If you tried to run after the kids while filming with your mobile phone, you have probably discovered that the recording was not as fun to watch as you thought. Although the phone may have image stabilization, it does not manage to compensate for a lot of movement.
Then the solution is a gimbal, a handle you hold in your hand, to which you attach your mobile. A gimbal has built-in stabilization, which works much better than the mobile phone, but it is quite large, especially if the stabilization is to be powerful enough to handle the largest mobile phones.
Another solution is to simply build the camera into a gimbal, as drone specialist DJI has done with the Pocket 2. Which is a tiny, handheld camera with stabilization, just like a gimbal. An action camera if you will.
For Pocket 2 invites to action. It is not the camera you take portrait or landscape pictures with, but films skaters, cyclists, alpinists or the children with. Everything is arranged so that you can actually run after the kids, and get a noticeable result on the TV afterwards.
Pocket 2 is, as the name suggests, easily pocketed, and still, you can draw and shooting very quickly.
The camera sits in a hoop, which has stabilization in three axes, and is a 20mm wide angle, which can take 4K 60p video with stereo or surround sound, or still images up to 64 Mp. The image chip itself is not a big deal at 1/1.7 inches, ie not much bigger than what you find in a medium class mobile phone, and it should turn out that it is one of the drawbacks on the Pocket 2.
Follows the motif
Everything is small on the camera, from the stamp-sized touch screen, to the few buttons available, and while it makes the Pocket 2 very travel-friendly, it does little for ease of use.
It’s not easy to see anything on the screen, at least not in sunlight, so the subject capture is primarily based on luck, but you can plug Pocket 2 to your mobile via the charging socket, and it comes with Lightning and USB-C adapter, which is pushed in in the slot with the multi-connectors on the camera. Then you can use the DJI Mimo app on your mobile, to control the camera, change settings and edit the clips with.
A bit like the groundbreaking DXO ONE camera we tested in 2016.
Most settings can also be made on the small touch screen, and once you get used to finding the settings, the operation works satisfactorily.
The camera has up to eight times zoom – four on video, and you can easily switch between still images and video, which you can also stream live on Facebook or YouTube. There is also a glamour mode, which smooths out wrinkles on selfies, making you look better on photos than in real life.
You can set the camera to track, for example, a skater, and then it clings on to the skater and follows the movements using the gimbal. Then you can move yourself as you want in relation to the subject, and actually make very cool videos. Which you can avoid the hassle of editing by letting the AI Editor function in the app take care of the clips, or put them together in Storymode, and add the music you want.
The camera can also take timelapse, 180 degree panoramic images, and you can choose the image format yourself. It is also possible to save the images as DNG files – raw files – or jpeg, and there are a number of accessories for Pocket 2. Like a stand, underwater housing and wireless microphone.
Picture and video quality
It’s actually a lot of fun to film with Pocket 2. Once you’ve learned to aim, using the hopelessly limited screen, you end up with very cool videos. The stabilization works excellently, but it fails to compensate for running, so soft movements also apply here when filming.
With the joystick mounted and the camera in hand, you have good control over the camera angles, but make sure that the sun and other light are not sent directly into the lens. Then you get a lot of scattered light on the pictures and recordings.
The video recordings are very good in 4K resolution, with good sharpness, good color saturation and relatively few artifacts. You can easily see them on the 65-inch in the living room, but the still images are never very sharp or detailed, even with 64 Mp. Here, most mobiles are better, and an iPhone 12, for example, has much better image processing that provides sharper still images with more details.
But it’s like a camcorder you should consider the Pocket 2, and here it hangs much better, compared to video on an iPhone. With the not insignificant bonus that the tracking function and stabilization can give you spectacular recordings, which the mobile needs extra equipment to handle.
Although the handheld Pocket 2 is nothing special to still camera, the video features are really good. As an action camera, the small DJI camera is a very flexible tool with many useful features. Tracking focus and tracking of the subject works very well, and connected to the mobile, Pocket 2 becomes a powerhouse for those who want to make cool shots without taking a large camera rig with them.