GoPro has become a must-have camera for anyone involved in extreme action sports, and those who want to shoot high quality video on a limited budget. The company’s YouTube channel currently has over 1.5 million subscribers and over 600 videos, not counting all the user-contributed videos made with GoPro cameras. Earlier this month GoPro announced plans to file an IPO, and enjoyed wide brand recognition at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Here we take a look at some of the coolest GoPro accessories on the market, some of them used by professional athletes worldwide.
1. Joby Action Clamp
Anyone working in video knows support systems are the key to getting great shots (unless of course you’re going ‘Blair Witch Project’ style). The Joby Action Clamp is a nice little camera support that won’t break your back, or your wallet for that matter. The clamp comes in two models: the Joby JB01280-BWW Action Clamp with GorillaPod Arm, and the Joby JB01291-BWW Action Clamp with Locking Arm. The two clamps retail for about $29.99 and $39.99, respectively. The Action Clamp with Locking Arm (as you can see in the photo on the right) is a bit more stable than the GorillaPod (on left), although the latter gives you more flexibility and range in motion. Both models are available at Joby’s website, Amazon, and other retailers.
You can get some great underwater shots while keeping your hands free with the Octomask accessory for GoPro cameras. The Octomask works with all GoPro cameras including the Original HERO, GoPro HERO2, HERO3 and HERO3+ models using the universal GoPro mount. The product features a super-soft silicon skirt and dual safety tempered glass lenses, and can be fitted for prescription lenses at your local dive shop. Octomask currently has 4 models available all priced at $79.99. The mask can be used in conjunction with the Red Cube Tropical Water Color Correction Filter for filming at depths of 12 to 65 feet. The filter, which color corrects for loss of red light, sells for about $19.99. Check out Octomask.com or Amazon for more information on these products.
3. Easy Gimbal
EasyGimbal is a 3-axis handheld camera stabilizer designed for the GoPro Hero3+ camera. The device successfully ran as a KickStarter campaign back in October 2013, raising $62k from a goal of $40k. The EasyGimbal keeps a GoPro camera steady even while you move your hand or body, by rotating on all three axes: pan, tilt, and roll, without the use of weights. Instead, the EasyGimbal uses brushless motors and electronics powered by standard DSLR style batteries. The company’s website promises delivery of the EasyGimbal Spring 2014.
4. GoPro Dive Housing
Essential for anyone who wants to film underwater or in wet conditions, the GoPro Dive Housing for HERO Cameras by GoPro is an accessory you can’t live without. The housings vary for different models, and range in price from about $29 to $59, so take care when so that you pick the right model. The BacPac Compatible Housing for HERO3 and HERO3+ is rated to be waterproof at up to 197 feet (60m), while other models are rated up to 131 feet (40m). The large glass lens in the front of the housing (“glass” is the key word here) provides excellent video clarity and is free of vignetting. Those of you who have used acrylic lenses know how quickly they can get scratched up in salt water. If taken care of correctly, a glass lens will last much longer. You can find the right GoPro Dive Housing for your camera at the GoPro website.
5. GoPole Evo
The GoPole EVO Transparent Extension Pole is a simple idea that gives you wider shots when hand-holding GoPro cameras. The pole extends to 26”, weighs just 4 ounces, and is waterproof up to 197 feet (60m). What’s more, the majority of the pole is made of transparent material. While you won’t trick anyone into thinking you’ve actually got a camera man nearby, the transparency element makes the pole somewhat less distracting in the composition. The GoPole EVO lists for $39.99 and is available at GoPole.com and other retailers.
The VectorMount Dynamic Action Camera Mounting System for GoPro cameras costs more than most of the accessories we’ve mentioned so far, but the system is so flexible it’s well worth the investment. What we’re looking at in the photo is the VectorMount GO with Tri-base package ($249), that gives you a suction cup Tri-base for easy mounting on various surfaces. The system includes a wind-vane style tail wing that uses natural airflow to steer the camera, so the camera pans along a horizontal plane as a vehicle moves. Pretty ingenious, no? There are several models and packages to choose from, available in either black or silver finish. Get the VectorMount.com or Amazon.
7. GoPro Hero3+ Macro Glass Lens
Want to get some great close up shots with your GoPro camera? The $29 GoPro Hero3+ Macro Glass Lens provides 2.2X magnification for shooting from 2 to 18 inches (although the Hero3+ only focuses down to approximately 12 inches). The makers of the product say the new glass lens is more durable and scratch resistance than the previous model, and offers 6-month replacement for any defective lenses. You can find the GoPro Hero3+ Macro Glass Lens at polarprofilters.com, Amazon.com, and other electronics dealers.
8. The Bobber
Never lose your GoPro at sea with The Bobber floating hand grip from GoPole. The $29 is essentially a yellow bobber with universal GoPro mount that attaches to all GoPro HERO cameras, and will float the LCD BacPacTM, Battery BacPac, and even the Camera + 3D HERO system. The Bobber must be a popular GoPro accessory, because as of this article the product is sold out on GoPole’s website. But Amazon has still got some in their inventory, and GoPole promises more product early March.
9. GoPro Head Strap
It might be time to do some mining with the GoPro Head Strap. The head-mounting system will keep your hands free while getting all the action in front of you on video. The Head Strap is available by itself or combined with a GoPro QuickClip, giving you more options for mounting on places like your belt or backpack. The GoPro Head Strap with QuickClip retails for $19.99 (or get just the Head Strap for $9.99), and comes with a 30-day money back guarantee. The strap and clip are designed with the universal GoPro mount and work with all GoPro camera models. Get it at GoPro.com or Amazon.
10. 3D HERO System
Save the best for last? One of GoPro’s more fun accessories to use is the 3D HERO system. The 3D HERO System combines two GoPro HERO2 or HERO original cameras into one housing (notice in the photo one camera is rotated upside down) to record synchronized 2D videos that can be later converted to 3D using GoPro Studio software. The housing is also waterproof, rated up to 180 feet (60m) deep. The system comes with 3 Pairs of 3D Anaglyph Glasses, a helmet front mount, sync cable, and various mounting hardware. The GoPro Studio software, by the way, is available for free at gopro.com.
Jeff Chabot has a background in web development and design, as well as working in broadcast television as a studio engineer, lighting director and editor. He frequently writes about technology, broadcasting, digital entertainment, and the internet.