YI 4K Action Camera

YI 4K Action Camera was introduced in May 2016 and marked the first Action Camera from YI to offer 4K resolution and touch screen. In January 2017 YI introduced an upgraded version of YI 4K called YI 4K+. Due to a new processor (Ambarella H2), the upgraded model offers 60fps in 4K resolution and image stabilization up to 4K with 30fps and a USB-C port for an external microphone. Don’t get confused this camera is from Yi Technology, there is also a Xiaomi Mijia 4K Action Camera.

In this article I want to show you YI 4K:

  • Comparison with other YI Cameras
  • Camera Specifications
  • Body, Buttons & Ports
  • Functions & Settings
  • Camera Versions
  • Firmware updates / Change logs
  • Conclusion (My 2-cents)
  • Demo Videos & Photos

 

YI Action Camera Comparison

The YI Family: YI Action Camera - YI 4K+ - YI 4K

The YI Family: YI Action Camera – YI 4K+ – YI 4K

 

Here’s a comparison of the current product lineup of YI Action Cameras. On a side note YI Technology also offers a Dash Camera and a mirrorless MFT camera.

YI 4K+ Action CameraYI 4K Action CameraYI Lite Action Camera original YI
YI 4K PlusYI 4K Action CameraYi Lite Action CameraYI Action Camera
12 MP Sony
IMX377 Sensor
12 MP Sony
IMX377 Sensor
16 MP Sony
IMX 206 Sensor
16 MP Sony
IMX 206 Sensor
Ambarella H2
Processor
Ambarella A9SE
Processor
Hisilicon Hi3556V100
Processor
Ambarella A7
Processor
4K – max. 60fps
max. 120 Mbps
4K – max. 30fps
max. 100 Mbps
4K - max. 15 fps
-
no 4K resolution
available
2.7K – max. 60fps2.7K – max. 60fpsno 2.7K resolution2.7K – max. 30fps
1080p – max. 120fps1080p – max. 120fps1080p – max. 60fps1080p – max. 60fps
720p – max. 240fps720p – max. 240fps720p – max. 120fps720p – max. 120fps
RAW photoRAW photono RAW photo*no RAW photo
12 MP
max. photo resolution
12 MP
max. photo resolution
16 MP
max. photo resolution
16 MP
max. photo resolution
Display: 2,19″ touchDisplay: 2,19″ touchDisplay: 2,0″ touchDisplay: no
Battery: 1400 mAhBattery: 1400 mAhBattery: 1400 mAhBattery: 990 mAh
Image Stabilization:
up to 4K 30fps
Image Stabilization:
up to 2.7K 60fps
Image Stabilization:
up to 1440p 30fps
Image Stabilization:
no
wifi: yeswifi: yeswifi: yeswifi: yes
Bluetooth: yesBluetooth: yesBluetooth: yesBluetooth: yes
Remote Control: yesRemote Control: yesRemote Control: yesRemote Control: yes
microSD: up to 128GBmicroSD: up to 128GBmicroSD: up to 128GBmicroSD: up to 128GB
USB-C portmicro USB portmicro USB portmicro USB port
no HDMI portno HDMI portno HDMI portHDMI port
A/V out: yesA/V out: yesA/V out: yesA/V out: yes
Mic in: yesMic in: noMic in: noMic in: no
Voice ControlVoice Control***no Voice Control***no Voice Control
waterproof with casewaterproof with casewaterproof with casewaterproof with case
Price: 269 USD
(Aliexpress)
Price: 179 USD
(Geekbuying)
Price: $99.99
Amazon
Price: 59 USD
(Aliexpress - YI official)
ReviewReviewReviewReview

It seems weird that the first YI camera and YI Lite got the largest sensor (16MP compared to 12MP), but the IMX 206 being used is not capable of 4K resolution. It benefits the photo capabilities tough.
*** Voice control might be upgraded via firmware on YI 4K and YI Lite Action Camera later on.

 

Comparison with other Cameras

YI 4K vs Firefly 8S vs Xiaomi Mijia vs GoPro hero5 black

 

Here’s a chart with other popular native 4K action cameras:

 GoPro Hero6 blackYI 4K+ Action CameraGoPro Hero5 blackSony FDR-X3000YI 4K Action CameraXiaomi Mijia SJCAM SJ7 StarFirefly 8STHIeye T5
GoPro-Hero6-symbolYI 4K PlusGoPro Hero5 blackSony FDR X-3000YI 4K Action CameraXiaom-Mijia-Action-Camera-Symbolsj7-star-symbolFirefly 8Sthieye-t5e-symbol
Sensor12 MP
?
12 MP Sony
IMX377
12 MP Sony
IMX ?
12 MP Sony
IMX317
12 MP Sony
IMX377
8 MP Sony
IMX317
12 MP Sony
IMX117
12 MP Sony
IMX 117
12 MP Sony
IMX 117
ProcessorGP1Ambarella H2Ambarella A9BIONZ X image processorAmbarella A9Ambarella A12Ambarella A12Ambarella A12Ambarella A12
LensF/2.8, 170° FOVF/2.8, 155° FOVF/2.8, 170° FOV f/2.8, f=17 mmF/2.8, 155° FOVF/2.8, 145° FOVF/2.5, 166° FOVF/2.8, 170° or
F/2.8, 90° version
F/2.5, 170° FOV
4K Resolutionmax. 60fpsmax. 60fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fpsmax. 30fps
Bitrate in 4K78 Mbps135 Mbps60 Mbps100 Mbps100 Mbps100 Mbps70Mbps70Mbps
2.7K Resolutionmax. 120fpsmax. 60fpsmax. 60fpsmax. 60fps-
(2.5K in 60fps)
max. 30fps
(2.5K in 60fps)
max. 30fps
(2.5K in 60fps)
max. 30fps
(2.5K in 60fps)
1080p Resolutionmax. 240fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fps
720p Resolutionmax. 60fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 200fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 240fps
Photo Resolution12 MP12 MP12 MP8 MP12 MP8 MP12 MP12 MP12 MP
RAW photoyes
GPR Format
yes
DNG Format
yes
GPR Format
noyes
DNG Format
yes
DNG Format
nonono
Display2″ Touchscreen2,19″ Touchscreen2″ Touchscreendata only2,19″ Touchscreen2,44″ Touchscreen2″ Touchscreen2" live view2" live view
Battery (Capacity)1220 mAh1400 mAh1220 mAh1240 mAh1400 mAh1450 mAh1000 mAh1200 mAh1100 mAh
Image Stabilizationyes
up to 4K 30fps
yes
up to 4K 30fps
yes
up to 2.7K 60fps
yes (optical)
up to 4K 30fps
yes
up to 2.7K 60fps
yes
up to 1080p 60fps
yes
up to 1080p 60fps
yes
up to 1080p 60fps
yes
up to 1080p 60fps
Wifiyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes
Bluetoothyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes
Remote Controlleryes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extrayes, optional extra
AppGoPro App
iOS, Android
Yi Action App
iOS, Android
GoPro App
iOS, Android
Action Cam App
iOS, Android
Yi Action App
iOS, Android
Mi Home AppSJCAM Zone
iOS, Android
Firefly Cam
iOS, Android
Thieye HD
iOS, Android
StoragemicroSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 64GB)microSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 128GB)microSD (up to 128GB)
USB PortUSB-C portUSB-C portUSB-C portmicro USB portmicro USB portmicro USB portmini USB portmini USB portmicro USB port
A/V Outputyesyesyesyesyes(will be added)yesyesyes
external Microphoneyes
via USB-C
yes
via USB-C
yes
via USB-C
yes
via 3,5mm
nonoyes
via mini USB
yes
via mini USB
yes
via 2.5mm plug
HDMI Portmicro HDMInomicro HDMImicro HDMInonomicro HDMImicro HDMImicro HDMI
Voice Controlyesyesyesnoyesnononono
Special FeatureGPS recordingFacebook Live BroadcastingGPS recordingGPS recordingFacebook Live BroadcastingAluminum Frame Body
MountsGoPro System on frame/case1/4" thread on body
GoPro System on case
GoPro System on frame/case1/4" thread on body
1/4" thread on case
1/4" thread on body
GoPro System on case
1/4" thread on body
GoPro System on case
GoPro System on frame/case1/4" thread on body
GoPro System on case
1/4" thread on body
GoPro System on case
Waterproof10m without case
60m with case
40m with case10m without case
60m with case
splash proof without case
60m with case
40m with casewith case30m with case30m with case30m with case
Included AccessoriesFrameMany offers include caseFrameUnderwater Case--
kits will be available later
Case & MountsCase & MountsCase, 2nd battery
Best PriceAmazon: Check on AmazonAmazon: $279.99Amazon: $299.00Amazon: $348.00Geekbuying: 179.99 USDGearbest: 89.99 USD
Coupon: bfriday112
Gearbest:
159.99 USD
Coupon Code: GBCE1331
Gearbest: 88.99 USD
Coupon: GB8STN
Gearbest: 105.99 USD
ReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReview

 

YI 4K Action Camera Specs

Sensor:
The camera features a 12,35 MP Sony IMX377 sensor. That’s a 1/2.3″ CMOS image sensor with Exmor R ability. Don’t get irritated as the sensor of the first Yi Action Camera features the larger 16 MP Sony Exmor IMX206 sensor. The IMX377 is faster and enables the new model to shoot native 4K video!

Processor:
YI 4K Action Camera holds an Ambarella A9SE chip. GoPro Hero5 black also uses this chip. YI 4K+ holds the newer H2 model to offer 60fps in 4K.

Video Resolution & Frame Rate:
4K – (3840 x 2160) – 30 / 25 fps (100 Mbps)
2.7K – (2704 x 1520) – 60 / 30 / 50 / 25 fps
1440p – (1920 x 1440) – 60 / 50 /  30 / 25 fps
1080p – (1920 x 1080) – 120 / 100 / 60 / 50 / 30 / 25 fps
960p – (1280 x 960) – 120 / 100 / 60 / 50 fps
720p – (1280 x 720) – 240 /200 fps
480p – (848 x 480) – 240 / 200 fps

This is an overview, all settings incl. 4:3 options and Ultra mode are listed in the review below. The 100 Mbps bitrate was added with Firmware 1.6.1 in June 2017.

Video Format:
.mp4 format, .h264 codec.

Photo:
12 MP resolution, so that’s a bit smaller compared to the 16MP photos of YI 1, due to the smaller sensor. But with Firmware 1.6.1 RAW photos are available in DNG format, which isn’t available on the first YI model.

Lens:
7 layer optical glass lens with f2.8 aperture; 155° FOV
Focal length: 2.68mm

Display:
YI 4K Action Camera also features a display: 2,19″ diameter, 640 x 360 pixel with 330PPI resolution. The display is a touch display similar to GoPro Hero5, but a bit larger. I think the display and response is better than the one on Hero5, but Hero5 might not be as well, as it is waterproof.

YI 4K vs GoPro Hero5 black - screenYI 4K vs GoPro Hero5 black – screen

 

Battery:
Battery was improved as well and now got 1400 mAh capacity. 110 min. of recording are possible in 4K resolution with 30fps. In comparison GoPro Hero5 black uses a 1220 mAh battery. In my long term test I achieved longer battery life and recording time with YI 4K than with GoPro Hero5 black.

Storage:
microSD card up to 128GB are supported; Class U3 is recommended for 4K video recording.

Connectivity & Ports:
Wifi
YI 4K Action Camera uses a dual band wifi network (2.4 & 5 GHz) to ensure faster download speeds up to 30Mbps download speed.
Bluetooth
The camera features Bluetooth 4.0 for the remote controller.
Ports
There is a small opening on the side, for microUSB. There is no microHDMI!
A/V out via USB is possible, Mic-in is not available via micro USB ports in general.
On the bottom of the camera there’s a door for the battery & microSD card.
A 1/4″ standard photo tripod thread sits next to it for mounting.

Special Features:

The camera will feature 3-axis gyroscope and accelerometer.
Yi 4K Action Camera features Electronic Image Stabilization!
To improve sound recording now 2 microphones are built in, and a speaker for playback.
RAW photo was added with a later Firmware.

Features:
Photo burst mode will shoot 30 images per second.
Similar to the Yi 1 there are Photo and Video Time-lapse modes.
Loop recording is available as well if you want to use it as dash camera.
New is a built in Slow Motion setting which doesn’t require editing afterwards!
Also new compared to YI 1 is a mode where photos are taken during video recording.

Colors:
Yi 4K is available in 3 different colors: pearl white, night black, and rose gold.

Yi Action Camera 2 will be available in black, white & rose

YI 4K Action Camera is available in night black, pearl white & rose gold

 

Dimensions & Weight:
Weight: 95g camera + battery
Dimensions: 65 x 42 x 21mm, so it’s a little wider than Yi 1 (60.4 x 42 x 21.2 mm).

Accessories:
In standard packaging only USB cable and battery are included.
A YI Action Camera Kit 2 was introduced first, but never went on sale.

"<yoastmark

 

  YI 4K Action Camera Accessories
Here you’ll find an overview and reviews of  YI 4K Action Camera accessories including original gear as well as 3rd party accessories.

 

Retailer / Price Comparison:

YI 4K+

  • Banggood: n/a
  • Gearbest: n/a
  • Geekbuying: 329.99 USD – incl. case
  • Aliexpress: 299.99 USD  excl. case (official YI store)

YI 4K




 

Body, Buttons & Ports

Yi Action Camera 2 from all sides

YI 4K Action Camera from all sides

 

The camera has just one button on top: To power on / off when long pressing it and to start video recording or take a picture when short pressing it. All other settings are done via the touch display. An “in-housing-mode” was introduced to control the camera when placed in the underwater case. When activated and you long press the power button it gets you into a menu which you can browse be pressing the button. More on that later.

Next to the button there are the microphones – 2 of them – one each left and right. Also on top of the camera you can find a speaker, which is used to playback audio when watching the recorded footage on the screen.
On the front side, next to the lens, there’s a LED indicating the battery status, similar to the YI 1. (blue – purple – red)
The camera has the same height as the YI Action Camera, but is a little wider.

Yi Action Camera vs Yi Action Camera 2

YI Action Camera vs YI 4K Action Camera

 

On the bottom there’s a door for battery and microSD card which is not removable like on YI 1, but flip opens like on the GoPro. That’s great as there’s no chance to lose it. On the right side there is an opening for the microUSB port, the door is also attached to the camera.

Yi Action Camera 2 - Battery

YI 4K Action Camera – Battery

 

Functions & Settings

The photos shown below were taken with an earlier Firmware version. The listed settings & description are constantly updated.

Yi Action Camera 2 - "Home Screen"

YI 4K Action Camera – “Home Screen”

 

When you switch on the camera you’ll see the – let’s call it “home screen” – on the display. You’ll see a live image and some information: on the top left an icon in which mode you are in and info on microSD card. On the top left there is an icon when wifi is on and the battery status bar. These icons are not clickable in contrast to the ones on the bottom: The play icon will get you to the camera roll to playback your recordings, in the middle the current resolution / frame rate settings, where you can change mode of the camera; and on the right a rotary to enter settings in the current mode. A nice feature are the swiping options:

When swiping left/right on the screen you can switch between camera and photo mode.
Swiping down displays a quick menu to switch on/off wifi and bluetooth for remote control; a button to lock the screen and one to turn off the camera.
Swiping up accesses the mode menu, same as when you press them in the bottom center.

New with Firmware 1.6.1: Swiping up when in Photo or Video Mode activates AE Lock!

"<yoastmark

 

Operating Modes

The camera has 10 operating modes, accessible :

  • Photo – to take pictures.
  • Timer, where you can set a countdown before a photo is taken.
  • Burst, where you can set a a number of photos taken within a timeframe. Max. is 30 pictures within a minute.
  • Video – for video recording.
  • Time-Lapse Video, where a time-lapse is combined into a video file.
  • Slow Motion, where you can do slow motion recording without editing the footage afterwards.
  • Time-Lapse Photo, where individual photos are taken, which you can combine to a time-lapse afterwards.
  • Loop Recording, where short video sequences are recorded and overwritten once the microSD card is full. e.g. to use the camera as dashboard camera.
  • Video + Photo, where there are photos taken in a set interval while a video is recorded. Note: video resolution and frame rate are limited to 1080p 60fps max.
  • Live Video (e.g. for Facebook Live Streaming) – with Firmware update 1.3.3.
Yi Action Camera 2 - 9 operating modes

YI 4K Action Camera – 10 operating modes (Firmware 0.0.31)

 

Settings

In general there are 2 settings menus: The specific one for the mode you are in (e.g. video or photo – first icon on the left) and a device settings menu (second icon on the left). These menus match the new app where you first see the mode settings and then the option to proceed to the device settings.

Yi Action Camera 2 - Video Settings

YI 4K Action Camera – Video Settings (FW 0.3.31)

 

Settings in Video Mode

Resolution
30fps vs 25fps (and a multiple of that) is depending if you set the cam to NTCS or PAL (device settings). 24 fps option was added with firmware 1.6.1. as well as 100Mbps bitrate. 24fps is available when PAL or NTCS selected.

  • 4K – (3840 x 2160) – 30 / 25 / 24 fps
  • 4K Ultra – (3840 x 2160) – 24 fps
  • 2.7K – (2704 x 1520) – 60 / 50 / 48 / 30 / 25  / 24 fps
  • 2.7 K Ultra – (2704 x 2032) – 30 / 25 fps
  • 2.7K 4:3 – (2704 x 2032) – 30 / 25 fps
  • 1440p 4:3 – (1920 x 1440) – 60 / 50 / 48 / 30 / 25  / 24 fps
  • 1080p – (1920 x 1080) – 120 / 100 / 60 / 50 / 48 / 30 / 25 / 24 fps
  • 1080p Ultra – (1920 x 1080) – 90 / 60 / 50 / 30 / 25 fps
  • 960p 4:3 – (1280 x 960) – 120 / 100 / 60 / 50 fps
  • 720p – (1280 x 720) – 240 / 200 fps
  • 720p Ultra – (1280 x 720) – 120 / 100 / 60 / 50 fps
  • 480p – (848 x 480) – 240 / 200 fps

In the menu you will first see the resolution to select. After making a selection the available frame rates are shown.
Ultra” options are similar to GoPro’s superview where the full sensor (4:3) is used and stretched to 16:9.

Field of View (since FW 1.1.0)
You can narrow the field of view of the camera and select from: Wide, Medium or Narrow. This option is not available in 4K, 2.5K & 1080p 120fps.

Metering Mode
To define the area where the camera is measuring exposure: Center, Spot or Average (since FW 1.0.12)

Auto Low Light
If you switch on the camera will improve low light performance and might increase shutter to get you better recordings at night. This may result in blurry videos.
Auto Low light is not available in 4K & 2.5K; but is available in 1080p 120fps.

Video Quality (since FW 1.6.1)
Standard setting with the latest firmware is now Medium. When selecting High it now enables 100 Mbps recording in 4K with 30fps.

WB
You can select predefined settings for color correction based on the given light situation: Auto / Native / Tungsten / Daylight / Cloudy.

Color (since FW 1.0.13)
You can choose YI Color or Flat. Flat color mode will give you a video with lower saturation for color correction in post production, similar to GoPro’s ProTune setting. With firmware update 1.6.1 the general red-ish colors were adjusted a bit.

ISO Max
is the sensitivity of the sensor and you can set the max. signal gain. The higher the ISO the brighter, but noisier, your image will get. You can set a value if you don’t want the camera to automatically change (adjust) during recording. Available settings are Auto / 400 / 1600 / 3200 / 6400.

Sharpness (since FW 1.1.0)
You can select High, Medium or Low sharpness. If you want to do color grading in post production, you should set it to low.

EV
is the exposure compensation. You can adjust exposure by setting up / down EV in these steps: +- 0.5 / +- 1 / +- 1.5 / +- 2.

Electronic Image Stabilization
Switched on the camera will correct shaky images to give you a smooth video. Be aware this works electronically and the image is a little zoomed in. This feature doesn’t work in 4K or 1080p 120fps. (It works in 2.7K resolution mode up to 60fps).

Time Stamp
To Display date and/or time in your video.

File Size
You can either set 4GB (the old limit according to FAT32 format) or max. We aware that if the cam stops recording (getting hit, out of battery,..) larger files might not be saved.

 

Settings in Photo Mode

Yi Action Camera 2 - Photo Settings

YI 4K Action Camera – Photo Settings (FW 0.3.31)

 

Resolution

  • 12 MP (4000 x 3000)
  • 8 MP (3840 x 2160)
  • 7 MP W (3008 x 2256)
  • 7 MP M (3008 x 2256)
  • 5 MP (2560 x 1920)

Shutter
to manually control shutter, which is a great new option especially for foots at night: 2s / 5s / 10s / 20s / 30s.

Metering Mode
To define the area where the camera is measuring exposure: Center, Spot or Average (since FW 1.0.12)

WB
Same as in video mode: Auto / Native / Tungsten / Daylight / Cloudy.

Color (since FW 1.0.13)
You can choose a flat color option, when you plan to edit the photos afterwards.

ISO min / ISO max
This item was also change with a later firmware version. You can now set the min. and max. ISO the camera should use.

Sharpness (since FW 1.1.0)
Here you can choose High, Medium or Low Sharpness.

EV
Same as in video mode: +- 0.5 / +- 1 / +- 1.5 / +- 2.

Time Stamp
To Display date and/or time in your video.

Quickview
When switched on you can define a time you captured photo will be shown on the display after you took it.

File Format (FW 1.6.1)
Here’s the RAW photo selection: You can choose JPG or RAW + JPG. Be aware your phone can’t display RAW photos.

 

Settings in other Modes:

Basically they are the same as mentioned above, matching either video or photo mode, depending on the mode. For each one there is a specific line added:

Timer
Countdown: 3s / 5s / 10s / 15s

Burst
Frequency: 3p/s – 5p/s – 10p/s – 10p/2s – 10p/3s – 30p/s – 30p/2s – 30p/3s – 30p/6s.

Time Lapse Video
Interval: 0.5s / 1s / 2s / 5s / 10s / 30 / 60s.
Video Length: Off / 6s / 8s / 10s / 20s / 30s / 60s / 120s.
Video time-lapse is currently only available in 2.5K & 4K.

Slow Motion
Slow Rate: 8 / 4 / 2

Time Lapse Photo
Interval: 0.5s / 1s / 2s / 5s / 10s / 30 / 60s.

Loop
Video Length: 5min / 20min / 60min / 120min / max

Photo+Video
Interval: 5s / 10s / 30s / 60s

 

Device Settings

Yi Action Camera 2 - Device Settings

Yi Action Camera 2 – Device Settings (FW o.3.31)

 

Adjust Lens distortion
If you don’t like the fish eye effect you can electronically correct it. Previously it was labelled Lens aberration correction or lens rectification. Lens distortion adjustment does not work in 4K video mode.

WiFi
Where you can set switch wifi on and off, display the settings and switch between 2.4G and 5G. Standard password is 1234567890.

SD Card
To see info how much space is used/free and to format your microSD Card.

Camera Default Mode
You can set one of the 9 modes in which the camera powers up and additionally set it to “last mode used”.

Bluetooth Pairing
To pair with a bluetooth device e.g. the remote control.

Brightness
Which is related to the brightness of the LCD screen: Hight / Middle / Low. Higher brightness requires more energy which will result in shorter battery life.

Beeps (earlier called Volume)
Which is the volume for the buzzer sound when hitting the button: High / Low / Mute.

Mic
You can set the mic of your cam to high or low. Choose low in loud surroundings or when there is a lot of wind noise when not in case. You can also mute audio recording.

Sound Effect
You can choose between Stereo and Wind. So another option to get better audio if there is a lot of wind.

LEDs (new with firmware 1.0.8)
You can choose all on, only status – front LED is turned off, record LED on top will light up during recording – and all off.

In Housing Mode (new with firmware 1.0.7 – adapted with firmware 1.2.0)
In House mode was adapted with the latest firmware version and changes the function of the shutter button when you long press it. If activated you now have a new menu where you can access all operation modes and turn off the camera. Of course when long pressing the button you can turn on the camera again.

New "in-housing mode" menu

New “in-housing mode” menu

 

Video Standard (was moved to device settings with Firmware 1.0.9)
You can switch between NTCS (= 30 fps and a multiple of that) or PAL (=25 fps and a multiple of that). As as side note: 24 fps and a multiple of that are not available which was offered on YI 1.

Advanced
Screen Auto Lock: when the screen turns off to save battery.
Auto Power Off: When the cam powers down when in standby.
Video Rotation: to flip the image.
A/V Out: for video output via USB.
Set Date & Time.
Tutorial

Device Info
To display firmware version and serial number.

Camera reset
with 3 options: Reset Settings, Reset Wi-Fi and Reset Bluetooth.

Language (FW 1.6.1)
Now multiple languages for the menu are supported.

About
Which will show you the internet domains of Yi Technology.

 

YI 4K Action Camera Versions

YI 4K Chinese Version vs International Version - Packaging

YI 4K Chinese Version vs International Version

 

Be careful! Similar to the YI 1, there is a Chinese and an International Version of the YI 4K Action Camera! This is important, because you can’t change the language on your Chinese Version, which means you will have a Chinese Menu on the display! Here’s a comparison between Chinese & International Version.

Besides that there is a Z16V12L and a Z16V13L revision of the camera. According to my info there is no difference and from now on these two revisions are using the same firmware.

 

YI 4K Action Camera Firmware Updates

My camera was delivered with firmware version 0.3.31 back in 2016. Since then the Firmware was improved many times, you can find all Change logs below. Most notable changes were the addition of flat color, FOV options, Live Streaming, the addition of 24fps, RAW photo and a 100Mb/s option for 4K video (was 60Mb/s).

all Change Logs

Firmware 1.0.7 Change Log:
I haven’t found a change log so far, as 1.0.8 was available when the download popped up; one option I noticed:

  • Added In Housing Mode
  • (+ improvements & bug fixes)

Firmware 1.0.8 Change Log:

  • Added Settings for LED
  • Added beep sound for mode switch
  • Added EIS for 2.5K, 1440p30 & 1440p60
  • Added LCD display auto rotation
  • (+ improvements & bug fixes)

Firmware 1.0.9 Change Log:

  • Added shutter beeps when taking time-lapse photos
  • Added flashing LED light before taking photos / videos
  • (+ improvements & bug fixes)

Firmware 1.0.12 Change Log:

  • Added “Average” metering mode
  • Added “Reset Wi-Fi” and “Reset Bluetooth”
  • (+ improvements & bug fixes)

Firmware 1.0.13 Change Log:

  • Added Wi-Fi countries selection option;
  • Added Flat Color option;
  • Added Video Mute option;
  • (+ improvements & bug fixes)

Firmware 1.1.0 Change Log:

  • Added FOV option;
  • Added Sharpness Adjustment Function;
  • Added Video Time Info;
  • (+ improvements & bug fixes)

Firmware 1.2.0 Change Log:

  • Added 2.7K resolution and removed 2.5K resolution
  • Added manual adjustment function for timelapse video, like ISO, WB, EV etc
  • Added long exposure option for timelapse photo mode, supports more time interval etc
  • Optimized “In housing mode”, more simple to switch
  • (+improvements)

Firmware 1.2.3 Change Log:

  • Added “Open LOG” (Settings-About, when on “About” interface, fast tap 3 times will activate LOG)
  • Changed “1080 Ultra 120 FPS” to “1080 Ultra 90 FPS” and supports Auto Low Light 
  • Changed “4K Ultra 25FPS/30FPS” to “4K Ultra 24FPS”
  • (+improvements)

Firmware 1.3.3 Change Log:

  • Added Live Streaming Feature
  • Added district/Wi-Fi frequency options
  • (+improvements)

Firmware 1.4.0 Change Log:

  • During software update, it is now possible to see progress bar and update info.
  • When Wifi is enabled, a blinking notification will now appear
  • Added live stream codec settings
  • Optimized video stream naming convention (from _thm.MP4 to .SEC)
  • Optimized power consumption during sleep mode for longer battery life
  • Optimized flat-color effect & EV effect

Firmware 1.4.14 Change Log:

  • Add multi-language (EU)
  • Add enlarge and drag photo function (Double click the photo when in no status info)
  • Add Quick View
  • Add Audio Effect option
  • Add Mic option; Add Video/Photo [ISO Max], [ISO Min] option
  • Change default format of 32GB SD card to exFAT
  • Fix the file name start from 0 when shooting videos/pictures after formatting SD card
  • Fix when shooting in 120FPS or 240FPS the possible freeze issue
  • Fix the unresponsive issue when fast previewing pictures
  • Optimize Bluetooth pairing, controlling
  • Optimize time-lapse procedure;

Firmware 1.4.23 Change Log:

  • Added support for large files, and made adjustments to algorithms for SD Card.
  • Added Battery-Save mode option under timer mode.
  • Added support for USB-LED Indicator under Advanced Settings
  • Fixed a bug that caused issues with photo resolution in file manager
  • Fixed a bug with AV-Out Improved the stability during updates
  • + Improvements
 Firmware 1.5.1 Change Log:
  • Adds Chinese language choice
  • Adds SD Card Optimization
  • Optimizes USB LED function which syncs the battery lights indicator
  • Optimizes SD card compatibility
  • Fixes crash issue with firmware downgrade

Firmware 1.5.1 Change Log:

  • Fixed issue with ending time-lapse photo mode
  • Fixed issue of “In Processing” prompt when file deletion has failed
  • Fixed the crash issue when turning on AV-OUT and Quickview
  • Fixed firmware upgrade issues
  • Optimized UI
  • Optimized ability to turn off the camera when in Quickview

Firmware 1.6.1 Change Log:

  • Added manual metering and exposure lock (AE Lock)
  • Added DNG image format (RAW Photo)
  • Added Chinese language
  • Adjusted some of the resolutions bitrate (4K recording at 100 Mbps)
  • Adjusted “Video+photo” mode. Removed “Picture capture successful” prompt
  • Optimized stability of album
  • Optimized UI
  • Optimized image quality of the red tone (red tone color correction)
  • Optimized manual white balance image quality
  • Optimized Flatcolor Mode, unbound with Daylight configuration

Firmware 1.6.10 Change Log:

  • Added Time-lapse video definition choices, supports 1080P and 960P
  • Added Russian, Spanish and Japanese language
  • Added Time-lapse photo DNG feature
  • Fixed time issue when video recording in large files
  • Fixed the system lag issue after viewing the album
  • Optimized SD card compatibility
  • Optimized Native effect when manually adjusting White Balance
  • Optimized system stability

 

Latest Firmware available:

Firmware 1.7.8 Change Log:

  • Added Slow Motion resolution choice, supports 1920 x 1080 and 1280 x 720
  • Added new frame rates for certain resolutions, supports 4K/24FPS, 2.7K/24FPS, 2.7K/48FPS, 1920×1440/24FPS, 1920×1440/48FPS, 1920×1080/24FPS, 1920×1080/48FPS
  • Added DNG for Time Lapse Photo Mode when it is set to Continuous
  • Added Mode Switch, Normal Mode, Current Mode for Bluetooth Controller
  • Added shutter speed choice for Photo, Timer and Time Lapse Photo Mode, supports 1/500s, 1/125s, 1/30s, 1/8s, 1/2s and 1s
  • Added the battery percentage display
  • Optimized the album user experience
  • Optimized SD card compatibility
  • Optimized image effect, improved high contrast
  • Optimized Live Streaming feature and removed watermark
  • Fixed EXIF time stamp bug and the “Bluetooth pairing failure” issue

 

Beta Versions can be found here: YI Camera User Group (Facebook).
Official Firmware releases are available on YI’s website.

 

Conclusion

YI 4K definitely set a new benchmark in terms of price and performance. It comes very close to GoPro Hero5 black in terms of image quality. Hero5 still wins with way better audio and features like being waterproof without case. But on the other hand YI 4K is almost half the price! There are a few cheaper native 4K cameras available (e.g. Firefly 8SThieye T5 or SJCAM SJ7 Star which were released later) but they don’t offer as many features as YI 4K.

Here’s a comparison chart of native 4K Action Cameras

Here are my pros and cons:

Image Quality – As you can seen in my comparison with the GoPro Hero 5 black shot in 4K, and with Yi Action Camera 1 in 1080p with 60 fps, the image quality is really great.

Interface – Touchscreen navigation works really smooth and the structure of the menu is very logical. I like the “quick menu” when swiping down to get quick access to turn on/off wifi and bluetooth. You can quickly turn them on when needed or off to save battery life without browsing the whole menu. The interface of the camera is really amazing, the best I’ve seen so far on action cameras! Settings you need all the time (resolution, frame rate,…) can be accessed very fast. Camera settings (PAL/NTSC, LED settings,…) are in a separate menu one step further, so you don’t get distracted by them.

Battery life – YI 4K offers great battery life when shooting 4K resolution. Superb performance compared with other action cameras including GoPro Hero5 black.

ProTune – With Firmware 1.0.13 there was a new mode introduced – flat color, which seems to be like ProTunes on the GoPro.

App – If you are using your Action Camera with your smartphone, the app is definitely an important part of it. And the Yi App works great! You can not only change all settings of the camera (which is probably not that important since the on screen menu is great), you can also transfer your photos and videos easily to your smartphone, edit them and share them online!

 Image stabilization – A great feature to get smooth shots and it works just great. Only disadvantage that it is not available in 4K, that’s because additional “image space” on the sensor is needed to stabilize the video. EIS in 4K is available with YI 4K+ Action Camera!

Sound – There were some issues with YI 1 having a dull sound, so I was curious about the Yi 2 and it got way better. YI 4K Action Camera holds a dual mic and there are no major issues with sound. It’s not perfect, but for an action camera the result is fine. Still GoPro is unbeaten when it comes to audio.

Case – When placing the camera inside the underwater case you can’t easily change between photo / video mode as you can’t access the screen. You can’t change modes using buttons, as there is only one. This issue was fixed with Firmware version 1.0.7 and you now have the described “In housing mode”, but it is not the best solution.

Videos

YI 4K Action Camera vs YI Action Camera 1 – recorded in 1080p 60fps – YI 2’s image stabilization is turned on:

 

YI 4K vs GoPro Hero5 black vs YI 4K+ Action Camera – incl. 4K EIS and Audio test:

 

Photo

These are photos taken with YI 4K – unedited! You can click on them for full resolution:

XIAOYI

Long exposure: ISO 100 – Shutter 5s

 

XIAOYI

 

Retailer / Price Comparison:

YI 4K+

YI 4K




 

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