Install Back-Bone’s custom, all aluminum Ribcage mod kit on any GoPro Hero3 Black, or Hero3+ Black (not included). Your camera will then be able to take any micro M12, CS-Mount or C-Mount lens. Attach any other type of lens with your own C-Mount adapters!
**Please note that this product is not necessarily for everybody. It requires you to take apart and re-assemble your camera which will void the manufacturer’s warranty. Back-bone has no control over the end user’s skill level and cannot be held responsible for accidental damage. We recommend that you view our installation video before you buy to make sure this is right for you. If you don’t feel comfortable performing the installation yourself we also offer Hero3+ Black cameras that have already been modified and tested.
THE WORLD’S MOST VERSATILE CAMERA JUST GOT BETTER.
Take your own GoPro Hero3 or Hero3+ Black and supercharge it with Back-bone’s custom all aluminum Ribcage mod kit. Now you can have the ability to pick the perfect lens for any situation. Once installed the Ribcage will be compatible with micro M12, CS-Mount and C-Mount lenses. You can attach virtually any other type of manual lens via readily available C-Mount adapters found online and in stores. Take advantage of what professional lenses have to offer: manual focus control, a more cinematic depth of field, macro shooting, optical zoom and iris control. You’ll receive a removable tripod mount so you can connect your camera to professional mounts and supports. Want night vision? Just leave out the IR cut filter during installation so you can see in the dark with any IR light source! You can always install it at a later time. Have a difficult lens? Use the adjustable flange distance feature to get the perfect results.
- 6x Premium CNC machined aluminum parts
- 1x IR cut filter
- 1x Plastic Stand-off
- 1x Electrical jumper
- 2x Micro Allen key for adjusting the flange distance.
- 1x packet of necessary screws, connectors and hardware.
Installation PDF Files
We recommend reading these two guides before getting started. Note: Our video has just recently been updated (2014-01-24) – The PDF files will be modified to match very shortly.
Kowa C mount 1/2 in. JCM series 6m F1.2 w/Screw Locks Megapixel KOW-LM6NCM Lens, a GoPro Hero 3+, and a Marumi 46mm M/C Filter.
Sample Video: Computar 2/3″ 16mm C-Mount and 1/2″ 25-135mm C-Mount.
Lens Buying Tip:
While you can connect any M12, CS or C-Mount lens, 1/2” and 2/3” lenses are best. Ribcage has a crop factor of 5.7 for 35mm SLR lenses, so wide angle lenses are generally more useful.
- 1/2.3”, 1/2”, 1/1.8” and 2/3” M12, CS-Mount and C-Mount lenses are ideal.
- 1/2.5” lenses are ‘technically’ slightly too small for the sensor but in most cases give complete coverage and excellent resulsts.
- 1/3” or 1/4” lenses are not recommended because they are too small for the sensor.
- Auto iris lenses are not recommended as they require an external power supply in most cases.
- Focal lengths ranging from 4mm up to 25mm will prove to be most useful. Focal lengths under 4mm will have a similar or more pronounced fish-eye effect than the stock GoPro lens.
- We’ve found it best to use lenses labelled ‘HR’ or ‘Megapixel’ for HD shooting. 3MP, 5MP and 10MP lenses should produce outstanding results.
- If you want to use the optional night vision feature of the Ribcage, IR corrected or D&N (day & night) lenses are recommended.
- Only lenses with manual features are supported. The GoPro is not capable of controlling fully automatic lenses.
- The built in M12 socket of the Ribcage will support M12 lenses with a maximum of 4.65mm back focus distance. At maximum distance the set screw may not engage. For M12 lenses requiring a longer back focal distance we offer an optional M12 to CS-Mount adapter which provides all the necessary distance required.
- Brands we have tested and find to be generally quite good are Kowa, Tokina, Fujinon, Computar and Tamron.
Visit http://www.digified.net/focallength/ for a magnification calculator. Choose the “Digital Compact with 1/2.3” Sensor” option. You can then punch in different focal lengths to see their 35mm equivalent. This is a great tool for deciding what focal length will best suit your needs.
Below is a diagram showing the image circles projected by the most common lens types in relation to the Hero3 Black image sensor.
You may find it helpful to visualize the crop factor.
So now you’ve got your kit and have performed or are performing the modification, and oops! you’ve run into a problem. What’s next? Take a look at some of these known issues to see if any apply to you. Our technicians are also happy to assist if you’ve run into trouble. Simply fill out the form at the bottom of the page.
Yellow artifacts and noise in video - There seems to be an impedance issue with a small number of older Hero3 Black models which can manifest as yellow noise once the kit is installed. The best solution in this situation is to contact Back-Bone support and we should be able to get you fixed up. This particular issue does not effect the Hero3+, so in the unlikely event you see yellow noise you may have an imperfection in your flexible PCB jumper. Contact Back-Bone support for a replacement.
My M12 lens can’t focus - The Ribcage was designed to support the broadest amount of lenses possible, however some M12 lenses have a back focal length longer than the built in M12 socket. This means that the lens would have to sit in front of it in order to focus. For these lenses we will offer an M12 to CS adaptor in our shop (very very soon) that screws into the CS-ring and should provide all the distance needed for lenses with a longer back focal length. We are also developing a custom M12 ring with a much deeper socket for people who may wish to make M12 their only lens choice for the camera.
My rings won’t thread together – Occasionally there can be small bits of metal or debris from the manufacturing process embedded in the threads or in the black anodized coating. Usually a light dab of WD-40 on a Q-Tip will allow the rings to thread together. Once they’ve been threaded together a few times they should be very smooth. If you still can’t get the parts to thread together contact support and we’ll arrange to replace any parts with imperfections.
I can’t get my C-Mount lens to focus - In most cases the solution to this problem is quite simple. The Ribcage is a CS-Mount camera that requires a 5mm C-Mount spacer ring to be attached to achieve focus with C-Mount lenses. This ring is included in your kit and comes with a plastic protective cap screwed into it. Simply install it and you should be good to go!
I can’t get my Hero3+ to fit back in the housing after modification – Pages 20 and 21 of the installation guide describe filing off part of a small tab on the circuit board. It is likely that you haven’t removed quite enough from the tab and the circuit board is not perfectly in position. Remove a bit more from the tab, ensure your main board is straight and sitting correctly and everything should fit back in.
My Canon/Nikon/Pentax C-Mount adaptor won’t thread into the camera all the way - Our threading follows the specifications for C-Mount very closely, however some manufacturers may use slightly different specs for their own. We have had some reports of the Kipon branded EOS – C-Mount adaptor having this issue. If this applies to you the easiest solution may be to buy a generic 5mm C-Mount spacer to attach to the camera. Many of these have a looser thread engagement and will allow the parts to thread together. They are usually cheap and widely available.
That’s it for the moment – a pretty short list so far! If you have an experience that you think should be included please drop us a line. If you require support for your Back-Bone product please send us a message by filling out the form below and we’ll be in touch as fast as possible!