all of the buttons and controls are easy to access without needing your second hand. While its weight makes it feel durable and rugged, it’s not overly heavy. I will say that with the weight of the gimbal and the weight of your phone it is noticeable, but the way the handle is balanced makes it less of a strain.
The video you get is indeed much smoother, less wobbly and a lot more professional looking than just holding your phone with your hands or a selfie stick.
Microphone or accessories plug in easily.
Using a microphone with DJO Osmo Mobile 3
As I mentioned earlier, the way the Osmo Mobile 3 is constructed specifically leaves a place for accessories to be connected into the bottom of your phone. I initially bought a previous version of this gimbal (the DJI Osmo Mobile 2) and realized there’s no way to connect audio, so back it went. This gimbal allows plenty of space for your microphone cable to connect without bending or jamming it in. It’s a killer feature.
Overall review: DJI Osmo Mobile 3 gimbal
I found a lot to love about this gimbal; it’s compact meaning I can and did travel easily with it. It adds a new level of stabilization to my videos meaning they look more professional. The Osmo Mobile 3 was easily to set up and use, and the app is quite user friendly. There’s lots of onboard controls you can shortcut, and my only complaint is that they’re hard to keep straight… but that’s really more my problem than the gimbal’s.
But there is that other pretty big problem – and that’s the missing audio when using the gimbal with the new iPhone and Apple’s Final Cut Pro. If you’re not using Apple you’ll probably be fine, but for those of us who are, you might want to hold off getting this until the issue is resolved. While I like the device, It’s a pretty big paperweight for me right now.
In short I can recommend the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Combo Pack if you’re not using an iPhone/Final Cut and you’re looking to make your videos more professional. It sells for about $130CAD.
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I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.