Recently in Consumer Electronics

The DJI OSMO Pocket ($350) debuted before CES with much fanfare and discussion. The petite, 3-axis gimble, 4K movie camera fits nicely in a top shirt pocket, but packs an incredible amount of imaging power in its svelt frame. It's not perfect, but by any reasonable measure, it is a breakthrough device.

DJI OSMO Pocket - Front

Highlight features include:

  • Gimbal Camera with 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor
  • Compact 4.1 oz, 4.8" High Design
  • Up to 4K Video at 60 fps, up to 100 Mb/s
  • Connects to Smartphone via Mimo App
  • 12MP JPEG or DNG Raw Still Photos
  • Includes Lightning & USB Type-C Adapters
  • Optional Wi-Fi & Bluetooth Monitoring
  • POV, ActiveTrack & FaceTrack Modes
  • Standard Time-Lapse & Motionlapse
  • NightShot & Panoramic Modes

The functions that I was most interested in were video recording (1080p and 4K), SloMo capture, timelapse, panorama, and audio recording. Because I've been using a DJI Spark for over a year, I felt like I already knew the OSMO when I first fired it up. They are indeed cousins from the same family.

Initial Setup

And like a DJI drone, the initial introduction might test your patience. Instead of powering up and recording a video, you must first endure a mildly tedious setup process where you register the device with your DJI account. All I have to say is you will get through it, and don't let it deter you from your goal of embracing the OSMO. Do plan on 10-15 minutes before you can actually get to work.

Using as a Standalone Device

DJI OSMO Pocket - LCD

There are two basic ways to use the OSMO Pocket: as a standalone device and connected to your smartphone. I began my journey using it as a standalone, walking through the press events at CES. It must have been quite a sight seeing a tall man strolling through the crowds with this petite device in his hand. As you will witness from the movie, no one seemed to care. The OSMO Pocket is too cute to be intimating.

With a little practice, I learned to shorten my stride providing even smoother capture. The gimble is terrific, in spite of the cameraman, and viewing the footage creates a real sense of presence. At this point, I was already hooked.

In standalone mode, you have a 1-inch screen to serve as the monitor. It's helpful for initial setup. Swipe right-to-left to configure the video settings, swipe up to initiate any of the special features such as ActiveTrack, and swipe down for the settings menu. When you've recorded the footage, swipe left-to-right for playback. It's that simple to operate.

But the real key to using the OSMO in motion is to set it up, then use your eyes to make the movie. Once I centered the screen on the scene that I wanted to record, I only checked it sporadically during capture, instead concentrating on holding the device steady as I moved through the crowd. With a little practice, this technique can produce very intimate moments. It's a little like becoming at one with the universe.

Working with a Connected Smartphone

When I did need to be more involved with the settings, such as working outside in contrasty light, I connected the OSMO Pocket to my iPhone X. This also requires downloading the DJI Mimo app. Again, controlling my Spark with the iPhone made the transition to the Mimo app quite comfortable. (The OSMO Pocket is both iOS and Android compatible, each with their own interchangeable connectors.)

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Adding the iPhone X to the mix not only gave me a bigger screen to work with, but better controls for exposure and gimble operation. Plus reviewing the video is quite nice, and you can even save and publish at this point if you wish.

The Mimo app can also stitch your panoramas and produce the timelapse videos you've captured. If you want to build your own panos, such as with Lightroom, the individual files are the microSD card in the OSMO.

Night Photography and Slow Motion Capture

Since I was in Las Vegas, I decided to really push the envelope and record night video in slow motion mode. The OSMO Pocket has a tiny 1/2.3" CMOS Sensor, so this seemed like a challenging test.

I'll let you judge for yourself by viewing the following movie. Clearly, the footage isn't theater quality, but it's impressive if you stop and think that all I've done is pull this little device out of my pocket, hold it in my hand, and record.

Vlogging and Audio

Some of the harshest criticism of the OSMO Pocket comes from the very audience it was designed for: video bloggers. Triple-tap the right button, and the camera lens whips around pointing directly at the operator. Press the record button, and start talking.

The mic port is on the back side of the OSMO, so it's clearly there for field reports. I recorded my spot with car traffic in the background so you could get a feel for the dialog in normal outdoor settings. (I haven't enhanced any of the clips in any way.)

And just to be brutal, I set the OSMO Pocket to 4K capture. I thought it handled both the audio and video quite well, and is definitely usable for individual field reports. See what you think.

Bottom Line

The DJI OSMO Pocket is a perfect device for those who want to capture the world while moving through it. You can easily add your own commentary, suplement the reporting with 12MP still images, panoramas, and timelapse clips.

I don't see it as a device for two-person interviews and more sophisticated reporting. The OSMO Pocket is for individuals, sharing their thoughts and their view of the universe. And as such, I consider it a breakthrough device, especially for $350.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The DJI OSMO Pocket has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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5 Takeaways from Day 1, CES 2019

The doors opened at Las Vegas Convention Center and the people flowed through them to experience the first day of the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. After exploring both the North and Central Halls, here 5 takeaways from my adventure.

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Automotive is Cool

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Transportation is indeed getting exciting. Automotive technology is sophisticated and seems to entering a new golden age. And it's not just cars as we know them, but versatile robotic devices that can transport people and cargo in a variety of situations.

Polaroid and Kodak Refuse to Give Up

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3-D Printing, instant photography, clever projectors, and a variety of fun imaging tools filled both booths. To be honest, they were a couple of the most fun places to hang out.

Full Frame Mirrorless is Just Too Big

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I got a good look at the Panasonic S2, spent time in the Sony booth, checked out Nikon, and visited Canon. Most lenses for full frame mirrorless, especially the zooms, are just to dang big and heavy. In terms of size and weight, it feels like DSLRs all over again.

Sony Puts Pro Support on Display

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Among all the glitz and glamor in the Sony booth, there was the Pro Support team working on cameras. Not sure whose they were, but the message was clear that Sony wants to be a player with professionals.

CES is Fun

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There's a reason why the halls are crowded. CES is a fun event. It's thought-provoking, entertaining, and sometimes just plain whacky. But it's a treat for the senses, and it provides some insight into the direction of consumer technology for the year ahead.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

CES 2019 for media launched on Sunday with a series of press events capped off with CES Unveiled in the evening. This was our first opportunity to get a feel for the direction of this year's event.

CES Unveiled

The first thing that I was aware of was the increased security. Badges have ID photos, plus there were bag checks, metal detectors, and lots of eyes on the scene. It was handled well and didn't cause any major delays, but it certainly was noticeable.

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Vloggers are everywhere. Interviews and video reports were underway in every direction. The crush of press means that practically every vendor will at some point be on camera.

CES Unveiled

In terms of the products themselves, health is definitely a theme for 2019. Devices to help you sleep better, monitor your vital signs, and improve your well being were abundant. Home automation and security are also ongoing themes. So far, not a lot happening in photography, but the week is young. And I think once the actual show starts, we're going to see a lot of activity in the automotive space.

Stay tuned for more to come. Day two of the media event promises to be a busy one.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

I haven't updated my iPhone X to iOS 12.1 yet because it includes the controversial battery performance feature for 2017 handsets. At some point I will update, but not until I've thought about this a bit more.

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My understanding from Tim Cook and Apple was that the advanced hardware in the iPhone X would not require iOS battery performance management. Based on what we see in iOS 12.1, that isn't the case.

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All of this may be moot for me anyway. A year ago, I decided to learn more about taking care of my iPhone battery, using the new handset as a fresh start for a different approach. In the article, A New Way to Charge My Smartphone, I outlined the basic changes I was making. Essentially, I no longer leave the phone plugged-in at night, opting instead to top it off during the day when it's around 50 percent.

In part, this became easier thanks to the Samsung Qi Certified Wireless Charger Pad I keep on my desk at the studio. I just plop the iPhone X on it, and refreshing the battery is easier than ever.

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So now, a year later, how did my grand experiment work? It appears quite well. I checked my Battery Health (Settings > Battery > Battery Health) to see that my Maximum Capacity is at 97 percent. It also reads that the battery can support normal peak performance. Great news!

My "new way" to recharge my phone has become second nature. How big of an impact on my battery health does this approach have? There's no way for me to know without running a side-by-side test. But after a year of rigorous use, I'm happy with 97 percent.

It will be interesting to see what battery health is in November of 2019.

As for the update to iOS 12.1. I'm going to sit tight for just a little while to see if Apple responds to the criticism about adding performance management for its 2017 handsets. Through future updates, they may add further enhancements to the tool that might make it a bit more appealing. My understanding is that I can turn it off if I wish. But something a bit more refined other than a binary "on or off" approach would be even better.

One final note on the iPhone X - Over the last year, it has performed very well. Battery life is excellent, and I seldom find myself below 25 percent. The camera is wonderful, as is its overall responsiveness. I really like it.

If I can continue to maintain good battery health with this handset, I can see me using it for quite a long time. And in this era of disposable devices, that would make me very happy.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Think about the things that you might want from a portable power pack while on a roadtrip. A unit light enough to toss in your bag while on hike would be good. A powerful flashlight is always helpful on the road. But what if you returned to your car only to discover that the battery was dead because you left a light on? Wouldn't if be nice if your power pack was robust enough to jump the car? Meet the Cobra JumPack CPP 9000.

P7066255-JumPack-cables-1024.jpg The jumper cables plug into a special port on the JumPack. They can be left in the car while you carry the basic unit with you while on foot.

I know it sounds crazy, but it works. When the cables are connected to the JumPack, it has a 200 Amp starting current, with a 400 Amp peak current that can jump start most cars multiple times on a single charge. It uses a 7500 mAh Lithium-Cobalt battery and special circuitry to get this job done.

Yet, the JumPack is not much bigger than my iPhone X and weighs less than a pound. So I can carry it with me to power up my USB devices.

P7066267-JumPack-size.jpg The unit is light enough and compact enough to fit in your backpack or gear bag. Here it is next to my iPhone X.

For refueling USB devices, such as smartphones and tablets with the with the 5-Volt/9-Volt output port. All you have to do is plug the phone's USB cable into the JumPack, and it automatically starts charging it. You can use the device while it's connected to the power pack.

P7066249-JumPack-iphone-charge-v2.jpg Charging the iPhone X via the JumPack's 5-Volt/9-Volt port.

There's plenty of safety built-in as well. The JumPack is built to be compliant with safety standard UL 2743. Even when you're jumping the car, everything is protected via its cutoff circuitry. To jump a vehicle, connect the cables to the battery, then connect the JumPack. You'll first see a red LED indicating that it's verifying the connections. Then the light will turn yellow while it's transferring power to the battery. Finally, when the LED turns green, you can start the ignition.

P7066251-JumPack-ports.jpg Input and output ports, plus the LED flashlight.

The 500 lumen, high-intensity flashlight features strobe and SOS functions for emergency assistance. Hold the green button for 3 seconds to turn on the lamp, then cycle through the different functions by pressing the green button. The flashlight does work while you're charging a USB device, so both functions can be tapped simultaneously.

The JumPack includes a mini-USB cable that you can use for recharging the unit via any USB charger. In my testing, it took about 3 hours to refresh the JumPack from 25 percent to full charge, using an Apple 10 watt USB charger. The JumPack will hold its juice for 8 months. So it you have it stored in an emergency kit, I would top it off twice a year.

P7066268-JumPack-in-bag.jpg The JumPack kit includes the power unit, USB cable, jumper cables, and a bag that holds everything.

The Cobra JumPack CPP 9000 is available directly from the Cobra website for $129. It's powerful enough to start a V8 engine, motorcycle, or boat. And it's light enough to slide into your camera bag. I'll definitely have it with me on my next roadtrip.


Nimble Photographer Logo

The JumPack has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Two useful Type-C accessories that I discovered at CES 2018 for photographers on the go are the Kingston Nucleum ($79) and the LaCie's DJI Copilot ($349).

The Kingston Nucleum

P1082882.jpg The Kingston Nucleum connected to a new MacBook. Photo by Derrick Story.

The Kingston Nucleum allows you to connect your favorite USB devices, plus HDMI, SD cards, and microSD cards, all in one slim, portable, stylish hub. Five ports, two card readers, and no external power required.

Aside from the handsome design, I really like the quality of the cord and its two connecting ends, which are reinforced. This is a high performance accessory that should serve you well over the long haul. And it looks great beside your new laptop computer.

LaCie's DJI Copilot

Another USB-C device that may be of interest to photographers is LaCie's DJI Copilot.

P1082887.jpg LaCie's DJI Copilot. Photo by Derrick Story.

This portable USB-C device has some impressive features:

  • 2TB Storage Capacity
  • USB 3.1 Type-C Interface (interchangeable with other interfaces)
  • Integrated SD Card Reader
  • Directly Copy Files - No Computer Needed
  • Review Footage on Your Mobile Device
  • Backup Battery Pack for USB Devices
  • Integrated Status Screen
  • Manage and Organize Files
  • Drop- / Splash- / Dust-Resistant
  • Windows, Mac, iOS & Android Compatible

The big selling point here is that you don't need to bring your computer in the field to backup your camera's memory cards. The Copilot will take care of that by itself, and it will provide you with completion status on its integrated screen. So you know when it's safe to reformat the card.

You can also view your files in the field if you have a table device with you. The Copilot connects to iPads and other portables as well as the computer when you return home. And with its ample 2 TB of internal storage, you should be covered, even on extended shoots.

Additionally, I saw many other USB-C devices at CES, such as the Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD and the Western Digital 1 TB stick flash drive.

So, by combining the Nucleum for your existing peripherals and adding a new accessory or two, your new state-of-the-art computer becomes just a bit more friendly.

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

CES Unveils the Connected Home

The theme at the first press event was clear: we're going to take every device you use at home and put a WiFi or Bluetooth radio in it. That was the scene last night at CES Unveiled, at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

P1035844-CES-Unveiled-speaker.jpg A wireless speaker isn't that unusual, unless it's one that levitates. The Mars by Crazybaby. Photos by Derrick Story.

Common items such as hairbrushes, mirrors, dog collars, lighting, bicycles, and practically anything else you can think of can now talk to your smartphone or be connected to a home automation system.

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Does this mean that this will be the entire focus of the show when it opens on Thursday? No, it won't. Each press event takes on its own theme. But I did find it interesting that the opening salvo was a home operated by tiny radios.

P1035821-CES-Unveiled-lighting.jpg Plenty of LED lighting options too, such as this unit by Luke Roberts Smart Lighting.

We'll see what today brings. Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing what the auto makers show off, as well as digital imaging.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore CES in Las Vegas.