GoPro said that its Karma stabilizer grip is now being sold as a stand-alone product for $299. GoPro camera owners will most assuredly rejoice since it brings much needed stabilization to footage taken by their action cameras.
Out of the box, the contraption, which is being marketed as the Karma Grip, will support Hero5 Black. Those who own other camera models like the Hero4 Silver, Hero4 Black and Hero5 Session will have to shell out an additional $30 for a harness that would strap their camera into place. However, the harness will only be available in the second quarter of 2017.
There is still no word if action cameras manufactured by other companies will be supported.
Action Camera Stabilization
For an action camera, stabilization is important in order to smoothen the effects of vibrations and movements. It is built to work in strenuous environments after all. However, only the GoPro Hero5 models have an on-board stabilization feature.
To make matters worse, this feature only relies on software as opposed to a dedicated sensor or mechanism that provides the device balance. For instance, some cameras allow their lens to move in order to compensate for sudden jerks and movements.
The GoPro software, on the other hand, tries to smoothen the image as it is being captured. Unfortunately, the end result is not always good. Chances are, your videos will look like they were shot through jelly.
With the Karma Grip, a GoPro camera will have an external motorized mechanism that will compensate for the vibrations during the process of video or image capture. Early hands-on impressions reveal that the device adds powerful capability to GoPro cameras.
Karma Grip And The GoPro Drone Recall
GoPro watchers are probably familiar with the handheld stabilization tool. It was previously bundled with the Karma drone. However, the drone has been recalled because consumers have complained that it tends to lose power mid-flight, causing it to crash. GoPro has offered a full refund along with a Hero5 Black camera as compensation to those who bought the Karma drone.
GoPro, therefore, appears to be trying to salvage profitability by offering the Karma Grip as a separate product.
If the Karma Grip performs well in the market, it could offer GoPro some respite. Its profitability has steadily declined since the company went public as its products started to face a barrage of challenges from new and cheaper action cameras.
GoPro has already shed 15 percent of its staff in its second round of layoffs this year. Its leadership has so far put on a brave face.
"Consumer demand for GoPro is solid and we've sharply narrowed our focus to concentrate on our core business," Nicholas Woodman, CEO and GoPro founder, said. "We are headed into 2017 with a powerful global brand, our best ever products, and a clear roadmap for restored growth and profitability in 2017."