Learn how to create your own changeable filter kit and save a lot of money in the process
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Here is a quick & easy DIY mod that takes advantage of the popularity of the GoPro and makes use of it for your Sony action camera.
If you don’t know, I prefer to use the Sony line of action cams on my 3D Robotics Iris+. That’s great but there are not as many accessories for the Sony as there are the GoPro. Normally I go to someone like RageCams.com for my filter/lens protection needs. But this time, I decided to test out a hunch I had after looking at several similar products for the GoPro line of cameras.
The hunch I had was simple. I suspected that the lens protrusion of the GoPro was very close, if not the same as, to the size of the end of the Sony action camera that contains the lens (specifically, I use a Sony HDR-AS100V so this should work with all of the “AS” model Sony action cams). So, I purchased a 37mm glass lens kit from eBay. This kit came with a UV lens and a cap. You can see a photo below:
Before we continue, you will need the following items to complete this DIY project:
1. 37mm Lens/Filter Kit for GoPro
2. Dremel Tool w/ sanding barrel & coarse sanding tube
3. Digital Caliper
4. Eye Protection (always wear eye protection when sanding ANYTHING, especially metal!)
Once the kit arrived, I used my digital caliper to measure the inside of the lens ring (made of aluminum!) as well as the GoPro and Sony lens housings. My hunch was correct as the GoPro lens housing measures 24mm and the Sony lens housing measures 22mm. Now, all I needed to do was remove that excess 2mm of aluminum material from the inside of the lens ring.
To do that, I broke out my trusty Dremel tool and attached a sanding barrel with coarse (there is no number inside for me to relay here) sanding tube. My Dremel is a battery operated version and I can control the speed of the spindle. Using the #8 (it goes from 1 to 10), I began to slowly remove material from the inside of the ring. I made a couple of passes and then measured the opening until I had taken off almost a 2 full millimeters of material. I started test fitting the ring on the housing once I had removed 1.5mm of material. Then, when the ring fit on the Sony housing tightly but without marring the plastic housing itself, I knew I had removed the right amount of material. The finished inside measurement of the ring was 23.99mm according to my digital caliper. The fit, in my opinion was perfect. It was snug but still removable and it didn’t harm the plastic lens housing.
Here is a photo of my tools used to complete this project for your reference.
The cost for my project is a whopping $6.05! If I were to buy the same kit from anywhere, the average cost would be $48! I now have a GLASS UV filter (recommended for all drone photographers) for my Sony action cam that will also protect my lens for MUCH less than I could buy it. This kit will also allow me to use any threaded 37mm filter that I would like for my aerial photography. Below is a photo from the Sony with the filter kit installed.
After seeing the above photo, I was really pleased with my work. And that photo looked great too! It’s very beautiful shot looking west of the town I live in.
A few words of caution for those you considering this project for your own Sony action camera. First, make sure that you can adjust the balance of your camera on the gimbal you are using. The one DOWNSIDE to using this particular kit is the weight. Glass and aluminum are heavy and after installing the kit, you will need to re-balance your camera in the gimbal. Lastly, BE CAREFUL! Make sure you wear eye protection when removing the material on the lens ring. The small bits of aluminum could get in your eyes and cause serious problems for you.
Thank you all for your time and remember, FLY SAFE!