I thought It would be fun to compare official GoPro accessories versus generic accessories of similar design and style from 3rd party manufacturers. The first thing that comes to mind when looking at these accessories is that they seem to be identical. Now I don’t fully know all the legal aspects but you would think there would be some kind of patent protecting these designs as some appear to be exact copies. Maybe there are royalties paid or licensing … who knows! Now I just want to mention I am not affiliated with GoPro or Sublimeware in any way. These are my own personal opinions on the products I use every day.
Well, let’s get right into it. I will be using the official “Jaws Clamp Mount” and the “3-Way” by GoPro and will be comparing them to similar items from a company called Sublimeware. Now, this is just one company selling these generic accessories, a quick search on Amazon brings up many others selling similar items. I was curious about the usability and quality of these products as they seemed to be priced at 1/3 of the cost or lower compared to the official GoPro accessories.
GoPro Jaws Clamp Comparison
The first mount we are comparing is the Jaws Clamp. Upon first inspection, both items appear to very similar in both design and dimensions. The GoPro mount does appear to be made of a higher quality material. Now one problem I experienced right away with the Sublimeware clamp is that it would not open. The rubber at the end of the clamp had fused together (which cheap rubber can do). I had to use a screwdriver and pry the end with quite a bit of force to get it to open. This could be a recurring problem if the mounts sits for extended periods without being used. As for tension on the clamp, both units seemed to have similar griping force. The GoPro brand has a rubber layer on the clamps handle which is nice, the Sublimeware version was plastic only. The other main difference was the rubber strap located on the inside of the clamp. The GoPro clamp allows for adjustment to help grip around tubular poles of different dimensions were as the Sublimeware’s rubber strap was fixed and could not be adjusted, this means a secure connection around smaller poles might be difficult.
GoPro Jaws Clamp on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ptkXYc
Sublimeware Jaws Clamp on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2pt83JA
Both units come with a gooseneck extender to help you get more reach and position flexibility. Both had a similar build and tension when moved. The Sublimeware is about 1 – 1/2 inches longer. There was a manufacturing flaw with the Sublimeware gooseneck. The buckle wound not slide fully into the receiver on the clamp. It appears as the molding was made a little to large in one spot. Whether this is a problem with all units or just the one I was testing is unclear at this point. This makes the gooseneck unusable as I would not trust my GoPro to stay in place.
All in all the GoPro Jaws mount is a better purchase in my opinion in both usability, design, and quality.
GoPro 3-Way Grip / Reacher Comparison
The GoPro 3-Way is probably one of my most used accessories and I was really curious to see how the Sublimeware 3-Way would hold up against the Official GoPro 3-Way. Visually they are both very similar, but it was quite apparent upon opening the package the sublimeware was not constructed with the same high-quality material as the official GoPro one. It did feel quite flimsy in the hand. A few quick tests proved that the Sublimeware unit did perform similarly to the official GoPro 3-way. One thing I did notice is the tripod that is hidden in the Sublimeware handle doesn’t screw into the handle as nice as the GoPro version. It tended to bind up. It also did not lock the tripod in as nicely as the GoPro version. I did like the fact that Sublimeware included a nice wrist strap with their unit and I wish GoPro would as well.
All in all the Sublimeware’s performance was not bad and was quite usable and a fraction of the cost of the GoPro unit. As for durability, I feel the GoPro 3-way would have better longevity. But that is only a guess.
GoPro 3 Way on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2p5qUba
My Final Thoughts on Generic GoPro Accessories
After thoroughly comparing both GoPro accessories I would have to say the GoPro Official mounts is a much better buy. GoPro has a quality that you can count on and with 3rd party mounts, it can be a gamble on what you get. Now, this may not apply to every accessory because I have used plenty of 3rd party thumb screws and sticky mounts that work great, however some items the lower cost of the products becomes very apparent. It’s like the old saying “you get what you pay for”. With that said 3rd party accessories do function and are maybe a good option if you are just starting out and don’t want to break the bank. I do feel that some official GoPro accessories are a little overpriced, while others I feel are a good value. Because of the quality, I feel that my Official GoPro accessories will last me a lifetime. That makes them a great value, I have yet to break a GoPro mount and some of the generic accessories seem to lack in durability. In the long run, it makes for a better investment. Just my thoughts!
I’d like to hear your thoughts as well, please leave a comment and let me know what you think.
Hero 7 Black Beginners Guide | How To Get Started
Every year when GoPro releases a new generation camera we always create a beginners guide to help those who are brand new and have or will be purchasing their very first GoPro. In September GoPro introduced the new GoPro Hero 7 Black and so we have created a newly updated beginners guide just for it. This beginners guide is created for those who have no experience and have never used a GoPro. In this beginners guide, we cover such topics including:
- Unpacking your new GoPro Hero 7 Black.
- How to mount your GoPro Hero 7 Black.
- Install the battery in the Hero 7 Black.
- How to charge the GoPro Hero 7 Black.
- Best memory for the Hero 7 Black.
- Powering on and setup of the Hero 7 Black.
- Connecting the Hero 7 Black to the GoPro Quick app.
- Shooting modes on the Hero 7 Black.
- Menu tour of the Hero 7 Black.
- Voice commands for the Hero 7 Black
- How to use quick capture.
- Essential gear for the GoPro Hero 7 Black.
This is part one in our beginners guide series for the Hero 7 Black. Part 2 will cover what to do next once you have filmed some great content. We will go over how to transfer your content to your smartphone or tablet so you can share it and even edit it for those who want to take their GoPro content a step further. We will also cover the GoPro app and GoPro Quik app in more detail.
Other GoPro Hero 7 Black gear to consider.
GoPro Shorty: https://amzn.to/2JuD885
GoPro Charger: https://amzn.to/2PuDaT5
Floating Hand Grip: https://amzn.to/2PBkLnx
GoPro Case: https://amzn.to/2qnej5x
Silicone Sleeve: https://amzn.to/2yKAVBh
Power Bank: https://amzn.to/2SzgzDD
GoPro Backpack: https://amzn.to/2qmRVZP
Extension Pole: https://amzn.to/2PxLtNL
Bike Mount: https://amzn.to/2EXcAxG
GoPro Hero 7 Black | 30 Days In Review
Before I make a review of a product like the new GoPro Hero 7 Black I like to have a good amount of time to use and test it in real-world scenarios before I make any kind of judgment. This turned out to be especially true for the Hero 7 Black because my opinion on it has changed quite a bit since those early first few days. If I had made a review too soon it would not accurately reflect my thoughts on this camera after a good amount of time using it. I would also like to point out that I purchased the GoPro Hero 7 Black myself, It was not sent to me as review gift from GoPro. I am not part of the “GoPro Family” or a GoPro influencer as some call it. This is important because I spent my hard earned money on it just like you did or will be doing. I expect good value for my money and this ensures a good honest, accurate and fair review.
Early on in the Hero 7 release, there were reports of batteries not charging completely, GoPro freezing while charging and firmware update issues. I can’t really comment on those issues because I didn’t experience any of that with my unit. The only one time issue I had was during the initial firmware update via the GoPro app it did fail, however, it was successful on the second attempt. I must also say I have experience firmware update errors with every GoPro I have owned since the Hero 3 series.
Early on in the release of the GoPro Hero 7 Black I was not really sold on the value of upgrading on what essentially seemed to be just a firmware upgrade on a camera that for the most part was identical both inside and out except for the new black finish. The new features that GoPro was promoting seemed very interesting but was it worth spending $400 US or $529 Canadian. I spent the first week with my new GoPro testing out all the new features including HyperSmooth (Stabilization), TimeWarp (Hyperlapse), SuperPhoto (HDR Photography). I also spent time testing out the dynamic range and audio properties of the new Hero 7 Black and I must say it did not disappoint. To address the issue of the Hero 7 just being a firmware update, from what I have read the Hero 7 Black has an extra gig of ram and newly engineered microphones to help make these new features and changes possible.
So let’s break it down and go over all the new changes and what I think of them.
Form factor/Cosmetics: I am not a fan of the new black material they are using as the finish. I find it looks a little cheap and does not have the feel or look as a premium product should. I much preferred the finish on the Hero 5/6 Black. I have found it to scuff easy and because of it rubbery finish, it always has lint and debris stuck to it. I am not sure how the finish will hold up over time. Now really how a product performs is more important than cosmetics, but when you spend a lot of money on gear you want it to look good and stay looking good over time.
HyperSmooth Stabilization: GoPro is calling the Hero 7 Black a gimbal killer with its new HyperSmooth technology, now I don’t know if I would go as far as to say that but I definitely feel there is some merit to their statement. The stabilization on the Hero 7 Black is truly incredible, leaps and bounds ahead of the Hero 6 Black. There are those times when a stabilizer will do a better job, but for me, I can see that 80% of the time in scenarios where I would want a gimbal to film I really don’t need it anymore…it is that good. A gimbal will always give you a little more of a polished look, however not having to lug a bulky gimbal around and still able to get gimbal like footage is alright in my books. Gimbals are delicate and can be damaged easily, not to mention there are those situations where you just can’t use a gimbal. One big improvement of the HyperSmooth stabilization on the Hero 7 Black is the fact that you can now stabilize 4k 60FPS footage, this is huge for me as I primarily film in 4k60FPS. I am extremely pleased with the stabilization on the Hero 7 Black, so much that I feel this is well worth the upgrade cost alone. One downfall of the Hero 7 Black Hypersmooth is that it does not produce the best results in low light conditions.
TimeWarp/Hyperlapse: Another new feature of the Hero 7 Black is it can now create TimeWarp videos also known os hyperlapse videos. This is really is a useful and welcome feature of the Hero 7 Black. The TimeWarp feature works very well and can produce some visually stunning hyperlapses all with the push of a button. Not only does it work well, but it also is super easy to use the TimeWarp feature and that is very important, nobody wants to spend to much time trying to set up shots. With the Hero 7 Black, you just press the shutter button and go. In Past GoPro models to film a hyperlaspe was quite a time-consuming procedure, you had to have good editing skills and patience as well as it was not an easy task. Timewarp videos are a nice way to shoot interesting b-roll footage for your videos and is a very welcome addition.
SuperPhoto (HDR): To be honest I was a little disappointed with the SuperPhoto feature (also known as HDR) on the Hero 7 Black. When it was first rumored that the new Hero would be getting an HDR feature I was quite happy as I love to shoot HDR photography on my DSLR. Traditional HDR photography is when the camera shoots 3 photos with 3 different exposures, one overexposed, one underexposed and one normal this is called bracketed photos. The photos are then merged together in software into one photo and it leaves you with a nice evenly exposed photo with good detail in the highlights and lowlights. Most smartphones and even the Hero 6 Black had this feature. However they did not save the bracketed single photos, you are only left with the finished merged photo. I was hoping the Hero 7 Black would allow for the saving of the individual bracketed photos so the user can do their own HDR processing, but unfortunately, that is not the case and you are only left with the finished HDR image. I do hope this is changed down the road as I would love to edit the HDR photos myself. Now when it comes to the quality of the processed HDR or SuperPhotos I personally feel it needs some work. I find that there is something off about the SuperPhotos I can’t quite put my finger on it, I think there is not enough shadow and contrast. I find photos shot in regular mode look better. This is just my personal preference and others may feel differently. If you look at the example below you can see what I am referring too.
A Final Thought On The GoPro Hero 7 Black
Some other things to note about the Hero 7 Black is the newly designed menus. I really like how GoPro set them up. It took a few days to get used to the new layout but I find they are simple to navigate and well organized. GoPro has finally added a photo timer to the Hero 7 Black. This is a long overdue feature and for the life of me, I can’t understand why it took so long for such a simple little feature. No more having to yell at your GoPro to take a photo when shooting a selfie, no more funny looks from people around you. GoPro has added live streaming. I am not going to get into that in this review as it really is not a feature that interests me. I did take a quick look at it and it seems easy enough to set up if you are interested in live streaming with your GoPro. One last feature I should mention is you can now easily shoot in portrait orientation. Its one of those things that you will not use every day but when filming for some social media platforms it definitely is handy to have.
This year’s launch of the GoPro Hero 7 series was a little lackluster compared to years past, no launch event with Nick Woodman enthusiastically showing off his latest cameras and gear, and no launch video which many look forward to watching. Not a lot of hype built up like in years past and I think was due to the fact only mildly interesting hardware was released this year, we didn’t even get any new GoPro accessories this launch!
With all that said I am quite happy with my Hero 7 Black purchase. If you have a Hero 5 Black its is definitely worth the price to upgrade, however, if you have a Hero 6 Black its not such an easy decision. Personally, I think it is worth the upgrade just for the stabilization alone. If you’re on the fence about purchasing the Hero 7 Black if you already own the Hero 6 Black. You could always sell you old GoPro online to help offset the cost of upgrading. You can watch our Hero 7 Black 30 days in review on YouTube. We include sample footage and talk about the new features. I hope you enjoyed my full in-depth and comprehensive review of the GoPro Hero 7 Black.
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