Phone gimbals used to be bulky and expensive. Not anymore. The DJI OM 5 phone gimbal keeps all the great features from the previous model and adds a few ones, like a telescoping rod — for only $159. For a vlog, hike, or vacation, it is a damn essential gadget to have.
The OM 5 doesn’t take up a lot of space. The compact design folds up neatly and it fits in my pockets no problem. It’s just a little larger than a 12oz Red Bull can so measure your pockets accordingly. The OM 5 is also light enough that it didn’t tire my arm out when recording a Hyperlapse around a trail.
The OM 5 has an updated tracking feature called Active Track 4.0. It tracks faces quite well, even from a distance, and was able to follow me as I walked around it from about 10 feet away. I could see it being great for vlogging, especially when you’re using the OM 5 like a selfie stick. I also used it to track my knife as I chopped ingredients to make ceviche. Pretty cool!
Dynamic Zoom is another awesome shooting mode that recreates the dolly zoom effect. It makes the background gradually appear smaller or larger whenever you move closer or farther away. With the right background, it can create some sick shots. I had trouble nailing it, but once I locked onto a subject at a steady pace, it paid off. The mode does zoom in a ton to achieve the effect, which can make shots look grainy.
Spin Shot isn’t a shooting mode, but it’s a type of movement you can do in different shooting modes using the joystick. Finding how to turn it on wasn’t easy, and it wouldn’t work until after I applied the latest firmware update using a separate phone. But, after I got it working, I liked how it could make any boring shot more dynamic. If you’re shooting a stationary subject, it’s a great way to add movement.
The Hyperlapse and Timelapse modes are givens and neither disappoints. Both modes can compress minutes down to seconds, breaking up the pace of a video with quick action-packed shots. Hyperlapse is perfect when moving around, while the timelapse is more for stationary footage. Want to capture the setting sun? The latter is your best bet. Stick with the former if walking, hiking, skating, or on a moving vehicle.
I mainly had gripes with the software. Too many times I had tutorials or suggestions pop up while navigating the app. I also think the settings menu is not very intuitive. For example, Spin Shot is buried under the “Tracking Mode” setting, which it has nothing to do with. My only hardware complaint is that the joystick was slightly sluggish to respond until I changed it to the “Fast” setting.
For $159, I can’t think of a better product to purchase when going on a trip. Whether you’re sharing content on Instagram or YouTube, the OM 5 is a good, affordable investment for creating memories. It’s simple to use and has tons of advanced features for more creative shots. Years after buying the original Osmo Mobile — a bulky behemoth in comparison — I think it’s finally time to upgrade to the OM 5.