5 Things about Action Cameras I Bet You Don't Know About

Today, in this article, we will test your knowledge on action cameras and see whether you are fully using and cherishing your action camera right.

If you have just bought your action camera and think you know it all, this would probably get that thought out of your mind because it is impossible to know everything about your action camera. Honestly, even I do not.

Also, a thing that caught my attention and probably yours too, is the RISE in popularity of 360˚ cameras and at the same time VR tech. If you follow gaming YouTubers, you should have noticed by now that most of your favourite Youtubers are trying out new VR games or you are simply seeing more often, 360˚ videos in your feed.

If you do not want to miss out on 360˚action cameras and how you can film a 360˚ video, head on here to check that out.

Going back to the topic, let’s begin.

5 Facts You Did Not Know About

1. Prevalence of Fake 4K cameras

Recently, I realised that the competition in the action camera industry is real. Like it’s really competitive.

Companies of all background (though mostly Chinese) have upped their game by putting 4K labels on their camera, so as to attract and convince buyers that it can really film 4K resolution videos.

4K, 16MP under $50? V3 Sports Camera Debunked
4K, 16MP under $50? How can it be?

When you look at it, doesn’t it seem fishy to you that this camera worth maybe $50 can capture 4K videos while other brands like the GoPro can still thrive with $400 filming 4K too?

The 4K that they claimed is actually most of the time fake, meaning to say it is either interpolated or have a too low frame rate to be simply used.  Those are just some of the ways that they can falsely advertise.

If you want to know more about fake 4K or falsely advertised image sensor, be sure to check out my article on it here.

However, don’t quote me that they suck as they are still (most of the time) decent 1080p cameras and can still be used really nicely.

Also, if you are looking for a real 4K camera, simply hover over to my product reviews page and select ‘real 4k cameras’ to see some of the cheap yet good real 4k camera reviews done by me.

2. Switching On Gyro Can Decrease Image Quality

If you own an action camera that is average or higher (above $100), chances are that your camera is equipped with both gyroscopic stabilization and anti-shake optical stabilization.

The difference between the two, simply, is that gyro stabilization is mainly used for video taking while anti-shake is when you take a photo.

Gyro stabilization in most cameras, for example, the ThiEYE T5e uses digital or software stabilization, meaning to say it is done using software editing in the camera itself.  This stabilization actually requires the processor or chipset to allocate a little to it, hence the sharpness (mostly photos) will drop just a little.

Furthermore, when gyro is turned on, the field of view (FOV) of the camera will drop and hence the video you take will look a little ‘zoomed in’.

This is because digital or gyro stabilization works by moving the whole frame around so that when there is a bump, the whole frame will move to counteract the bump. It uses the spare pixels at the side to use as the buffer.

Still don’t understand? Below is an example of a video using gyro stabilization but the frame has not been cut out yet, so as to provide a better illustration.

Therefore, the point is if you are mostly taking photos, especially using action cameras, try switching off your gyro for better quality and wider FOV.

3. Known As Dash Cams

action camera dash cam mount on car mulitpurpose cameraFor those who do not know what dash cams or dash cameras are, they are a camera mounted on the windscreen of a car that continuously records.

Why are action cameras under Car DVRs? banggood search category

If you have visited online sites to look for your action camera, but can’t find a category for them, that’s because most of the time they are parked under ‘Car DVRs’ or sometimes ‘Dash Cameras‘ too.

You may be wondering, what makes it a dash camera and why?

Well, there are two parts to this answer. They are durable and have a feature called time-loop recording.

Durable

High Temperature Range for Action CamerasSo for the first part, it is really durable because it can handle extreme conditions, meaning to say things like impact, collision and most importantly temperature conditioning for this case. Especially in warmer or equatorial climatic countries, where the temperature can go over 30˚C, it is important for the camera to be able to take it. After long exposure to this heat, normal devices like phones, digital cameras, etc,  will cease operation because it has exceeded the temperature threshold for that device.

However, an action camera is made to handle that and can handle that temperature without losing key functions and speed.

Time Loop Recording

Secondly, time-loop recording. If you owned or own an action camera, you’d have probably seen it lying in your settings but do not know what it is. This is quite unique in my opinion because other cameras like camcorders, phones, etc do not have this feature.What is Loop Recording? action cameras

So what is time loop recording? It is a process where it deletes your oldest videos and photos and replaces it with the newest one, which is only done when your memory card is full, hence you will never run out of space, similar to how CCTVs (security cameras) work if you were wondering how they had ‘infinite’ space.

The duration of the time-loop recording can also vary, which you can change through the settings, most of the time from 1 minute to 5 minutes. So for example, you set your duration to 3 mins. What will happen is once 3 minutes is up, it will stop and start recording into another 3 mins clip. Hence, when your card is full, it’s going to delete the videos in 3 minutes interval.

And it’s as simple as that.

Another thing is that some cameras like the Warrior Bullet Action Camera have a g-sensor included and a quick 0.6s startup. Thus, when it detects a shock, it will automatically switch on and start recording to save as evidence. But honestly, I haven’t personally tried it yet so I am not sure about the effectiveness.

4. The Forefather of Action Cameras

It started all the way from 2005. Do you remember at that time, the cameras that you were using? Yes? No? It certainly wasn’t digital like what we use now. What they used was actually a film camera the one that Kodak was a big part of.

GoPro Hero - First Action Camera history
The First Ever Action Camera

The first action camera was actually a GoPro camera, or as they called it the GoPro. It ran on film and had no capability of recording video, but it least it had a viewfinder so you could tell what you were taking. It was waterproof up to 5m and had a wrist strap that could be attached to it.

That at that time, cost only $19 unlike now which its almost impossible to find a GoPro below $100 but it’s incomparable since they are 2 totally technology at play.

If you are looking to buy it, surprisingly enough you can at $40 from eBay here. But I doubt you want to use it since it is so troublesome to get the photos out and who even wash films nowadays, not mentioning the quality ain’t that great either.

Having said that, it is still quite a remarkable device to have as it carved the path for the action camera industry and brought it to where it is today.

5. It Can Be Used In Places You Won’t Even Think Of

This is a lot of times a misconception especially for those who are new to action cameras.

the many uses of action camerasYou might think action cameras are only for filming action sports such as cycling, scuba diving, snorkelling, etc, but in actual fact, I feel more people use it even for daily activities like during holidays, vlogging, sightseeing, etc as it is really versatile and good for all uses.

yi action camera mounted on drone versatile camera action camera versatile rc car dronesAs you know you can actually mount action cameras anywhere, some people even mount it on their RC cars or drones to get that unique point of view where no other can.

I’ve realised that many YouTubers especially really new ones use them too because they are very affordable.

For me, I personally had tried mounting on my RC car but it was pretty small and short so the view wasn’t that fantastic. I also bring my camera (using ThiEYE T5e  now) to holidays or travelling whenever I have the chance because I feel that it is really portable and compact and even if it accidentally spoils or drops, so what right? Data will still be retained and it’s way better than having your phone broken or worse still, lost.

Ending words

If you’re looking to find an action camera, please feel free to approach me through the comments section or the ‘contact me’ section, or you can simply take a look at my beginner’s guide to action camera here.

From this article, I hope you have learnt something about action cameras and appreciate it more and did you know all of them?

Also, if you do know something that you know but I do not, or have not included in above, feel free to share it in the comments down below!

I’ll really appreciate your feedback and lastly, thanks for reading and have a fantastic day! 🙂


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6 Comments

  1. Hey Kai, great information about action cameras. I did not know anything about cameras let alone an action camera. You have made it very clear and very simple to understand how to use and buy action cameras.

    Now I can go and purchase one of these action cameras and really have an idea of what I am looking for and ideas about the different features.

    Now I understand the difference between stabilization and action shots (still learning the lingo).

    What would be a reasonable price for a beginner like me to spend on an action camera? Are most action cameras waterproof?

    1. Hi Ajones! Thanks for dropping by!

      Regarding your qn, all action cameras are waterproof.

      They are also usually on the cheap side of the price spectrum and hence I think a reasonable price for beginners would be about 80. Head over here to if you wish to look at my recommendations for the best action cameras below 100!

      Hope that helps! 🙂

  2. Hey Kai!

    Man! The first thing you mentioned actualy reminds me of a great mistake I made some time ago.

    Buying a cheap camera which claimed to be 4K, and turned out to be 2k, tops. It’s what you just pointed out, if a GoPro costs more than $400, tehre must be a reason.

    Some of those cheap one are good though, but will never be as durable or get the same quality as the professional ones.

    Interesting points to take into account when I buy my next one, thanks man! 😉

    1. Hi Israel! 

      Also, to point out, although the quality of professional ones are always better, I feel that the quality of consumer electronics are constantly improving and there are actually that offers slightly lesser features than a GoPro for half the price such as the Yi2 4K action cam ($200) and is comparable to a GoPro! Thus I feel that it is of really great value!  

      Anyways, glad it helped and thanks for dropping by! 🙂

  3. Wow, this product is very cool. I never really thought about a camera this way. Thanks for providing us with all the benefits and perks to a very interesting but complex camera. I love how you can mount it anywhere. That would be awesome for filming or taking pictures of tricks or trick shots. Thanks for sharing.

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