GoPro Cameras: Pros and Cons of the Lens

By John Carucci

The obvious first thing you notice about the GoPro is that the lens is wide. Really wide. A lens this wide is a luxury, and when you realize that it’s connected to an affordable camera, it seems more like a luxurious gift.

Yes, this camera offers you boundless creative choices, especially when you’re playing with perspective. Still, it’s possible to get into trouble with a camera that lacks a viewfinder. Shooting without monitoring the shot isn’t much different than drawing in the dark. Both will produce an image, but rarely the way you intended.

The GoPro lets you take unique cityscapes with its ultra-wide-angle lens.

The GoPro lets you take unique cityscapes with its ultra-wide-angle lens.

Like everything else, the GoPro’s lens has pros and cons. Here are the pros:

  • Fits in tight spaces: With such a wide angle of view, you can include everything in the shot.

  • Has great depth of field: The wider the lens, the more of the scene that appears in focus. Because GoPro is really wide, so is the amount of focus in the scene.

  • Gets really close to the subject: You can use this camera in the tightest of places.

And here are the cons:

  • Records too wide a view: Sometimes it’s possible to “under” lens the scene by having too expansive of a view.

  • Can’t control focus: The camera has no focus control.

  • No viewfinder: That means you cannot monitor the scene on the camera and therefore judge the view of the lens.

  • Produces geometric warping (better known as distortion).