GoPro’s Karma Grip motorized gimbal mount was first released as part of the Karma drone kit. Part of the marketed appeal of the GoPro Karma is that it’s more than just a drone. Specifically, it’s a drone that has a removable gimbal to allow you to take the camera/gimbal and attach it to a separate handle (called Karma Grip) that you can use without the drone.

In order to do this, you’ll utilize the lock-ring to unlock the gimbal from Karma the drone, and attach it to the Karma Grip.
GoPro Karma gimbal
GoPro Karma gimbal

Once you’ve done so, you can then lock the Karma Grip itself, ensuring the gimbal stays put:
GoPro Karma gimbal grip

On the back of the gimbal are four buttons and four LED status lights.  These lights state the battery power of the gimbal, which is charged via USB-C cable.
GoPro Karma gimbal grip

The other four buttons are used to:

Record button: Start/stop video recording, or take a photo
Mode/Power: Change between photo/video modes, or power on/off the gimbal
Highlight button: Set a highlight tag that GoPro apps can use later to identify something exciting
Lock Orientation button: This is used to lock the orientation of the camera.

This last button is notable as it allows you to keep the camera either level to the ground, or set at a specific orientation.  This is useful when you may want to film something not level with the horizon, such as a bike computer on your handlebars.
GoPro Karma gimbal grip
GoPro Karma gimbal grip

The Grip is designed to be able to clip into the Karma mounting ring, which allows you to then mount it to any GoPro compatible mount location.
GoPro Karma gimbal grip

And example of this is the front of the Seeker backpack, which even has little elastic straps to keep the bottom portion of the gimbal in place.
GoPro Karma gimbal grip

All of which is solid, even more so since the gimbal is lightly water resistant – meaning it’ll stand up to rain/snow. However the connectors between the camera and the gimbal are not.  Thus it won’t work in the water, and if you have a Hero4, then keep in mind the water resistance there isn’t ideal (whereas the Hero5 is fully waterproofed).

Still, there are some challenges. First is that the gimbal blocks much of the camera’s display screen – thus making it harder to see what you’re filming. Second, it lacks a microphone port, which matters to some folks. On the Hero5, I find the onboard audio so good that it’s rarely needed. But lastly, and most importantly – the gimbal often gets out of whack.

Meaning that the gimbal calibration becomes off kilter, and the image starts to tilt.  This is usually noticeable within as little as 30 seconds of running. Correcting such tilt in post-production afterwards is a pain in the ass.

Ultimately, the GoPro Gimbal/Grip is an ‘OK’ gimbal. It’s just that there are great gimbals available for half the price, and half the weight. Plus those other gimbals are far more flexible in compatibility.

 

 

 

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