Handheld, Wearable Stabilizer for the HERO5

Review by Erik Vlietinck

The GoPro HERO5 is a lovely action camera with its built-in digital stabilization, but if you think it’s going to make your footage perfectly smooth, you’re in for a disappointment. No digital stabilizer currently available can make footage look good when the operator has subjected the camera to shocks from walking, running, or whatever. A hardware stabilizer is a must for those occasions when you can’t keep the camera still. The Karma Grip has been specially designed to stabilize the HERO5.

The Karma Grip comes in a stiff carrying case, and includes the Grip itself, a USB-C to USB-A charging cable, and an adapter ring for attaching the Grip to a GoPro mount. It’s battery-driven and has a HERO5 cage semi-permanently installed, with harnesses for HERO4 cameras sold separately. Starting the Grip without the camera mounted made the device protest with a rattling sound, so I quickly turned it off so as not to damage the unit. With the HERO5 camera in place, it immediately, and 100% silently, moved the camera to its default position and direction.

The camera always levels, whatever you do with the Grip. Even when moving it with relatively violent motion, the camera stays level. By the looks of it, shocks weren’t being absorbed, so I decided to stampede my way around a few cobblestoned streets—ignoring baffled looks of passersby. And lo and behold, the footage proved to be buttery smooth.

The Karma Grip has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. You can fix the camera direction by holding the lock button, which allows you to point the camera upwards, for example. You can also use the lock button to follow an object until you unlock it. The adapter ring lets you attach the Grip to a pole, helmet, or other mounting point. ■