Get More Out of Your GoPro with a Varifocal Zoom Lens

Not too long ago John Hess from FilmmakerIQ shared a few videos about replacing the lens on your GoPro camera. Now he's made a new video showing how he's installed a brand new varifocal zooms lens in his GoPro which actually acts as a macro lens. With all of the new action or POV cameras announced recently, like those from Sony and JVC, it will be interesting to see if those cameras will be as moddable as the GoPro cameras have proven to be. Check out the video embedded below.

Here's what he had to say about the mod:

I ordered a 2.4-12mm varifocal zoom lens from RageCam thinking I could get a little variety with a the zoom capabilities. But to my surprise, the varifocal zoom would actually be the most powerful macro lens I’ve ever used.

Though it costs almost as much as the unit itself at $130, it's a very interesting option to make the camera even more useful. Most people purchase GoPros because they're easy to use, and small enough to put absolutely anywhere, but adding a lens modification like this one gives it infinitely more options for different types of shooting scenarios. This type of lens could be especially useful if you need the size of a GoPro but don't want the extreme distortion that is usually associated with POV cameras.

Has anyone successfully modded their GoPros with a new lens. If so, how difficult did you find the experience?

Link: RageCam 2.4-12mm Lens

[via FilmmakerIQ]

Your Comment


This is great...I would like to try doing this to one of my gopros...what lens is that and where did you get it?

July 15, 2012 at 2:19AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Augusto Alves d...

Sorry got he info further down...I will try it.

Tank you

July 15, 2012 at 2:23AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

Augusto Alves d...

That is awesome, I'm testing out that neat video plugin right now which actually does help make the gopro footage usable by reducing all the crazy amounts of noise you get if you shoot indoors. I would like to upgrade the lens soon as they release their app for streaming to the iphone/ipad.

July 15, 2012 at 3:09AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


What plugin is that?

September 23, 2012 at 5:50PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Are those pictures of katy perry, zooey deschanel and a chimp?!

July 18, 2012 at 3:09PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM

AD Stephens

That is no chimp, it's Bubbles!

July 19, 2012 at 12:40PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


It's a really informative video, but you're playing a little fast and loose with some essential optical definitions (and I didn't write them, but I do teach about them at the post-secondary level).

A varifocal lens can alter its focal length by moving optical elements inside, but as you do this, you will have to refocus the lens.

A true zoom lens can alter its focal length by moving optical elements inside, and as you do this, the lens retains sharp focus.

By definition convention among optical engineers, the terms "zoom" and "varifocal" are NOT interchangeable.

A focusable lens (as opposed to a fixed-focus lens as found on el-cheap-o cameras) allows the operator to optimize the focus on the desired subject. A fixed-focus lens uses depth-of-field and (most likely) hyperfocal distance focusing to keep reasonable (but far from perfect) focus over a wide range of camera-to-subject distances. This focus setting is factory set on fixed-focus lenses, and the camera user cannot alter it.

Please be a little more rigorous about the terms as you use them. I'm visibly aging, repeatedly trying to hammer into people that "depth-of-field" and "depth-of-focus" are not, repeat, NOT the same thing.

Again, many thanks for a very cool video. It would be helpful in the text around the video if you could provide link(s) to the parts suppliers you used.

July 19, 2012 at 1:33PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Hey, thanks. That was totally awesome.

Word of advice, however, a DIY screw container should be the next order of business. ; )

July 19, 2012 at 1:51PM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM


Amazing. Now I am ,less interested in buying a new camera (possibly GH2) and more interested in doing more with my GoPro... THANK YOU.

August 17, 2012 at 10:13AM, Edited September 4, 7:54AM