When I wrote last week about Benro's compact, folding handheld gimbal design, I had a hunch that DJI wouldn't be too far behind with such a feature. It was inevitable that, with the mature nature of gimbals these days, designers would turn to ergonomics and how to make the gimbal more compact for storage and carrying. And that's exactly what happened with the DJI Osmo Mobile 3. And while it's still only a smartphone centric mobile device, it's still got some great features that will entice mobile filmmakers to keep it in their bag.

"When we began designing Osmo Mobile 3, we went back to the drawing board with the goal of creating a portable yet intuitive product that uses the latest DJI technology,” said Paul Pan, Senior Product Manager. “We are excited to introduce DJI’s first gimbal with a folding design and hope it inspires our customers to imagine new ways of recording content with their mobile phones.”

Just about everything about the DJI Osmo Mobile 3 says "improvements."

The new foldable design is the most obvious feature, and it can literally make the OM3 fit in your pocket or backpack, so you can bring it along for every day use. My chief issue with the Osmo Mobile 2 was that it simply took up a lot of room in my pack, and that meant that all too often, I would leave it at home. Eventually, I sold it because I never used it -- but the new design makes the OM3 so compact that I could leave it in my bag all the time.

The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 with Folding Gimbal arrayCredit: DJI Global

DJI has also redesigned the smartphone cradle to carry a smartphone in the middle, freeing up the phone to use the gimbal for phantom power, keeping it charged during use. So what is the OM3's battery life? Well, how does 15 hours sound?

That's likely standby time, but even at half that, you'd have plenty to get you through the day, even if you have your phone plugged in drinking up some juice in the process.

Not only is the form of the OM3 compact and convenient, but it has some great, upgraded functions that make this gimbal a valuable tool for the mobile filmmaker or shooter on the go. First, the gimbal will automatically balance with your smartphone in seconds.  There's also a simple button which will toggle your phone between landscape and portrait mode without having to rebalance or reset it. A very nice feature for those vertical video addicts.

DJI also has taken into account that advanced shooters will want to add a more cinematic lens to grab a nicer shot, and you can add a lightweight lens, like the Moment Anamorphic Lens, without having to be bogged down with adding a counterweight to compensate. However, some heavier lenses may cause issues, but it looks like DJI has added a screw mount for counterweights in the future.

Active Track 3 with Face Detection keeps the subject square in the frameCredit: DJI

Through Bluetooth 5 and the DJI Mimo app, there is also a host of dynamic shooting modes that can come into play for telling your story:

  • Story Mode: Bring creative editing to your video with a host of preset music, video transitions, and filters. Choose one of 13 fun templates and Mimo will handle the camera movement for you. After shooting, Mimo automatically generates your very own professionally edited short video, ready to be shared.
  • Gesture Control: Easily snap a selfie without pressing any buttons. Once Gesture Control is enabled, show a “peace sign” or put up your palm and Osmo Mobile 3 will begin a photo timer countdown.
  • Sport Mode: Similar to the useful feature from the DJI Ronin series, Sport mode increases the response speed of the device to keep up when shooting fast-moving scenes.
  • ActiveTrack 3.0: DJI's image recognition and deep learning algorithms allow Osmo Mobile 3 to recognize and follow subjects of your choice, perfect for capturing family moments easily with a tap. You can even recompose the shot to place your subject more in line with the rule of thirds and Active Track will keep them there.
  • Time Lapse & Motion Lapse: If you’re looking to turn minutes into seconds, Time lapse is perfect for capturing unique content with the effect of the world moving faster around you, while Motionl apse adds the dynamic element of movement to your Time lapse by setting points for the camera to move to.
  • HyperLapse: Take the appealing visuals from Time lapse and add movement by manually moving Osmo Mobile 3 with you. Additionally, Hyper Lapse not only supports real-time Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) but also ActiveTrack 3.0.
  • Panorama: Get a wider perspective with panorama mode. Users can choose between 3×3 and 180° panorama modes. 
  • Slow Motion: Slow down the world around you with 4X or 8X Slow Motion. 

The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 Combo PackCredit: DJI Global

The DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is priced even lower than the Osmo Mobile 2, at $119. That comes with the OM3, wrist strap, storage pouch, and anti-slip pads for your gimbal mount. But trust me, you're going to want to pay an extra $20 for the combo kit, which will add the grip tripod and carrying case.  And for an extra $10, it'll also be covered under DJI's Osmo Shield service.

So for under $150, it's easy to see how the DJI Osmo 3 could find room in your camera bag.  

Check it out at DJI.com.