If you’ve ever tried to capture video or time-lapse footage with your smartphone, you know that even with built-in image stabilization, footage can be shaky and unpolished. Enter the DJI OM 5, a compact 3-axis gimbal. In addition to gimbal stabilization, the OM 5 makes it easy to pan and zoom, track subjects, and create visual stories that can be instantly shared on social media.
Is it worth upgrading or investing in? let’s find out
The central theses:
- 3-axis stabilization
- Magnetic phone mount for quick setup
- Built-in extension rod allows for creative shots and angles
- The ShotGuides feature recommends camera shots based on what you’re filming and creates clips for social media
- ActiveTrack 4.0 subject tracking is very effective
- Video modes like DynamicZoom and SpinShot can create cool effects
- Companion Mimo App contains many tutorials
- Six hours of battery life
A little over a year after its predecessor, the OM 4, the OM 5 is about a third smaller when folded and fits in a pocket or small purse. Alongside the physical changes, the OM 5 includes notable improvements and new features, most notably DJI’s Active Track 4.0 for object tracking and a built-in extension pole.
The OM 5 gimbal
When folded, the OM 5 is very compact. A built-in 215mm extension pole lets you capture group shots or more challenging angles. The ‘M’ button on the side turns the device on. Just below is a slider that allows you to quickly zoom in and out.
A new integrated 215mm extension rod helps you capture more challenging or unconventional shots. It is much easier to shoot from a low angle with the rod extended.
A joystick on the front of the device allows you to tilt or pan the smartphone, and a capture button takes photos or videos when pressed. Holding down the record button activates burst recording. This button is especially useful when using the extension pole.
Below the record button is a toggle button. Once pressed, you can switch between the front and rear cameras on your smartphone. Pressing the button twice toggles the orientation between landscape and portrait. A large trigger button on the back locks the gimbal when held down, activates Active Track 4.0 when pressed once, and re-centers the gimbal when pressed twice.
A strong magnetic clamp with rubberized grips easily mounts even the largest smartphones.
A 1/4″-20 UNC connector on the bottom attaches to the included tripod. DJI recommends using the tripod when recording time-lapse or hyperlapse clips for the smoothest possible footage. Allows you to attach a microphone or other counterweight with weighing less than 290g A lanyard hole on the underside, just above the tripod attachment point, allows for the attachment of a wrist strap.
A magnetic smartphone holder, first introduced on the OM 4, makes attaching or detaching the phone easy
A magnetic smartphone holder, first introduced on the OM 4, makes attaching or detaching the phone easy. The magnet needs to be centered on the phone to avoid vibration due to uneven weight distribution, but once you’ve attached the magnet, mounting the phone is quick and easy.
Charging the OM 5 takes just 1.5 hours and offers up to six hours of battery life.
Die DJI Mimo-App
The OM 5 uses DJI’s Mimo smartphone app, which is filled with tutorials that explain how to use and get the most out of each feature.
On the right side of the app you will find a new DJI feature called ShotGuides. It recognizes the environment you are in and automatically recommends a firing sequence. Weddings, people and pets are just a few examples. (I tried it while filming a tennis practice and the app marked it as “leisure”.)
Once a series of clips have been recorded, the app stitches together multiple predefined recordings of varying time lengths to create an instantly shareable clip that includes music and graphics.
ShotGuides recognizes the environment or activity you are filming and recommends a shooting sequence. You have the option to set which direction the gimbal will move automatically. It records a certain number of seconds before you can choose the next angle for the next shot.
On the right side of the app or below, depending on the orientation of the smartphone, you will find the photography and videography recording modes. They are:
- Hyperlapse: Record a hyperlapse sequence while moving the phone.
- Time Lapse: There are four ways to record this: fixed, sequence, right to left, or backwards. There’s also custom movement to select up to four positions for maneuvering the gimbal.
- DynamicZoom: simulates a dolly zoom effect.
- Slow Motion : Record videos in either 4x or 8x slow motion.
- Video: record normal video.
- Photo: Take normal pictures. Pressing and holding the button activates burst mode.
- Pano: recording 3×3, 240° or CloneMe. The latter creates an image in which the same subject appears in multiple places in the same photo. It counts down 5 seconds after each shot to allow your subject to move to the next position in the frame.
- Story: offers a variety of templates, guides, and automated angles. After each clip is captured, it’s stitched together into an instantly shareable story.
This short video shows an example of DJI’s ShotGuides feature in action. It stitches multiple clips together, then adds some music and graphics for quick social media sharing.
DJI’s ActiveTrack 4.0 can be used when you want the gimbal to automatically track a subject and is activated when you draw a square around a subject’s head and shoulders. It will keep the subject centered in the frame and follow it, automatically panning and tilting the gimbal head to do so.
Finally, you can use gesture controls to instruct the gimbal to track you when you’re in front of the camera. Hold your palm up to the camera or make a “V” shape with your fingers for two seconds to activate subject tracking.
Back to top
how to use dji om5
The OM 5 is light, agile and overall impressive. What was awkward for me was the process of unfolding the gimbal. Although it’s designed to fold down to the smallest dimensions possible, I found it a bit confusing to unfold and almost thought it would break in one place. However, the plastic is strong and durable — not as flimsy as some competing products.
One thing to note is that the joystick that pans and tilts the gimbal, along with the zoom switch, is unresponsive to pressure applied to it. You’ll need to go into the app’s settings to adjust how fast or slow you want these transitions to happen. It’s a bit tiresome as it would be less work to apply that pressure from your finger to get the speed you want when panning or zooming.
The OM 5 magnetic phone mount with its rubberized sides was able to hold my iPhone 12 Pro Max easily and I wasn’t worried about it falling off the gimbal. Once the phone is jammed and the device is turned on, the Mimo app connects everything almost instantly. This is a refreshing departure from sometimes waiting a few minutes for a DJI drone to connect to the remote controller.
Getting used to the shooting modes will take some trial and error. For example, I wanted to record a time-lapse with two-second intervals. Instead, I discovered that I had recorded a total of two seconds of time lapse. In contrast, DynamicZoom, which mimics the dolly zoom effect made famous by filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock, is fairly simple. Then there’s ShotGuides, a new feature DJI is announcing with this release.
While the tutorial videos provided for ShotGuides show users how to shoot different angles, I found these shots difficult to replicate in real life.
While the tutorial videos provided for ShotGuides are intended to show users how to shoot different angles, I found it difficult to replicate the same shots in real life. The whole setup feels a bit overwhelming, especially with video popping up every time you select a new shot to record. The last video, stitched together, has animations throughout that look dated and, frankly, cheesy. However, each clip is saved to your phone in case you feel like editing them for something that looks more organic.
With ActiveTrack 4.0 I was able to track and follow my dog while he was getting a treat. It works remarkably well, keeping the subject centered in the frame. Another unique feature I liked was Spin Shot. Enabled in the app’s settings, it steadily rotated my phone 270º and created a decent video clip while filming at a skate park.
DJI has also incorporated Glamor Effects. The good news is that the built-in filters don’t mirror some of the effects that a Snapchat filter gives you. I was surprised to find that it doesn’t emphasize your facial features so much that you might look caricatured or artificial. When the front camera is on, you can adjust a slider to make your face appear slimmer, your eyes larger, and your cheeks rosier. The end results are subtle and can be flattering.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s important to make sure your smartphone is as centered as possible. Even when I thought I had mastered that, the material I recorded wasn’t always as expected. While researching this, I found an OM 4 video on YouTube called Expectation vs. Reality. The bottom line is that you need to spend time with this device to perfect your shots. nothing is really instantaneous.
For example, if you buy an OM 5 for a vacation and take it out of the box and expect it to get your intended shot on the first try, you’re likely to be disappointed. While easy to set up, it takes practice. Many features are built into the Mimo app, and certain customizations can only be made in Settings. However, if you know the modes and the right ways to shoot, you can create polished and professional-looking content.
Who is it for?
Every photographer knows the phrase “The best camera is the one you have with you”. Most photos are taken with smartphones. It’s easy and convenient. Camera technology has improved a lot over the past few years and the ones on my iPhone 12 Pro Max, for example, deliver incredible results.
Professional photographers using larger cameras will likely stick with the DJI Ronin series. Content creators and vloggers, especially those who regularly upload clips to TikTok and Instagram Stories looking to transcend typical or footy-looking photos and videos, would benefit from some of the OM 5’s newer features. Overall, it’s robust and offers stable recordings. The tripod also holds up well in windy conditions.
Getting used to the OM 5 requires a bit of a learning curve. However, the results you can achieve with this 3-axis gimbal to record videos, hyperlapse and time-lapse or take photos from difficult angles make it worth investing time and money. This is something smartphone users or those looking to share creative content on the go can benefit from.
What we like:
- Compact and lightweight
- The tripod makes it easy to capture smooth and stable footage
- Stories feature and tutorials make creating compelling content accessible
- Up to six hours of battery life
What we don’t do:
- Design is a bit clunky; Unfolding can be a challenge
- Gimbal movements can be a little jerky at times