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GoPro makes some versatile cameras. The company has made its name by producing durable machines like the new Hero 12 Black. These capture high-resolution footage even while the wearer is rocketing over sandy dunes on a dirt bike or barreling down the slope of a mountain on a snowboard. These cameras are designed for hands-free action, and a long list of accessories adds to their versatility.
Most of the accessories marketed for the GoPro are mounting solutions. There are dozens of kits on Amazon containing tripods, chest straps, helmet mounts, car mounts, pet mounts, and numerous other creative ways to hold your GoPro while you film. These are certainly the most popular accessories for the little cameras, but they aren't the only ones.
There are a lot of other great accessories for the GoPro that often go woefully unnoticed. I have four years of professional video production experience, and I can attest that these simple tools can make it easier to shoot and enhance your film quality by adding to the extreme capabilities of the GoPro. Using these can help you get some great action shots from your latest adventure. Here are five underrated accessories for the GoPro that are definitely worth trying.
Gurmoir metal case
GoPros aren't typically used in a studio setting. They're designed to be taken into the world and exposed to the elements. People use these little cameras in some of the most difficult terrains imaginable. So it shouldn't come as a surprise if they take a few knocks now and then. When that happens, it's good to have a solid case to keep the camera safe. GoPros are pretty sturdy but not indestructible, and a little extra protection can save you money in the long run.
One of the better options out there is the Gurmoir Metal Case. This case adds a hard, durable aluminum alloy shell to the camera that can protect its housing. It acts as a cage that any GoPro Hero Model 9-12 can fit into. It protects the camera while leaving battery access and ports available, so you never have to take it out of the shell. This means that it does not fully encapsulate the GoPro, so some parts are partially exposed to potential damage.
The cage has a threaded 52-millimeter UV filter that screws onto the face of the case and protects the lens as well. This filter is also removable, so it can be replaced if it gets scratched without having to replace the entire case. Users can also remove it to attach wider lens filters if they want. The Gurmoir case comes in a kit that also includes a lens cap, a mounting bracket, and a lens cloth.
Maybe you like using your GoPro while skiing or hiking a trail in the middle of the mountains. You're probably not going to have a power outlet nearby, and there's nothing worse than running out of juice when you're ankle-deep in snow, so having a few extra batteries is a must. The best choice for backups is Enduro batteries. These are about the same price as regular GoPro batteries, and both are 1720mAh lithium-ion, meaning they offer the exact same capacity. The Enduro batteries come with one key advantage, though: they're much more resistant to cold.
GoPro states that these batteries improve performance in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius), which makes them ideal for those who participate in winter sports and other cold-weather activities, but that isn't all. GoPro also states that the Enduro batteries can even extend recording times in normal temperature ranges by as much as 38%, even though they're the same capacity as regular GoPro batteries.
TechRadar ran several tests comparing the Enduro batteries. They found that the Enduros lasted about 10-15 minutes longer in most temperature ranges and that it could still run in sub-freezing temperatures where the regular battery shut down almost immediately. If that wasn't enough, they also found that these batteries charged 13% faster. They argued that Enduro batteries are nice to have for anyone but that they are essential for people using them in sub-zero temperatures.
GoPro Max Lens Mod
The newer GoPro Hero cameras already have some pretty impressive hardware built-in, but one of the best ways to enhance the image quality on some older models is with a new lens. One of the best add-ons ever made for these cameras is the GoPro Max Lense Mod. This was designed for the Hero 9, and support was later added for the Hero 10 and 11 after their release.
The lens primarily upgrades two important visual elements: stability and field of view. It's an ultrawide lens that increases the camera's FOV to 155 degrees, so your camera can actually see more of what's in front of it. It also has a special feature called Horizon Lock. This keeps shots level even if the camera itself gets jostled and rotates while you're using it. It has another feature called Max HyperSmooth, which allows it to maintain stabilization on footage up to 2.7K resolution at 60 frames per second. It's also waterproof, which is a nice touch.
RedShark reviewed the Max Lens Mod and found a few pros and cons. They said it was on the pricy side, and the front element was more vulnerable to water and dirt than the standard lens. However, it was easy to use and an excellent addition for users where rotation and vibration were constant issues. They also said it makes POV shots that feel very natural.
Movo VXR10 Microphone
One thing that most cameras have in common is that the built-in microphones are rarely very good, and the models from GoPro are no exception. This isn't always an issue with GoPros since many people who use these cameras don't care as much about the audio quality while downhill mountain biking or parachuting out of a plane. That said, if you care about audio quality, you can always try adding a camera-mounted shotgun mic.
The Movo VXR10 Microphone is a small condenser microphone designed to work with various video cameras and works great with GoPros. The microphone has a frequency response of 35 Hz to 18 kHz and draws its power directly from the camera. This makes it ideal for vlogging and live streaming on the go. It also comes with a carrying case, shock mount, windscreen, and both TRS and TRRS cables.
Camera Jabber reviewed the VXR10 and found that it doesn't work well at longer ranges, so the subject should be close to the camera for the best results. That said, its compact design, included accessories, and price all make it a worthwhile buy.
GoPro Light Mod
Ask any videographer, and they'll tell you the most important aspect of picture quality is lighting. GoPros work great outdoors in naturally lit settings, but they aren't so great in the dark. If you plan on using your GoPro after the sun goes down, then you'd better have some sort of light attached to your camera.
GoPro makes an official Light Mod explicitly designed for its Hero model cameras. It mounts directly on top of the camera and has a built-in rechargeable battery that gives it up to six hours of run time, so you don't have to worry about it draining the battery in your camera. This light has four different brightness levels, though it's worth noting that its brightest setting only goes up to 200 lumens, which is about the same as a 25-watt incandescent bulb, and that setting can only last up to 30 seconds. The Light Mod has several other features, though. It has a strobe function for signaling, and it's waterproof to 33 feet, making it ideal for use in wet conditions and even shallow snorkeling. It also has a light diffuser, a two-finger adapter, and a USB Type-C cable.
Digital Camera World claimed that the Mod Light was expensive and easy to lose. They also described the diffusion cover as 'fiddly' but ultimately found its excellent build quality, compact size, and relative brightness to be a winning combination.