GoPros are very popular action cameras. Many own these cameras and many drone manufacturers have built their drones specifically to be compatible with these cameras.
This brings us to the following question:
Can you mount a GoPro on a drone?
Yes, you can mount a GoPro on most drones using either stationary or gimbal mounts. Some drones have mounts that are compatible with some GoPro cameras, and others have fixed cameras that cannot easily be removed. Factors such as weight and stability can be an issue if not properly measured and can impact the drone’s performance.
This post is meant for those who have GoPros and want to attach them properly to their drones or see if the camera is compatible and for those who want to buy either one of these and want to make sure they can use them together.
- Factors You’ll Want To Consider Before Mounting Any Camera On Your Drone
- How To Mount A GoPro On A Drone
- How Do You Control Your GoPro while it’s attached to your Drone?
- What Drones Are Compatible With GoPro Cameras?
- Are GoPros Good Cameras For Drones
Factors You’ll Want To Consider Before Mounting Any Camera On Your Drone
Before you mount a camera on your drone, you should be aware of these factors and make sure you have carefully considered each of them.
Remember, adding any sort of weight to your drone could have a very negative impact on how long the drone lasts in terms of life expectancy and flight time and how well the drone flies.
Here are the factors you’ll want to consider before mounting any camera on your drone:
- Consider the weight of the camera
- Understand what type of drone you have
- Make sure your drone is well balanced/stable
- Check to see what mount your drone has
- You may void the drone’s warranty
Consider the weight of the camera
If you’ve ever owned a drone before, you’ll understand the importance of weight. A drone can only carry so much weight.
The additional weight a drone can carry besides its essential components is called the drone’s payload. Drone manufacturers always provide this number when you purchase the drone.
Learn more on what a drone is made of including definitions of all the components and the materials drones are commonly made of in our full post below:
Related Post: What Are Drones Made Of? Detailed Guide To Drone Anatomy [Consumer+Commercial]
This payload will depend on basic factors such as the power of the motors, the battery capacity and even the general size of the drone.
If the weight of the camera exceeds this limit, this will put a lot of strain on your drone’s components and could even damage the drone if it manages to takeoff.
Understand what type of drone you have
The type of drone you have is also another important factor to consider before you mount a camera to a drone.
Some drones were specifically built and optimised for specific applications. These drones are used in applications such as farming, aerial photography, cinematography, law enforcement and even search and rescue.
A small drone built to go fast cannot support a large camera. The weight of the GoPro can severely affect it’s flight time and maneuverability.
If you’d like to learn more on the different types of drones including the types according to design, payload, range, power source and use cases including some examples of both consumer, commercial and military drones, then check out our full post below:
Related Post: What Types Of Drones Are There? Every Type Of Drone Explained In Detail
Make sure your drone is well balanced/stable
The balance, or stability of the drone is one of the most important things you’ll want to get right if you plan on using your drone for aerial photography.
If your drone can’t stay leveled off while hovering and cannot stay in a relatively fixed position, then you may have to look into why this may be.
It could be caused by the motors that are not giving off the same amount of power while hovering, the drone’s center of mass that’s off due to improper weight distribution, or damaged propellers.
We highly recommend you check out our full detailed post on drone propellers including the different types, how they work, their different sizes and pitch, their materials, how to choose them and much more.
Related Post: Drone Propellers Explained: Detailed Beginner’s Guide To Drone Anatomy
Check to see what mount your drone has
We’ll be going into more detail on the different types of mounts down below so we’ll be brief below.
The starting point is to verify what type of mount your drone is equipped with.
Drones can come with three mounts. These include fixed mounts, stationary mounts and gimbal mounts.
If your drone already has a mount, you’ll need to make sure it can fit the GoPro you have. If your drone doesn’t have a mount, then you’ll have to buy one depending on what you’re looking to achieve (more on this below).
This factor is important so that you don’t find yourself missing parts you need or having the wrong parts altogether when you try and put it together.
You may void the warranty
Finally, most drones, often medium priced and up, come with a warranty. Intentionally modifying your drone can void this warranty if it does not cover accidental damages.
Always be sure to check what the terms of the warranty are so that you can be sure you’ll be covered if you decide to get a little too experimental.
How To Mount A GoPro On A Drone
There are several relatively quick and easy steps you’ll need to do when trying to mount your GoPro to your drone.
Here are the steps:
- Check to see what mount is on your drone
- Make sure your drone can handle the additional weight from the added payloads
- Choose and install the mount to your drone and add the GoPro
Check to see what mount is on your drone
You won’t have a mount if you purchased a drone without a camera or camera mount. In this case, you’ll want to decide how you’ll mount your GoPro from the options below.
If you already have a mount, figure out what type it is and make sure it can be supported by your GoPro by looking it up online.
Here are the different types of drone mounts:
Fixed mounts are mounts that are generally built into the drone and cannot easily be modified without knowledge on how to dismantle a drone.
These mounts are common on the market and are seen being used by large companies such as DJI or Parrot.
Take note that both stabilised mounts and gimbal mounts can have a fixed mount system.
The DJI Mavic Air 2 is an example of a drone that has a gimbal and camera with a fixed mount system.
Stabilised mounts are simply stationary mounts that can be built to hold multiple types cameras.
They cannot make automatic adjustments are are much cheaper than gimbals.
This causes the camera to capture low quality footage as the vibrations and the constant movement from the drone will be very visible.
Once you attach the camera of your choice, you can set the angle and make sure the drone is well balanced, and it will stay in place.
Here is a video showing some examples of DIY drone camera mounts including some cool tips (not including gimbals):
Gimbals are the best way to ensure you obtain the highest quality footage possible from your drone.
They can come as 1-axis, 2-axis and 3-axis drone gimbals. As the number of axes goes up, the higher the price, weight and quality go up as well.
They have many moving parts that automatically adjust your drone camera’s position no matter the direction you move in, providing the smoothest footage you can obtain.
If you’d like to learn more on what a drone gimbal is, what kinds of drone gimbals are available, whether drones need gimbals, how a drone gimbal works, how to choose the right gimbal, how much they cost and much more, check out our post on this topic below:
Related Post: What Is A Drone Gimbal? Does Your Drone Need One? [Types, How They Work, Prices And How To Choose One]
Make sure your drone can handle the additional weight from the added payloads
Now you’ll need to look up the payload capacity of your drone and make sure that it can hold the weight you will be putting on it so that you don’t lose much performance.
This information is provided by the manufacturer of your drone.
Make sure you add both the camera and the mounting system you will use to mount the camera on the drone.
If your drone is fitted with too many things that exceed it’s payload limit, this will drastically reduce the life expectancy of the drone’s components as it was not meant to carry weights that exceed this number.
Extra weight puts a lot of strain on the motors and will quickly reduce your drone’s flight time.
It could also damage the battery itself as the battery will need to provide much more power, at a much quicker pace, to ensure the motors are spinning the propellers at a much higher revolutions per minute (RPM) in order to keep the drone in the air.
Learn more on how long drone batteries last where we dive into the average flight times for both consumer and commercial drones, including the average drone battery life expectancies, the types of drone batteries, why drones have short flight times and battery life expectancies, how to increase both and more:
Related Post: How Long Does A Drone Battery Last? Battery Life Expectancy + Flight Times
Exceeding the drone’s maximum payload capacity can also shift the drone’s center of mass. This can put a lot more strain on the propellers that are on the heavier side where most of the weight has shifted to.
This can also make it very difficult to control your drone which will be a very frustrating experience.
Choose and install the mount to your drone and add the GoPro
Now it will be time to actually choose the mounting system you want and install it to your drone.
Remember, you’ll need to buy a mount that fits your drone. Many third party mounts that are not supplied by the manufacturer of your drone tell you what drone the mount is compatible with.
However, there may be many drones they missed out on, so use your best judgement.
Stationary mounts are usually attached with a velcro strap that wraps around the body of the drone. This will obviously be a pretty straightforward process.
The only downside is if the shape of the drone is awkward or if it’s too large, it can make it very difficult to attach and it can also enable the velcro to shift while the drone is in motion, impacting video quality.
If you use a gimbal mount, you will almost always have screws to attach it to your drone securely. Making sure you bought a gimbal that fits your drone is important. You’ll have to look it up for your specific drone.
Make sure the gimbal and camera you’ll attach to it won’t shift the drone’s center of mass to ensure you don’t damage the drone in the long run.
Also, take not that drone gimbals require power to function. If you buy a good quality drone gimbal, then this may eat into your drone’s flight time.
How Do You Control Your GoPro while it’s attached to your Drone?
GoPro actually has their own app which you can download and use on Apple, Android and Windows smartphones.
This will enable you to configure your GoPro’s camera settings, livestream video, start and stop recordings, take pictures and share your results all while the GoPro is attached to your drone in the air.
An alternative to using your smartphone would be to use the GoPro remote which can achieve mostly the same things.
What Drones Are Compatible With GoPro Cameras?
Some manufacturers may state a few examples of third-party cameras their drones support but they usually do not include them all. Many DIY drone enthusiasts have found various combinations that work well.
Take note that some of the most popular drones out there have fixed mounts for their drones, making it necessary for you to know how to remove and replace the mount. This can be dangerous and should only be done if you have some knowledge on drones.
Here are 6 drones that are compatible with GoPro cameras:
|Drone Model||Type Of Mount||Intended For Which GoPro|
|3D Robotics Solo||Gimbal add-on (additional fee)||Hero 5|
|Traxxas Aton Plus||Gimbal||Hero 3,4|
|Holy Stone HS700||Stationary mount||Hero 2,3,4|
|Veho Muvi Q-Series Q-1||Gimbal||Hero 4|
|Walkera QR X350||Stationary||Any GoPro|
|Altair Aerial Blackhawk||Stationary||Hero 3,4|
Are GoPros Good Cameras For Drones
GoPro cameras are very good cameras no matter how you look at them. However, in some cases, they may not be the best camera for your drone.
This is due to the fact that overall, these cameras can be very large and can weigh a bit too much for what your drone can handle.
The added weight can cause serious issues like altered aerodynamics and reduced flight times. This is something you may need to prepare yourself for if you go with the GoPro camera.
Additionally, the image stabilization in general for these cameras may be a little too slow for the rapid movement and sharp direction changes of drones while they’re in the air.
You should also be aware that some people have had issues with the GoPros Wi-Fi that can interfere with your drone’s wireless communication system. This can make you lose control of your drone.
This is the primary reason not all drones can support GoPro cameras and why you should find out if yours does before you use it.
The main thing you will need to pay most attention to is the performance of your drone after you implement this new camera on your drone.
If the drone is no longer stable, if your flight times have drastically reduced or if your camera footage is very noisy, then this is most likely caused by the GoPro.
Fun fact, GoPro actually released their own drone back in 2016 called the GoPro Karma drone. However, they later discontinued this model and exited the drone market.
GoPros are great cameras and can also be great for your drones. We hope you now understand how you can mount a GoPro on a drone and why you may not be able to.
Thank you for reading and happy flying!