Spitfire76

Eken H8 4K 30 fps action cam

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Being on a relatively tight budget for this hobby I am considering the Eken H8 4K/30fps as a cheaper alternative to a GoPro.

http://www.gearbest.com/action-cameras/pp_348424.html

It seems to have similar specs to the Hero 4 and for only $60. I know that you typically get what you pay for but it will be less painful if I crash.

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The issue is compatability.  I am not a fan of the GoPros, but several systems are designed to accommodate them.  If you use an alternative camera, it probably won't mate with your gimbal and any live view you may have probably won't work.  You may be able to cobble together a holder, but you won't be able to point it and you'll be flying blind.  I know there's equipment out there to stream live view, but it'll probably cost so much you won't end up saving anything.  If cost is your determining factor, you're probably better off with something like the Hubsan X4 at around $150 with an integrated camera. 

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3 hours ago, Silk Purse said:

The issue is comparability.  I am not a fan of the GoPros, but several systems are designed to accommodate them.  If you use an alternative camera, it probably won't mate with your gimbal and any live view you may have probably won't work.  You may be able to cobble together a holder, but you won't be able to point it and you'll be flying blind.  I know there's equipment out there to stream live view, but it'll probably cost so much you won't end up saving anything.  If cost is your determining factor, you're probably better off with something like the Hubsan X4 at around $150 with an integrated camera. 

YES. Great response. Good example of this is the Yuneec Typhoon G. While it could fit a similar camera, the software won't support non-GoPro cameras.

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@Silk Purse, thanks for you comments. The size of this camera is the same as the GoPro Hero 3 and 4 in which case it should fit into a gimbal made for them but you are right to be concerned about the live feed as this is not the same. I believe the GoPro provides analogue A/V via its USB connector but what I've read this is not available on the H8 which only provides digital audio and video output via its micro HDMI connector. So for sure its not a direct replacement to be used for off the shelf UAVs but it could be a solution for us with home built UAVs. I have found some HDMI to A/V converters (< $50) that were designed to be used with larger cameras that only have HDMI output so it could still be a very economical solution compare with a $400 GoPro.

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@Silk Purse you had mentioned earlier in this thread that you were not a fan of GoPros. Is it because of their relative wide angle lens which gives a fish eye effect to videos and photos ?.

Edited by Spitfire76

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14 minutes ago, Spitfire76 said:

@Silk Purse you had mentioned earlier in this thread that you were not a fan of GoPros. Is it because of their relative wide angle lens which gives a fish eye effect to videos and photos ?.

Basically, yes.  GoPros are meant for close up work, which means wide angle.  The whole nature of UAV photography means that it's done at a distance.  The lens distortion (called barrel distortion) in the GoPro is just too great for my use.  It is correctable, somewhat, in Photoshop, but the results aren't satisfactory.  The distortion is not consistent from the center to the edge, and so the lens correction utility doesn't really do well. I do mostly real estate work, and it's important that straight lines end up straight, not curved.  I'm much happier with the Phantom 3 camera which, although not tack sharp, is relatively distortion free.  Also the ability to change camera settings in flight  is a huge plus for me.  I also like shooting in the raw DNG format.  The Hero 4 may have corrected some of those deficiencies.  My last experience was with the Hero 3, but I'm not going back.  When I'm feeling particularly flush, I'll probably move up to the Inspire with the micro 4/3 camera.

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@Silk Purse thanks for your feedback and I'm glad now that I did not invest in a GoPro although I did purchase the Eken H8 as it was on sale for only $60 but maybe I will regret that once I try it out as it has a very wide angle lens (170). I found this company that provides GoPros fitted with narrow field lenses that can also be purchased separately but even if they work on the H8 the lens cost is more than the camera.

http://www.peauproductions.com/collections/lenses

It seems that there is not much choice in suitable cameras for us UAV builders and with the price of the Phantoms these days that include a camera designed for the purpose I might have to make the conversion from DIY to DJI :)

 

Edited by Spitfire76
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@Spitfire76 I didn't know about the lens converters, thanks.  They're certainly not cheap, but more worrisome, I think, is that they look heavy and there is a good possibility they would overload your gimbal.  Plus with the native lens being as dicey as it is, I don't see how adding a converter would fix anything.

I have long thought that a relatively good point & shoot camera could be a good choice for a UAV if the compatibility issues could be handled.  From a photography point of view, this isn't really a hard job.  It's getting there that's tricky.

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