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The End of an Era of Shaky Amateur Video?
We’ve come to accept shaky, poorly-angled, and generally nauseating video as an unfortunate and unavoidable product of democratized videography. As video capturing becomes more accessible, standards for quality continue to go out the window. According to CDB (Communities Dominate Brands), over 4 billion people own a video recording device of some kind as of 2014. Couple that with the 3.2 billion global Internet users and you get a perfect storm of nearly indigestible amateur video uploads. We see endless portrait-angle shots (read: WorldStar) that should’ve been in landscape. We deal with the unbearably unsteady POV scenes of smartphone users running toward the action. Hollywood has even crafted a new genre that artfully mimics amateur recordings. And despite all of this, more often than not, we just can’t look away.
There’s Hope For a Smoother Future
As high-res cameras and their companion stabilizers enter the affordable equipment price range, we might begin to see a dissipation of this type of previously inevitable user error. Products like the GoPro Karma and DJI Osmo aim to push amateurs toward the realm of the pros, without forcing anyone to break the bank. Sure, as it stands these items aren’t exactly cheap. And they certainly won’t come close to the widespread availability of a low-priced camera phone. Still, relatively inexpensive products that improve stabilization and video resolution could slowly start to alleviate our current shaky situation. It won’t be too long before Youtube is chock-full of professional quality cat videos. For now, we can only dream.
GoPro Gunning For Stable Glory
GoPro experienced an extremely rough (some might even say ‘shaky’) conclusion to 2016. As the original ‘go-to’ drone camera attachment, GoPro realized that it made perfect sense to enter the drone game themselves. They also knew that one of the main appeals of drone videography was the motorized stability that gimbal technology provides. So, they went a step further and designed a seamless system for moving from land to air without losing any steadiness. They built a grip system with a detachable gimbal that fit perfectly into their new drone. And just like that, Karma was born.
GoPro survived an initial snag when DJI released their better reviewed and similarly priced Mavic Pro drone at the same time as the Karma announcement. To be fair, DJI dominates the consumer drone industry and the Mavic Pro is arguably their best product to date. Plus, the immediate comparisons drawn between the two machines likely boosted overall consumer interest in the Karma. GoPro’s real problem came when they were forced to issue a massive recall of the Karma drone (not the Grip or gimbal) due to issues that would occur mid-flight. After a year of slowly declining sales and dwindling stock, this manufacturing tragedy turned out to be a critical blow.
As November of 2016 rolled around, GoPro announced that they planned to cut 15% of their overall staff. The cut was the result of an unanticipated decline in sales and a “larger-than-expected net loss”, resulting in a restructuring of several departments. While the DJI competition and the failed Karma launch weren’t entirely to blame, they certainly played their part in GoPro’s year-end debacle. As the much-dreaded 2016 finally concluded, GoPro stood weakened and jumbled. Nevertheless, the action-cam juggernaut carried onward.
Back In Action
Now, GoPro’s Karma drone is back on the market and the company is fighting for its place in the sky. Fortunately, their gimbal, handheld stabilizer grip, and flagship camera were never a part of the issue. That’s why we’ve decided to provide a detailed comparison of the GoPro Karma Grip land stabilizer and the DJI Osmo. While popular decision might rule in favor of DJI’s drones over GoPro’s, the debate over their handheld stabilizers isn’t as clearcut. Time to proceed with the ever-contentious battle of the gimbals!
Karma vs Osmo
The key difference between GoPro and DJI is that the former is a camera manufacturer, while the latter is a drone manufacturer. Yes, both companies dabble in each other’s primary domains. Yet, the formal identities of the two companies are intrinsically different. So how does that difference manifest in their competing gimbal products?
Look + Feel
Well, at first glance, the DJI Osmo looks and feels like it would be a smarter instrument overall. It appears to have a more intelligently crafted ergonomic design and the handle includes a joystick and trigger (which the Karma lacks). On the other hand, the Karma is a straight, semi-rubberized stick with four embedded buttons. Yet, as we all know, looks can be deceiving. It turns out that despite the fancier design of the Osmo, the Karma is less burdensome to hold and control for extended periods of time. While that might not seem to be a deal breaker at first, lengthy sessions will inevitably shift from fun to tiresome if the user is even slightly uncomfortable. And that can make or break a cameraperson’s relationship with their equipment.
Another difference lies in the apparent ruggedness of the two tools. When people hear GoPro, they generally think of waterproof durability. When thinking of DJI, they usually picture a line of sophisticated drones. While neither the GoPro Karma or the DJI Osmo are entirely waterproof, the former definitely seems to have a stronger backbone. GoPro has stated that the Karma Grip is splash-proof and will easily survive rain or snow. DJI does not recommend the same type of treatment for the Osmo.
In a head-to-head battle for stability, both tools perform very well. They completely do away with shaky hands and make even the most rapid movements look at least semi-professional. They both allow the user to lock the camera in place while they move along the various axis. If we had to pick one, however, we would choose the Karma due to its ability to smooth out ‘up-and-down’ jerky movements caused from running or riding/driving on a bumpy road.
- $299.99 (without camera) + $399.99 (for Hero 5 Black) ~ about $700
- Shutter Button; Power/Mode Button; HiLight Tag Button; Tilt Lock Button; Battery Status Lights.
- Camera is removable.
- 4k up to 30fps, 2.7k up to 60fps, 1080p up to 120fps, 720p up to 240fps, 480p @ 240fps.
- Waterproof to 10m; touch screen; voice control; GPS
- Internal battery can’t be removed, uses USB-C to charge.
- 1.75 hours
- Splash-proof (rain or snow)
- Other Features:
- Detachable gimbal
- Large range of accessories
- $649 for Osmo+ (3-axis vs 2-axis)
- Joystick (controls pan and tilt); Trigger (controls camera lock);
- Included in price, not detachable.
- 4k up to 30fps, 2.7k up to 30fps, 1080p up to 100fps, 3.5x optical and 2x digital lossless zoom.
- Removable battery with 1 hour playtime life. Reviews have noted that this is inconsistent and it’s usually less.
- Not water or shock resistant.
- Other Features:
- Selfie Mode (instant camera spin around)
- Large range of accessories.
So What’s The Consensus?
Most third-party critics agree that these two stabilizers are nearly equal in performance and ease-of-use. It really comes down to personal preference, as do most neck and neck comparisons. If you want more versatility and the ability to remove the camera from the stabilizer, the GoPro Karma is the obvious choice. If you’re a fan of fancier equipment with more controls, then the DJI Osmo might be better for you. Ask yourself what type of situations you’re most likely to use this in. The outdoor, flexible, and more in-the-moment scenarios will be better for the Karma. In contrast, the Osmo lends itself to a more refined, pre-planned, and scrupulous approach.
What Software Should You Use With Your New Stabilizer?
Regardless of which camera system you decide on, you’re likely going to amass an enormous collection of footage and photos. The most common problem with GoPro users is the endless amount of unparsed videos that they have stored away on their computers. These camera systems make it so easy to point and shoot, but they often lack the companion software required to make use of the footage. Fortunately, the younity app can help save you from the tragedy of neglected footage.
What is younity?
younity is a media server software that automatically organizes your content and makes it instantly available on all of your devices. It works by scanning the hard drives of your computer(s) and delivering your media to your smartphones, tablets, and laptops in a simple and approachable fashion. With younity, you no longer have to worry about which device you uploaded your footage onto or where you store your videos on that device. The younity app finds all of your photos and videos, organizes them by category (including GoPro), and presents them to you with a Netflix-like interface.
The younity app is the perfect companion for every GoPro user or general video-maker. GoPro videos (and all 4k videos) are typically ginormous files that no one can fit onto their mobile devices. This unfortunately leads to a build-up of unseen footage locked away on your computer. With younity, you can carry your GoPro videos with you wherever you go, freeing your footage from its computer prison. You can show them to friends and family, share them directly into Instagram or WhatsApp, or watch them yourself whenever you’re in the mood.
younity is also extremely useful for transferring large video files from one computer to the next. You can upload your videos onto your computer at home and then venture to your office or studio computer to stream and/or download them from within the app. Or, you can use the mobile app to open your videos into any third-party editing apps and then share them into Instagram, Facebook Messenger, or any of your favorite social media or messaging platforms. It doesn’t matter if you use DJI’s Osmo, GoPro Karma, or any other type of camera system. If you have have content stored on your computer and other devices, younity is the obvious choice for automatically organizing, enjoying, and unifying your digital life.
Be sure to check out the Top 5 Free GoPro Apps!
Click here to learn more about younity.