In part two of the cheapest action cam showdown, we test 4 more cameras: the Cooau SPC06, Crosstour CT8500, the Campark ACT74A and the Jeemak M5.
An Important Note
In the first article we mentioned how Victure had been banned by Amazon. At the time of writing this article, Apeman, Vantop, Jeemak and Campark have also been banned. I suspect that more brands will be banned by the end of this series. This is unfortunate as at least one of these cameras is going to be OK for the money, and banning does eliminate competition. All of these brands, to some extent, been falsifying reviews. Most brands included a card stating “get a free _____ in exchange for your review” or something along those lines. Those who did not include that card invited you to contact them after buying to “activate warranty” (likely so they can solicit reviews outside of Amazon), and/or they have solicited paid reviews by way of Paypal refund in the past. This is why it is important to largely ignore the number of stars on Amazon reviews, and read the actual review text, especially of 4-, 3- and 2- star reviews.
Cooau SPC-06 vs. Crosstour CT8500
These two cameras are almost identical. They have the same user interface and same options in menus. The Cooau does offer stabilization in a fake 4K25 resolution however it is no better than non-stabilized fake 4K from the Crosstour. The differentiating factor here is audio quality, where Crosstour is better tuned. Although quieter, it does not have peaking and buzzing that I occasionally noticed with the Cooau. I also like the colour balance more as it is slightly more realistic. The Cooau has a more tight lens, with a narrow field of fiew. Otherwise, the cams are the same, so the Crosstour CT8500 moves on to the semi-finals.
Both of these cameras are based on the MSTAR processor, same as the Campark ACT74A and the Vantop Moment 4U. Of these 4 near-identical cameras, the Vantop Moment 4U is the only one with a touch screen, so if you absolutely must get one of these cameras I would get the Vantop (*although do note, I do not recommend these cams). The user interface is difficult and requires many clicks to change even the most basic settings so having the touchscreen improves usability significantly. That being said, again, I do not recommend any of these cams.
Campark ACT74A vs Jeemak M5
The Jeemak M5 is another last minute addition to this head-to-head challenge since so many well known cameras on Amazon have disappeared recently. It is the only camera based on Novatek NT96660 processor, which offers real 1080p60 / 2K30 as well as a rudimentary 4K 24 that is stretched and not real 4K. However, it has a smooth frame rate in all those settings even if details are a bit soft. Colour balance is a bit too red/warm and the cheap lens offers soft results. The image stabilization is the most basic 3-axis type however it is more effective than the stabiliztion on the Campark.
The Campark, on the other hand, is identical to the Crosstour and the Cooau. The video quality is too blue/grey and details are soft/smudged at any resolution. There is no resolution, not even 1080p30 with no EIS, that offers a lot of detail. The 4K stutters and looks unsmooth. The audio quality is extremely loud and causes lots of peaking when I talk directly to the camera.
Interestingly the Campark ACT74A seems to have 12,000+ reviews on their product. I think that this used to be a different camera model (ACT74), which has been replaced on the same listing despite being substantially different. I believe the older model was closer to the Dragon Touch Vision 3 in video quality which would have been preferred to this new model. It could also have been more similar to the Akaso EK7000, which at its time was a bit expensive for the quality it offered, but is still substantially better than these MSTAR cameras and now only $65-75. I would recommend however spending $90 – 100 on the Campark V30 or Akaso V50X when it goes on sale.
The Jeemak M5 is the winner, because of its better stabilization and more pleasant colour balance. I was hoping the M5 would be closer to the old SooCoo C30, which was often sold around the $50 price point, but it is just another example of how budget action cams seem to have gotten worse with times.