From Gimbals to Gliders: A DJI Buying Guide

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With its global market share now approaching eighty percent, DJI is the undisputed leader when it comes to consumer drones. However, despite widespread recognition and its dominant market standing, many consumers don’t realize DJI’s product line goes well beyond its unmanned flyers. For those understandably unaware individuals, we’ve put together this buying guide that covers several of DJI’s prominent categories, with exemplary products from each.

Drones

Despite its varied and extensive catalogue, there’s no getting around the fact that DJI is best known for its drones. In fact, the name DJI is so synonymous with drones that people sometimes use them interchangeably. At this year’s CES, I overheard two attendees discussing a drone on display and referring to it simply as “a DJI” (it wasn’t). My father, who recently purchased a Mavic Mini, now calls all drones “one of those DJIs”—much the same way some people call all fitness trackers “a Fitbit” or any GPS device “a Garmin.”

DJI Mavic Mini

One of the reasons these two words are so interchangeable is because DJI makes the best drones in the world. That’s not an opinion; that’s just a fact. Yes, other companies have made some truly spectacular drones—we’ve flown them, and they are—but none have done it as consistently as DJI, nor with the same level of innovation.

From the Phantom to the Mavic, every year DJI releases something that pushes the envelope further, changes the limits on what we thought was possible, and, to a certain extent, reinvents the game. Look at the new Mavic Air 2. In many ways, it’s a revelation. By taking the already groundbreaking features of the original Mavic Air and boosting the camera quality to the prosumer level, DJI basically put the Mavic Air 2 into a class all its own. And DJI does this consistently. That’s why it owns the market. That’s why it’s the best drone maker in the world.

DJI Mavic Air 2

One last thing I’ll say about DJI drones: I’ve tested a lot of flyers. To date, my hands-down favorite is still the Mavic 2 Pro. Shawn Steiner and I got to fly it in Iceland for a couple of days and it was an incredible experience. Shawn wrote a review about the trip, with some great shots and video you can check out, if you’re interested.

DJI Mavic 2 Pro

Gimbal Stabilizers

If DJI stopped making drones today, it’d still be one of the most important consumer tech companies in the world, thanks in part to its extensive catalogue of gimbal stabilizers.

Gimbals are motorized camera mounts that are designed to help stabilize video footage and facilitate certain cinematic moves and techniques. Gimbals come in a variety of sizes, from collapsible handhelds to full-body rigs. The size of the gimbal corresponds directly to the type of camera and weight it can support, as well as the application.

DJI’s gimbal catalogue covers the entire spectrum of gimbal design. Its smaller stabilizers include the Ronin-S/SC and Osmo series, which accommodate devices ranging in size from a smartphone all the way up to an 8-pound DSLR or mirrorless camera. Even though their primary function is as a stabilizer, the advantages of using a DJI gimbal go well beyond shake-free footage. In his review of the Osmo Mobile 3, B&H writer and YouTube vlogger Alec Kubas-Meyer praised the gimbal for its automated tracking features, easy-to-use controls, and portability—not to mention its “jaw-droppingly smooth video.”

DJI Ronin-SC Gimbal Stabilizer Pro Combo Kit

At the other end of the spectrum, larger, more professional-grade systems like the Ronin 2 offer the kind of intelligent design, stabilization, versatile performance, and payload capacity that make them critical tools for professional film productions. With this type of gimbal, you can strap a camera to the hood of a car and film a high-speed chase or use it as a cable cam to capture incredible aerial view, action shots, and more—all perfectly stabilized. Because they are designed for professional productions, these larger systems also have much larger payload capacities. The Ronin 2, for example, supports a payload capacity up to 30 pounds.

DJI Ronin 2 3-Axis Handheld/Aerial Stabilizer

Action Cameras

Looking back, DJI’s decision to make an action camera seems pretty obvious. Its success in the drone market and familiarity with necessary features like hi-res video stabilization and weatherproof design gave the company all the tools it needed to build a truly great action camera. And that’s exactly what DJI did.

The Osmo Action is DJI’s first true action camera to date. But despite it being a first-generation device, the Osmo Action is every bit as sophisticated as anything else you’ll find on the market. With a 1/2.3" CMOS sensor that can capture 4K60 video and an electronic stabilization system that produces super smooth footage, the Osmo Action is already a favorite among action photographers and adventurists. In fact, we highlighted the Osmo Action for last year’s Adventure Week campaign in Colorado. Check out some of the incredibly smooth footage we shot for a glimpse of what the Osmo Action can do.

DJI Osmo Action 4K Camera

Now, it’s worth mentioning that DJI does have another product that falls close to the action camera category, and that’s the Osmo Pocket. The Osmo Pocket is a pocket-sized gimbal with an integrated camera that combines many of the benefits of a traditional action camera with a handheld stabilizer. For example, its handheld design is right out of the Osmo playbook, while its miniaturized build allows it to be used in many of the same scenarios as a traditional action camera. For a complete rundown on the specs and performance features of the Osmo Pocket, be sure to check out our review, which, spoiler alert, also features a snowmobile.

DJI Osmo Pocket Gimbal

Thanks to its extensive catalogue and ever-developing roster of new and innovative products, DJI seems poised to continue its market dominance in the years ahead. We predict the fans of DJI’s drones and gimbal systems will continue to look forward to future releases, while keeping an eye on DJI’s more nascent categories, like action cameras and robotics, which so far, are off to promising starts.

Do you have any questions about any of DJI’s product categories or a specific model? We’ve pretty much tested them all, so drop us a line in the Comments section, below, and we’ll get back to you.

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