One of the beauties of GoPro cameras is being able to mount them in places where other cameras can’t easily go. Aside from the waterproof housing that comes standard, the cameras themselves are small and light. You would never put a standard camera on a snowboard or helmet, and even if you did, the extra weight of a regular camera would make it hard to get a secure mount.
But weighing in at less than 6 ounces, GoPros can be put in all sorts of places quickly. A spring-loaded clamp can be ideal. GoPro makes their own range of mounts for common uses, but not every one of those works for every use. One of the things I like to be able to do is to quickly clamp the camera onto railings, handlebars, tree branches, that are handy.
Before GoPro came out with their own GoPro’s own Jaws Flex Clamp, I was making my own spring-loaded clamp setup by modifying hardware clamps. The Jaws clamp works best on mount points it can go around, like a rollbar or round railing. There are situations that it doesn’t work so well because of its narrow mouth–it doesn’t grip well in situations where there’s going to be any lateral force–you can end up with lateral sway as the grip gives way laterally.
In those instances, you risk it rotating a bit. What’s really needed is something with a broader clamp base so that it can get a better lateral grip. I’ve been using a Manfrotto 175 Spring Clamp for that. It works reasonably well and has a much wider clamp base. But has two shortcomings. one is that it doesn’t come with an articulating gooseneck (or any other ways to attach a camera to it, for that matter–you have to sort those out separately). And the grip comes down to rubberized buttons spread on either end of the clamp.
But there’s now an alternative that I like better. It doesn’t replace the GoPro Jaws, but it makes a nice complement.
It’s the new CamKix Dual Function GoPro Clamp. And at around $19 it’s less than half the price of the Jaws Clamp. It’s a combination wide-base spring clamp with an articulating gooseneck and lightweight ballhead. And it comes with a GoPro adapter.
The CamKix clamp has a 3-inch base and the jaws open up to a little over 1.5 inches. The spring is strong, and rubberized shields along the clamp base adds more lateral grip than the Manfrotto option.
The 10.5 inch flexible gooseneck is detachable. With the ballhead and GoPro adapter attached, the full gooseneck will give you about 14 inches of flexible reach. On the end of the gooseneck is a small ballhead that gives more flexibility in angling the shot.
The metal gooseneck doesn’t look very strong, but they’ve obviously put some effort into making it strong and yet lightweight. They’ve done a good job–it holds its shape remarkably well considering how lightweight it is. I wouldn’t use it on a regular camera, but for a GoPro it works very well indeed.
If you use the gooseneck on anything that’s moving you’re going to get some shake going. It’s not much good for something that’s bouncing with any force, like a snowboard or bike, but it works well in stationary (so long as there’s not a strong wind). In those situations where bouncing or strong winds are an issue, you can remove the gooseneck and attach the camera directly to the clamp, with our without the ballhead.
Overall, the package is surprisingly solid. I’d probably prefer the gooseneck to be about half the length so as to help with stability, but the extra length does admittedly open up some extra mounting possibilities in still conditions and stationary uses. And I really like the ability to attach the camera directly to the clamp, which is how I tend to use it more often.