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GoPro's stabilizer accessory looks crazy, but it works

This extension cable for the camera maker's Karma Grip gimbal gives you mounting flexibility including on the end of its new pole mount, El Grande.

The new GoPro Karma Grip Extension Cable lets you put a motorized stabilizer where you couldn't before.
Sarah Tew/CNET

The key feature of GoPro's Karma Grip handheld camera stabilizer, the thing that sets it apart from others, is that the motorized gimbal separates from the control handle so the stabilizer can be used on the company's Karma drone.

But if you don't need or want the drone, here's another reason to consider the Grip: It can now be split and joined by an extension cable, letting you put the gimbal on a helmet or chest mount or mount it somewhere out of reach while still being able to control the camera.

Available April 9 for $100, £100 or AU$150, the coiled cable puts the stabilizer up to 35 inches away (89 cm) from the Grip's control handle, which also houses the battery power for the gimbal. Using the included mounting collar, you can attach the stabilizer to any GoPro mount or quick-release buckle. Then you can stash the handle in a backpack or pocket or attach it to a chest strap so you can keep the controls in reach. It also makes it easy to mount the camera stabilizer outside a vehicle while keeping the controls inside.

There's no doubt that wearing it on a helmet is a little awkward and requires some cable management before you put it on. However, there's also no doubt that the stabilizer gives you remarkably smooth video. Wearing it on your chest is easier, you can keep the controls in reach just by attaching to the chest strap and it gets you a lot fewer stares, if that's a concern.

GoPro also released its first true pole mount, El Grande, that can be used with the Karma Grip and extension cable. The collapsible pole starts off at 15 inches (38cm), but extends to 38 inches (97 cm) and has a ball-and-socket mount at the end so you can swivel your camera 360 degrees. It'll be available on April 9, too, for $60, £60 or AU$90.

To go along with the new accessories, GoPro updated the firmware for the Hero5 Black and Hero5 Session cameras. Black users can now extract a photo from a multishot series as well access more photo mode shutter settings in Protune, while Session owners get a 4K at 24fps resolution option and all fields of view are now available in 1080 at 48fps. Voice commands can now be spoken in Korean, Russian and Portuguese for both cameras now, too.