Looking back at technological trends of the yesteryears, there are certain patterns that we can see. One example is how devices have a tendency to become smaller and smaller over time — having better functionality in smaller packages.
During the 90s, cellphones were as large as walkie-talkies and later on shrunk when the likes of the Nokia 8210 came about. Fast forward to now, and not much has changed.
Stabilizers for professional cameras started out as huge rigs and were worn around the entire body. The size got reduced for DSLRs, then smaller for smartphones, and now, a full-blown three-axis gimbal with its own 4K camera can now be held and operated single-handedly.
This is the DJI Osmo Pocket. As its name suggests, it’s built for portability and ease of use since it easily slips inside the pocket. We’ve seen it coming, though. All DJI had to do was to take its camera-mounted stabilizer from its consumer drones and turn it into a handheld standalone product.
Having a stabilized camera for video shooting is the main reason you’d want to buy this. Although, there’s more to it than just capturing footage smoother than with your smartphone. For this review, we tested out its features, saw what works and what doesn’t, and compared it to another big name in the portable camera category: GoPro’s Hero 7 Black.
It has a candy bar-sized body
No built-in storage
USB-C port to keep with the times
Universal Port allows for additional connectivity
Built-in preview screen
DJI has pretty much polished the accompanying app for its drones and once again, they only needed to make a specific app for the Osmo Pocket. Called DJI Mimo, it’s made for this handheld device as an all-in-one software for shooting in Professional Mode and editing clips to produce a short video.
Those who have tried flying the company’s drones through the DJI Go app will feel at home using DJI Mimo. The layout is familiar, even with how the settings are lined up. Through this app, it’s easier to go for the Pro Mode that lets you have control over your settings. Remember: It’s always better to be able to tweak separate values the way you want to so you can achieve the shots you have in mind.
The sensor shoots 12MP photos and videos can go up to 4K at 60fps. You can also choose to go for a high frame rate of 120fps to achieve smooth slow-motion shots. Other features include First Person View mode, Active Track, and Motionlapse. We made a short video showcasing these shooting modes.
Image quality vs GoPro’s?
With its 1/2.3-inch camera, the Osmo Pocket has the same sensor as the first Mavic Pro. And, together with its RAW photo capturing and D-Cinelike color profile, you can turn your photos and footage into a cinematic piece good enough for professional use. Details are sharp during the day, and digital noise — although still present — is kept at a minimum when shooting at night. Recording videos at Full HD resolution is enough for your usual social media posts, although you can always go for 4K if you need a little wiggling room in manual post-production.
When you talk about a compact camera that would do great for travels, GoPro’s name almost always comes to mind. I personally have a lot of friends asking me which to go for between these two. I don’t blame them since it’s pretty common to see them as an alternative to the other.
If you simply want a handheld camera that shoots good photos and stabilizes your video clips, then I guess you can compare and choose between the two. For a quick shootout, we took side-by-side shots of a few scenes on both cameras. These were shot in standard mode and some samples were captured in GoPro’s wide mode to show the difference in field of view.
Now that you have an idea of their image quality, it’s worth noting that these two cameras are not so alike. Sure, they both have great video stabilization and offer a compact form factor, but a GoPro is more for adventure and sports with its wide selection of mounts and accessories. The accessories for the Osmo, since the product is still fairly new, are mostly sold out or not available in stores. Either way, these do not provide the same flexibility of use the GoPro mounts offer.
Another major difference is that the Osmo Pocket is not water- and dust-proof, unlike the Hero series that always has water resistance as part of its offerings. You could say the target market for these two cameras could be represented as a Venn diagram showing two different devices that slightly overlap with one another.
So who is it made for?
If the Osmo Pocket isn’t direct competition for GoPro, to whom does DJI target this device? To answer that, let’s first see where the Osmo Pocket delivers.
It’s very handy and easy to use. I went on an interstate trip in the US with the Osmo Pocket just in my… well, pocket, and taking it out and powering it up when I needed it was easy. Because of that, I’d say it’s definitely made for sightseeing during out-of-town trips.
Battery life is also satisfactory. During my travels, I made sure that the camera was fully charged before leaving the house. This would usually last me an entire day’s stroll — shooting photos and videos of the new places I visited.
Although, I’d still recommend bringing a dedicated powerbank since the battery isn’t removable like GoPro’s. And the battery understandably drains a lot faster when you shoot hyperlapse and other special modes.
Switching its camera from forward-facing to selfie mode happens in one swipe plus a tap, so it should be easy for vloggers to shoot while talking and even walking. Do take note, though, that audio reception through its built-in microphones can get tricky at times since it’s easy to cover the pinholes for the mic when you grip the entire body.
The company has already rolled out a firmware update that lets you access Pro Mode on the device itself without needing a smartphone to attach. This is an appreciated update since it’s not all the time you can afford to connect an extra smartphone just to go to the advanced settings.
However, having two ways to shoot would be a lot easier whenever you want to take your time and perfect your shot. This makes the Osmo Pocket a good tool for cinematic videography, as well.
Is this your GadgetMatch?
If you require more robust and flexible shooting equipment, you might want to look at GoPro’s selection. But if you find yourself doing the things mentioned above, the Osmo Pocket would fit your needs, undoubtedly.
I had a Hero 7 Black with me during the same trip and I only brought it out whenever I needed a wider shot or when I used a specific mount to capture a timelapse from a compromising spot.
The DJI Osmo Pocket is available internationally for US$ 349, but you can get one from Philippine retailers for around PhP 23,000.
GoPro HERO9 Black launched with improvements across the board
5K videos below $500?!
GoPro has released the latest iteration of its flagship camera. The new GoPro HERO9 Black brings major improvements across the board from bigger resolution to a whole new display upfront. It also brings battery life and performance improvements over its predecessors.
The main highlight of HERO9 Black is its improved camera resolution. This year, GoPro is upping the resolution for photo stills: it can now shoot 20-megapixel images. This is a considerable improvement over its predecessor’s 12-megapixel photo still.
Video performance has been given a boost too. Users can now shoot up to 5K videos on this camera. However, frame rates are limited to 30fps so users should stick to 4K for recording 60fps videos. HyperSmooth 3.0 is here too, bringing in-camera horizon leveling.
This year, GoPro is also bringing back a huge, missing feature from last year’s HERO8: detachable lens cover. The company is introducing a “Max Lens” mod this October to make use of the feature. This mod brings ultra-wide lens and max HyperSmooth technology allowing for a more cinematic effect.
Speaking of mods, users can still select from a variety of choices such as media mod, light mod, and display mod.
Another addition to the GoPro HERO9 Black is an LCD color display on the front. As such, users can now preview images and videos on the fly without resorting to the display on the back.
Meanwhile, the display on the back also gets some nifty upgrades. The company is sticking a bigger 2.27-inch touchscreen display this time around, which is a boost from its predecessor’s 1.95-inch display.
To accommodate all these improvements, HERO9 Black comes with a bigger 1,720mAh removable battery. The company touts 30% more battery life with this when compared against the HERO8.
Pricing and availability
The GoPro HERO9 Black is now available to purchase for US$ 449.99. It can also be had for US$ 349.98 when purchased with a GoPro Plus subscription. Each purchase comes with an included 32GB SD card to get users up to speed.
The Sony Alpha 7C is a compact full-frame camera
World’s first smallest and lightest full-frame camera
If you’ve been waiting for a full-frame camera that’s easy to carry around then this latest from Sony was made just for you. The Sony Alpha 7C is the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame camera.
The new camera features a 24.2MP (approx. effective) 35mm full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor and BIONZ X image processing engine, offering high sensitivity, outstanding resolution, 15-stop6 wide dynamic range and high-speed image data processing.
At 124.0mm x 71.1mm x 59.7mm and weighing just 509g , the Alpha 7C is a similar size and weight to an APS-C camera. Sony achieves this build through upgraded 5-axis in-body stabilization and shutter units, and the utilization of monocoque construction, which is often used in the bodies of cars and aircrafts.
Full-frame image quality, Advanced Autofocus
Standard ISO extends up to 51,200 and is expandable to ISO 50-204,80012 for low-light environment captures with low noise. The Alpha 7C also supports 16-bit processing and 14-bit RAW output13 for natural gradations.
The Sony Alpha 7C is also equipped with Sony’s vaunted autofocus tech. It has the Real-time Eye AF for both humans and animals feature. In addition, “Tracking On + AF-On” is now assignable to a custom key. It can be activated at once while the AF-ON button is pressed.
It locks onto the intended subject instantly without losing focus, thanks to its 693-point focal-plane phase-detection AF system covering approximately 93% of the image area, with an additional 425 contrast-detection points to ensure reliable focus, even in busy environments.
The Alpha 7C also features continuous shooting at up to 10 fps with AF/AE and it’s also possible to shoot continuously at up to 8 fps17 in live view mode, with minimal viewfinder/monitor display lag for easy, stable framing, even with intense subject motion.
Shoot 4K video
Full-frame full-pixel readout without the need for pixel binning makes it possible to capture
more than twice20 the amount of data required for 4K video (QFHD: 3840 x 2160). It’s then oversampled to produce high quality 4K footage with exceptional detail and depth.
In addition, the Alpha 7C supports HDR (HLG21) and S-Log/S-Gamut profiles, Slow & Quick motion, high-speed full HD recording at 120 fps3 and other advanced video features which offer exceptional video capabilities to capture high quality video footage.
The Alpha 7C features a side-opening vari-angle LCD monitor, making it easy to record selfies, overhead shots, low ground-level shots or whatever the user requires. The Movie button has been placed on the top of the camera making it easier to operate while recording in selfie mode.
A digital audio interface has been added to the camera’s Multi Interface (MI) Shoe, allowing the ECM-B1M Shotgun Microphone or XLR-K3M XLR Adaptor Kit to be connected to input digital audio signals directly to the MI shoe for cleaner, clearer audio recordings.
New lens perfect for the Sony Alpha 7C
Launching alongside the Alpha 7C are the FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 and the HVL-F28RM.
The new FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 offers the world’s smallest and lightest form factor in a standard zoom lens. From everyday shooting to scenery, portraits and travel, it’s the ideal lens for any type of on-the-go shooting in a wide variety of environments.
The FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 is dust and moisture resistant and accepts a variety of 40.5mm filters.
The HVL-F28RM is a compact flash designed to match Sony’s mirrorless cameras for a compact, manageable system. This compact, easy-to-use flash unit delivers the capabilities and dependability to meet the needs of both professional and advanced amateur content creators.
Pricing and availability
The new Alpha 7C compact full-frame camera will retail for US$ 1799.99 (body only)/ US$ 2,099.99 (with kit lens) and will be available at selected retail shops and online stores from October 2020.
The FE 28-60mm F4-5.6 zoom lens will retail for US$ 499.99 and will be available at selected retail shops and online stores from January 2021.
The HVL-F28RM flash will retail for US$ 249.99 and will be available at selected retail shops and online stores from November 2020.
Imaging Edge Webcam lets you use Sony cameras for video calls, live streams
Adapting to the new normal
If you’ve been working from home, chances are you’ve attended more than your fair share of video calls. If you have a Sony camera, you can elevate the quality of your video with the new Imaging Edge Webcam app.
Considering we’re months into being quarantined already, Sony sure took their time in launching this product. That said, it should still be a welcome addition for anyone who might possibly need it.
It currently only supports Windows 10 64bit so you might have to wait a while if you’re using a Mac. You may download the desktop app here.
The Sony cameras supported are: Alpha 9 II, Alpha 9, Alpha 7R IV, Alpha 7R III, Alpha 7R II, Alpha 7S II, Alpha 7S, Alpha 7 III,
Alpha 7 II, Alpha 6600, Alpha 6400, Alpha 6100, RX100 VII, RX100 VI, RX0 II, RX0, ZV-1.
There are more cameras supported and we’ll update this article once we have the full list.
Quick note for anyone who will use it: The aspect ratio is automatically set to 16:9. It will remain set to 16:9 after using Imaging Edge Webcam, so set it to the previous value if necessary.
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