The best 4K Action Camera 2017?

Here’s an overview of the most popular cameras, below you can find a detailed comparison with explanation of the most important specs:

 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 Mbps120 Mbps60 Mbps100 Mbps100 Mbps60 Mbps70Mbps70Mbps
2.7K Resolutionmax. 120fpsmax. 60fpsmax. 60fpsmax. 60fps-
(2.5K in 30fps)
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. 100fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fpsmax. 120fps
720p Resolutionmax. 60fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 240fpsmax. 200fpsmax. 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
? 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
Xiaomi 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?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 Controlyesyesyesnomight be addednononono
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: Amazon: $299.99Amazon: $399.00Amazon: $398.00Geekbuying: 179.99 USDGearbest: 113.99 USDGearbest:
159.99 USD
Coupon Code: GBCE1331
Gearbest: 102.99 USDGearbest: 105.99 USD
ReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReview

 

YI 4K+ Action Camera vs GoPro HERO6 black vs Sony FDR-X3000

Which is the best 4K Action Camera? GoPro HERO6 black vs YI 4K+ Action Camera vs Sony FDR-X3000. All of them feature native 4K video recording are similar priced, hence the details are crucial:

° Live View Remote Control is an optional extra.

 

Price & Deals

GoPro Hero6 black




 

YI 4K+ Action Camera

  • Banggood: n/a
  • Gearbest: n/a
  • Geekbuying: 319.99 USD – Coupon Code: YI4K+103 (incl. Case!)
  • Aliexpress: 389.99 USD (official YI store) (incl. case)
  • Amazon:



 

Conclusion

In contrast to GoPro Hero5, GoPro Hero6 black offers higher frame rates: 4K at 60fps, 2.7K at 120 fps and 1080p at 240fps. It’s waterproof without case up to 10m and offers GPS recording. YI 4K+ also offers 4K at 60fps, but lower frame rates in 2.7K and 1080p. Sony only offers 4K at 30fps. All of the cams above offer image stabilization in 4K with 30fps, GoPro Hero6 and YI 4K+ do so with electronic stabilisation, Sony offers optical image stabilisation. Whereas GoPro is waterproof up to 10m, and Sony is splash proof, you need a case for YI 4K+. In terms of photos YI 4K+ and GoPro Hero6 offer 12MP 4:3 resolution photos in RAW, Sony is limited to 8MP 16:9 without a RAW option.

 

Cheaper Alternatives

The following cameras are a bit cheaper hence only lack a few features compared to the cameras above. They still offer native 4K video and a touch screen, so if you don’t need all the features, you can save a few bucks:

* Voice Control might be added at a later point

 

Price & Deals

YI 4K Action Camera




 

SJCAM SJ7 Star




 

Xiaomi Mijia

 

Conclusion

Even tough I don’t show the direct spec comparison of GoPro Hero5 and YI 4K Action Camera, I did an extensive comparison of these cameras during my trip to Iceland. YI 4K lacks a few features, but in terms of image quality it’s legit to compare them.

Image Quality:
I can’t decide which one is better. Sometimes I prefer the GoPro HERO5 image, sometimes the YI 4K footage. Depends on the light situation which one is the best suited. HERO5 is a bit sharper, whereas YI 4K is a bit softer and warmer. That’s of course with auto settings, not Protune or YI Flat and edited afterwards.

GoPro HERO5 black:
Audio is outstanding! Better than on any other action camera I had before. GoPro Hero5 black has 3 mics and chooses the best audio stream and filters wind noise very good. That’s the cam to go for when audio is important to you.
Waterproof without case is such a great feature I wouldn’t have expected it to be such an important factor. Currently I’m traveling and it is raining a lot. You don’t have to care if you should take a housing or not, just take the camera and you are ready to go. While you still can access all settings very easily.

YI 4K Action Camera:
Battery life 
is really awesome on YI 4K. I am constantly down to 1% on Hero5 black, when YI 4K is still way over 15% (when the indicator light turns red). Even tough the Hero5 battery is brand new and I loaded my YI 4K battery several times. I turned off all features on Hero5 (voice control, GPS, wifi, Bluetooth,…) still it runs out first every time.
Display if waterproofing is not needed I prefer the YI 4K screen & menu. Not only it is larger, the response is also better and I prefer the menu structure.

SJCAM SJ7 Star:
Compared to YI 4K Action Camera, SJ7 Star offers some features which might be interesting for you: external mic is not available on YI 4K due to the micro USB port. SJ7 Star uses a mini USB port and is therefore available. It also offers a HDMI port if that is important to you.

 

Entry Level native 4K cameras

The following three action cameras represent the entry level of native 4K action cameras. Be aware you will fond 40 USD cameras offering “4K video”, but it is not native. These cameras record a lower resolution and scale it up to 4K! All of the below have again a little less features, non of them a touch screen e.g. But again, if you can live without it, you can save again:

* a newer version of Thieye T5 go a 2.5mm port.

 

Price & Deals

Firefly 8S

170° Lens Version

90° Lens Version

  • Banggood: n/a
  • Gearbest: 127.99 USD
    • Coupon Code: F8S9IT
  • Geekbuying: n/a
  • TomTop: 130.99 USD
    • Coupon Code: HTYHF8S
  • Aliexpress: n/a

 

EKEN H8 Plus

Be aware there is an “EKEN H8 Pro” which has a lower spec sensor and no image stabilization! Learn more about the difference here.

 

THIEYE T5

  • Camfere: n/a
  • Banggood: 135 USD
  • Gearbest: 111.99 USD – Coupon Code: thieyet5e
  • Geekbuying: 119.99 USD
  • Aliexpress: n/a
  • Amazon: n/a

 

Conclusion

In terms of processor and sensor these three cameras are the same and have a pretty much similar image quality. It depends on other factors which cam to go for. If you want to use an external microphone, EKEN H8 Plus is out of the race. Mic in works differently on the other two cameras: Firefly 8s uses its mini USB port, while Thieye Te is equipped with a 2.5mm port. Careful this feature was introduced later, so check which cam you will be getting!
Thieye T5 comes with less accessories than the other two cams, only the a quick release mount is included hence a 2nd battery.
If you want to use your camera for FPV flying, go for Thieye T5 or Firefly 8s, they offer A/V output.
Another factor might be the included App and it’s features. I’ll add some screenshots to this article.

 

Other famous brands

Action Cameras are also available from other famous brand names including Nikon, Garmin and Ricoh. They all have about the same price tag as Hero5 black.

 

to be continued

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