GoPro macro photography – really?!
GoPro built their brand on action and sports photography. But that's not all it's good for.
In this post, we'll look at how to get macro shots with a GoPro. You'll find some macro lens options at the end of this article.
You might be interested in this DIY GoPro macro lens project.
GoPro Macro Photography
GoPro macro shots require a special lens. The wide field-of-view (FOV) that GoPro is famous for is great at keeping everything in focus. But if your “everything” is closer than 12 inches from the lens, things get blurry.
With a macro lens, you can film and photograph subjects within two to three inches. Being able to capture images that close will open up a new world of GoPro photography.
Once you have a macro lens, you'll want to use a narrow or medium FOV. The wide and superview settings leave the edges really blurry and stretched looking. This look, especially in video, will take away from your footage. With the medium and narrow FOV the edges are much softer.
Notice the look of the edges in these next two photos.
For photos, I prefer the look of the narrow FOV because the edges look the softest, as you can see in this next shot.
Macro lenses have a fixed FOV. That means everything beyond its FOV is soft/blurry, or out of focus. So a macro lens would not be a good choice for capturing action or sports footage. But, it's the perfect choice for close up images.
GoPro Macro Photography Explained
In this video, MicBergsma does an excellent job of showing how to shoot macro, how to stack the lenses, and what the different field of view settings look like.
GoPro Macro Photography Video
Watch on YouTube
Shop For GoPro Macro Lenses
When you're shopping for macro lenses make sure that the lens will fit your GoPro camera. Some lenses only fit some models, and others only fit with, or without the waterproof housing. So make sure to read the specs and reviews.
Here are a few options:
1. AGPtek 58mm Macro Lens: $19.99 Get 12.5X Magnification with this glass lens for GoPro Hero3, Hero3+ and Hero4. Comes with the adapter to mount on the waterproof housing. Make sure you confirm which model you’re ordering – the lens is also available without the mount. Check it out on Amazon.com | Amazon.ca (mount sold separately) | Not available in the U.K.
Read my GoPro macro lens review of the Orea AGPtek 12.5x lens
2. Neewer Macro Lens Set: $16.58 Comes with multiple lenses (+1,+2,+4,+10) that are double threaded allowing additional filters, lenses, or attachments to be stacked. It does not come with the waterproof housing but will fit on your Hero3+ or Hero4 waterproof housing. Check it out on Amazon.com | Not available in Canada | Amazon.co.uk
You might also consider the similar PLR Optics set (I just got mine!) for $13.99.
3. PolarPro Macro Lens: $29.99 This 3.8X maganification lens comes in two options – for either the Hero3 or the Hero4 / Hero3+. Lens is glass and comes with a storage bag. The lens fits on the waterproof housing. Check it out on Amazon.com | Not available in Canada, but Amazon.com ships this item to Canada | Amazon.co.uk
Using Your GoPro Macro Lens
Excited about getting started with GoPro macro photography? There are some things you'll need to keep in mind to get quality macro footage.
Follow these tips – and you'll be off to a good start:
6 GoPro Macro Photography Tips
- Keep your subject within 3 to 2.5 inches of the lens
- Shoot in bright sunlight
- Use a medium or narrow FOV setting for video
- Shoot still photos with a narrow FOV at 1080p for best results
- Use a tripod or hand held mount (like Knuckles Grip Mount) for steady shots
- Shoot in Protune flat for richest color capture
Please share any tips or experiences you've had shooting macro with a GoPro. We look forward to your comments. 🙂