Gopro alternatives (cheaper clones)

Hi, so I am thinking of getting a GoPro clone, I simply can't afford the real thing or justify the money for something I simply won't use that often. I wondered what insight the community might have on some of the clones on the market? I have to state I am going to avoid the super cheap £30 $35 cameras becuase you get what you pay for. I am thinking around the £100 $100 mark. I see for that money you can get camera with 720p 120FPS and 4K (although think this is 2k really). I like the idea of inbuilt stablisation, and a couple of cameras seem to have half decent results. I don't really need 4k so happy to loose that for better spec on HD camera.


PS: These all have 170 wide lenses, I assume I can sort the shot out in Hitfilm.

PPS: Do any of these have the ability to set a depth of field, there is no manual focus?


  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Can't tell you about clone quality, but, I can pretty much answer the depth of field question.

    I doubt any of these cameras, GoPro or clone have ANY focusing, simply because once you get to a 170+ degree fisheye depth of field is, well... deep. I'll tell you from experience (although this is with a 12mm 180-degree fisheye on a full-frame DSLR) I almost never have to set focus on that sucker. Basically if my main subject is closer than about 2 feet to the lens I'll have to focus closer, otherwise I pretty much set it to infinity and never worry about it.

    Now--DoF is affected by three things. The lens magnification, the lens aperture and the size of the sensor plane. The more telephoto a lens is, the shallower its DoF. The wider open the aperture, the shallower the DoF. The larger the sensor size, the shallower the DoF.

    Two of these three work for the GoPro/clone having a wide DoF. It's very wide angle lens and its tiny little 1/2.5" sensor.

    Finally, the GoPro itself, as of the Hero5 is a fixed-focus camera with no manual or autofocus at all. I wouldn't expect its cheaper clones to either. If so, that would be a major marketing point. "HAS AUTO/MANUAL FOCUS! GoPro DOESN'T! BUY AWESOME CHINESE ACTION CAMERA FROM WISH!"

  • @Triem23 pretty much as I thought, thanks for the reponse. I guess if I want to get the effect of a blured background I can do it in HF.

  • Triem23Triem23 Moderator

    Oh, you can do a lot of fisheye correction in Hitfilm. The Action Cam Distort used to be named GoPro Distort. :) 

  • edited October 2017

    Yi Lite 4k came out recently. At $99, it's not going to break the bank.

    Basically GoPro 3+ specs and a few extras. 1080p @60fps and 4k @15fps, which is mostly useful for timelapses, and a touch screen.

    Has auto fisheye removal option and Electronic Image Stabilisation. 150 degrees lens instead of usual GoPro 170, Possibly why no 2.7k resolution as it's using the extra image sensor data (16Mp instead of 12Mp) for the stabilisation.

  • @Palacono I saw the UK model last night, but its £229 here, it seems the Lite version isn't avalible by normal channels. Otherwise nice spec. One thing I was wondering and I know this sounds odd when you are buying an Action Cam, but some have options to plug external mic, this would make it far more versitile for using for more then just when out and about.

  • edited October 2017

    That sounds like you looked at its Big Brother, the Yi 4K (not lite).

    Actually I was confused (and therefore perpetuated the problem) by reviews adding the '4k' to the end of the name. Yi don't do that themselves as they realise the 4k is...meh.

    £149.99 with Amazon Prime.  Bound to be cheaper elsewhere.

    AFAIK, only a few of the more expensive ones allow an external microphone, like the Sony FDR series.

  • All action cams AFAIK are fixed focus, fixed aperture (usually f/2.8). Given the short focal length of the lens with the small sensor size even f/2.8 has a pretty massive depth of field.

    They kinda need to be fixed focus/aperture to be durable. A mechanical mechanism would not hold up well in something like...

  • Thanks for that guys, I guess the main reason for me buying is to capture those family moments so it will work well for this. However if I plan to expand it's use to capturing media for VFX shorts then it might offer limited scope.

  • Action cams aren't a good choice for VFX generally, their codecs are quite poor. The Yi cameras have much better color and much better optics than their GoPro counterparts, but I wouldn't try using one for compositing and such, since they use very heavy compression in order to support 4K recording on puny media.


  • edited October 2017

    With the YI cams you definitely/probably want to "hack" the camera to boost the video bitrates. Still bitrate limited for 4k if that is your thing. You can get up to 50Mbps for the HD resolutions in the YI

  • edited October 2017

    That's not necessarily true. 100Mbps for 4K (not this camera, but better, more expensive ones) gives pretty reasonable results and this is mainly a 1080p camera and at about 60Mbps will probably have few enough compression artifacts that VFX is more than possible.  I've used cameras with lower bitrates - so higher compression - and got acceptable results for 'hobby' level messing about.

  • Supposedly you can get 100-120Mbps out of the YI 4k camera with the typical autoexec.ash script "hack".

  • This is the original HD Yi but Amazon has it for $69.99 and if you get the black one you can get an extra battery free or half off the waterproof case by choosing the right promotion.

    Looks like Amazon UK has the camera for £52.99 but there's no promotions for the extra battery or half off the case.

    There's third party apps for the Yi cameras like Yi Pro that will upload "hack" scripts to get the most of the camera.

  • I'll throw my hat into the ring. UK company olfi sell the one.five action camera for £150 on their site, I use it for MTB stuff and never fails. 

  • Got a link?

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