From Agribotix:

In many ways the GoPro is an ideal camera for drones: small, light, rugged, decent resolution, and not too expensive.  The show stopper is the fisheye lens that makes image stitching impossible.  Now there could be a fix on the way.  Backbone, a Canadian company, is making an aftermarket hack to allow C-mount lenses to be used with the GoPro.  An as an extra bonus for those of us interested in NDVI, the IR filter is optionally removable.  Their product, called the Ribcage, will be a bit pricey at $200 (in addition to the cost of the GoPro) but it might turn out to be a comparable solution to something more expensive like the Sony NEX series cameras.  The Ribcage isn't available now, but it should ship soon.

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Comment by Andreas on December 9, 2013 at 11:32am

Any reference photos (or photomosaics) done with this lens upgrade kit?

Comment by Hugues on December 9, 2013 at 11:33am

That's what I was going to say : get a NEX if it comes to the same price more or less, especially the amount of pixels in between 20-24 mpix for a NEX versus 12 mpix for a gopro. Resolution is very important in aerial images.

I see a potential issue to use such a long lens adaptor that will block a practical use withbrushless gimbals (because it will block the rotation movement). Also total weight of the gopro with that lens might be a stopper.

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on December 9, 2013 at 12:46pm

How do they figure a Nex is "comparable" or "more expensive?

$300 for the GoPro, $200 for the Ribcage, and still need to buy a lens.  I got my Nex5N for $400, but it's regularly $600.  And then it's vastly superior to a GoPro in every way other than AUW.

Comment by Not Sure on December 9, 2013 at 2:56pm

using a gopro for digital photographs and thinking it a good thing is like brushing your teeth with peanut butter....

maybe gopro will one day fix the problem of fisheye lenses and ship them with lens options, or they can continue to not listen to feedback from literally everyone.

Comment by AKRCGUY on December 9, 2013 at 3:24pm

Not defending GoPro but I don't believe their target market is guys claiming to be professional aerial photographer's.  They are great cameras for the price and for what they were designed for, to "document and share your life’s most interesting experiences."

If you want to "go pro" get an SLR and a bigger rig to carry it on.

Comment by Gary McCray on December 9, 2013 at 5:09pm

Basically there are a ton of GoPros out there and more every day.

This gives you the opportunity to put on a whole variety of tiny M or larger CS or C mount lenses on your camera.

In addition to making the infrared filter removable this allows you to adapt the camera to a lot wider variety of applications.

Although $200.00 seems like a lot for a few aluminum and plastic parts, this is for a very limited market, so the total potential sales are small, justifying the comparatively higher cost.

The GoPro is already widely used in professional and documentary filming as a fill-in and for hard to get action shots. For them this is a welcome godsend.

But at this price it means we can use it too, certainly improves it's potential utility for photogrametric and IR uses.

I always thought lack of lens interchangeability was one of the GoPros major failings and now you can put together a very capable camera with your choice of lens in a very small package.

GoPro itself shows little sign of wanting to incorporate lens interchangeability so having this option available is really great and $200.00 is a "reasonable" price under the circumstances.

The higher quality small lens's we are likely going to want to use will cost a lot more than that anyway.

Comment by criro1999 on December 9, 2013 at 5:16pm
Comment by Dan Kanes on December 9, 2013 at 10:50pm

By some of the responses here it just goes to show you can't please 'em all. I think this is a genius idea. You don't have to use a "huge" C Mount zoom like in the picture there - you can use a smaller M12 lens that doesn't have the size or weight profile - sort of like what Rage Cams is doing - It's actually tremendous to have a nicer multicoated lens, that doesn't have a Fisheye field of view when shooting aerials - and you can use a nice small quadcopter - a much smaller airframe - and thereby much smaller batteries, props, etc. than you would carrying a NEX and associated gimbal.

here's Ragecams lens profiles for comparison - if you go with a nice Rectilinear prime lens you will have a tremendous experience with this thing:

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on December 10, 2013 at 9:25am

I don't doubt that with a decent lens, GoPro's can produce decent images.  But still, they can't compare to images coming from a camera like a Nex.  Nor are they cost-competitive.

$450 to install a lens on the Hero3, plus $300 for the camera, $750 total.  You can pretty much buy a Nex7 for that much!

Comment by Sean Headrick on December 10, 2013 at 10:12am

Looks like  Pix4d has a release in Jan 2014 with a number of improvements for aerial mapping. The most exciting to me was support for GoPro3 lens distortion. 


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