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Selecting a Video Recorder


wiiawiwb
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Two recent posts, one by Madison and the other by BRB,  rekindled an interest in having a video recorder.  Recently, Madison was able to film something with her phone as she was walking on a jeep trail. Maybe it was a tree stump but maybe its a sasquatch. The issue only comes up because Madison was recording as she walked. Maybe it's time to for me have something recording while I'm hiking, backpacking, or just poking around in the backcountry.

 

GoPro is the biggest player in this market. BRB mentioned Akaso, a company I never heard of, and they offer a similar unit for a significantly lower price.  I've looked at the specs for both Company's offerings and have watched a number of YT comparisons. GoPro offers you a video recorder at twice the price as Akaso, or more. If you want an accessory such as a head mount, battery charger, or chest mount GoPro, you pay extra for each one. Akaso includes almost all accessories with the product you buy. This leads me to some questions/observations:

 

1) GoPro 9 video is 5K/30 vs Akaso V50 Pro SE is 4K/60. I'm thinking that speed is not that imperative---a sasquatch would likely be slowly moving if moving at all. The 5K offers 50% more raw pixels (you would think only 25%, right?) so it provides the better opportunity for a more clearly-defined video. For videos in the woods, like we do, which format do you think is preferred?

 

2) I'm guessing there are more aftermarket accessories for a GoPro just like there are for a Glock compared to Dan Wesson. Is that even a factor to consider?

 

3) The  GoPro is waterproof without a plastic case. The Akaso is not. In sketchy weather, being waterproof allows for more flexibility. Using the plastic case on either would cover the microphone so sound would be lost. 

 

I would be wearing the VR either on a head strap (like a headlamp), on a chest strap, or mounted to a chest pack by molle straps. I  realize there are a few other players such as the DJI Action Cosmos. I consider it in the same category as the GoPro. Any thoughts about how to choose between the GoPro and Akaso?

 

 

 

Edited by wiiawiwb
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I use a Yi 4k action cam. With the money I saved over the GoPro, I bought a Hohem iSteady Pro gimbal to go with it. Works great for me. The nice part for me is being able to turn it around with one hand and have the camera watch behind me without me needing to turn around and spook whatever may come peeking out from behind a tree after I pass. I do wish the audio was better, though.

 

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I was floored when I when I recently watched videos of the new generation of recorders especially the image stabilization. I have a GoPro 3 from years ago and it's nothing like the GoPro 8 or 9, nor any of the ones available today.  

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@wiiawiwb

 

We stumbled across the Akaso while trying to decide which GoPro we wanted to get for Jessi's channel.  We ended up getting a V50 Pro SE for her to use, while I use a V50 X as a chest mounted camera.  

 

I can't speak as to 5K, as none of our cameras shoot in it.

 

Both of the cameras do well on 4K, with the Pro giving a slightly crisper image than the X.  The X does seem to gather light better than the Pro, with the X remaining usable a bit longer as the sun goes down.  

 

Both Akaso cameras have been used without the waterproof cases in the rain and snow with no issues.  We have not submerged either camera, so the waterproof cases have only been used for storage.  

 

Sound is equally good with both cameras.  I recently purchased an action cam which is converted to full spectrum use (from a ghost hunting site of all places) to use as a chest cam at night.  The microphone on this camera is nowhere near the quality of the Akaso models.  

 

Image stabilization seems to be extremely good in both models.  

 

Accessories are interchangeable between the Akaso and the GoPro cameras, so you have a wide range of options for both.  

 

The Akaso cameras are quite durable.  Both have been used pretty hard... banged around... dropped... bashed against rocks while climbing...

 

Battery life.  This is where the Akaso doesn't quite match up to the GoPro.  However, Akaso batteries are cheap, so that offsets it a bit.  I run an external power source to my chest cam, so it isn't a problem for me.  I carry a small Ravpower battery charger in my chest rig and run a USB cable to the camera. 

 

But, you are like us in that we have to carry everything in most areas...so weight and space is always a consideration.  The batteries are small and negligible in weight, but it is something to be considered.  

 

All in all, I am happy with the Akasos.  We were picking up a lot of equipment all at once, so the price vs features was extremely attractive to me and allowed me to divert funds to other items while still getting a very nice camera.  I am probably going to upgrade the V50 X over the next few months,and I am honestly thinking about just getting another V50 Pro instead of spending the money on a GoPro.  The Hero 9 is around $400 I think, while I can get a V50 Pro for just over a hundred bucks.  I honestly don't know if the GoPro has $300 worth of more value to me.

 

However, you are a gear junkie like me and appreciate fine equipment.  If I catch the latest GoPro on sale I will probably pull the trigger.  :D

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 I bought a Hohem iSteady Pro gimbal, too. However, I'm such a luddite that I'm carrying it and not using it. If I'd been using it, the sequence in my video that you are referencing might be clearer. I like my phone camera with the gimbal.

 

Sorry, NorthWind, but I find your camera unwatchable on screen. The way the camera screen warps makes me dizzy, though watching my own jumpy footage makes me dizzy too. I really need to get my stuff together and learn to edit. Imagine, me with 10 years experience in film and television, and I can't figure it out. Grrr. I want something besides my phone, so maybe I'll look into the V50 Pro camera. Price is a factor for me but I want better looking videos. 

Edited by Madison5716
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25 minutes ago, Madison5716 said:

 I bought a Hohem iSteady Pro gimbal, too. However, I'm such a luddite that I'm carrying it and not using it. If I'd been using it, the sequence in my video that you are referencing might be clearer. I like my phone camera with the gimbal.

 

Sorry, NorthWind, but I find your camera unwatchable on screen. The way the camera screen warps makes me dizzy, though watching my own jumpy footage makes me dizzy too. I really need to get my stuff together and learn to edit. Imagine, me with 10 years experience in film and television, and I can't figure it out. Grrr. I want something besides my phone, so maybe I'll look into the V50 Pro camera. Price is a factor for me but I want better looking videos. 

Jessi uses Vegas video editing software.  She likes the more dramatic presentation of our outings, so she edits and lays down lots of soundtrack music with Audacity and mEpidemic Sound.  She has zero experience with video editing and has really picked up on the software nicely over the past year.  It seems to be an intuitive program.

 

I think that you would really like the V50 Pro.  It is a lot of camera for the money.  Amazon has it for right around a hundred bucks right now.  You can get them even cheaper through Amazon Warehouse.  I think that I have seen them as low as 80 bucks on there.  I don't mind buying from the Warehouse due to Amazon's return policy.  

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7 hours ago, Madison5716 said:

I really need to get my stuff together and learn to edit. Imagine, me with 10 years experience in film and television, and I can't figure it out.

 

M? LOL, my next question to you just went South. I have used "muvee" and another program which is not at all intuitive called Lightworks. It's free, professional grade software, that's very powerful. Some top movie studios have used it. But it all comes down to the recorder being of good quality to begin with. It's like music, ya can' fix a bad sound/performance in the mix, although a lot of that is changing. Sing off pitch? No problem now, even for live performances. Autotune's features can make anyone sound perfectly on pitch. There's a free plug-in for Audacity that does the same thing. I had someone, whose instrument wasn't properly tuned, lay down a sax track. Fixed the whole track when mixing and it was pretty easy.  

Edited by hiflier
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BRB, at that price, how can anyone be out in the woods without one. I had no idea about what these recorders could do. You've opened up my world to a new tool. Thank you!!

 

I've spend a fair amount of time watching YT videos that review and critique the GoPro, Akaso, Yi, Insta360, DJI, and more.  When they mount two or three cameras next to each other and go out on a walk, run, or ride you can see subtle differences in various recorders. I'll bet if you showed me a video on its own, I would have no idea which recorder company it came from

 

I think the 5K ability could be helpful if you record something and need to zoom in on it. It will have more detail. Otherwise, you can't see the difference in a video between 5K and 4K.

 

With that said, there is one feature on the GoPro 9 (not 8 or 7), that I can't find on any other recorder, which could be a game changer for me. It is akin to a feature on my SONY PCM-M10 audio recorder. The GoPro 9 allows you to continuously record to a either a 15-second or 30-second buffer. Let's say I'm walking along and a sasquatch darts across a trail in front of me and disappears into the woods. I probably couldn't react in time to get it recorded. With the GP9, I could hit the record button and if I had chosen a 30-second buffer, the actual recording would begin 30 seconds prior to the time I hit the record button.  In my example, I would get the sasquatch on film.

 

Is that feature alone worth an extra $300++? I don't know, that's a big difference. I'll wait until mid-March to see if other companies add that feature to their recorders and make a decision then. I do want to be ready in early April to hit the woods for a prolonged time period.  Here is a YT video where I learned of that feature, cued to the start of the discussion.

 

https://youtu.be/Q1_BQcXmR5o?t=911

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10 hours ago, wiiawiwb said:

BRB, at that price, how can anyone be out in the woods without one. I had no idea about what these recorders could do. You've opened up my world to a new tool. Thank you!!

 

I've spend a fair amount of time watching YT videos that review and critique the GoPro, Akaso, Yi, Insta360, DJI, and more.  When they mount two or three cameras next to each other and go out on a walk, run, or ride you can see subtle differences in various recorders. I'll bet if you showed me a video on its own, I would have no idea which recorder company it came from

 

I think the 5K ability could be helpful if you record something and need to zoom in on it. It will have more detail. Otherwise, you can't see the difference in a video between 5K and 4K.

 

With that said, there is one feature on the GoPro 9 (not 8 or 7), that I can't find on any other recorder, which could be a game changer for me. It is akin to a feature on my SONY PCM-M10 audio recorder. The GoPro 9 allows you to continuously record to a either a 15-second or 30-second buffer. Let's say I'm walking along and a sasquatch darts across a trail in front of me and disappears into the woods. I probably couldn't react in time to get it recorded. With the GP9, I could hit the record button and if I had chosen a 30-second buffer, the actual recording would begin 30 seconds prior to the time I hit the record button.  In my example, I would get the sasquatch on film.

 

Is that feature alone worth an extra $300++? I don't know, that's a big difference. I'll wait until mid-March to see if other companies add that feature to their recorders and make a decision then. I do want to be ready in early April to hit the woods for a prolonged time period.  Here is a YT video where I learned of that feature, cued to the start of the discussion.

 

https://youtu.be/Q1_BQcXmR5o?t=911

That buffering feature might very well be worth the cost.  

 

Wonder what the battery life is like with the buffering feature activated?

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I've a fairly reasonable digital SLR Cannon T3i. Needing a new hobby, Christmas found a new Tamron 150-600 G2 lens. I need a new hobby, will be trying for some wildlife / bird shots in my area.

 

Newer SLR cameras are capable of capturing videos, and with the long lenses available for them, I'm wondering if such would be an option.

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6 hours ago, BlackRockBigfoot said:

That buffering feature might very well be worth the cost.

 That depends, because from what I just read av\bout the feature is that it constantly loops the 15 or 30 sec. buffering video. But it also means that if one hits the shutter to record when the loop is, say 9 seconds into a loop  one will only have that 9 second retro as part of the whole take. It translates into if one starts video capture during the 2 seconds of either the 15 or 30 second loop, then one will only get those 2 seconds of pre-roll. Not the full 15 or 30.

 

I wanted to know because the technology required and the amount of memory a unit capable of permanently being able to deliver a full 15 or 30 second pre-roll when one hits the shutter would be very expensive indeed. It' still a cool feature though. Because unless someone is actually watching the buffered time loop sequence to take full advantage of the maximum pre-roll available, one will probably always get somewhere between zero and 15 or 30 seconds of buffered video.

 

The GoPro 9, to have the buffering feature on, means it constantly recording video in 15 or 30 second loops which constantly overwrite previous loops to save card space until one hits the shutter. So constant record mode means less battery life for actual manual recording.

Edited by hiflier
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Hiflier, I think it works the same way that my SONY PCM-M10 sound recorder works.  I turn it on and it constantly records 5 seconds into buffer. When I hear a sound I want to record, I hit play, and it permanently records from 5 seconds before the moment I hit the button.

 

The GoPro9 will record either 15 or 30 seconds into buffer. Obviously, if I started the GP9, 5 seconds later I can only have 5 seconds in the buffer. After 15 seconds, the buffer is full and the unit continuously records over the existing buffer. Once I hit the record button, it will permanently record either the full 15, or 30, seconds depending on what I selected. The only way you can have less than the full 15 or 30 seconds is if you record something right from the get go before it ever reaches that limit.

 

In the video I linked, the reviewer mentions that it is a battery killer. That's not an issue for me as I'd bring several charged batteries. The issue would be getting a sighting and missing the chance to record it.

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 My point being, if a Sasquatch crosses one's path, hitting record may only add somewhere between 0-15 seconds of buffer? Or am I getting this wrong. Does a buffering loop give one, say, 9 seconds of the "old" loop added onto 6 seconds of the "new" loop so that a full 15 seconds of pre-roll is available at all times?

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It gives you a full 15 seconds before the time when you hit record. Let's say you set it for 15 seconds. A sasquatch goes racing across the trail and by the time you reach the record button it was gone 2 seconds ago. The recorder will start at 15 seconds before you pressed it so you should start at 13 seconds before the sasquatch enters the picture and capture the 13 seconds before it was there and entire 2 seconds it streaked across.

 

Here is a better explanation and shows you on the camera how it works. The video link below is cued up to the start of it. He also mentions the effect on batteries:

 

https://youtu.be/Q1_BQcXmR5o?t=919

Edited by wiiawiwb
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Okay, got that. So, last question. You get this 15 or 30 seconds of buffer right? It means you have a good chance of getting the Sasquatch recorded, right? But if you freak out and forget to hit record then a new loop will begin that will OVERWRITE the one with the Sasquatch on it! Is this the horrible truth? ;)

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