I was recently lent the DJI OM 4, a new smartphone stabilizer, and tested it using a Samsung Galaxy S10 5G with DJI Mimo app. While I have used several stabilizers before, including ones from DJI, I found the OM 4 to be the best one I’ve used. Setup is easy, the performance is great and it’s loaded with features. In short, it’ll make you say, “Wow!”
What’s in the box?
The packaging is exquisite, befitting the awesomeness that is bundled inside. You’ll find the gimbal itself, magnetic phone clamp, magnetic ring holder, wrist strap, storage pouch, grip tripod and power cable. You also get a real instructional booklet, a rarity these days.
The only thing you’ll want to go online for is the DJI mobile phone compatibility list to ensure your phone will work. Fear not — most phones are on the list.
The gimbal’s design is pleasing and the polycarbonate construction seems solid. I find the grip to be comfortable and ergonomic. The gimbal itself weighs under one pound and folds up for storage to roughly a 6.5” x 4” x 2” footprint. It wouldn’t be a problem to pack this for a trip or even a day hike.
The OM 4 boasts 15 hours of battery life. Full charging time is about 2.5 hours via USB-C charging port. Phone running low on power? You can connect your smartphone to the DJI OM 4’s USB-A port to charge your phone.
The small basic grip tripod offers decent stability and can act as a way to lengthen the handle. Nonetheless, the gimbal includes a standard 1/4” tripod thread to attach a tripod of your choosing for greater stability.
The magnetic design was the first feature I noticed upon opening the box. You can use a stylish magnetic phone clamp, which is an arm that hugs the back and sides of your phone, or the small magnetic ring holder, which you need to stick to the back middle of your phone using the enclosed alignment guide.
Whichever method you choose, attach your phone to the gimbal in an instant via secure magnetic connection. If you ever need your phone while using the gimbal, simply detach your phone and holder away from the gimbal device.
I chose to use the magnetic clamp to avoid sticking something to my phone. Since the clamp had to be placed in the middle, it did hit a side button on my phone. But after exiting the screen that popped up on my phone, I didn’t have any further issues. It handled the weight of my larger phone with no balancing issues.
Connecting your phone to the gimbal
Ensure the free DJI Mimo app is installed on your smartphone. Then, attach your phone to the unfolded gimbal. Press the “M” button to turn on. Make sure your phone’s Bluetooth is on and the app is running.
While I’m used to having issues connecting to gimbals via Bluetooth, the DJI OM 4 connected automatically for me in a matter of seconds. If it doesn’t connect for you, simply find the device with an OM 4 prefix. You may be prompted for a firmware update if necessary.
The app will provide prompts for you to follow. These prompts deal with activation, registering a DJI account, and showing you a useful guide on the gimbal buttons. I have heard that the Android app is a little rough compared to the iOS app, but I did not have any issues with the Android version except the need to hit my phone’s back button once in a while to exit a screen.
The camera view and gimbal buttons
You can operate the gimbal in different modes when your phone is in landscape position. This includes upright, underslung, side grip and low position mode.
When you’re ready to record, you’ll see the camera view screen on your smartphone. This includes standard indicators, such as flash, battery life and access to your camera settings, as well as gimbal mode, ActiveTrack, Story mode, shooting modes and Gesture Control to name a few.
Gimbals take a little time to get used to, so take a minute to learn about the buttons, triggers and maneuverability. Besides being the power switch, the “M” button can be double-tapped to switch between landscape and portrait mode. The Shutter/Record button is used to take a photograph or start/stop recording.
The joystick is used to maneuver the tilt and pan manually. The Zoom Slider is used to zoom in or out, either one notch at a time or continuously. You can also zoom using your finger on the phone screen.
Finally, the trigger is held to lock the gimbal from following handle movements. It also provides other functions. Press once to begin ActiveTrack (more on that below), twice to recenter the gimbal and three times to switch between front/back camera. You can also press once and hold to enter Sport Mode (release to exit). The recenter gimbal option is quite responsive. Let’s dig deeper into the offerings:
Gimbal modes and ActiveTrack
The gimbal modes include Follow, Tilt-locked, FPV and SpinShot. Follow allows both the pan and tilt axes to follow. On Tilt-Locked, only the pan axis follows. The FPV mode allows pan, tilt and roll axes to follow. SpinShot allows the joystick to be used to control the roll axis rotation. Like the trigger, the joystick is well-positioned and responsive.
Sport Mode will vastly increase the follow speed of the gimbal. You also have the ability to invert the pan or tilt control.
ActiveTrack is an algorithm that detects people and faces. The gimbal will keep them centered in the camera view. Although I was not in a shooting situation at home to take full advantage of ActiveTrack, it was very easy to target a subject. There are three ways to access ActiveTrack. We discussed the first way earlier (pressing the trigger once). A second way is to drag a box on your phone screen while within the app camera view. A green box appears around the subject is tracking is successful. Cancel out of tracking by clicking the “X” icon.
The final way is to use Gesture Control. Simply hold out the palm or your hand or make a peace sign for two seconds. This feature worked immediately for me in selfie mode with the front camera. If using the back camera, the detection range for the gesture is up to about 12 feet. You can give the same gesture to stop recording.
Shooting modes and parameters
There are many useful shooting modes on the DJI OM 4. For photos, the Photo mode allows a single shot photo with one tap or burst shooting if the button is held. Pano mode allows 3-by-3 or 240-degree panorama photos.
Pano also holds the CloneMe option, which is a way to take several selfies with you in them. Simply set the camera somewhere and move yourself across the scene as prompted by the app. The app stitches the photos together automatically.
While in either Photo or Pano mode, you have access to ISO, shutter and EV settings, as well as the count down feature. However, built-in glamour effects are only available in Photo mode, not Pano mode.
For video, select Video to record normal video. You have access to glamour effects, video frame rate, ISO, shutter and EV settings. Slow motion records and 8x slow motion and only provides access to ISO, Shutter, and EV settings.
Time-lapse offers Position Time-lapse and Path Time-lapse. Position is your normal time-lapse, where you select an interval and duration. Path Time-lapse allows you to select up to four positions and the gimbal will travel through the positions in order during the recording interval. There is also a Hyperlapse mode. Both Time-lapse and Hyperlape offer resolution, FPS, ISO, shutter and EV settings. Time-lapse also allows video frame rate adjustments, while Hyperlapse has a speed adjustment. Both of these settings worked as expected during my review.
DynamicZoom allows you to select a subject in frame and either have the background move in or out while you follow the recording prompts. Think of it as a dolly zoom. After some failed attempts, I finally found an appropriate subject/scenario to use this on in my backyard and the feature worked nicely. Glamour effects, video frame rate, ISO, shutter and EV can be used while in this mode.
One separate feature is Story mode. This mode provides templates for video recordings and is straightforward to use. You can follow prompts while shooting video clips and a “story” video will be generated. While it may save a little post-production time for some users, it will be an asset to those with limited access to editing or motion graphics software.
Balanced and stable, with pristine maneuverability
Even though I only had the DJI OM 4 for a limited time, I was impressed by the amount of quality features it had. It was comfortable to hold, remained balanced and stable on all axes and maneuvered suitably with its high-torque motor. Focusing on appropriate pressing and releasing of the trigger lock and knowing when to supplement your moves with the joystick turned good shots into great shots. Its ability to support multiple shooting styles makes it versatile for any user.
While there are a plethora of modes on this device, I found the Pano and standard Video mode exceptional at doing the bulk of the shooting. The other features are certainly cool in the proper scenario, especially if you are a social media content creator on the go. If you find yourself alone, just use the tripod and explore the CloneMe feature and Gesture Mode. Short on production time? Story mode is an efficient way to add production tricks and music to your shots.
My least used feature was the zoom functionality, as I tend to avoid my phone’s digital zoom when possible, but it was relatively smooth to operate the zoom control.
I’d be a buyer of the DJO OM 4 as a useful tool in my mobile video production kit. It’s versatile enough to be the perfect tool for anyone trying to enhance their social media and digital marketing presence like a travel blogger, or for a family looking to capture life’s memories.
I’d also feel comfortable giving it to others to use if I was in a corporate social media environment, as the device can do it all once the user becomes familiar with its operation. Your only issue with the DJI OM 4 may be trying to remember all the modes and features available to you!