The Best Cheap 4K Action Cam – Part 3 (semi-finals)

Categories Action Cams

This is part 3 of the Budget 4K Action Cam Showdown puts head-to-head the Apeman A77, Dragon Touch Vision 3, Jeemak M5 and Crosstour CT8500. If you enjoy content like this please consider subscribing on Patreon.

Apeman A77 vs Dragon Touch Vision 3

Of these two cameras, only the Apeman A77 offers real 4K at a steady framerate of 30FPS. The Dragon Touch Vision 3 produces a 4K resolution file, but it stutters substantially more, dropping every 2nd and then every 3rd frame. It also does not have as much detail and appears to be an upscale from a lower resolution.

Neither camera offers image stabilization.

Although the DT Vision 3 has more accurate colour, the winner is the Apeman A77 due to higher amount of details in every resolution, smoother frame rate, better audio quality and simplistic user interface.

A 4K resolution sample from the Apeman A77
A 4K resolution sample from the Dragon Touch Vision 3

These still image samples do not offer the full picture, as the Dragon Touch Vision 3 is substantially less smooth when filming in 4K resolution.

Crosstour CT8500 vs Jeemak M5

These cameras are more comparable in a head to head showdown. Both cameras offer a fake 4K resolution and have image stabilization. Neither camera has accurate colour balance, with the Crosstour being too cold/blue and the Jeemak being too warm/dull yellow.

The main reason the Jeemak falls behind here is lens quality. While the Crosstour tends to oversharpen video and crunch details into high contrast blobs, the Jeemak smooths out details until they do not exist. This likely is because the camera is out of focus. The following close cropped still image samples illustrate this characteristic best:

Jeemak M5, cropped in 3X
CT8500, cropped in 3X

The Crosstour clearly has a substantial amount more detail in the grasses and distant trees, while the Jeemak is smoothed and smudged away into colour blurs. It does not appear to be entirely out of focus, however, as the bench on the back right is still easy to see the separate legs. Just that any sort of detail is lost in processing. The camera would perform far better if the processing were not so aggressive and the lens quality was better.

Neither camera is particularly good at 4K resolution but the CT8500 has more detail (albeit at a lower frame rate). Neither camera has particularly good image stabilization either. The difference in stabilization quality between these cameras and a $100 camera with proper 6-axis EIS is substantial. Where these cameras make videos that are bouncy and wobbly, the $100 Akaso V50 Pro keeps the video smooth.

We recommend the V50 X, at $90, instead of any camera tested here.

The CT8500 excels in one area: microphone quality. Voices are loud, clear and rich. There is an external mic included in the box for windy situations.

One of these cameras needs to move onto the finals, and the winner is the CT8500 due to its better audio quality, sharper still images and slightly better image stabilization.

A chart illustrating the progression of cameras throughout this head-to-head showdown.


You can get a substantially better camera at the $100 price point so don’t cheap out this much. These cameras, even the ones in the finals, are not really worth the money. Most brands we have tested in this head to head showdown are gone from Amazon now, likely due to cheating on reviews. Stay tuned for the finals and some more thoughts about the state of budget action cams.

Our favorite cameras, in specific order, have been:

  1. Apeman A77
  2. Dragon Touch Vision 3
  3. Vantop Moment 4U

Just due to how the brackets worked out, #2 and #3 got bumped earlier than the finals because neither camera performed near the Apeman A77. We still don’t recommend going this cheap on action cameras.

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