DJI Pocket 2 vlogging cam
The DJI Pocket 2 is the vlogging camera that can go anywhere while outperforming a smartphone camera in almost every respect. Tiny, lightweight and equipped with a 4K camera mounted on top of a mechanical 3-axis gimbal, it can work with or without a companion smartphone to capture sharp, stable video and 64MP photographs. It also features a Story mode for quickly creating cinematic video sequences that are ready to share right away.
The DJI Pocket 2 was launched in November 2022, and costs GBP £339 / USD $349 / AUD $599 (unless you can snap up a DJI deal to take the price down). It comes from DJI – a brand better known for being the name behind most of today’s best drones, but one which has also dabbled in action cams (see our DJI Action 2 review), phone gimbals (see our DJI OM5 review) and mic systems (see our DJI Mic review). So can it translate that expertise here? Is this the dream camera for the vlogger about town? Here’s our DJI Pocket 2 review.
DJI Pocket 2 review: design and setup
Aptly named, the Pocket 2 is barely bigger than a Mars Bar and it’ll slip into your jeans about as easily as a mobile phone. It’s a stick with a USB-C port on the base, some basic physical controls and a touchscreen in the middle, and a 3-axis gimbal at the top, on top of which is mounted a small camera.
Just 117g in weight, it’s also a joy to hold and designed to be used with just one hand (an optional wrist loop is included to make sure you don’t drop it). All the controls are within easy reach of your thumb when you’re holding it, and most functions are available quickly either through the physical controls or via a swipe or two on the touchscreen.
If we had to criticise any aspect of the design it would be the screen’s tiny size, which makes it quite hard to see what’s in frame at times. In fairness to DJI, there’s no way to make it meaningfully bigger on such a small device, and the company does include a way to make your smartphone replace the on-board screen.
Two adapters (one for Lightning, one for USB-C) allow you to dock your phone with the Pocket 2; open the DJI Mimo app and your phone then becomes a controller and screen for the camera, complete with extra capabilities like livestreaming. We’ll get into this in the next section, but from a design point-of-view it’s not perfect: whacking your phone onto the Pocket 2 means you now need two hands to hold it, and the adapters themselves are tiny and just begging to get lost.
Also included in the box is a tripod mount, a USB to USB-C charging cable and a hard cover for the Pocket 2, which allows you to transport it around without damaging the gimbal or scratching the lens cover or screen. The cover also features space inside to store the two smartphone adapters.
DJI Pocket 2 review: features and usability
The gimbal is the star of the show here, allowing the camera to fulfil two different roles. Its stabilisation means the Pocket 2 can be used like a tiny one-handed Steadicam, capturing beautifully smooth and level footage for vlogs and the like. Secondly, you can stand the Pocket 2 on a flat surface (or mount it onto a tripod for a bit more stability) and the gimbal and the camera’s tracking functionality allow it to follow a subject as the move around, a bit like an automated and autonomous camera operator.
The gimbal offers three main movement modes: Follow (in which the camera stays locked horizontally, no matter how you move); Tilt Locked (it stays facing the same direction with no up or down rotation); and FPV (able to tilt on both the vertical and horizontal axes). It also offers face detection and tracking sans smartphone: just double tap on your face on the camera’s touchscreen and it should detect and lock onto it, using the gimbal movement to keep it centred. We found the tracking here to be accurate, but jerkier than we’d have liked.
Tracking gets better when you connect your phone and use the Mimo app. Here, the tracking seems much smoother and it can be extended to things other than human faces – just drag a box around whatever you want the Pocket 2 to track on your phone screen.
The app is also just generally more user-friendly than the Pocket 2’s on-board touchscreen interface, with everything given more room on the screen. It’s a shame that there’s no way to use it and your phone as a remote control device for the Pocket 2, but with no Bluetooth or Wi-Fi available you’re forced to physically dock the two devices, which as we’ve said isn’t the most comfortable arrangement.
In addition to standard photos and video, the Pocket 2 offers some special shooting options. You can shoot HDR and slow motion videos, hyper-lapse and time-lapse sequences and auto-stitched panoramas, while the app’s Story mode is handy for creating quick mini movies ready to be shared immediately. Story lets you pick a video template and then directs you to take certain shots, editing them together into a slick-looking final cut.
Battery life runs to over two hours when recording in 1080p, and a little less when recording 4K. With USB-C charging, however, it should be easy enough to top it up on the go if you’re planning a long day of shooting.
DJI Pocket 2 review: specs
Dimensions: 124.7 x 38.1 x 30mm
Video: 4K/60fps, 2.7K/60fps, 1080p/240fps
Photo: 64MP/9216 x 6912
ISO range: 100-6400 (video, 12MP photo), 100-3200 (64MP photo)
App: DJI Mimo
Operating time: 140 mins (1080p/24fps)
Stabilisation: 3-axis gimbal
Storage: Micro SD card (up to 256GB)
Live streaming: Yes (via app)
DJI Pocket 2 review: Video and stills
The Pocket 2’s 64MP camera is impressive in good lighting, delivering sharp photos and beautiful 4K videos with bags of detail and natural-looking colours (including accurate skin tones). It can also capture a shallow depth of field when shooting a subject at close range, slightly blurring out the background to create a pleasing bokeh effect.
With its 1/1.7in sensor size, it’s similar in quality to a good smartphone camera, and that does mean it struggles a bit in situations where available light isn’t great. You get noise creeping in even indoors during daylight hours, in fact, so if you’re looking for a vlogging camera that delivers flawless videos and photos in all situations, this isn’t it.
Use the arrow icons below to check out sample photos shot on the DJI Pocket 2
There are some other issues to note, too. Filming HDR video results in a heavy crop to the frame, which makes it harder to keep your face in shot when vlogging. Filming lengthy 4K videos makes the Pocket 2 very toasty too, as well as removing the option to use tracking, so be wary of that if you plan on filming Ultra HD at higher frame rates.
Video aficionados who want to wring the very best out of this camera do have options, though. There are detailed manual controls on board, as well as the ability to shoot in a ‘flatter’ D-Cinelike colour profile, which allows for greater colour correction and grading in post-production.
The main advantage the Pocket 2 has over a smartphone is the superb gimbal stabilisation, of course, which is far better than any sort of stabilisation you’ll get baked into a phone. Given how beautifully stable it makes your footage, we can happily overlook the areas where the image quality isn’t top-notch. Check out some sample footage in the video above.
As for audio, it’s good rather than great using the on-board mics. If you’re serious about sound, you may want to invest in DJI’s wireless mic transmitter, which cost about GBP £95 / USD $99.
DJI Pocket 2 review: verdict
The DJI Pocket 2 isn’t perfect but it’s the best stabilised vlogging camera you can fit in your pocket, by far – and a big upgrade on a smartphone for on-the-hoof vloggers who want to travel light. The gimbal’s excellent performance, the camera’s decent image quality and the simplicity and portability of the entire thing make it an excellent option, especially when used in conjunction with your phone and the DJI Mimo app.