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DJI Osmo Pocket 3 review: Atypical camera, awesome results

This gadget lets you take video stabilisation into your own hands.

DJI Osmo Pocket 3
DJI Osmo Pocket 3
4 out of 5 stars
4
Price
From $849
Sensor
1-inch CMOS
Screen
2-inch OLED
Fergus Halliday
Feb 29, 2024
Icon Time To Read6 min read
Quick verdict: DJI Osmo Pocket 3

The DJI Osmo Pocket 3 pairs up a small but smart camera system with the flexibility of a mechanised gimbal. Where earlier incarnations were good enough given the form factor, this third-gen effort adds up to more than the sum of its parts.

pro
Pros
pro Smart and practical design
pro Camera sensor that swings above its weight
pro Intuitive control scheme
con
Cons
con MIMO app weirdness
con Cropped vertical video capture
con Joystick is overly sensitive

The DJI Osmo Pocket 3 doesn't look like your typical camera, but that's always been part of the draw. The line began life as a goofy get-together of camcorder and gimbal but it's come a long way since then.

As DJI began to invest more and become more confident about the cameras it armed its drones with, the Osmo Pocket emerged as an intriguing off-shoot. More than an experiment, it was closer to a rebirth of the original Osmo.

From its inception, the line has looked to lure the content creation crowd. Now in its third incarnation, it feels like the combination of slick hardware, smart design and snazzy software is less of a showpiece and more of a showstopper. It's still a camera that doesn't look like a camera, but it's a much better camera.

With a simple yet versatile design and a surprisingly sizable sensor, the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 puts a fresh spin on videography with minimal compromises when it comes to quality, ease of use and overall enjoyment.

How much does the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 cost in Australia?

Starts at $849
DJI Osmo Pocket 3

The price tag for the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 starts at $849 in Australia. There's also a Creator Combo bundle available, which includes a wide-angle lens, a wireless microphone transmitter, a battery handle, a tripod, a wind-screen, a clip magnet and a bag to carry it all in.

For a sense of how much the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 costs from various retailers, check out the table below.

Store
Price
More info

DJI Osmo Pocket 3 : Design and features

DJI Osmo Pocket 3

Made from rubberised black plastic, the handheld half of the Osmo Pocket 3 is simple to grasp in a literal sense as well as a visual one.

The stick-like gadget is built around a 2-inch OLED touchscreen. Just below that, you have a button layout that pushes minimalism to the max. It pairs up a record key that could be a little clickable with a nudge-friendly joystick that could be a little more sensitive. These inputs are used for recording and manual gimbal control respectively.

You'll be relying on that 2-inch screen I mentioned earlier for everything else. Swiping up lets you toggle the resolution and frames per second you want to record in, swiping left lets you playback footage, swiping right lets you toggle filters and swiping up is where you'll find the rest of the settings menu.

Like all cameras, the layout and logic of the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 can take a little bit of time to get used to. Instead of a power button, you activate the Osmo Pocket 3 by flicking the display from its usual vertical orientation to a horizontal one. Give it five or so seconds and you're good to start filming. Although a stark contrast to more conventional cameras, there's a playful charm to the physicality here that elevates the experience. Naturally, reversing this motion is how you turn the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 off.

Turning your camera on is usually one of the most mundane parts of using it, the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 makes that step shine brighter than the most exciting moments that its competition can muster. Every time you turn this camera on, you are gifted a tangible reminder that tech doesn't have to be so serious all the time. A little bit of fun can go a long way.

While the touch screen is part of the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 you're directly engaging with, most of the magic happens towards the tip-top of the selfie stick-like camera system here.

The Osmo Pocket 3 runs on a 2-axis gimbal system that helps smooth out your otherwise shaky video footage and plenty more. The 1-inch CMOS sensor inside this versatile lens mount is capable of capturing 4K video content at up to 120 frames-per-second with support for both D Log M and 10-bit colour.

By default, DJI has paired this sensor with an f/2.0 aperture lens that's equivalent to a 20mm lens on a traditional camcorder. If you fancy a bigger field of view, the company also sells a wide-angle lens as an optional add-on. While that might not be able to outperform the iPhone 15 Pro, it's still large enough to be considered bigger than what you'll find in most smartphones and a significant upgrade on its equivalent in the previous model.

The hardware upgrades are only half the story though. The DJI Osmo Pocket 3 comes kitted out with a handful of nifty software features that promise to help you get the most out of what the hardware can do. The list here includes a product showcase mode, which allows for faster full-pixel focusing, automatic face detection, dynamic framing and more.

This "kitchen sink approach" to camera features is nothing new (especially for DJI) but the relative simplicity of the interface on the Osmo Pocket 3 does wonders for making it easier to make use of those many bells and whistles. As mentioned before, you're rarely more than a single swipe away from whatever setting you want to toggle.

All told, the eye-catching design and elegant software experience offered by the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 is such a strong selling point that it makes me wish that more consumer tech brands were willing to play in the space.

DJI Osmo Pocket 3: Performance

DJI Osmo Pocket 3

Courtesy of the design decisions mentioned above, the experience of filming with the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 is an utter delight. It's lightweight to handle and the simplicity of the software interface makes it easy to rely on in a pinch.

There are a few natural shortcomings that come with the form factor here, such as an inability to support any kind of optical zoom beyond just cropping an image. However, what you're missing out on with this kind of flexibility you gain in another.

Even if the sensor and optics involved do have a few hard limits, there are a dozen little tricks you can use to get that little bit closer to the specific results you're looking for in a given moment.

Once you're locked onto a subject, the DJI Osmo Pocket 3's gimbal allows for easy camerawork that doesn't lose focus. The ability to opt for manual control when you need it is also nice to have, though I do wish the joystick had a little bit more sensitivity to it. It's a little too easy to nudge the frame in a given direction and overshoot your mark by a wide margin.

Despite those occasional hiccups, the experience of filming on the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 is blissfully low-friction in a way that traditional cameras aren't. It feels fun and good to use in a way that made me want to use it more.

It doesn't hurt that the results are as decent as they are. The best camera is always going to be the one you have on you, but the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 is both compact and capable enough that the tradeoffs of using it instead of your smartphone or dedicated DSLR add up in the right direction.

Interestingly, vertically-oriented content filmed on the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 is shot horizontally and then cropped down to size. This devil in the details isn't the end of the world, but it is surprising to see that the gimbal involved doesn't support the seemingly straightforward physical rotation that would solve this problem and allow you to make full use of the sensor involved.

While I'm sure there's probably a good technical reason for why this is the case, it feels like a rare instance of a product that otherwise works to make the complicated dead simple falling victim to its opposite.

DJI Osmo Pocket 3 gif

This gif of sample footage taken using the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 shows how graceful video content can look up right up until you start messing with the joystick.

The other head-scratcher here is the DJI MIMO app. This app isn't needed to use the Osmo Pocket 3, but it is necessary if you want to make use of the many face filters, remote controls and pro video options that are built into it. You'll also need it to transfer photos and video content from the camera to a smartphone or tablet unless you want to pull your footage directly off the MicroSD card inside the device.

Despite its obvious importance, the DJI MUMI app is actually unavailable on the Android app store. You have to download the APK file via the DJI website. It's an odd one for sure and you don't have to look very hard to find a mix of plausible and concerning explanations for why.

While neither Google nor DJI have put out an official explanation beyond vague references to "technical reasons", independent security researchers have alleged that DJI's apps collect more data than it seems they ought to. Some of them (including MIMO) also feature a self-update mechanism that circumvents the Play Store, which is likely against Google's fine print for Android app developers.

Given how solid the hardware here is, the app-adjacent issues here are a bitter pill to swallow.

Assuming you can get over that hill, you'll probably have a good time on the other side. More than just a camera that's good for vloggers, the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 feels optimised for the niche of everyday videography in a way that makes it very easy to recommend to just about anyone who wants to capture better-looking video content.

DJI Osmo Pocket 3: Is it worth the money?

Camcorder + Selfie Stick = Better video content
DJI Osmo Pocket 3

The DJI Osmo Pocket 3 is too expensive to be bought on a lark but too good to be dismissed as a toy or mere novelty. It's just fun to use in a way that most modern cameras aren't and while those with a beefy enough smartphone might not find the quality of the sensor here to be that much of an upgrade, the impact that the gimbal has on the qualities of your video content is easy to see and hard to ignore.

Wandering the halls of this year's CES, it felt like every second attendee was using the Osmo Pocket 3 and it's not difficult to see why. There's a definite charm to be found in tech that's built for a specific need rather than designed to do-it-all and the DJI Osmo Pocket 3 makes a mint on that specificity.

Fergus Halliday
Written by
Fergus Halliday is a journalist and editor for Reviews.org. He’s written about technology, telecommunications, gaming and more for over a decade. He got his start writing in high school and began his full-time career as the Editor of PC World Australia. Fergus has made the MCV 30 Under 30 list, been a finalist for seven categories at the IT Journalism Awards and won Most Controversial Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards. He has been published in Gizmodo, Kotaku, GamesHub, Press Start, Screen Rant, Superjump, Nestegg and more.

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