The leader in stabilisation technology has returned with the third generation of its Mobile series gimbal.
What’s a gimbal?
A gimbal is a stabiliser, originally used in compass technology to keep a compass steady for navigation. It works by keeping the mounted device steady wirh rings that rotate along the x-, y-, and z- axes. The result? One can shake the device without seeing that there was shaking. This is very useful for video recordings.
DJI has improved on the gimbal technology by implementing motors within the device to make it controllable by a joystick on the front. The motors are also used to track moving subjects when shooting videos. This becomes very useful for keeping the subject in frame while the videographers are watching where they’re running.
My Samsung phone has Super Steady so I don’t need this
Not so fast. The technology in Samsung’s Super Steady and DJI’s Mobile 3 are fundamentally different, which also means that one of these technologies is superior to the other. Samsung’s Super Steady technology makes use of predictive models to identify how much the videographer is shaking. It then uses software and some artificial intelligence to stabilise the video. This method is repairing the video, as opposed to preventing problems.
The Osmo Mobile 3, on the other hand, performs stabilisation on a hardware level. This means users shoot video that’s not corrected after the fact, and rather video that’s stabilised as it is shot. This results in one of the purest forms of video. It also means users don’t have to shoot with the DJI app to get stable videos.
We tested the gimbal under various situations with different smartphones. The main devices we used were the iPhone XR and Nokia 4.2. Before anything, users need to set the gimbal up with the DJI MIMO app, which is available on the App Store for iPhone and Play Store for Google.
The device came with a hard-shell fabric case and a tripod stand. It folds up on two axes to fit into the bag, and notches on the gimbal guide the user about which direction to bend the arms towards. It costs around R1,900, depending on where you buy it.
When unfolded, the front of the handle had two buttons, record and mode, with a joystick to move the mounted smartphone. On the left side is the zoom toggle, which works better on smartphones with zoom lenses as opposed to smartphones that make use of digital zoom. A trigger button on the back of the device is used for holding the video steady when shooting. On the right side, a flap covers a USB port that can be used to charge the mounted phone if it’s running out of battery.
In the DJI Mimo app, users can find the camera mode which allows for additional intelligent control of the gimbal. One can drag and drop a box around the subject in frame, and the gimbal will remain focused on that subject, whether it moves or the cameraperson moves. We were extremely impressed at how well the DJI MIMO software and Osmo Mobile 3 hardware worked with each other. Adjusting settings on the screen and seeing the gimbal do the work is really amazing.
The camera modes make this gimbal stand out, especially when used with the tripod. Neither the iPhone XR and Nokia 4.2 have wide-angle lenses, but the DJI’s wide-angle mode fixes that by stitching together 9 photos at different angles. It also features a panorama mode that works a lot better than the built-in panorama modes of smartphones.
Video – its primary purpose – is extremely stable, even with deliberately shaking the device around while recording. We were extremely impressed with the footage we recorded on the device and would recommend it to any content creators looking to up their smartphone recording capabilities.
Overall, the Osmo Mobile 3 is one of the most impressive gimbals on the market, not only in its rich feature set but also in its affordable pricing.