The SPCA 6350 / OV4689 Processor and sensor combo does a decent job faking 4K. Some Youtubers even claim (incorrectly) that it’s better than GoPro 4K! You might not be able to tell the difference on a smaller screen… But it is only 1/2 the resolution of real 4K, and since it uses MJPG instead of H.264 for 4K mode, there is a lot of compression artifacts. It is also only 25FPS instead of 30, making it jittery at times. Some shots even got corrupted. This was filmed with an H9R clone (same cam as Akaso EK7000, but unbranded). It is also found in Eken H9 and a bunch of other cams around $50 – 60 on Amazon/Gearbest/AliExpress/etc.
Unboxing and First Look
While this camera may not have the best video quality of all the cams I’ve tested recently, it certainly has some of the best hardware, with a metal front plate and handsome orange accents. The camera feels well built in comparison to other cheap action cameras. Since this cam is based on the OV4689 4MP image sensor, it is not capable of real 4K. 1080p at 60 FPS will likely be its best format. It also features interchangeable filters, that make it unique among the rush of generic action cameras that have hit the market recently. This review will be updated as more footage is captured.
Video Samples and Comparisons
More coming soon.
I don’t expect a $30 cam to match a $100 camera for quality, but if they advertise 4K they should AT LEAST get something close, not … this … mess …
I decided to give the V3 + IMX179 platform another shot to see if it had improved. Spoiler alert: it has not. Don’t buy these cheap trash cams. The “1080p” video looks like an old VHS tape or a kid drawing with crayons. The 1440p video is OK, but it has issues too (see the shot after the credit clip for a “fun” example).
Long story short, don’t buy these cheap cameras.
I have some high hopes for this cam but can it hold up? You’ll find out in the full review in a few weeks. I have so many things to review and so little time (going away for a trip soon and want to get done before that!). This cam was provided to me by Gearbest for review.
Gearbest Link: http://dreki.tech/1s-gearbest
Gearbest is having a mid year sale right now they asked me to promote. Link here.
5 Action Cams That Are Under $80 (A.K.A. 5 cams that are cheaper and often better than the Akaso EK7000)
In order that I would recommend them:
If you don’t need the remote you can save $10 – $20 on the Eken H9r by just ordering the H9 (no remote!) just choose the option from the listing above.
H9R Cheap / International:
Honourable mentions to Xiaomi Yi (the best of the bunch but only available below $80 from overseas suppliers. Make sure to choose the option with the waterproof case otherwise the camera comes solo): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/original-xiaomi-yi-action-camera/32791620205.html
I mixed some old footage and new footage to get this, and I had to borrow cams. It took a lot longer to put together than it should have. Unfortunately I’m not going to have enough time with those cams to do full length reviews.
It’s 2017 and that means it’s time for another round of cheap so-called 4K cameras to be released! Allwinner technology has got us covered with their new low end processor, the V3s.
For fake 4K action cams there are three main makers of processors. These are like Intel or AMD for cameras, except they’re not really like Intel or AMD because those two are actually good and some of these are, well, questionable at best. Each processor has a maximum video quality it can produce and none of them have enough power to produce actual 4K footage. They all do it in some weird resolution or frame rate or some sort of software tricks to fake it. From best to worse, in my experience, is Novatek, then Sunplus and Allwinner are kinda tied for a sad last place.
The video you see is from an Allwinner camera based on their new processor, the V3s. This is a lower end version of the common V3 processor, and since it is cheap to make cameras with low end processors I’m expecting to see a lot of cams based on it to be released soon. There are already a few brands that use this configuration including MGcool and the generic F60C.
The older Allwinner V3 was not a great processor by any means, but in most cases the cameras that were released based on it were crippled by software, meaning that with some hacking the V3 cameras were actually capable of producing decent results, up to 1080p60 or 2K30. At least with the V3 you’d be guaranteed the same consistent level of image quality across multiple vendors, even if that image quality wasn’t particularly good on the Sony variant.
Now that the V3S has been released, some cameras are being advertised as containing Allwinner SoCs but now they do not have the V3. Instead they have the S variety and, surprise surprise, it’s almost like the S stands for S***! The V3s only supports image sensors up to 5 Megapixels (despite these cams being advertised as 16 MP), and they have a maximum video resolution of 1080p at 40 FPS (despite being advertised as 4K). This is a case of newer is not better as it is a step backwards in image quality. It’s almost like comparing the slowest Atom processor to a Pentium. The cameras look similar, the user interface looks similar, but the results speak for themselves. And the V3 isn’t great to start with!
My recommendation, if you’re looking at an Allwinner camera, is to stay vigilant and read the specs very carefully so you don’t get ripped off. The V3 is bundled with one of two image sensors: an OV4689, which has the best image quality out of the box despite only being 4MP, or an IMX179 which is 8MP and generally has more mediocre image quality. The V3S on the other hand is being bundled with one of two sensors: a GC2023, which is 2MP, and not even high enough resolution for 1080p let alone 4K, or the OV2720 which is also 2MP but can do 1080p resolution. At the price point of these cameras, it’s worth spending the extra $10 – $20 to get something with far more capable specs instead of cheaping out.
Summary: The S1R baton is a flashlight that packs a lot of brightness into a small body.
The other day I made the mistake of attempting to push a SJcam SJ4000 firmware update to my F23 action cam. I had a morbid curiosity, and a little bit of a destructive mindset. Needless to say that the SJ4000 hardware must be different in some way, as its firmware did not work on the camera. I did a ton of hunting and thought I was S.O.L. for finding the original firmware and my camera was ruined. Thankfully I was able to acquire it.
This camera is called the F23 and it is available on Gearbest. It’s a near identical clone of the SJ4000. Despite it being listed as a SooCoo product, it is not. The firmware version here is only for the cameras with the original firmware version N20150723V01. Install at your own risk. I am not responsible for failed firmware updates. Here’s how to update:
- Charge the camera so the battery is full or near full.
- Download the .bin file and place it onto a blank Micro SD (32GB or less).
- Put the Micro SD into the camera with the camera powered off.
- Turn on the camera. The lights will flicker and blink for about 30 seconds.
- The camera will turn on if the update is successful.
- Remove the Micro SD from the camera.
- Put the micro SD back into your computer.
- Delete the .bin file from the micro SD.
Hopefully this helps you solve a bricked F23 action camera! A full review of the cam will be posted within the next few days.