GoPro footage is great. Used properly the benefits are too numerous to name, and in doing so I’d only be repeating what has been said a million times before. But for those who have seriously tried to weave together sections of footage into one continuous stretch of film, there does remain one slight problem. Everything looks very flat. The wide angle lens is perfect for ensuring each ounce of detail is captured within the frame, but unless you’re fortunate enough to have someone on dry land simultaneously recording material to virtually splice into the reel, more than a few minutes of nonstop self-filmed footage is a little difficult to digest. There are a few options within the GoPro camera itself, but nothing that can radically alter the scope or feel of the factory fitted lens.
Enter Lensbaby and the Circular 180+.
This aftermarket lens sits on the outside of the GoPro Hero’s waterproof housing to provide a modern take on the classic fish-eye lens, the go-to favourite for surf photographers the world over. Perfect for bringing a unique dimension to solo surf films and recordings.
The Circular 180+ clamps tightly onto the outside of the traditional GoPro waterproof housing, protruding only slightly from the casing and adding little weight to the overall package, and it can be removed from the camera in a matter of seconds. It’s waterproof to depths you’d never get to and cleverly brings previously out of focus sections of the landscape into the shot.
The lens has a wider field of view than the human eye, your entire surroundings pulled and majestically distorted into a single circle. When attached to the front of the surfboard the fish-eye adds a different element to your film, ideal for mixing up those generic and oh so common GoPro clips.
The nature of the lens means it doesn’t cope particularly well with capturing things in the distance. If the subject isn’t close or in the centre of the frame then there is a danger that it becomes swallowed up by the rest of its surroundings, but stay close and you’ll be fine. Unfortunately, I also found some water creeping into the lens, despite firmly tightening the bolt, but this water swishing around gave the footage an interesting feel in itself.
You certainly wouldn’t want to rely solely on images captured on the Circular 180+, but being relatively inexpensive (just under £60) the Lensbaby is a useful bit of kit for those looking to add an extra dimension to their homemade surf flicks.
For more info visit Lensbaby.