When I film my photographic journey through the Scottish hills and rugged terrain, it is extremely difficult to handhold any camera, even the GoPro Hero 4 and not suffer from some camera shake. The result can be improved slightly in post-production with software like Adobe Premiere Pro or Apple Final Cut Pro but it is far from being perfect as one can see in these videos:
What is the GoPro Karma Grip?
The GoPro Karma Grip enables you to handhold your favourite GoPro camera (Hero5 Black, Hero5 Session and Hero4 Black & Silver) while reducing most (if not all) camera shake one would have when recording a video while in motion. Initially, the stabilisation system (the gimbal) was part of the infamous GoPro Karma Drone. Fortunately, GoPro designed it to be also used independently from the drone when mounted onto a handle. Hence the Karma Grip comprises three parts: the Karma Handle, the Mounting Ring, the Karma Stabilizer and the Karma Harness.
The Karma Handle
The Mounting Ring
The Karma Stabilizer
The Karma Harness
By default, the GoPro Karma Grip is sold with a Hero 5 camera fit harness. A Hero4 fit harness can only be purchased separately from GoPro (mine was £29.99, including free shipping). A Hero5 Session harness is due to released later in summer 2017.
Here is a picture of my GoPro Hero4 camera in the required Karma harness:
- The GoPro Karma Grip is beautifully designed and does feel sturdy despite being rather light.
- The Karma Stabilizer is amazing as seen in the above video when walking, going down sets of stairs and even running.
- The GoPro Karma Grip interacts with the GoPro camera, enabling you to turn it on, travel through the different recording mode, trigger & stop a recording and highlight tag the video during the recording.
- The GoPro Karma Grip’s battery charges the GoPro camera when in use.
- The GoPro Karma Grip can be mounted on many things thanks to its Mounting Ring and the numerous GoPro mounts on the market.
- The included Karma case is weather-resistant and tough enough to protect the system from accidental bumps during transport.
- The GoPro Karma Grip’s battery life is a short 1h45 (mostly due to the fact it recharges the camera when in use) (see below my solution to increase that time).
- The battery cannot be replaced when flat.
- The battery charging time is 6h (see below my cheap solution to reduce that time).
- Not water resistant.
- The GoPro Karma Grip does not have a panning feature like some of its competitors.
- The GoPro Karma Grip cannot be remotely used like some of its competitors.
How to increase the running time of GoPro Karma Grip
The runtime of the GoPro Karma Grip battery is only 1h45. However, one can use a battery pack to charge the unit while using it. While GoPro does have such battery pack called the Portable Power Pack, its price tag (£44.99) is fairly high for what it is.
Output: 2x 1.5A USB
Recharge time: 4-6 hours depending on power source
Dimensions: 4.25in x 2.55in
After some online research, I have purchased the Anker PowerCore 13000 at £23.99. While I have not tested how long I can keep the GoPro Karma Grip on while plugged to this battery pack, it will be at least twice as long as with the GoPro model for nearly half the price.
Capacity: 13000 mAh
Output: 2×2.4A USB
Dimensions: 3.8×3.2×0.9 in
Weight: 11.2 oz
How to reduce the charging time of the GoPro Karma Grip
The GoPro Karma Grip’s internal battery takes 6h to fully charge unless one uses the GoPro SuperCharger (£44.99) which is basically a wall charger with 1x USB-C port providing 3A charge and a standard 1.5A USB port. Its USB-C port enables to cut down the charging time to 2h.
Instead of investing in this rather expensive charger, I have decided to purchase the Anker PowerPort which offers only 1x 3A USB-C but for £16.14. Since it provides exactly the same power output than the GoPro Supercharger, the charging time of the GoPro Karma Grip is also down to 2h.
The upcoming Karma Grip Extension Cable
While the Mounting Ring allows us to mount the GoPro Karma Grip onto many things, the length of the Karma Handle may prevent to mount it on Helmet and other support. Hence GoPro has announced an upcoming release (early 2017) of the Karma Grip Extension Cable which is basically a cable that gets plugged between the Karma Stabilizer and the Karma Handle, enabling the Karma Handle to remain in a backpack while the Karma Stabilizer is mounted onto a helmet or chest strap.
I think the conclusion is obvious. This GoPro Karma Grip is a fantastic piece of gear which I look forward to using on my next outdoor video. What did you think of the video test? If you own a GoPro, is this something you’d consider getting or maybe you already use another system. Please let me know in the comment section below.