GoPro’s waterproof housing that comes standard with the camera is one of several great things about the GoPro. It does what it’s designed to do very well. It provides a lot of protection for the camera against bumps, dust, and water. It also provides a way to attach the camera to other things like tripods, suction cups, helmets, or all sorts of other mounts. All without having a major negative effect on handling or image quality.
But there are times the all-around waterproof housing isn’t the ideal solution. If you’re using the GoPro in dry conditions or places you don’t need the protection offered by the standard housing, you might want to minimize the bulk. Or maybe you need to attach an external battery, charger, or power supply so that you’re not limited to the battery life of a single battery. Or maybe you want the built-in microphones to catch sound with less obstruction. Or maybe you need to be able to change the memory card without unclipping the housing and taking the camera completely out. There are all sorts of reasons.
For all of these, a GoPro Frame might be a better option. It creates a secure, minimalist cradle for the camera to attach to the usual range of GoPro mounts, but otherwise offers maximum accessibility to the camera’s controls and sockets.
GoPro offers one of these themselves. It’s called, oddly enough, The Frame. It works well. It supports the LCD Touch BacPac or Battery BacPac (which the Moonshuttle doesn’t), and it includes a glass lens protector.
So why wouldn’t you just go with the official GoPro one if you need a Frame? Price. At a recommended retail price of $39.99, it costs almost as much as the standard housing (although you can find it significantly cheaper at Amazon).
But there are much cheaper options. The Moonshuttle frame retails for $15.99. It doesn’t have all the features of the official Frame, but it might be just what you need.
What you Get
You get the frame itself (center), a flexible plastic lens cap (left), and a tripod mount.
The frame is made of semi flexible plastic, which makes it easy to attach to the camera. Once you attach the screw and socket to the bottom it locks on tight and provides a very secure fit.
On the GoPro Hero 3+
It fits the GoPro Hero 3+ snugly and securely.
It provides convenient access to the memory card, so you don’t need to remove the camera from the housing to get at it.
It provides easy access to the mini-USB socket, but it blocks the HDMI socket (at right).
The GoPro 3+ has a microphone on the top and another on the side. For the top microphone there’s a small ridge to help wind keep from blowing directly onto the microphone.
The wifi button is easily accessible.
As is the battery compartment, so you can change batteries without removing the camera from the frame.
With the lens cap attached.
On the GoPro Hero 3
The Moonshuttle Standard Frame is billed for the GoPro Hero 3, but there’s an important qualification. The frame fits well over a GoPro Hero 3 and provides easy access to the buttons, lights, USB socket, and memory card socket. But the mics on a GoPro Hero 3 are in a different place than on a GoPro Hero 3+, so with this frame they’re covered over.
Other than the mic issue, it works fine with a GoPro Hero 3.
The frame fits snuggly around the GoPro Hero 3 and gives a secure fit.
The only difference on a GoPro Hero 3 is that because the mics are in different places, they’re covered by the frame.
Does it hold the camera securely?
Yes, it’s a snug, secure fit. There’s really no way for it to come loose out of the frame.
How much protection for the camera does it offer?
None, really, aside from providing a secure mount. But it’s not at all designed for protection. The front and the back of the camera are exposed. The frame itself is light and thin plastic. It does not offer any protection from water.
Is it easy to put on?
Yes, very. And quick.
Does it affect mic recording?
On the GoPro Hero 3+ there doesn’t appear to be any negative impact. There’s even a nifty little shield for the top microphone designed to help with wind coming from head on (as it would when the camera itself is moving).
On the GoPro Hero 3, the microphones are obscured, so yes it does affect the mic recording sound.
Does it fit both the GoPro Hero 3+ and GoPro Hero 3?
Yes, although both mics are obscured on a GoPro Hero 3.
Does it work with standard GoPro attachments?
Yes. It comes with a tripod mount attachment, but it uses the usual GoPro attachment system.
Does it fit with the LCD Touch BacPac or Battery BacPac?
No. If you need that feature you’re better off paying a bit extra and going with the official GoPro frame, which has a swinging arm to accommodate those.
Does it provide easy access to the microSD card socket?
Yes, the microSD card is easily accessible without removing the camera from the frame.
Does it provide access to the USB socket?
Does it provide easy access to the battery compartment?
Does it provide easy access to the HDMI socket?
No, it’s partly blocked by the frame. If you need access to the HDMI socket, go with the official GoPro Frame.
Does it provide easy access to the shutter, power, and wifi buttons?
Can you still see the recording and wifi lights?
Yes, there small holes cut out so that you can still see them.
Is it compatible with other GoPro cameras?
No, just the GoPro Hero 3+ and GoPro Hero 3 (see above about mic issue on the GoPro Hero 3).