If you own a GoPro camera I am sure you are pretty familiar with selfie shots. That’s the holy grail of GoPro videos – be there in the shot, be the hero of a story. No wonder that extension poles became very popular. In this review, I would like to compare two high-quality extension poles, from a family point of view. What factors to consider before you buy any selfie stick for family video?
In these days, the market is flooded with different kinds of selfie sticks, poles, arms and multi-functional mounts. It is hard to choose the right one for your specific needs which is a high-quality piece for a reasonable price. Personally, I don’t want to mount my expensive GoPro camera to a cheap mount which will break during the action. You have seen how I almost lost my camera using the cheap mount, right?
GoPro 3-Way Arm vs. UKPro Pivot 8×8
When I bought my first GoPro camera, I also ordered a few mounts right away. Multi-functional GoPro 3-Way (arm / grip / tripod) was one of these mounts. I use it already more than a year and a half and I am pretty familiar with this mount.
Three months ago, I was contacted by company UKPro. They asked if I would be interested in testing their extension pole Pivot 8×8 and make a review. I thought it would be interesting to compare these two poles and tested Pivot 8×8 intensively ever since.
Disclosure: I am not paid by GoPro nor by UKPro for this review. What I write here is my honest opinion with all pros and cons I found. The fact that I got Pivot 8×8 pole for free doesn’t affect my opinion. I want to show you what works well and what doesn’t.
If it is more convenient for you to watch rather than read I prepared a video comparison review. However, this written review provides more details than the video.
I would like to apologize for so many cuts in the video. As you probably know, I am not a native speaker and it is hard for me to have a long speech. Also, I am a camera-shy person which makes it even more difficult. But I promise, I practice this a lot and I hope I will eventually become better one day and provide you high-quality content in more watchable form. Thanks, for understanding.
Here is the video:
Get the Pole Out of the Shot (Bending)
When choosing extension poles I was looking for those with a bending option. This provides flexibility and it is more convenient to get the pole out of the shot. Of course, you can do this with straight pole too, but it requires more experience. You have to know how tall is your camera’s field of view. Check my blog post about selfie shots here for more tips.
There is another benefit of the bending which might be impossible to achieve with a straight pole. Imagine a situation when you capture your little one and you need to keep the camera at the kid’s eyes level. If you don’t have a pole with joints you have to bend yourself. It hurts after a while! I am glad I have both poles which are easily adjustable – I can film the kids while standing straight.
Tether it During Water Activities!
When I tested the extension poles in the water, I found very practical that UKPro Pivot 8×8 has a lanyard. We have small kids who cannot swim yet and thus we have to hold them pretty much all the time. Holding a pole at the same time might be challenging. Imagine the fun in the ocean, the wave coming across us… I just had to drop my extension pole to hold the baby tightly. With the pole tethered to my wrist, I didn’t lose my camera.
You can adjust the lanyard to any wrist size. Lanyard has a rubber protection of wrist which I found convenient.
In comparison, GoPro 3-Way Arm doesn’t have a lanyard. But it has a loophole at the end of the pole so you can buy some lanyard and attach it there. Anyway, I would expect to get it as a part of the basic package because 3-Way isn’t a cheap mount.
I also appreciate the massive handle of Pivot 8×8. The rubber grip has a rough texture and a big hurdle at the end which helps to keep the wet pole in my hand.
For these reasons:
Just a note aside – when you submerge Pivot 8×8 under water, the bubbles start to come out. At first, my husband thought it goes from camera housing (we used our HERO4 camera that time). He was afraid the water damages our camera. But then we realized that bubbles went from UKPro’s extension pole. It has several holes in it allowing water quickly flow in and out so it doesn’t stay inside the pole. This makes it easy to wash and then dry the pole thoroughly after the use. However, you need to count with this if you expect to record sound. When coming back above water level with my camera, my daughter said something but all I heard was the sound of water coming out from my pole. This can take a couple seconds.
Portability – Put it in Your Pocket
Another important factor for family use of extension pole is its portability. When hiking with kids we always have so much stuff. We need to have free hands and not to carry the pole with the camera the whole trip. We just want to make a shot and put it in the pocket.
Here comes one of the best features of GoPro 3-Way. I can unscrew both screws only a bit. Then fold the extension pole into the compact size which fits in my pocket (with the camera on it). It takes only seconds to do it (see the video).
This is what I miss the most on the UKPro’s Pivot 8×8 extension pole. I can fold it only to the right angle so it is hard to put it even into a backpack. Of course, I can completely unscrew the pole and then I get two small pieces. But it takes much more time. I found it impractical when I wanted to make shots along the hike and hide my camera frequently, in the meantime.
Make Static Shots with a Tripod
3-Way arm has another handy feature which I use a lot during our hikes. I can transform the pole in seconds to a tripod. On a hike, I often run ahead just a few feet and put the tripod on the ground. Then I return back to my family members and we walk together around the camera on the tripod. This odd behavior brings a few benefits:
- I have the shots of the whole family
- I can quickly capture all of us from the front and also from the back – multiple angles are good!
- I get static shots
The problem with selfie shot is its shaky look as you hold the camera during walking. The viewers might get motion sickness if you serve them only these shaky shots the whole time. When you combine selfie shots with static ones, the experience from viewing your video will be much better.
Important note: 3-Way’s tripod is very lightweight and doesn’t seem durable. I never leave my camera unattended when kids are running around. I also wouldn’t use this tripod when it is windy. It can easily send your camera on the ground. Use it with caution!
Because of great portability and tripod feature:
Unique Shots from a Bike Ride
UKPro Pivot 8×8 pole doesn’t have a tripod but it provides a different transformation option. You can mount the pole to a helmet and get pretty cool shots from your kid’s activities, for example, a bike ride. You can actually see the kid’s excited face during the ride, really close shot.
Let’s see how to attach Pivot 8×8 extension pole to the helmet. You will need a little preparation ahead.
At first, buy a curved adhesive mount, J hook and lighter. This stuff isn’t part of the package.
Completely unscrew the Pivot 8×8 pole to get two separate parts. You will use only the half of the pole where the camera is attached. Check that the blue connector at the end of this part of the pole doesn’t have any cap. It must have only a hole for a screw.
I actually had there the one with the cap and I had to switch it with the blue connector from the other half of the pole. The manufacturer says it is odd because, normally, you should have the right blue connector without the cap there.
Take the curved adhesive mount and heat its red sticky side by lighter until you see little bubbles on the surface. In my case, it took almost 1 minute.
Then remove the red foil and immediately put it on the helmet on the desired place and push on it. Do not place it too much in front part of the helmet, rather in the middle, because you don’t want the center of the gravity too ahead. This would cause helmet falling into the kid’s eyes. Leave it dry properly overnight.
Next day, attach the right half of the pole to the J hook. Do not use the screw from J hook, take the screw from the Pivot 8×8 pole instead (which is long enough).
Attach your GoPro camera on the other end of the pole and you are ready to go.
First, give your kid the helmet without the pole mount, as you would normally do. The helmet needs to be fixed well on the kid’s head before you attach the pole with the camera. Then clip the J hook with the pole to the adhesive mount on the helmet.
Be prepared that your kid might not like it at first. Ours didn’t like that they had the camera in front of them. Also, their helmet was too big and the camera was pulling it forward. I will try to mount a new adhesive mount more backward. Hopefully, kids will get used to it. I can imagine how many shots with excited faces we may get with this mount.
The results look awesome – you can get not only one shot but multiple filming angles. You can switch between them in a second using only this single mount.
First, try the shot of happy face when you set the very low angle of the pole.
Then increase the angle and make a shot from above, seeing the helmet and the bike under the kid.
Unclip the camera from the adhesive mount, turn it 180 degrees and clip again to the helmet. You will get a shot from behind your kid riding a bike.
At last, unclip the pole from the helmet and use it as you would normally use your extension pole. Chase the kid, make shots from the side, from the front, and from the back. You will get so many variations that the viewer will not have a chance to get bored. Combine them all together and the result will be a cool bike ride video!
GoPro 3-Way cannot be mounted on the helmet so for that reason:
I want to show you a different perspective now. Imagine the family picnic or any other event where you stay at one place (i.e. don’t need portability). You have fun with your kids, make a shot once at a time and then drop your camera on the ground or on the table. No need to fold and unfold the pole every ten minutes to make a shot. It just stays there ready for you when needed. But there is also a lot going on there, kids running around etc. Somebody can accidentally step on your pole or drop it down on the ground. In that case, you would appreciate having a durable extension pole.
First look on my both poles gives an immediate impression which one is more durable. GoPro 3-Way is made from plastic and it is so tiny compared to robust UKPro Pivot 8×8 (but still lighter). UKPro’s selfie stick is made from aluminum and glass filled nylon, nuts are from stainless steel. No doubt, this pole would survive more.
Let’s talk about price. As you probably know, GoPro official mounts are one of the most expensive on the market and 3-Way is no exception. Having two small babies, we have to think twice before we buy such an expensive single mount. It costs almost $70 on Amazon.
I was surprised that Pivot 8×8’s price is just under $40. Affordable and reasonable for such a high-quality gear made in USA.
Let’s summarize it all:
|GoPro 3-Way||UKPro Pivot 8×8||winner|
|length||20.5 in||19 in||3-Way|
|weight||8.1 oz||8 oz||Pivot 8×8|
|portability||pocket size||backpack size||3-Way|
|helmet mount||NO||YES||Pivot 8×8|
|durability (material)||plastic||aluminium / steel||Pivot 8×8|
You might be tempted to count the number of red or blue points, but there is no overall winner. The weight of each factor is certainly different for every family. It highly depends on your priorities and activities you do the most often. Is it fun in the water or hiking? Do you need the smallest size possible or your pole must survive everything? Make your decision based on the factors which matter the most for you.
I use both selfie poles fairly often. Because we do mostly hiking with kids where the portability is the main factor, 3-Way is in my hands more often. But there is no doubt that both are highly functional mounts. Both serve us very well and I would recommend them to any family. I wish to have a pole which is a combination of these two. Multi-functionality and portability of 3-Way together with the higher quality of Pivot 8×8 at its lower price level.
And what is your favorite extension pole for GoPro? Please share your experience in comments below this post.
Thanks for reading!
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