90˚ vs 170˚ 90 vs 170 action cam

You’ve stumbled upon an action camera and finally found the choice that fulfilled your needs and uses.

However, out of the blue, there are 2 options, asking you for which field of view model you want.

Which one should you choose?

Well, that’s what we are going to find out today.

90˚ Vs 170˚ Action Cams

90 vs 170 action cams camera cameras gitup git2 git2p firefly hawked 8s

For those of you who are new, there are some action cams that offer 2 variations of field of view. A few example would be FireFly 8s and Git 2P.

1. Field Of View

field of view action camera

As you should already know, the obvious contrast between the 2 is the wideness of the shots. It is measured in degrees (˚), and  90˚ means that it records exactly half of the footage whereas if it’s 180˚ (technically impossible), it records everything in front of the lens.

Most action cams have a 170˚ field of view, which is very wide and in order to fit all of that into a normal display, the fisheye lens distortion is introduced, which brings us to our second point.

2. Fisheye Effect

fisheye effect action cam

All media are displayed in a 16:9 aspect ratio (width to height) regardless of the field of view of it.

Hence, no matter how wide or narrow a video is, it has to fit into the same dimension. This means that at least for the majority of action cams, which have a wide field of view, fisheye distortion is required so that it fits everything nicely into the display.

Can we remove the distortion?

Of course! Some action cams (Yi 4K, Xiaomi Mijia, etc) have the ability to remove fisheye distortion directly from its settings, which is what they called Lens Distortion Correction (LDC).

correcting lens distortion in action cameras
Check out my tutorial here!

Alternatively, you can use editing apps to easily correct it. I won’t dwell on it here because I have written a whole tutorial on removing fisheye effect here!

3rd Difference :  File Size
field of view difference storage space

The resolution for both versions are the same, however because the anti-distortion version takes fewer details, it will consume a lower amount of space.

 

4. Physical Lens

firefly 8s 90 vs 170 ˚ degree
Firefly 8S Lens Physical Difference

The is the only physical difference between the 2 that you can see right away.

Something to keep in mind is that the lens on the 90˚ versions is slightly longer. Thus, it can’t be used together with ‘traditional’ waterproof cases because most housings are made for 170˚ lenses.

This hence limits the versatility, which is one of its drawbacks.

Comparison of 90˚ and 170˚ footage

Firefly 8S

Gitup Git2P

 

Pros and Cons

90˚

Pros Cons
No Fisheye Distortion Lower Field Of View
More Natural Look More Expensive Due To Lesser Stock
Longer Lens --> Will Not Fit Into Normal Housing
Firefly 8S

Gitup Git2P

170˚

Pros Cons
More immersive (Higher FOV) Fisheye Distortion Present (Can Be Advantageous At Times)
Cheaper
Able To Fit Into Normal Protective Housing
Firefly 8S

Gitup Git2P

Summary

At the end of the day, it boils down to your needs and how you’re planning on using your action cam.

If you fall into the general category of users where you are using your action cam for a large array of events, I’d personally recommend 170˚ field of view action cams. I feel it’s more versatile as most accessories are built for it, and not to mention it’s cheaper too!

However, on the other hand, if you really want an action cam without any distortion with the expense of field of view, go for the 90˚ ones.

As for the ideal viewing angle, I feel that it falls in between both of them, somewhere about 130˚ to 140˚. This is because the fisheye effect isn’t that obvious and at the same time it provides enough field of view for an immersive viewing experience.

That’s all I have for now. If you have any doubts or thought about this, please feel free to drop a comment down below! I’ll really appreciate it!

Lastly, thanks for dropping by and have a great day! 🙂


–> Check out how you can correct the fisheye distortion in this quick tutorial! <–

Similar Posts
Latest Posts from Action Camera Guides & Reviews

7 Comments

  1. Hello, I liked this post, I was looking for this kind of information… based on your pros and cons It’s only logic to get a 170˚ action cam is the way to go, even if doesnt present the Fisheye Distortion

    I Have one question though… Can you tell me why the 170˚ is cheaper than the 90˚, is the size of the lens?

    Thanks so much and I’ll look forward to your answer…

    Regards, Kevin

    1. I feel it’s cheaper not so much because of the physical aspects but because there is less produced so it’s more of a demand-supply thing. 

  2. You know I just have to get one of these things soon. I know you mentioned 130-140 degree lens. Would you say the 140-degree lens as readily available as the 90 and 170 degrees? I agree with you that going as immersive as possible without distortion is the way to go. Thanks for the informative post!

    1. It really depends on which action camera and which manufacturer we’re talking here. 

      However, generally, 140 is more prevalent in the higher price range action cameras, such as the mijia 4k, the Yi 2 4K and even the GoPros.

      Hope this helps and glad you found it useful!

  3. Hi Kai,

    I ride a motorcycle and I’m always considering which action-cam to buy. The most popular I’ve seen people using is GoPro but it also has the fish-eye distortion effect so that trees or lampposts always look as they’re bending over.

    I like the idea that the 90 degree version doesn’t have the same fisheye distortion.

    A couple of questions though.
    1. Why is the 90 degree lens longer than the 170 degree?

    2. Can you tell me if there is a mount available to attach to a helmet or to a handlebar?

    Cheers,

    ASG

    1. Hi Abdusalam, I’m not sure as to why the 90˚ lens is longer than the 170˚ lens, but I’m thinking something along the line where the 90˚ lens requires a larger focal length and thus a longer lens overall.

      Also, there are tons of mounts for helmet or handlebar. Check out my article on action cam accessories here!

  4. Went through a couple of so called 170-degree (Field of View) cameras on Amazon in a price range of ~$50 with great ratings. None was actually 170-deg, both were ~90-degree horizontal FOV and less than 120 degrees diagonal. Essentially the same as wide view Hero pro. For 170 degree FOV a stick 20 ft wide should fit in the frame while camera is just 1 foot away from it. A 90 degree camera will fit only 2 ft wide stick, and that was what these ‘claimed to be 170deg’ cameras do. So it is a hoax, they promptly sent me refund for both cameras. Most people apparently have no idea what these degrees really mean and how to check it. And yes, a fisheye lens has to be a shorter focal length, so it is generally shorter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *