There are some crazy good deals and coupons available this week for action cams. Gearbest is having their September sale and a bunch of sellers on Amazon are blowing out old stock since summer is over. If you’re looking for a cheap GoPro clone or budget action cam here are the best deals this week:
The Cheapest: SooCoo C30, $39.99
This is a killer deal on a decent budget action cam that is normally priced at $70. There are a few reasons we recommend the Soocoo C30 over other cams at this price point:
Real 1080p 60 and 2.7k 30 fps
Real 12MP Sony sensor
Two batteries included
The C30 isn’t perfect and that’s why it is so cheap. Ocasionally the colour gets a bit wonky and the audio quality could be better. But if you want to spend less than $50 on a cam this is a very good option. No coupon is necessary for the deal and there’s no indication when it will end so get it quick!
This is our favourite sport cam we’ve tested to date. Since it is a fairly new release it does not go on sale often, and $120 is the best price we have seen it at recently. This cam has better colour reproduction, more detail, better audio quality and better low light than the SooCoo C30 so it is worth buying if you can spend the extra. Other key features include:
Better quality 12MP Sony Sensor
Real 4K at 30 fps and stabilised 1080p60
720p at 240fps slow-mo
Touch screen user interface
Included USB mic
If we find a coupon code to bring the price lower, we will drop it here. In our opinion this camera is well worth $120.
If you can’t swing enough to buy the Firefly 8SE, the ThiEYE T5 Edge is a great choice. It features real 4K with image stabilisation, excellent colour reproduction and a simple user interface. Get the Firefly 8SE if you can, due to its better audio quality, but the T5 Edge is a great choice if you don’t have the extra to spend or you plan to use the camera in the waterproof case where audio doesn’t matter anyways. Its important specs are:
We’re constantly keeping our eyes out for good deals on technology and action cams. If you find one let us know on Twitter! Hopefully this helps you save a bit of money when you buy your cam. Thanks for reading.
These two cameras are some of my favorites, but one of them is now my go to for daily use.
Spoilers: I really wanted to love the T5 Edge because the video looks very good, but it was just too often that I couldn’t use the audio from it. So that means the 8S is still my go-to every day camera.
The Thieye T5 Edge and the T5e are significantly different cameras. My goal with this video is to help you decide which would work best for you.
Let’s start with the unboxing. It’s been a while since I unboxed the T5E but I remember it coming with two batteries and less accessories whereas the Edge comes with a few more clips but only one battery.
In terms of build quality, the cases of these two cameras are almost identical save for the orange markings on the Edge. From the back, the sides, and the bottom these two cams are identical and they even take the same waterproof case and batteries. The biggest difference between these two cameras comes when you turn them on. First off, the screen on the Edge is noticably dimmer than the E. They both have good viewing angles though.
The user interface of the Edge is way better than the E. To show you what I mean I’m going to count the number of clicks that it takes to change the video resolution from 4K to 1080p. (timer this) On the edge, you hit the up arrow to enter the video settings menu, then hit the down arrow, record button, down two more times, record, then menu to return for a total of 7 clicks. On the E, it takes 19 clicks to do this same simple task. You have to cycle through the modes, through the playback, then scroll past 10 different video resolutions, most of which an average user is not going to ever need. And it gets worse when you want to change other camera settings because the menu is one long list. The edge, on the other hand, has its menus cleanly broken into different sections for video settings, photo settings and camera settings so it is far easier and takes less clicks to find what you’re looking for. The options that the Edge has are more basic, and that means it is missing several customization options: the edge does not have settings for sharpness, ISO, mic volume, or field of view, all of which the E has buried in its long list.
Both cameras have real 4K at 30 FPS but there is one key difference: the Edge has stabilization at 4K while the E does not. The E excells in 1080p 60 and 1080p 120, where it has far more detail. If you want higher resolution and don’t care about frame rate, the Edge is the cam for you but plan on using 1080p60 primarily you’ll probably be better off with the E. Since we’ve got the Edge on the left, lets talk about where it is best first: high resolution modes. Mounted on my bike handle bars these cameras have to deal with a lot of bumps and shaking, and side by side like this it’s hard to see the difference, so let’s look at one clip at a time.
The Edge in 4K has a decent amount of detail although perhaps slightly less than the E. I find that it also has some slight compression artifacts in smooth gradients like the sky and the clouds. Let’s take a closer look at each camera, and slow it down a little. At half speed you can see that the footage looks pretty damn good but if you’re on a big 4K screen you might see some compression noise in the form of blocks or a slight lack of smoothness in the gradients. Some of that is Youtube and some of that is the camera. The E also has a bit of noise up close but again it’s no big deal. Let’s compare that to the E.
The E footage has very slightly more detail. It’s such a slight difference that you may need to freeze and zoom into 100% to see it, but take a close look up on the trees in the distance. On the Edge it’s just a bit more smudgy.
The difference in actual resolution is kind of a moot point because unless the E is mounted on a tripod or placed on a stable surface like a table the video from it is less useful than the Edge, thanks to the stabilization. Check out the difference between stabilized and unstabilized footage and you’ll see what I mean. Also, I noticed while filming this, that the Edge stays way cooler than the E. The E gets hot at 4K resolution!
1080p 60 and High Frame Rate Modes
Let’s flip things around now and look at 1080p video, where the E is the clear winner. The difference in the amount of detail the two cameras resolve is startling, with the E being far sharper. It’s almost as if the Edge is actually shooting video in 720P, and then upscaling to 1080p.
As per usual we’ll start with the Edge up close. The video isn’t terrible, far from the worst 1080p 60 I’ve ever seen. It is a true 60 frames per second, so it can slow down to half speed and still be reasonably smooth; but still check out the grass and the pathway compared to the E. It too is a true 60 frames per second but it also resolves real 1080p. The E also has several slow-mo modes that the Edge does not: 2.7K 60, 1080p 120 and 720p 240. Quite frankly, if the Edge had stabilized 2.7K 60FPS it would be the perfect camera, but I can dream. Having the option, even if it does not have stabilization, is nice because it can be used on a gimbal or flat surface or with a proper stabilizer where with the Edge you’re stuck.
The point of this section was to say that if you want slow motion or you plan to use 1080p60, maybe stick with the E, but if you want higher resolution then the Edge is the better choice due to stabilization.
Speaking of higher resolution, on the Edge, both 4K and 2.7K are 60 Megabits per seconds so I prefer the 2.7K mode. I think this is the best mode on the camera, so lets step down to 2.7K for the rest of this comparison. I’ll be using the 1080p60 on the E so you don’t have to suffer without stabilization.
We’ll take a close up look at the Edge first of all. The Edge does a decent job with stabilization and although it’s not as powerful as some high end cameras it is quite good for the price. It maintains a good amount of detail without loss of resolution. The video stays flat with stabilization distortion being well corrected and there’s little wobble.
And now lets see the E. Remember that the E is in 1080p 60 because this is the highest resolution it offers stabilization in. The stabilization is pretty good too. Which one do you think does better? Let me know in the comments.
Colour and Exposure
It’s hard to say which colours are more accurate; I think that the Edge consistently pushes a bit towards warmer yellows, which you can see on the concrete compared to the E. At this point it’s basically preference. I find that the Edge is a bit more vibrant than the E, as well it is definitely warmer in many situations. The Edge is the clear winner though in terms of dynamic range. There were several times where I felt the Edge looked overall better, especially when there was a lot of contrast in the scene like during bright daylight. Check out the cloud in the top right. The Edge has detail throughout the cloud whereas on the E it’s a big bright splotch.
Low Light and Night
Low-light is kind of a toss up between the two cameras. In some situations the Edge is a bit brighter, but as it gets darker and darker both cameras get more smudgy due to noise reduction. In a dark situation the stabilization on both cameras are ineffective. The Edge can get brighter than the E, but at the expense of detail. For most people either camera will be good enough but my personal preference sways slightly towards the Edge.
Audio quality between the two cameras can only be compared with some samples. The Edge just got a new firmware update that promises improved audio quality and I have to say, I really notice the difference between the new firmware and the old one but it’s still not as clear as the E. The Edge has a bit of a problem where it sounds echoy and hollow, as well sometimes it peaks and clips the sound with a harsh crackle. The new firmware improved this a little. Check it out:
Well, this will be based on your preference again; If you prefer the brighter and more dynamic colours of the Edge and can put up with the slightly smudgy details it is better, but if you prefer the sharpness and way that the E resolves detail
I tried my best to make this video not confusing but it was quite difficult since the two cams are named basically the same thing. It looks like for most situations I like the Edge more though, which was a massive surprise. The only things I really think the E are better at is audio and high frame rate modes.
It seems like the hunt for the perfect budget 4K camera is still on. I’d be happiest with a mash-up of these two camera to be honest. It seems like, when buying one of these cameras, you need to take into account what each camera is best at and figure out what you want to prioritize. A lot of cameras out there that say 4K are junk but these two seem to be on the higher end. They’re still not perfect but each iteration is getting closer.
The ThiEYE T5 Edge is very slightly better than the V50 in almost every way (lens, stabilization, user interface), but it’s not enough to justify the 30% higher price on Amazon. The V50 has a more rounded accessory package too. If you can get a deal from an overseas seller the Edge is a marginally better cam, otherwise stick with whatever is cheaper on Amazon.
The T5 Edge is currently only 10 GBP more on Amazon UK (and that’s worth it imho but 30+ difference isn’t)
Author’s note: I forgot to note when I showed a cropped 4K and 2.7K sample, so if you’re wondering why the quality of those two shots are so poor, now you know. They’re cropped in!
The ThiEYE T5 Edge is one of the newest cams in ThiEYE’s lineup, and it is one of the first cheap cameras to feature real 4K and electronic stabilization at 4K 30FPS. Initial tests look promising – but this camera has a big legacy to live up to. The original T5e was one of our favorite cameras last year, so it’s going to be a tough fight. Subscribe to us on Youtube to find out when the showdown video is released later this month.
All of these cameras are so close and the differences in how they process video are so minimal, that what you should look for while watching is which camera processes exposure more appealingly to you, which camera has the most appealing audio to you and which cameras user interface will work best for you. No matter which you buy you’ll end up with a camera that has decent video quality.
Click here to learn how to update the Mijia to English menus.
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.
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.
So many cams are based on the NT96660 processor, which results in fake 4K. The results are often less than stellar. The camera I used is the MGCool Explorer 1S (because it has pretty sharp video for Novatek). This is versus the ThiEYE T5e (real 4K). In order to get real 4K you need at least 8MP sensor, and many of these cams are advertised as 12, 14 or 16 but really have more like 4MP. This comparison shows a cam with a real 12 MP sensor. I’ll do another Novatek one with a 4MP cam later.