Are you addicted to your action or DSLR (digital single lens reflex) camera? If you are, like we are, then you're constantly looking for ways to make your journey into the world of video or picture-taking a bit more interesting. The best way to do this is to "accessorize."
With that in mind, we asked the folks at GoPole and Sigma Corporation of America to send us a few items that would enhance our voyage into the world of photography. The result was a box full of gadgets and a fisheye lens that brought out the creativity in our souls.
The GoPole accessories included everything that can be found in their Core Bundle ($179) including four mounts (the Reach, EVO, Grenade Grip and Bobber), a Hi-Torque Thumbscrew Pack, a Lens Pen and a two-piece Arm extension kit. In addition, they included a Scenelapse ($39.99) rotating time-lapse mount and a Venturecase ($34.99) to hold many of the accessories and a GoPro camera. All of these items are also available separately.
The first thing we noticed was that all of the mounts were weatherproof, allowing action cam users to capture those amazing water sports shots we've been seeing everywhere action cam videos are posted.
All of the accessories are specifically made to attach to GoPro cameras, but we discovered we could also use them with our Polaroid action cams. The mounting screws could probably be called "universal," but we strongly advise purchasers to double check on their compatibility before purchasing any of these items.
The Reach, EVO and Arm take the art of taking selfies to a whole new dimension. These items allow you to extend the action cam away from your body so you can capture yourself and the area around you. The Reach can be extended up to 40 inches, the EVO (which floats) can extend up to 24 inches and the Arm kit adds up to 16 inches.
The Grenade hand grip gives you better control of your action shots, because you're able to stabilize the camera using one or both hands. It's also small enough to fit in your pocket or bag.
The Bobber is also a small hand grip that floats, preventing the loss of your GoPro camera if you drop it while taking those one-of-a-kind surfing shots.
The Scenelapse mount is motorized and can rotate up to 360 degrees in an hour. It can also be attached to any tripod and has a removable GoPro connection so you can use it with other cameras.
The 10 millimeter fisheye lens from Sigma ($649) we used came with a Nikon mount, but it can also be purchased with mounts for Sigma, Pentax, Sony/Minolta and Pentax cameras.
Truthfully we expected to have a few compatibility issues between our Nikon D3300 and the Sigma lens, but we were delightfully disappointed. In fact, this has become our go-to lens for extreme wide angle shots or close-up shots with an oddly distorted background.
We also expected a loss of clarity along the edges of our photos, which often happens when using so-called third-party lenses. We were, again, surprised by the result. Every shot we took was sharp and clear with no loss of color.
The only compatibility issue we had was that we weren't able to use the autofocus feature that is available with all of our Nikkor lenses. But, having to manually focus a lens is, by far, not a big drawback, especially when you see the results.