Tuesday, 18 July 2017

What cameras do I use?

This would be the most frequently asked question on my YouTube channel, so it merits a more detailed explanation.

For onboard footage I use a Mobius C2 purchased from Ebay seller eletoponline365  (Recommended seller on the RCGroups Mobius thread)
It's fairly basic with no image stabilisation and maximum res of 1080 30P but the image quality is very pleasing and the audio is the best of all flat form action cams (that I have tested). The Runcam 2 and Foxeer Legend 1 may be slightly sharper and offer higher res, but the results from the Mobius just look and sound better in my opinion. I also use this Mobius for audio recording when I'm flying FPV and need to narrate. I set up Mode 2 to be WAV Audio only recording. Initially I used the smaller 808 #16 key chain camera which did a good job but was limited to 720 resolution.

For hatcam footage and narration while flying I use a Mobius A (narrower field of view lens) This gives a closer view of the plane in the air without being too magnified. I have modded the microphone to be external and enclosed in a very effective wind sock. This means I can narrate a flight in strong wind and still have decent voice quality.

For a tripod mounted camera out in the field and "talking to camera" reviews I use an SJCAM M20 for it's nice contrast and sharp lens. I use it on 1080 30P which gives a slightly narrower field of view than the full fisheye. It also renders skin tones smoothly too which is a bonus for my ageing weather beaten face.

For close-up cut away shots I use a Canon S100 compact camera. It does a decent job but struggles with auto focus accuracy occasionally.

Audio recording for the indoor reviews is on a Zoom H1 audio recorder with Clippy lapel microphone from Micbooster in UK. That usually works well but has started letting me down with fuzzy recordings and scratchy connection interference lately. I'm now trying a Rode smartLav+ mic with my iPhone as the recorder and that sounds promising. Occasionally I will clean up the sound using the free Audacity program.

For editing I use iMovie on a Retina display 27" iMac. That's all I need for my quick and dirty Youtube videos.

I have tested many GoPro style action cams, and there are some good and some not so good options. My first action cam was a  GoPro 2 which I loved at the time, then a GoPro 3+ Silver which was a waste of money with poor focus and green colour cast. The first "post GoPro" action cam I tried was the SJCAM M20, and that prompted me to throw the GoPro 3 in a drawer and stop using my Nikon D7000 DSLR for video.

I divide the Action cams into 3 categories:

The SJCAM SJ7 and ThiEYE T5e give the best video image quality with great sharpness and natural smooth colours and tones. But the audio on both of these cameras is not perfect, a bit muddy and ever so slightly out of sync with the picture.

The SJCAM M20, SJ5000 and SJ6 fit in this category with sharp video and bright colours. However they produce slightly posterised tones and compression artefacts in some situations. The Eken V8s also just makes it into this level with nice features but slightly less sharpness in the video.

These cameras are cheap and work fine but cheaper lenses and electronics compromise image quality more that I would be happy with, like the Andoer AN5000, Hawkeye Firefly 7S and Tomtop 4K action cam.

Reviews on all of these cameras can be found in this Action Cam playlist 

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