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GoPro Bones is a naked Hero 10 for FPV drones; alternatives to consider (updated)

GoPro Bones is a naked Hero 10 for FPV
GoPro Bones is a naked Hero 10 for FPV

GoPro Bones ($399) is a new naked GoPro Hero 10 for FPV drones just a day after releasing Reelsteady 2.0.  Here’s the launch video and some alternatives to consider.

What are FPV drones?

What is a naked GoPro?

A “naked GoPro” is a GoPro that’s been stripped down and made as light as possible.  Typically, this means removing the LCD screen and battery, and replacing the case with a lightweight plastic case.  A naked GoPro’s light weight enables it to be used with very small FPV drones, such as a 2.5 inch cinewhoop to fly through small spaces.  They are also useful even for larger drones because the weight savings can improve flight performance.

Naked action cams are action cams stripped down to credit card size cameras
Naked action cams are action cams stripped down to credit card size cameras

Originally, naked GoPros were hand assembled, which took time and could sometimes result in a bricked camera.  Moreover, even with a functioning camera, sometimes, it became less reliable.  I converted a Hero 6 into a naked Hero 6 and after a few months the gyro stopped working.  The Wi-Fi connection also often fails to survive the naked conversion.

GoPro Bones Features

Bones makes getting a naked GoPro much easier.  It is a 54 gram naked Hero 10.  Besides being more convenient, I’m hoping that Bones is also more reliable.  I also like how the Bones keeps the Hero 10’s lens protector which not only protects the lens but is also oleophobic (it won’t easily get smudged by fingerprints).  It also makes it easy to find ND filters.  It also fits the GoPro MAX lens mod, but I don’t know if the Bones’ firmware supports the Max lens mod.

Bones has a built-in mount for a 1.5mm m2 screw and an M2 to GoPro adapter
Bones has a built-in mount for a 1.5mm m2 screw and an M2 to GoPro adapter

The mount for Bones appears to be similar to the one used by GepRC cinewhoops such as the GepRC Cinelog 30, GepRC Cinelog 25 and BetaFPV Beta95X v3.  Interestingly, the mount is positioned in line with the lens rather than in the middle of the camera.  Though the camera is off-center, this design makes the pilot’s FPV view more similar to that of the Bones.  However, if you prefer the camera to be centered, you can 3D print a mount for it.

GoPro Bones on GepRC Cinelog30 shows that the camera mount is centered on the lens axis
GoPro Bones on GepRC Cinelog30 shows that the camera mount is centered on the lens axis

Although Bones doesn’t have a front LCD or rear LCD, it does have several options for controlling it: the Quik app (yes the Wi-Fi works), a GoPro remote, or with a QR code.

Like most naked GoPros, Bones needs external power from a GH1.25mm 3Pin cable, which can be soldered to your battery pads or to a BEC.  The voltage can be from 5V to 27V.  Alternatively, you can use a GH1.25 to balance lead connector, which can connect to your LiPo battery, with no soldering needed.

Price and availability; alternatives

Bones is available now for $399 (with a GoPro subscription), $50 more than a conventional Hero 10.  However, Bones includes a license for Reelsteady (normally $99.99) as part of the new GoPro Player + Reelsteady.  However, this is not such a huge benefit because most FPV pilots who have used naked GoPros before already have a Reelsteady license and thus would be able to get the Reelsteady 2.0 at no cost by logging in with their Reelsteady credentials.  Moreover, because Player + Reelsteady was released yesterday, people may have bought the license and it’s not clear whether GoPro would refund the Reelsteady license in that case.

Bones does cost less than many pre-assembled naked Hero 10 cameras, which can cost as much as $725 because of the labor involved.  But I’m shocked that GoPro has the audacity to charge more for the Bones than a Hero 10, given that it costs GoPro much less to build (since it doesn’t have a front LCD screen, rear LCD screen or a battery).  I’m hoping that Insta360 will update the SMO with the new 4K Boost Mod of the Insta360 One RS, which is very similar to Hero 10, to provide a more affordable alternative.

Notwithstanding the price, I ordered Bones and will be testing it.  Meanwhile, there are also several lightweight cameras for FPV drones, such as these:

Thanks for using the affiliate links above at no extra cost to you, so I can do more tests and reviews.

About the author

Mic Ty

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