Using fake frame rates is one of the way action cam manufacturers ‘cheat’ their buyers.
Recently, the competition of action cam industries is very tough. In order to stay ahead of the game, some companies have used fake frame rates to attract more people to buy their product.
What do they do? Falsely advertising the frame rate of their camera.
Most of the times, they only falsely claim frame rate on 4K resolutions because, for that, the hardware required for smooth 4K recording is more costly.
Hence, if you see a 4K camera that is below $50, there is a high likelihood that the hardware of the camera can only support 4K at 15-20 frames per second (fps) which looks like a photo slideshow, making it unusable.
Also, in some cases, they might also claim to be able to film 4K at 30fps even though it is actually much lower. How they go about doing it will be described below.
After which, I will give you a few examples of action cams to avoid below if you wish to use 4K recording.
Firstly, what are frame rates?
So if you are new to this frame rate thing, it is, simply said, how many frames are shot per second.
Typical video plays at about 24 frames per second (fps) and above and that’s about the minimum frame rate for smooth and realistic playback.
Converting 15fps to 30fps? How?!
Many of the times, cheap action cams are only able to support recording up to 4K at 15-20fps due to hardware limitations.
However, manufacturers can still claim 30fps on their product sheet and even if you analyse the video (will be explained below how), it’ll still show 30fps.
How do they go about doing adding frames from nowhere?
Simply by inserting ‘fake’ frames. The ‘fake’ frames are basically just duplicated frames of the previous frame hence if you have 15 frames and you add one after every original frame, it will double and you end up with 30 frames.
Hence, when computer software analyses the video properties, it can’t detect the ‘fake’ frames, resulting in an ‘ideal’ result. However, in actual fact, it is only 15 x 2 fps instead of 30fps.
How can I obtain my video frame rate?
You will need video samples from your camera or at least the camera you are planning to buy
If you want to have a general idea of your video’s frame rate, you can easily check using VLC.
However, I have to mention that VLC uses only the total frame rate and has no regard for duplicated frames (mentioned above).
The steps are very simple.
1. Open VLC.
2. If you are using Windows press [Ctrl-J]. If you’re using Mac, press [Cmd-I].
3. The media information should show up. After that, click on the ‘Codec’ tab.
4. The frame rate and resolution will show up!
However, the method above is just to check the general frame rate. As I mentioned above, if your video frame rate indicates anything above 30fps but it is still not very smooth, you might have a video with duplicated frames.
Therefore, if you are willing to take an extra step to see the exact frame rate of your video (some might be duplicated), you’d have to download another app which checks for duplicated frames. You can search on google for ways to check duplicated frames.
Action Cams With ‘Fake’ Frame Rates
Most cameras that have fake frame rates are used in 4K modes as the hardware is simply unable to support.
Anyways, below are the cameras that offer unusable frame rate video in 4K.
- Eken H9R
- H2 Ultra 4K
- X9000 4K
- F60 4K
- Elephone ELE Explorer
- Eken H8R
- Amkov AMK7000S
Another quick rule to follow is also to avoid action cams with these chipsets as they are not able to support smooth 4K recording.
- Sunplus 6350 (4k but only 10FPS)
- Allwinner V3 (4k but only 15FPS)
- NT96660 (24FPS but only 2880×2160)
Having said that, I must stress that despite not being able to use 4K, most cameras are still very good in filming full HD footages and pictures.
I hope you have a learnt a thing or 2 about frame rates and which action cam you should avoid.
If you wish to know anything else or have any questions or comments, please feel free to drop a comment down below! I’ll really appreciate it and reply to you as soon as I can!
Lastly, thanks for dropping by and have a nice day! 🙂