Almost specifically 11 months ago GoPro announced their Karma drone and Karma Grip products. As the drone got off to a rocky start (I reviewed it here), the Karma grip has already established an otherwise non-problematic journey. The Grip, of course, being the GoPro branded gimbal, that may stabilize your footage to create it look silky smooth.
There are many gimbals that you can buy, almost all of them from Asian companies you’ve never heard about. A number of the popular kinds I’ve reviewed here, including one just the other day. But how does GoPro’s variant endure? And specifically – endure over an extremely long period?
Well, I attempt to find out. I’ve bought and owned three of these since last fall. And I’ve kinda beat the crap out of these. I’ve dropped them from my bike at full speed onto concrete…and on the other hand just this weekend at significantly less than full speed. I’ve travelled with them, I’ve skied with them, and I’ve generally tried to determine how best to utilize them.
And in the event that you asked me 8 months ago what I considered the gimbal, the answer would actually be less favorable than now. But before that, let’s start with the basics.
However, if you hold down the gimbal lock and tilt your GoPro down (or up), it’ll let you lock that new position. For instance, this enables you to tilt slightly downwards, which if mounted on a backpack or what-not, will create a more interesting angle.
You can double-tap the tilt lock button to check out something, which signifies that it essentially follows your movements of the GoPro handle. So that it stabilizes for the reason that mode, while following what you’re pointing at.
Additionally, also you can simply grab the frame of the camera and move it to your desired position, and it’ll hold it.
I take advantage of the gimbal tilt lock frequently on the GoPro Karma Grip, to get an angle which has less horizon/sky in it, and more of the action. Unfortunately, this is very the only feature on the gimbal from a gimbal standpoint. So you’re lacking things such as a selfie-mode to automatically swing the camera back again to facing you, or even to control the direction of the camera without needing to do wonky things together with your arms, and even connectivity to your smartphone. All features that other gimbals have.
Still, I do think it is is effective – and it’s durable. As you can plainly see below – the GoPro Karma Grip is a beast in comparison to other gimbals available:
Here’s the weight when compared to G5 gimbal – pretty similar, regardless of the size differences:
However in that beastliness comes durability. For instance, I dropped it from the back of my jersey pocket on a ride earlier this January in Australia. And it’s just fine over 8 months later:
And again this weekend it bounced out of a bike basket onto some trails – also fine. Not forgetting being jammed into bags, suitcases, and generally beat to crap without the issue.
Still, I do have to end on pointing out a remarkably frustrating bug that GoPro has with the Karma grip – which is that it won’t work if your micro-SD card has a lot more than 100GB of content onto it. Not following why? Well, pretend you get a typical 128GB MicroSD card. It’s all I buy. And pretend that you’ve ‘only’ got 20GB of space left onto it. With me up to now?
As the Karma Grip isn’t with you.
It actually won’t work when there’s a lot more than 100GB of content onto it. It’s a known bug that still hasn’t been fixed many months later. The machine only will persist in this annoying ‘USB Connected’ screen forever (it normally only shows this for a couple seconds after booting up).
In order you sit near the top of your ski hill, or mountain bike run, or whatever it really is – you get nothing burger. Really annoying this isn’t fixed yet.
I simply work around it by always having spare micro-SD cards in my own wallet. Given they’re cheap, it’s not really a huge issue. But it’s still annoying.
Finally, a short note on charging. Underneath of the grip carries a USB-C port, exactly like on the GoPro Hero5 Black:
It’s here that you’ll charge the grip. It claims 1hr 45 mins of battery life, and I seem to be to maintain the ballpark of this (maybe somewhat lower). Though it’s rare that I’d utilize the grip for 1hr 45 mins straight. Remember that the machine does show battery status anytime by pressing the battery icon. Also, take into account it can power your camera too – which means you don’t need to worry about keeping that charged aswell.
At launch of the Karma Grip, GoPro touted the opportunity to detach the top of the gimbal and place the handle in your backpack (or simply somewhere else). To achieve that you’d need the GoPro Karma Grip extension system, though however that didn’t start shipping till earlier this spring. Still, I went and bought one when they truly became available and started toying with it.