The best 4K Action Camera 2017?

YI 4K+ Action Camera vs GoPro HERO5 black vs Sony FDR-X3000

Which is the best 4K Action Camera? GoPro HERO5 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:

* I’m not sure which sensor is used in GoPro HERO5 black, I assumed it is the same as in YI 4K – Sony IMX377. This teardown from hypoxic states it is the same IMX117 used in Hero4 black. I also heard that different sensors being used.

° Live View Remote Control is an optional extra.

 

Price & Deals

GoPro Hero 5 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

It’s hard to compare these 3 cameras. Even tough they are in the same price category each of them offers a unique feature, the others don’t. So I think ot depends on the situation you want to use it.
GoPro Hero5 black is waterproof without case and offers GPS recording. So if you film in wet environment or want to display data such as speed or G-force in your videos, Hero5 is probably best for your needs. Sony FDR-X3000 is at least splash-proof and got GPS as well, but lacks a touch screen (unless you don’t get the 150 USD Live View Remote). So it’s harder to check your recordings. Otherwise it’s the only cam among those three to offer optical image stabilization in 4K. YI 4K+ offers electronic image stabilization in 4K and the max. frame-rate in 4K is 60fps. So it’s the only can to produce slow motion in 4K. Hence it’s also the only cam that is not even splashproof without a case. So it really depends on how you want to use it. Let’s start with the specs, before going into a detailed description.

 

Cheaper Alternatives

The following cameras are a bit cheaper – below 200 USD – 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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