- 1 Weak Battery and Big Price: Dark Sides of GoPro Karma Grip
Weak Battery and Big Price: Dark Sides of GoPro Karma Grip
Another day and another review – today we are going to analyze the GoPro Karma Grip, its main advantages and shortcomings. A few years ago, GoPro wanted to invade the market of camera drones by releasing the GoPro Karma drone. However, this device was not successful, and a few years later, its production stopped.
It is interesting that this was not the end of the GoPro Karma device. The gimbal used by the drone turned to be good enough, and it is still available on the market.
GoPro added a handgrip to that gimbal, which turned it into the device we are going to talk about in this article – the GoPro Karma Grip.
The device is not a novelty in the market. In fact, for the past few years, the users have identified it as the best Steadicam for the GoPro. The years passed, and we need to remember that the market now is occupied with many impressive novelties that can also be compatible with your GoPro. For a cheaper price, they provide a great stabilization performance and a lot of impressive features.
So I will try to think out of the box while analyzing the GoPro Karma Grip in this review. In fact, I am going to take a fresh perspective on this matter. Let’s find out whether this gimbal is as good as it seems. We will take a look at its build quality, battery life, compatibility with other devices, and a few other important qualities.
Purchasing the GoPro Karma Grip, you get a very good quality case that contains a few accessories for your gimbal. You get the stabilizer attached to a handgrip, the ring for balancing and camera installation, the GoPro connection tool, and a charger.
Given that this gimbal is produced by GoPro, it is not a surprise to find out that it is very easy to attach this steadicam to the GoPro. The HERO harness that comes along with the gimbal makes this job much easier. You only have to unlock it, attach the GoPro, and lock it back.
This gimbal is, no doubt, heavier than other devices compatible with GoPro. It is also bigger, featuring a weight of 580 g with the GoPro attached. Some users do not like this GoPro gimbal’s size; however, I personally enjoyed working with this device.
I also liked its grip – I found it the most fitting and convenient grip that I have ever worked with. And you know, that I have reviewed many gimbals. Some might find this grip a bit too clumsy or thick, but I actually think that this grip is user-friendly and particularly good for someone with larger hands.
GoPro Karma Grip Compatibility
This gimbal is not compatible with a wide range of devices. At present, you can only use with the HERO 5 Black, HERO 6 Black, and HERO 7 Black. If you purchase a special harness, you can add the HERO 4 Black/Silver to the list of compatible devices.
When considering a purchase, bear in mind that GoPro Karma Grip is not compatible non-GoPro cameras. This decision of the manufacturer is easy to understand, but it might become a problem for those, who are using other camera models. If you are looking for better compatibility, consider buying other gimbals. Nevertheless, they will have their own disadvantages, too.
Managing the GoPro Karma Grip
This GoPro gimbal is easy to use. You do not actually need any additional instructions on how to control your gimbal. Anyone can buy it and start making the videos in a few minutes after the purchase.
The device only has four buttons on its control panel. Obviously, there is a button to turn on and turn off the device, which can also be used for switching the filming modes. Then, there is the shutter and tilt-lock buttons, whose functions are clear. Last, but not least, the highlight button allows you to mark certain moments in your records so that you could easily find them later.
The GoPro Karma Grip does not feature a joystick, which makes it impossible to take care of the slop electronically. I did not see it as a big disadvantage, since, in my experience, you do not often need to use the joystick on the stabilization devices. To me, it seems more fun to control everything manually with your hands. However, there are definitely some situations when you would want to use the joystick.
If you like to record yourself talking or making selfie-shots, this device will not serve you well. Surprisingly, there is no way to turn the GoPro around. So, to take a selfie, you will have to hold your gimbal the other way around, which is definitely not so comfortable.
The GoPro Karma Grip does not feature many shooting regimes. In fact, there are only two of them.
The following mode enables the camera to follow the objects in horizontal and vertical axes, keeping the horizon locked and steady. The pan-following mode blocks the up and down axis, while the horizon remains level.
It was a bit disappointing that this gimbal does not feature the locked mode, which would enable to keep the GoPro to look in one direction only. This mode is available on most of the steadicams; however, it is not that a big deal.
While the lack of shooting modes is not a big issue, there is definitely a problem concerning the sound. The GoPro Karma Grip has extremely loud motors, which make a lot of noise while filming. They are similar to the ones used by Removu S1.
Gimbal capable of being worn
Surprisingly, the GoPro introduces their gimbal in the market as a device that you can wear, keeping your hands free. In fact, I did not think that the GoPro Karma Grip is an ideal wearable gimbal.
The device’s battery is placed in its grip and if you decide to separate it from the gimbal, it, obviously, won’t work. Therefore, if you want to “wear” your gimbal, you will have to “wear” this whole heavy and big construction, which is not so comfortable.
Normally, the manufacturers of wearable gimbals would make their devices much smaller and compact, and of course, they would not be putting the batteries inside the grips. Interestingly, the GoPro accepts that there is a problem and suggests you purchase the GoPro Karma Grip Extension Cable.
With this cable, you do not need to have a heavy grip attached to your device. However, you would need to buy an extra accessory for your gimbal, which would probably be too expensive.
GoPro Karma Grip Battery
The weak battery of the Karma Grip is the number one problem addressed by the device users. While newer devices provide batteries that can last up to 15 hours, this device can shoot high-quality videos for 2 hours only.
One of the reasons for such poor performance is the gimbal’s battery is not only powering the device itself. It also supplies power to the GoPro, which is consuming a lot of energy while shooting in good quality.
Another problem is charging time. If the battery on your device dies completely, you will need 6 hours to have your gimbal fully charged again. There are a few solutions to this problem. The GoPro suggests users buy an expensive charger, which needs only 2 hours to make the device’s battery full again. However, you can buy a 3V, 5A charger, which is much cheaper, yet can also solve the problem.
Obviously, the battery life is a huge issue for the GoPro Karma Grip. To be honest, most of the time 2 hours is enough to finish filming or you could buy a power bank to fix the problem. However, compared to other gimbals available in the market, it is quite disappointing.
Conclusion and ranking of the GoPro Karma Grip
The GoPro Karma Grip is still one of the best GoPro gimbals available in the market. Despite the high competition, the continuous updates are making it a very good stabilization device. It features a great build quality, it is easy to use, and it is very ergonomic. Its compatibility with GoPro is so natural that you enjoy every minute of filming with this gimbal.
However, you do have to pay a lot of money to purchase this gimbal. Its battery performance is poor. And even though it is being marketed as a wearable gimbal, now you know that it is not. So in a conclusion, it is good, but not the best.
At the end of the day, my verdict is that this gimbal is very good. I would definitely recommend you to purchase it if you are going to work with the GoPro in the future. If you are going to work with other devices, consider purchasing another gimbal. Luckily, there are a lot of them available in the market, and most of them provide excellent stabilization performance.
|Weight||Stabilizer: 8.5 oz / 242 g | Handle: 8.6 oz / 245 g|
|Folded dimensions L*W*H||Stabilizer: 6 x 4.3 x 3.3″ / 149 x 109 x 83 mm|
Handle: 8 x 1.7 x 1.7″ / 205 x 43 x 43 mm
|Battery Life||Approx. 1 hour, 45 minutes|
|Battery charging time||Supercharger: 1 hour, 50 minutes 1 A|
Charger: 6 hours
|Mechanical Range||pan -360° / roll- 310°/tilt 360 °|
|Compatible||HERO 5 Black | HERO 6 Black | HERO 7 Black | Mounting harness available for Hero4 Black|
- The GoPro Karma Grip does a great job in terms of video stabilization
- It connects with GoPro so naturally; the GoPro Karma Grip a part of its Ecosystem
- It is user-friendly and extremely comfortable to use
- This gimbal is very expensive in comparison to others
- The GoPro Karma Grip’s battery is extremely weak. It takes longer to charge it.
- In reality, it is not a wearable gimbal.