Get the Most Out of Your Action Camera: A Guide to Must-Have Accessories

Action cameras like GoPros have exploded in popularity in recent years, and for good reason. Their durable, compact size and high-quality video capabilities let you capture thrilling footage anywhere, from hiking adventures to family vacations. But while action cameras are great on their own, the right accessories can take your videos to the next level.

In this guide, we’ll cover the top accessories to pair with action cameras for different activities and needs. We’ll look at options like gimbals for stabilization, mounts to expand your positioning, external mics for improved audio, and more. You’ll learn how to choose the right add-ons for your experience level and budget. We’ll also answer frequently asked questions about getting the most out of GoPros and other action cams.

Whether you’re looking to step up your YouTube channel, document an epic trip, or simply capture sharable moments with friends and family, this guide will help you enhance your videos with the perfect action camera accessories. Let’s dive in!

Top 5 Action Camera Accessories to Elevate Your Videos

1. Gimbals for Smooth, Stable Footage

A gimbal is one of the most popular and useful accessories for action cameras available today. Handheld gimbal stabilizers utilize three-axis motors to smoothly move your camera while dampening vibrations and shake. This lets you get sweeping cinematic shots and pans that would normally look jerky from a handheld action cam.

Gimbals come in both wearable and handheld varieties. Wearable gimbals like the Hohem iSteady Pro 2 attach to your chest and are great for activities like biking, skiing, and more. Handheld gimbals offer the flexibility of operating the stabilizer separately from your body. Popular options like the Zhiyun Smooth 4 allow you to get creative walk-and-talk shots, vertical pans, and unique angles.

When shopping for a gimbal, look for ones with a high payload capacity that can support the weight of your action camera. Also consider battery life – models like the DJI RS 2 boast up to 12 hours of run time. Make sure the gimbal is compatible with your specific camera in terms of mounting and controlling options.

For new users, we recommend starting with an affordable, lightweight gimbal made for action cameras like the FeiyuTech G6 Max. This wearable option delivers smooth results with few complex settings to adjust. If you’re ready to splurge for pro-level stabilization, the DJI Ronin SC2 offers unmatched control and customizations like motion timelapse.

No matter which gimbal you choose, be sure to practice your movements and watch tutorial videos to master panning and tilting techniques. With the right technique, you’ll get mesmerizing tracking shots that make viewers feel like they’re part of the action.

2. Versatile Mounts to Capture a Unique Point of View

Another way to get more dynamic shots with your action camera is to use mounts. From helmets to bikes, tripods and more, mounts allow you to securely attach your GoPro to capture exciting new perspectives and hands-free footage.

Here are some of the most useful action camera mounts to consider:

  • Chest mounts – Perfect for activities like mountain biking, motocross, skiing and more. Gets a first-person view while keeping your hands free.
  • Head/helmet mounts – Gives an immersive look from your own POV. Great for biking, rock climbing, and other sports.
  • Surfboard mounts – Lets you document your rides from right on the board while avoiding risk of losing your camera in the waves.
  • Vehicle mounts – Mount your GoPro to your car, motorcycle, boat, drone and more to capture your adventures.
  • Pole mounts – Enables you to hold your camera out in front of you and extend your reach for unique angles above crowds and across obstacles.
  • Tripod adapters – Allow you to mount your action cam to any standard tripod for stabilized video and photos from creative perspectives.

For biking and motorsports, we like the sturdy GoPro Handlebar/Seatpost/Pole Mount. It securely attaches to bikes and helmets while minimizing shake. For vlogging-style shots, we recommend the ubiquitous GoPro 3-Way Grip, Arm, Tripod which can be used as a handgrip, mini tripod, or flexible arm.

Be sure to test mounts before shooting to reduce vibrations, consider protective cases in risky situations, and take advantage of the flexibility each mount offers for fun new points of view.

3. External Mics for Crystal Clear Audio

It’s easy to focus solely on video quality when shopping for action camera accessories. But high-quality audio is equally important for immersive footage! The small built-in microphones on GoPros pick up a lot of wind noise and can lack crispness. Adding an external mic solves these issues for dramatically better sound.

There are several types of mics to consider:

  • Lapel mics – These clip onto your clothing for clear voice pickup and natural sound. Great for vlogging and interviews.
  • Shotgun mics – Directional mics that reduce side and background noise. Useful for filming events, nature scenes, and more.
  • Wireless lavalier mics – Lapel mic + wireless transmitter for flexibility in range and movement.

Key features to look for are headphone monitoring to adjust levels, mic sensitivity/pickup patterns, storage for small mics, battery life, and connection cables. We suggest mics like the Purple Panda Lavalier Lapel microphone for an affordable plug-and-play option with great audio quality. For premium sound in intense environments, Rode’s wireless GO system delivers crystal clear audiofree of wind and distracting noises.

Take the time to properly position your mic, set gain levels, and use wind protectors for optimal sound. Your viewers will thank you!

4. Specialty Lenses for Unique Perspectives

While action cameras have wide-angle lenses great for POV shots, adding external lenses can take your videos in new creative directions. Here are some of the most useful specialty lenses for GoPros and other action cams:

  • Telephoto – Zoom in on objects far away for stunning detail and compressed perspective.
  • Wide-angle – Increase the field of view even more for incredibly immersive footage.
  • Macro – Get intimate close-ups on small subjects like flowers, insects, and food.
  • Fisheye – Curved barrel distortion for artsy, vertigo shots.

Look for quality optics, compatibility with your camera, smooth frame rates, and a close minimum focusing distance. We suggest modern lenses from Back-Bone to get advanced optics designed specifically for small action cameras. A telephoto or fisheye lens opens up a whole new realm of video possibilities beyond your action cam’s stock field of view.

Get creative with specialty lenses – try rack focus pulls, sweeping landscape shots, and artsy geometric patterns. The versatility will bring new life to your action camera videos.

5. Waterproof Housings for Deep Sea Adventure

For maritime activities like surfing, snorkeling, and scuba diving, a waterproof housing or case lets you take your action cam to underwater depths without leaks or damage. Basic housings just provide water protection, while dive housings boast advanced controls and high depth ratings.

Consider factors like:

  • Depth rating – how deep can you take your camera? Look for at least 30m.
  • Controls – does the housing allow access to power, record, and other buttons?
  • Lens quality – will your videos look clear underwater or distorted?
  • Durability – can the case withstand rugged use in the ocean?

For most recreational water use, the Sublue housing provides an affordably priced waterproof case up to 60m with decent controls access. For advanced diving, we suggest the GoPro Super Suit housing rated for descents up to 60m. Its flat lens delivers distortion-free 4K underwater footage.

Be sure to equalize pressure as you descend, practice filming topside first, and maintain the housing seals for maximum safety. With the right housing protecting your Gear 360, Hero 10, or other action cam, you’ll get stunning underwater shots other cameras simply can’t capture.

How to Choose the Right Action Camera Accessories

With so many accessories available from numerous brands, the options for outfitting your action cam can feel endless. Follow these tips to select the perfect add-ons tailored for your needs:

  • Consider if you really need accessories right away, or if the standalone camera can meet your current requirements. Accessories always come later as you expand your skills.
  • Determine what activities interest you most for filming – biking, traveling, water sports, etc. This will point you toward the most useful mounts, mics, and cases.
  • Factor in your experience level with action cameras. Beginners may want to start with basic mounts and tripods before graduating to advanced gimbals and lenses.
  • Set a budget for accessories based on how much you plan to use your GoPro or other action cam. Casual users can likely get by with affordable options under $50 each, while professionals may want to invest in premium gear over $200.
  • Carefully check manufacturer specs and dimensions to ensure accessories fit and are compatible with your exact camera model before buying.
  • Read reviews and watch product videos to evaluate quality and ease of use before purchasing accessories. Be a savvy shopper.
  • Consider combo accessory packs that provide mounts, cases, and other add-ons in a bundled kit targeted for common activities like vlogging or watersports.
  • Try renting high-end accessories first before fully investing hundreds of dollars. Sites like BorrowLenses let you test products.
  • Start with essentials like spare batteries, memory cards, a basic case, and adhesive mounts which you’ll use frequently before buying specialty items.

The key is choosing action camera accessories that align with your personal needs and shooting style. Match your gear to the activities you want to capture for videos that turn heads and earn likes!

Frequently Asked Questions About Action Camera Accessories

What are the must-have accessories for GoPros and other action cameras?

We consider spare batteries, a protective housing or case, adhesive mounts, and an external microphone the essential add-ons everyone should have in their gear bag. Start there, then build up to gimbals, lenses, lights and more as needed.

Can I use action camera accessories like gimbals and mounts with any brand of camera?

Sometimes! Many accessories are designed to universally fit GoPros and other major action cam brands. But always double check dimensions and hardware connections to confirm compatibility. Some accessories are brand-specific.

How can I find mounts and other accessories compatible with my specific camera?

Check your camera manufacturer’s website, which will showcase all the compatible accessories they recommend. You can also search for your specific camera model name + “compatible accessories” to find options. Stick to reputable brands.

What accessories help improve audio quality from action cameras?

Definitely invest in an external microphone like a wireless lavalier, shotgun or lapel mic. They give you vastly better sound by getting closer to the audio source and reducing wind noise. Underwater housings also help minimize water distortion on audio.

Is it worth investing in high-end gimbals for action cameras?

If you plan to shoot very professional-looking cinematic videos, definitely! The stabilization and control provided by premium gimbals like the DJI RS 2 or Zhiyun Crane 2S transforms your production value. But more casual users can save money with affordable, lighter gimbals.

How do I properly clean and maintain accessories like lenses and housings?

Use microfiber cloths and lens cleaner to gently wipe down lenses and glass to avoid scratches. Rinse housings with fresh water after saltwater use to prevent corrosion. Check O-rings and seals on housings regularly for defects. Avoid dropping accessories to prevent damage.

Should I buy third-party accessories or stick to brand-name options?

We recommend sticking with reputable brands like GoPro, Sandmarc, Joby that manufacture trusted, high-quality accessories purpose-built for action cameras. But some third-party options work great if thoroughly vetted via reviews.

Are cheaper accessories worth considering or will they ruin my footage?

There are definitely some budget-friendly accessories like cases, basic mounts, and starter gimbals that deliver decent quality, especially when starting out. But avoid no-name knockoffs with poor reviews. Pay more for products vital to footage like lenses.

Can accessories be safely used in harsh weather like snow or rain?

Yes, if properly protected and maintained! Get weatherproof housings to protect cameras and accessories from the elements. Wipe down and dry equipment after use to prevent corrosion or mold. Use lens hoods and covers to protect optics.

What accessories help action cameras perform best underwater?

Waterproof dive housings or cases rated for sufficient depth are a must. Hydrophobic lens filters prevent water spots ruining footage. Red color correction filters compensate for color loss at depth. Brighter constant lights illuminate darker underwater environs.

How can I avoid excessive shake and vibration with mounts?

Look for vibration damping and anti-shake technology in mounts. Securely tighten all hardware. Use tethers as a safety backup. Position the mount as close the center of gravity as possible to minimize shake. Fine-tune camera settings like Hypersmooth stabilization.

Take Your Action Camera Abilities to the Next Level

The action camera market has exploded with amazing new features for capturing unique perspectives. But take full advantage of your GoPro or other camera’s capabilities with the right accessories tailored for your favorite activities. Mounts let you secure cameras in places other equipment can’t go. Gimbals deliver stunning stabilization across all axes for pro-level motion. Mics dramatically improve the often-overlooked audio side of your videos. And lenses, filters, lighting and more help you get the most out of every scene.

Hopefully this guide has provided tips to enhance your action camera footage along with recommendations for our favorite accessories currently available. Always match purchases to how you plan to use your gear. Seek out combo kits and bundles to get started. And have fun testing the limits of your action cam as you take it to new places!

What accessories have you found most useful for your action camera adventures? Share your insights and let us know if you have any other questions!

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