DJI Osmo Mobile 3: Tracking And Timelapse Features, Functions & Final Thoughts
While in video, photo, or hyperlapse mode, Active Track 3.0 can be engaged by dragging a box over your subject. The gimbal will lock onto on the tracked subject and follow it automatically as it moves.
DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Tracking PerformanceThe Osmo Mobile 3's tracking quality is acceptable, but not mind blowing. The frame tends to trail the subject and can have difficulty keeping up with fast movements. If the subject is lost, it will try for a second or two to find it again. It will then disable tracking if it cannot recover the subject. Active Tracking will be useful if you are filming yourself and want the camera to move around with you. However, we found manually controlling the gimbal tended to produce better results when filming others. The Active Tracked footage above tends to be less steady. It tilts up and down during pans and wiggles back and forth when the subject is stationary. Active Track centers your subject by default, but you can reframe your subject by moving the thumbstick around.
The Osmo Mobile 3 supports gesture activation with Active Tracking. After enabling gesture controls in the on-screen menu, start recording by raising your palm or putting your fingers in a V shape. It works with front and rear cameras. It uses the phone’s flash to indicate its starting countdown when using the rear camera. There is no stop recording gesture, so you still need to press the record button to end your video.
The 180-degree option takes four shots from left to right and combines them together. The Mimo app does a good job of accounting for motion. It produces a high quality result, even handheld.
For the 3-by-3 grid, the gimbal whips through 9 shots for a high-resolution, wide-angle view. This setting is more sensitive to movement so while it is doable handheld, we would recommend saving this one for a tripod when you can.
Another handy feature is the Osmo Mobile 3’s timelapse function. It can take a regular fixed timelapse or track along up to 4 selectable path points, for what DJI calls a motion lapse. The path points can be set quickly, and the motion is very smooth. Users can adjust the duration of the timelapse from 1 minute to 5 hours – or endless – and adjust the shot interval from half a second to one minute.
For an even more dramatic effect, try a hyperlapse. The hyperlapse function is intended to be used handheld. You can capture things like your hike or a car ride and condense it into a few seconds. Even without trying to keep the gimbal super still, the results are smooth and give your scene a more 3D-like feeling. Hyperlapses can utilize active tracking and capture at speeds between 5x and 30x real-time.
Stepping outside the DJI Mimo app, we can also use the Osmo Mobile 3 with our regular camera app. With our LG G8 ThinQ, for instance, we were able to use its manual video controls to capture 240 fps slow motion videos. While slow motion already reduces the effect of hand shake, the gimbal puts the results on a whole other level. Slow motion also pairs well with the FPV control mode for an otherworldly perspective.
DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Final Thoughts & Conclusion
The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is an impressive device. It checks all the boxes that matter for an advanced smartphone gimbal - it is effective at stabilizing footage, it is easy to use, it has long lasting battery life, and all at an affordable price. It is not a perfect gimbal, of course, but the minor flaws it has will not deter most users.
The Osmo Mobile 3 is physically compatible with just about every modern smartphone. If a phone fits in the cradle, then the gimbal will at least function on a basic level to stabilize it. The cradle supports phones up to 9.5 mm thick with a width between 62 and 88 mm. This means it can support even the 77mm wide Galaxy Note 10+ with ease. Bulky cases may need to be removed, but if they fit, the gimbal is powerful enough to work with them in place.
Its design does lack some control and range of motion, however. The Osmo Mobile 3 lacks a roll control outside of the M button double tap to switch between portrait and landscape orientations. The FPV control mode lets users roll the camera but sacrifices a good deal of stability and precision. Similarly, the gimbal cannot rotate a full 360-degrees. This limitation is mostly relevant for Motion Lapses and Panorama shot modes.
Unfortunately, the software side is also a mixed bag with the Osmo Mobile 3. iPhone users enjoy first rate compatibility with the DJI Mimo app. Androids are much more limited. Android devices can only record at 30fps, while iPhones can record at 24, 60, or even 240 fps for slow motion. Some Android devices, like our LG G8 ThinQ, are arbitrarily limited to 1080p, despite being 4K capable. This is regrettable.
DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Quality And Performance With Mimo And WithoutThankfully, the gimbal stabilizes regardless of the camera app used, so even with our G8 ThinQ we can use the Osmo Mobile 3 and capture 4K or slow-motion footage using the stock camera app. The Mimo app is necessary to unlock the Osmo Mobile 3's full potential, but it is really only essential for changing between control modes. Users can work around every other limitation of general video capture without opening Mimo, by using on screen controls.
Of course, the bottom-line is the DJI Osmo Mobile 3's smooth performance - and it is smooth. Micro-jitters and drift are two common issues that plague gimbals. We did not encounter any drift that was not our own fault. The gimbal does sometimes produce microjitters, but that is to be expected with a device this light and compact. The Mimo app shows a warning if it suspects the phone is poorly balanced. It also has a calibration routine to improve responsiveness. We suggest running this when switching between phones or any time you feel the phone may be listing to one side or the other.
The Osmo Mobile 3 makes smartphone video recording an enjoyable experience that truly ups your game. Whether your aim is serious cinematography or just to capture home movies for the holidays, it is easy to recommend thanks to its low $129 price point (now listing as low as $115 on Amazon), great performance and incredible ease of use.