Finally got time to try the Sunex lenses on my Go Pro Hero 3 Black edition. The Hero 3 price dropped when the 3+ came around, but the Black is still an awesome action camera. So I followed this instructional video to remove the original lens. I recommend it only for people with a little experience with dismantling small electronics as you might damage the circuits, or the fragile image sensor or the lcd display. No heat gun needed, but a good Torx 4.5mm screwdriver and wooden sticks will save the day.
The Sunex DSL355 4.16 mm
First out was the Sunex DSL355. This is the widest rectilinear lens from the company, at 4.16 mm, equal to 23.4mm in 35mm format. I had no problems making it fit and get focus. You need to make it stay in its position, using rubber spacer or even plumbing tape. Note that the standard plastic cage will not work anymore as the lens is sticking out. Lens will look like this:
Snapshot from 1920×1080 video (no protune). No noticeable vignetting. Click to view full:
Still image version. Some heavy vignetting in the corners. Click to view full:
Now a simple barrell distortion test. Lines are pretty straight. Not perfect, but the fisheye-look is virtually gone. The vignetting will not be visible in a video crop (see above)
The DSL377 2.5mm tailored distortion
This lens is much closer to the original 2.77mm? f2.8 lens. Sunex say it has a lot less barrel distortion, showing this chart:
Unfortunately, I did not manage to screw the original lens completely into place, so I have no sharp comparison image. Still, here are the two lenses compared. First the original Hero 3:
Then the Sunex. Notice how the vertical line on the left changes.
Here comes a full size still image for quality and sharpness evaluation:
Now the original lens in the tiles:
Then the Sunex (Camera is a bit further away) – Much less barrel distortion.
I don´t like the action sports look when shooting video in general. I usually prefer a more cinematic look. If you do too, then these two lenses are very affordable options at $49 each. They have each good and bad sides, so I would recommend getting both.
DSL355 4.17 mm
- Pro: Performs almost rectilinear. The fisheye-effect is virtually gone. It´s less wide, but still good. See my outdoor test here.
- Cons: The lens is a bit soft. It shows in shiny metal or lights in a darker surrounding.
DSL377 2.5 mm
- Pro: Good over all sharpness. Wide field of view.
- Cons: Still some fish eye distortion, but much less.