It’s no secret that video content has become a dominant force in the world of social media. In a world where a picture is worth a thousand words, a video can be valued at a million. However, capturing stunning video isn’t as straightforward as snapping a photograph. This is especially true if you’re new to the world of videography, like me.
As a newcomer to video creation, I found it challenging to find a camera that was both beginner-friendly and capable of producing high-quality video without breaking the bank. I spent years debating between a DSLR, mirrorless camera, or even a GoPro, and ended up relying on my trusty iPhone. But then, finally, I discovered a game-changer that offered convenience, portability, ease of use, and remarkable quality – the DJI Pocket 2.
Introducing the DJI Pocket 2
The DJI Pocket 2 is a remarkable three-axis stabilized camera that boasts an impressive 64MP photo resolution and 4K video recording capability, all in a compact device that can easily fit into your pocket. This camera is astonishingly lightweight and utilizes motorized gimbal stabilization to ensure smooth, steady footage while you’re on the move. Equipped with an upgraded 1/1.7-inch sensor and a 20mm f/1.8 lens capable of 8x zoom, the DJI Pocket 2 is a powerhouse in a tiny package. It also features four built-in microphones, delivering an exceptional audio and video experience.
Getting started with the DJI Pocket 2 is a breeze. Straight out of the box, I was impressed by its compact size. After a quick read through the starter guide and a bit of charging, I inserted a microSD card and started experimenting with the device. The camera itself is incredibly user-friendly – power it on, hit record, and you’re good to go. Within seconds, you’ll be capturing stunning video on a device that doesn’t appear capable of delivering such quality.
The only minor hiccup I encountered was the touchscreen menu. Swiping in any direction brings up different menu options, which can be slightly confusing initially, but it’s nothing too complex, especially for those familiar with various camera settings. Even after a few days of use, I found myself occasionally struggling to remember where certain settings were located.
Reviewing Your Footage
After capturing your photos or video, you have multiple options for reviewing your footage. The simplest method is to connect your device to your computer using a USB-C cable, access the folder, and select the files you wish to view and save.
If you have a microSD reader, it’s even more straightforward. Eject the card from your DJI Pocket 2, insert it into your reader, and you’re good to go. However, many beginners may not have a reader, so I recommend sticking with the first option or trying the third.
If you prefer viewing your footage on your phone, the DJI Pocket 2 comes with a detachable lightning or USB-C smartphone adapter that allows you to plug the DJI Pocket 2 directly into your phone. From there, you can use the free DJI Mimo app, an all-in-one companion app for capturing, editing, and downloading photos and videos directly to your phone.
The DJI Mimo App
While I appreciated the convenience of connecting the DJI Pocket 2 to my iPhone, the app itself left something to be desired. It was cool to use the HD live view, essentially turning your phone into a larger preview screen for recording. However, the app had some glitches and navigation challenges. There were instances when the app failed to recognize the DJI Pocket 2 once it was plugged into my phone, and it crashed a few times.
The app also offers built-in editing tools, including a hyped AI editor that allows you to edit your footage on your phone. However, I preferred using another editing tool on my phone or computer, as the DJI Mimo app, while not terrible, fell short of my expectations. Given the powerful capabilities of the DJI Pocket 2, the companion app seemed lacking.
Video Quality and More
The video quality produced by the DJI Pocket 2 exceeded my expectations. As a first-time user of a gimbal-stabilized camera, the super-smooth footage quality was a substantial improvement over what my iPhone 11 Pro could achieve. I could instantly envision using the DJI Pocket 2 as a vlogging camera, especially while hiking or traveling, thanks to its portability and ease of use without compromising video quality.
Using the DJI Pocket 2 to film myself didn’t entirely align with my preferences, but that’s more about my reluctance to be on camera than any fault of the device. I did experiment with the built-in “glamour effects,” which can be customized using the DJI Mimo app to slim, smooth, brighten, and adjust your appearance, similar to applying video filters. However, I’m not a big fan of altering video appearances, so I didn’t use this feature extensively.
When it comes to low-light recording, my experience with the DJI Pocket 2 in New Orleans was quite impressive. The footage of our night out in the French Quarter turned out well. While there was some minor pixelation, it was noticeably better than similar footage shot with my iPhone.
What truly stood out, however, was the audio quality. Thanks to the four built-in microphones capturing 360-degree sound, the audio was incredibly clear and full, surpassing the audio quality of my iPhone. This was evident whether I was in a nightclub with music blaring or strolling down the street. It’s worth noting that it did pick up some wind noise when used outdoors, though.
As for photography, the DJI Pocket 2 is capable of shooting both JPEG and RAW photographs. However, I didn’t use the camera for photography extensively. While the image stabilization is excellent, the device’s built-in screen was a bit too small for setting up the frame. Plugging it into my iPhone, along with the wait time for the companion app to connect, made it less convenient compared to using my iPhone for capturing photos.
One of the minor downsides of the DJI Pocket 2 is its battery life. The camera boasts a 140-minute recording battery life, but my experience fell slightly short of that claim, especially when shooting in 4K. The device also tended to heat up during 4K recording. Fortunately, it charges relatively quickly, which is a positive aspect. However, if you plan to maximize its use, investing in a power bank is a wise decision.
Is It Worth the Price?
Priced at $349, the DJI Pocket 2 is reasonably affordable and offers numerous benefits for both serious videographers and casual users. Its compact size and portability are standout features, making it an ideal choice for spontaneous footage or b-roll. However, it’s worth noting that it’s not as durable or waterproof as other portable cameras like the GoPro, and you can’t swap out different lenses. While DJI offers a magnetic wide-angle lens as a separate accessory, it doesn’t provide extensive versatility for those seeking more options in their cameras.
For beginners, the DJI Pocket 2’s most appealing feature is undoubtedly its image stabilization. Although the video quality might not be significantly different from a high-end iPhone camera, once you experience gimbal-stabilized video, it’s challenging to return to traditional shooting methods. Additionally, the Active Track feature simplifies subject tracking, making it accessible for even the least experienced videographers to capture high-quality cinematic footage.
In conclusion, whether to recommend the DJI Pocket 2 to everyone is a bit of a conundrum. I genuinely love this compact camera, and if you’re interested in vlogging or elevating your video quality, it’s a worthwhile investment. However, if you’re on the fence, your decision should be based on how frequently you intend to use it. For regular YouTube posters or experienced videographers, this camera is a valuable tool. But for beginners who don’t produce a significant amount of video content, your smartphone may suffice.