I’ve recently been trying out some GoPro sticks that are a bit different from the run-of-the-mill ones.
Much of the time a stick is a stick is a stick. Put a camera on the on the end and hold it out. If you’re pointing the camera at yourself to make it a selfie stick, having it extended gets your distorted arm out of the frame. If you’re pointing it away from you, the stick gives a higher or wider perspective. And in many cases, any basic stick will work just fine.
But there are also some out there that offer something a bit different. Some of the differences are in construction. Some are in features.
Here are some examples of what I mean. All of these work with any of the GoPro cameras, including the new HERO5 models.
UKPro Carbon Pole 40
Most camera sticks are made of either plastic or low-grade aluminum. UKPro is a California company that focuses on GoPro accessories at the premium end of the market, and the thing that sets the Carbon Pole 40 apart from most others is that it’s made of carbon fiber. That makes it lighter and stiffer than equivalents made of plastic or aluminum, the same reasons I prefer carbon travel tripods.
It’s part of UKPro’s Pole Mount System that includes dual and pivot mounts as well as something they call the Space Station, which lets you mount up to four GoPros together (facing in different directions).
It’s a telescoping pole that extends the same way that many tripod legs do these days, with twist locks. As with any twist lock system–or pretty much any other telescoping system lock, for that matter–you do have to be a bit careful about sand or grit getting in there and fouling things up, but with a bit of care and rinsing that’s not too much of an issue.
There are 4 sections. It collapses down to 14 inches, making it easy to throw in a backpack, and fully extended it reaches 40 inches. It weighs 0.6 lbs. And it has a very substantial and handle grip that’s easy to grip even with cold and wet hands or with gloves (and it’s bright red to spot it easily if you drop it in snow or in the water). Despite the company name, it’s made in USA (with some foreign-made parts).
UKPro sent one to test out, and lately it’s become the one I reach for most. In the hand, it feels like the premium product it is. It folds town very small, and I’ve found the twist locks to work well.
Do you really need a carbon fiber GoPro stick? In many cases, perhaps not. But there are times you appreciate the extra rigidity and minimal weight to carry when traveling.
This one is put out by a Canadian company, Spivo. (It’s also made in Canada.)
The headline feature of this one is that it pivots 180°. There’s a button on the handle that you can push to have the camera do a whip rotation to face the other direction. It’s really designed for times you might want to quickly switch from filming yourself in the action to filming your surroundings. Think of surfing or snowboarding, for example, where you might want to catch yourself in the frame but also want to show where you’re going, but there’s no chance to manually rotate the camera around.
The button on the handle spins the dial at the other end that the camera mounts on. It’s a quick, whippy spin 180°, and while it isn’t quite as snappy as a single-frame cut you can get in post editing the footage, it does mean that you can minimize missing any action. The rotation is only in a clockwise direction.
It’s made of lightweight plastic and is waterproof. It’s a mechanical mechanism so works just as well under water as above water. It comes with a wrist strap.
It comes in three versions: Small (12 inches), Medium (18 inches), and Large (26 inches). They’re not extendible. Spivo sent me the Medium to check out, and it’s a good comfortable size to work with while still being long enough to provide a good working distance from the camera.
This is one of GoPro’s own branded accessories, and it’s one of the most versatile options. Fully collapse, it’s a handle. Extended, it becomes a selfie stick. And you can then splay some small legs on the bottom and use it as a lightweight tripod/monopod (with realistic expectations of its stability, of course).