The Karma grip will then connect to and control the Hero 5 camera directly, as well as supply power to it. A short press of the Power button on the Karma grip will turn on both the gimbal head and the Hero 5 camera, in that order. The power button also serves as the mode changing button once the grip is turned on, so it is possible to switch between video, photo, burst and time lapse mode. The red circle button activates video recording or snaps photos depending on the chosen camera mode.
The Tilt lock button is the button at the 6 o’clock position, which when depressed will allow for the angle of the camera to be adjusted by tilting the camera and grip. And once the camera is pointing at the right angle, the tilt button can be released and that camera angle will be maintained during stabilization. Pressing the Tilt lock button twice will activate follow mode which will allow the camera to tilt up and down while tracking a subject. The highlight button at 3 o’clock position serves to place a marker at the point of the recording when it is pressed. This simply makes it easier to find highlights in a recording when playing back the video later.
The Karma grip does have a USB-C port concealed under the rubber flap at the end furthest away from the camera. This port can serve to charge the grip, or allow for accessing the media on the camera without removing the camera or the memory card from the Hero 5.
Now the big question is how well does the Karma Grip work and is it easy to use. From my weeks play with the Karma Grip I have certainly been impressed with how well it stabilizes video capture. Whether it is recording on the move, in a car even handheld which I tried while my wife was driving, the videos were incredibly stabilized – similar to what we see in professional videos.
And the fact it and the Hero 5 black combo do not weigh a lot (Hero 5 black without connection flap is 114.6 g, Karma grip is 474.6 g), means that it is manageable even for fairly long recordings handheld. The battery life is rated for 1hr 45 minutes (it also powers the Hero 5 black), but can be extended if you have a suitable battery pack connected to it with the USB-C cable.
Below are two videos I’ve managed capture using the GoPro Hero 5 black and Karma grip. One was edited with iMovie on my iPad Pro and the other with GoPro’s Quic App.
Made with iMovie:
Made with GoPro Quic:
As you can see, the stabilization worked very well, even when I had my arm stretched out in order to video some of the koi close up in the second video.
What I like about the Karma Grip?
- It works well to stabilize video capture, especially when moving about and capturing on the go.
- It is able to control the GoPro Hero 5 black through the control buttons on the grip.
- Follow mode which enables angling in vertical and horizontal plane to allow tracking of a subject. The normal mode will have the camera pointed in the fixed angle. This means the user can choose the mode which best suits what they would like to capture.
- As the Hero 5 black connects directly to the Karma Grip through the two connectors, they can both be powered and charged with one USB-C cable and battery pack when in use – which means longer videoing is possible without needing to change batteries.
- The stabilizer head also works with the Karma Drone, which means a cost saving.
- The Karma grip can be used handheld or mounted using the included mounting ring, which means that you can benefit from its stabilization either way.
What could be improved?
- When first using the Karma Grip, I experienced an issue with the grip not being able to control the Hero 5 using the grip’s buttons. But after re-formatting my Micro-SD card, and ensuring the Hero 5 fitted properly (i.e. slides in easily) into the frame on the Grip, the problem seems to be resolved. I gather this is a fairly common problem.
- When holding the Karma Grip with the buttons pointing up, the gimbal arms do make it difficult to see the image on the Hero 5 screen. Hence I tend to rotate it 180 degrees so the buttons are pointing down, if I wanted to see the screen better (but means buttons are less accessible).
I do like the way the Karma grip works with the Hero 5 black action camera. The many features it has and the fact it is easy to handle and works very well, makes it a worthwhile purchase even at that price. The alternative gimbal is the Feiyu G5, which is able to stabilize for 8 hours with its battery, is significantly lighter than the Karma grip even with the extra weights needed to balance the Hero 5 black, has a selfie-mode and is slightly cheaper.
However, the fact the Karma grip was made to work with the Hero 5 black, does not require any fiddling and holds the Hero 5 perfectly, and will allow charging of both devices while in operation through just one cable, meant that it was what I wanted. Recommended.
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