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DJI Pocket 2 Review: The Content Creator's Hidden Weapon

The Go-To Pocketable Gimbal

Matthew Keith Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

Are you interested in diving into the world of content creation? With the rise of streaming and the ever-growing popularity of video streaming sites like YouTube, more of us than ever find ourselves stepping in front of the camera. In today’s review, we’re looking at the DJI Pocket 2, a tiny, pocketable camera that includes its own gimbal. If you’re looking for an affordable way to take your content to the next level, this may be the answer. Let’s take a closer look. 

Specifications

Camera

  • Sensor: 1/1.7” CMOS Effective pixels: 64 MP
  • Lens: FOV 93° f/1.8 Format equivalent: 20 mm
  • ISO Range Photo: 
    • 100-6400 (16 MP), 100-3200 (64 MP) 
    • Video: 100-6400 
    • Slow Motion: 100-3200
  • Electronic Shutter Speed: L 8-1/8000 s
  • Max Image Size: 9216×6912 pixels
  • Still Photography Modes:
    • Single Shot: 16 MP, 64 MP
    • Countdown: 3, 5, 7 s
    • Panorama: 3×3, 180°
  • Video Resolution:
    • 4K Ultra HD: 3840×2160 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
    • 2.7K: 2720×1530 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
    • FHD: 1920×1080 @ 24/25/30/48/50/60fps
  • HDR Video Resolution:
    • 2.7K: 2720×1530 @ 24/25/30fps
    • FHD: 1920×1080 @ 24/25/30fps
  • Video Modes:
    • Video
    • HDR Video
    • Timelapse
    • Motion Lapse
    • Hyperlapse
  • Motion Lapse:
    • Left to Right
    • Right to Left
    • Custom motion (max 4 points)
  • Slow Motion:
    • 1080p/120fps (for 4x)
    • 1080p/240fps (for 8x)
  • Max Video Bitrate: 100 Mbps
  • Supported File Formats: FAT32 (≤32 GB)/exFAT (>32 GB)
  • Photo Formats:
    • JPEG/DNG
    • Video Formats
    • MP4 (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264)
    • Audio Output: 48kHz, AAC

Gimbal

  • Stabilization: 3-axis
  • Controllable Range: 
    • Pan: -230° to +70°Tilt: -100° to +50°Roll: ±45°
  • Mechanical Range:
    • Pan: -250° to +90°
    • Tilt: -180° to +70°
    • Roll: ±90°
  • Max Controllable Speed: 120°/s
  • Angular Vibration Range:  ±0.005°

Battery

  • Type: Internal
  • Capacity: 875 mAh
  • Operating Time: 140 minutes

General

  • Dimensions: 124.7×38.1×30 mm
  • Weight: 117 g

Full disclosure; I’ve been filming for about a year and a half. In that year I’ve progressed from my Pixel 2 XL to an old Sony 6000. I’ve used cell phone tripods, gimbals and just about any other piece of gear I could get my hands on. I’ve make-shifted my way through most of the videos I’ve created. I say this because I want to be transparent with my review of the DJI Pocket 2. I’m not a professional photographer or videographer; I don’t blog, vlog or splog (I’m sure that’s a thing) but I am an avid fan of those that do it professionally.   

So when the Pocket 2 was released from the good folks over at DJI I wanted to take it on not because I’m a professional but because I’m an enthusiast. I don’t have the high-end gear or years of experience and am relatively new to this whole world. Why is this relevant? It’s relevant because of what the Pocket 2 offers; a chance for an enthusiast to dive deeper into an incredible world of video and editing. So grab that coffee, kick back and check out our review of the Pocket 2 from DJI. 

Form Factor

The Pocket 2 is, first and foremost, a smart-looking camera. Its sleek design communicates quickly that it’s designed with a purpose. Weighing in at just 117g and small enough to literally fit in your pocket it’s one of the smallest most powerful cameras I’ve ever used. The review copy provided by DJI was the base model. The box included the camera, control interface, a case, adaptors for USB-C and Lightning, wrist strap, charging case and some fun stickers. DJI does offer a creator’s bundle for roughly $150 USD extra and it comes with a host of other fun items to round out your video editing toolbox.

However, for our purposes, I was armed with the camera and my ingenuity. Thankfully the base kit comes with everything you need to produce some great looking content. The Pocket 2 itself has a small form factor allowing you to inconspicuously shoot at a moment’s notice. Its mat black finish is accented only by a small red line around the lens and a small grey logo tucked in the top left corner of the view screen. 

Speaking of the screen, the Pocket 2 has a built-in viewer allowing you to actively monitor as you film. This all speaks to its design which I’ve decided to label as stealth filming. During my testing, I noted that it was easy to place the camera practically anywhere to film some great content. Everything from slow motion to timelapse is easily achieved without taking up a lot of real estate. Its lightweight form factor also means that holding an angle or extended periods of time without fatigue. 

Gimbal All The Way

The Pocket 2 makes filming easier, period. It fires up incredibly fast. Faster than I can actually get my phone to open the camera app. In fact, more than once I found myself reaching for the Pocket 2 over my phone or camera to take quick captures because of how much faster the whole setup process was. It’s this ease of use that makes it my go-to for things like B-roll or even ‘talking head’ shots.

It supports 3 axis gimbal stabilization which means I don’t have to rely on software stabilization on a camera or phone to get fluid continuous shots. The sheer amount of pan, tilt and roll coupled with its small size allows for some pretty creative shots in hard to reach places that a mirrorless or even cellphone would struggle to get. 

During my tests I found myself getting much more creative with shots because of the small size and flexibility of the Pocket 2. My only real issues with the gimbal came down to the speed of the micro joystick that can be attached to control the gimbal. It felt a bit sluggish to respond meaning it took me just a bit longer to set up shots. The flip side is that because of the slower moving controls it was easier to dial in on the shot you wanted. 

The gimbal comes with three modes; Follow, Tilt Lock and FPV (First Person View). Follow uses DJI’s Active Track 3.0 software to actively track a subject in real-time. It’s a fair power software that would work pretty well. 

In my case, where I am typically trying to stand behind and in front of the camera, it offers me a least a little more of a dynamic shot when I need to be in front of the camera. The one caveat is that it can struggle sometimes to track fast-moving subjects which means if you're filming an action or sports sequence you’ll most likely want to use the Tilt Lock. 

Tilt Lock does just that. It locks the tilt axis allowing you to move more freely with a shot while still maintaining that steady, fluid sequence. I found this really helpful when shooting pass by shots of objects or even moving through space. The gimbal does an exceptional job at holding the shot steady even if you’re hopped up on 7 cups of coffee which just happens to be my daily intake before noon. I found this to be my default mode of operation, simply because it was the most versatile for about 85% of my shots. 

The final mode of operation is the FPV which allows for a more relaxed stabilization. In my tests I found using FPV became quite handy when shooting selfie-style shots where I was simply a talking head to the camera. The stabilization allowed me a little more freedom of movement while maintaining a steady shot. 

Film the Way You Want

The Pocket 2 comes with several different film modes to accompany the gimbal modes. Each offers a fresh way to capture the content you want. Things like slow-mo and time-lapses which have traditionally been a bit of an enigma to me are easy to run on DJI’s little camera. Simply select the mode you want, program a few presets and let it do its thing. 

The time-lapse especially was fun to work with and offered quite a few presets to make shooting that much easier. Even things like the motion lapse mode come preset with directional control and can be customized to fit your setting. Filming epic B-roll is made easy with all that the Pocket 2 has to offer. 

The takeaway here is that the Pocket 2 is one seriously versatile camera. I’ve heard a few reviewers comment that their phones can handle some of these operations just fine. This is a true statement but it doesn’t account for just how much better and more accessible the Pocket 2 makes taking these types of shots. 

All of the above shots that I described were easily accomplished with a mode switch. No extra fiddling, figuring or planning. Simply turn it on and go. It’s one of my favourite things about the camera and it caters to the point I made earlier, this device allows the enthusiast to dive deeper into the world of filming. 

Crystal Clear

On that point, let’s talk about quality. The 2 takes some seriously clean, crisp video. Shooting all the way up to 4K ultra HD and 60fps means you don’t ever have to worry about low-quality video. Having features like time-lapse and slow-mo quickly accessible really allows for some fun creative B-roll. The 93° field of view means a wider shot which allows you to cover more of the area behind you during selfie-style shots. Throw in the 4K capture and it actually allows you to fake some nice “two angles” shots. 

There are a few limitations to the film quality to note. For starters, the Active track I mentioned earlier is limited to 1080 and 2.7K. It won’t allow for a 4K Capture while running. Also, HDR is limited to 2.7K and 1080 at 30fps. Slow-motion is also limited to 1080 at 120fps(4x) and 240fps(8x). Despite the “limitations”, the fact that a camera the size of a Coffee Crisp can capture HDR, slow motion and has active tracking in HD is a pretty impressive feat.

Plugged In

An interesting feature of the Pocket 2 is that it can be connected directly to a cell phone via the aforementioned adaptors. This, partnered with DJI’s Mimo software, opens the camera up to a whole new level of filming. The app offers a host of advanced features including manual controls for things like ISO, shutter speed and F-Stop as well as some on the fly editing for the content you’ve captured. 

The cell phone also becomes a monitor for viewing the camera in real-time. During all of my testing, there is virtually no lag between what I was shooting and what I was seeing. I found that when setting up time lapses (which the DJI handled masterfully) connecting the Pocket 2 to the phone and setting it up on my Manfrotto tripod allowed me to really get creative with some of my shots.

This is perhaps one of my favorite aspects of the camera. As an enthusiast who’s been shooting primarily with a phone until this last year, the Pocket 2 compliments a lot of the gear pieces I had purchased for my phone. It feels like a natural next step for those testing the waters of filming but who aren’t ready to invest in high-end mirrorless or DSLR, gimbals and stands.

Audio X4

The Pocket 2 comes equipped with four built-in mics. These work together with the direction of the camera to ensure that wherever the camera is pointed the subject is clearly heard. This Directional audio allows for much more freedom of movement when working with a subject. 

In my tests I found the audio quality to be consistent. The low end was a bit muffled from my tests, much of which I could correct in post. Overall though I was impressed with the intelligence of the design as the camera not only tracked the subject audio at a higher gain but still managed to capture clean background audio. Compared to cell phone mics or even some shotgun mics I’ve worked with, the Pocket 2 was superior and in some cases easier to set up and use. 

Snapshot

The Pocket 2 boasts a still photography shot at 64 MP. It also offers a host of pro settings like the aforementioned settings for the video to be used for still photography. It is true that you can take some pretty nice pictures with the Pocket 2 but unlike shooting video, I found the process to be cumbersome at the best of times. When shooting with just the camera, the view screen really doesn’t give you a clear idea of what your shot looks like, focusing can be a bit of a chore and adjusting colour is a challenge.

Even when connected to the phone I found myself fumbling to handle the camera, phone and make adjustments. It’s not to say that it can’t take a nice picture but it’s one area where your newest cell phone is definitely the superior device. I personally think I’ll stick to my phone or camera to capture still shots.

Charged Up

The Camera comes with an internal 875 Wh battery that is charged via a USB-C port at the bottom of the camera. Using the provided charger I found it took about 75 to 80 minutes to charge from 0 to 100 percent battery. DJI measured the record time at about 140 minutes at 1080p/24fps. Although I never achieved quite those times I did find that I could get about 120 minutes on average shooting everything from 4K to slow-mo to timelapse.

The lack of swappable batteries is a bit of a let down as you can’t hot-swap while shooting long sessions. Having to stop for a charge can be a bit frustrating. Thankfully the aforementioned two hours of film time does help offset that.   

Final Thoughts

The Pocket 2 from DJI feels like a natural next step for filming enthusiasts. It allows for ease of use that you don’t always get with a mirrorless, DSLR or even a cell phone. This combined with the quick power on and go features make it ideal for those on the go filmographers. What’s great though is that it's not just a run and gun type of camera. The Pocket 2 comes loaded with advanced features, 4K capture and full gimbal support. 

One of the big considerations is whether or not this will replace something in your existing kit. If you're a professional, probably not. It is however a much faster and convenient way of doing some things that your gear is doing for you. 

If you’re still new to filming and looking to make a jump up in your B-roll and main shooting, this little camera is going to help you achieve professional-looking shots without the huge hardware sync generally needed for the task. Priced at $349 USD. The Pocket 2 offers enough to justify the price point. 

The products decsribed in this review was sent on loan from DJI and returned following authoring.
8.0Great
Pros
  • Great filming potential
  • Powerful stabilization
  • Professional-level filming features
Cons
  • Limitations on Active Tracking 3.0
  • Non-swappable Battery
  • Photo mode doesn’t bring anything new or great to the table


Nexfury

Matthew Keith

Hailing from the Great White North, Matt's been playing games since the Sega Master System was new. About 20 minutes after picking up his first controller he discovered he had an opinion on the matter. Ever since he has been looking for ways to share it with others! Matt's a pastor, gamer, writer, geek, co-host of @Rollthelevel podcast, husband, father, and loving every minute of it!