Must Have Accessories for Your GoPro Camera System
GoPro is a popular brand of cameras because they are simple, affordable, and designed to be as versatile as possible. The form factor is petite and unobtrusive meaning you can toss it in a backpack or carry-on, making it great for all kinds of activities. In the world of action cameras, though, the camera itself is only half of the draw. GoPro really hits home with their wide range of accessories, mostly mounting accessories, which are carefully thought out for various applications ranging from a traditional tripod shot to a skydiving selfie.
GoPro was born from the creative frustrations of a few amateur surfers who wanted a way to capture footage from their longboards without breaking the bank. Thus, the GoPro Hero was born, a miniature, surfboard mountable camera that was wrapped in a clunky, plastic housing to protect it from the salty surf while delivering a high quality “hero” shot. Unlike most cameras using standard ¼-20 and/or ?-16 two tripod mount adapters, the GoPro Hero doesn’t feature any integrated mounting solutions. Instead, GoPro relies on ever-evolving housing and frames that utilize a two-prong fastener to connect to a mounting kit or quick release buckle. When you rent a GoPro Hero5, GoPro Hero6, or GoPro Hero7 from Lensrentals.com, we include the camera, a battery, the camera frame, and a mounting kit with two different arms that allow you to change the orientation of the camera, a quick release buckle, and a tripod adapter for maximum, modular flexibility. The tripod adapter features a ¼-20 inset so, yes, you can use that $5 tripod you found at a garage sale ten years ago if you want but when you want to take full advantage of that once in a lifetime vacation or thrilling activity, there is a wide array of accessories to choose from. To save you time and energy, we break down our inventory to help you build the best GoPro package for your shoot.
The Basics – Obvious Add-Ons You Shouldn’t Overlook.
Since everyone’s needs are different, we don’t include a memory card with the rental of our GoPro cameras. All GoPro Heros record to a single microSD card, which is available as a separate rental item or readily available to purchase almost anywhere electronics are sold. Here is a complete list of GoPro recommended media.
Extra Batteries and Charging Kits
GoPro has pushed for improved battery performance over the years but there’s only so much you can put into such a small camera. Depending on your camera settings, you should expect approximately one hour of continuous video shooting on a single charge. Factor in the frequency of cameras being turned on accidentally while in transit or by features like voice activation and you might find yourself in a jam. Always plan to have more batteries than you need. For shooting locations that might not allow you regular access to power to recharge your batteries, pick up a portable power hub like the Anker Powercore Charger.
Think of these as sunglasses for your camera; ND filters allow you to cut down the amount of light hitting the camera sensor without forcing you to manipulate in-camera settings.
Rented in a set of three filters of varying strengths, this Tiffen ND set is a cheap and easy way to maximize your image potential in bright outdoor lighting. These filters can be a little tricky to install because GoPro’s stock lens cover isn’t easily removed but if you’re planning on any outdoor shoot subject to strong UV reflection like beaches or snowy mountaintops, these are well worth the trouble.
The current GoPro Heros have pretty decent built-in microphones but if you need to capture someone speaking rather than simple ambient sound, this is what you need. This adapter plugs directly into the camera’s USB-C port effectively converting it into a 3.5mm audio input. For the easiest and most compact setup, I suggest using this with the Rode Wireless Go.
Underwater Accessories – Vacation Favorites
While the GoPro Dive Housing allows you to dive down to a depth of 197’ with your Hero camera, it has unique benefits even if deep-sea diving isn’t your thing. The plastic housing serves as a super-suit that protects your camera, lens, and rear display against the elements above and below the water and the bulky lens cover serves as the mount for one of our favorite third party GoPro accessories, the PolarPro Aqua Filter Set. The aqua filters use proprietary color formulas to balance the hue of underwater images for a more professional result without making in-camera adjustments or fixing in post. The three filter set includes a snorkel filter for tropical water shots from depths of 2’ to 15’, a magenta filter for green or freshwater shots at depths ranging from 15’ to 75’, and a red filter for depths ranging from 15’ to 75’ in blue or tropical waters. The dive housing attaches to accessory mounts using the same QR system as the Hero frame for broad accessory compatibility. If you’d like an all-in GoPro underwater package, check out our GoPro Hero7 Underwater Kit.
Location Mounts – Stick It and Go
The GoPro Suction Cup V2 is designed to attach to any flat metal surface found on cars and motorcycles or flat fiberglass surface found on boats and jet skis, and is rated for up to 150 mph. This strong, durable suction cup with an adjustable arm has been around a while and has proven to be pretty popular. I wouldn’t, however, recommend trusting that 150 mph rating. We’ve seen more than a few smashed cameras that were mounted to suction cups that hadn’t been properly installed on vehicles traveling at high speeds. For something a little sturdier and with nearly foolproof installation, I recommend the Mag Tight Magnetic Windshield Mount by RigWheels. This insanely strong magnet system can use a single magnet to attach to almost any metal surface from car hoods to I-beams, or two magnets to attract through glass like car and boat windshields.
This is really two products in one: the GoPro Jaws Clamp and the GoPro Flex Gooseneck. Together, they work as a flexible, small form clamp that allows unique camera positioning. Apart, the gooseneck can be used as an extender between a camera and a number of accessories using the QR receiver and the clamp can be used as a direct attachment to the camera for low profile shooting. Like the Suction Cup, this is a great, inexpensive accessory but shouldn’t be your go-to solution for shoots in extreme conditions. If you need a clamp that is tough enough to face some strain, I recommend the more generic Ram Mount that uses a ¼-20 stud rather than a QR system and for a flex mount option, I recommend the GorillaPod 3K Flexible Mini Tripod by Joby.
POV and Activity Accessories – The GoPro Signature Collection
This second-generation accessory is another 2-in-1 product. As the name implies, it can be worn on your hand or wrist to capture the action while you’re busy jumping out of a plane or riding the trails. It allows 360 degrees of rotation so you can switch from POV to selfie without unmounting the camera. More versatile than comfortable, the Hand + Wrist Strap is waterproof and designed to fit most people.
To help you capture the first-person perspective of your next adventure, GoPro aims for the top, the top of your body, that is. The GoPro Head Strap and Helmet Strap allow you to use yourself as your tripod. The head strap is lightweight and adjustable to provide maximum comfort. I’ve worn one of these at a music festival and while I probably looked like a goofy tourist to everyone around me, I got great footage of my favorite bands all day and frequently forgot I even had it on. The helmet strap serves the same purpose but allows you to mount the camera to a vented helmet for activities that call for safety first. Most people assume the helmet strap is only for cycling but I also recommend it for zip lining, kayaking, and skiing.
Similar to the above straps, the Chesty allows you to wear your GoPro for immersive, hands free footage but by securing the camera by wrapping around your chest, it allows you to prioritize protective headwear for extreme sports and, unlike the head strap, fastens to your body in a way that is fall off while in motion. The chesty is probably one of the most iconic GoPro accessories and is great for skydiving, snowboarding, and hiking. The Chesty is designed to fit a range of body types and can also be worn over winter jackets.
If you want multiple camera angles for any of the above POV accessories, pick up a Handlebar Mount, Large Tube Mount, or Rollbar mount to mount a camera to any cylinder-shaped post ranging from bicycle handles, roof racks, kayak paddles, or ATVs.
Handheld mounts – Immersive Footage You Don’t Have to Wear
The GoPro Shorty is a pocket-friendly, ultra-compact tripod that doubles as a small grip when the feet are collapsed. Starting out at a mere 4.6” length, the Shorty extends to a maximum length of 8.9”. This is truly a tiny accessory and is geared toward vlogging and unique ground-level camera angles.
The GoPro El Grande is a simple, lightweight extension pole that, unlike the fixed position of the Shorty, also features an integrated ball head for more angle options. 15” when collapsed and 38” when extended, this glorified selfie stick is great for crowd shots, group selfies, and while not specific to underwater use, is something I frequently recommend for snorkeling or scuba diving.
The GoPro Hero7 has pretty amazing image stabilization but the Karma Grip is easy to use and extends the camera’s battery life to 12 hours. Unlike larger stabilizers, the Karma Grip doesn’t require you to mechanically balance anything before using it. Simply mount the Hero in the camera harness and power it on. The gimbal auto stabilizes when it initializes and you’re ready to shoot in a matter of seconds. Primarily designed for handheld use, you can adapt the grip to wearable mount like the Chesty using the GoPro Grip Extension cable.
Since one of the draws of the GoPro system is its versatility, the above accessories are commonly recommended but there are probably hundreds of other products that could be used depending on the needs of a given shoot and you don’t have to limit yourself to a GoPro Hero to use them! Many of these mounts are compatible with the GoPro Session or 360 Fusion, and thanks to the broad adoption of the quick release system, can also be used with other brands’ action cameras like the DJI Osmo Action or even the lesser-known Nikon 170 4K Action Camera, when paired with Nikon’s base adapter.
So what are your favorite GoPro accessories? Comment below if you’ve used any of the accessories mentioned in this article, have a favorite accessory you think Lensrentals should carry, or even share some of your favorite GoPro shots!
Author: Ally Aycock
My name is Ally and I am a Senior Video Technician at Lens Rentals. I’m a freelance veteran in almost every production department and a total gear nerd. When I’m not producing or directing commercials and music videos, I like to take advantage of my free time by oversharing pictures of my dog on Instagram.