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Why an action cam?
As mentioned at the beginning, an action cam, such as the popular GoPro series of cameras, is aimed particularly at adventurers and self-actors. Now that’s not meant negatively, because who doesn’t love to keep their best moments?
If you are a mountain biker, for example, you can capture your exciting tours and fast descents from a first-person perspective, for example with a mounting kit for the helmet. You can also experiment especially. What would it be like to experience the downhill from the perspective of your pedals? This is surely an insight because you or your friends haven’t had one yet.
But it doesn’t always have to be life-threatening white water rafting (but it can be) or the daring ascent to the nearest mountain wall. An action cam is also particularly suitable for holidays, on the beach where it is hot and humid, or off-road. They are small, handy, tough, robust things that can handle almost any situation.
Areas of application and benefits
At this point you can surely already guess: The areas of application for an action cam are diverse. Since there are some special, waterproof models, or waterproof housings are available as accessories for most brands, you could take your Action Cam directly to the next dive. Or in the wet rainforest, or for the next, particularly muddy rally.
Many enthusiastic hikers and adventurers always have their cameras with them and capture everything so that they don’t miss any exciting moments. And there is also the special use of an action cam. You just let it go, do your thing and find the best moments afterwards. Maybe you put together an impressive action video, share it with your friends or via YouTube with the whole world.
The areas of application actually range from grassroots sports to hiking to model sports. Ever had the idea to strap an action cam onto a remote-controlled gasoline model car and see the whole thing from a first-person perspective? No? You are welcome!
Many happy owners of an action camera often speak of being motivated and inspired by the camera. They were just looking for new exciting moments and situations to get new material for their camera.
In order to produce particularly impressive clips from the raw data of the video camera, you also have to deal with video editing. After the first successes, this can also become a fulfilling hobby, which many owners of an action cam like to follow almost every day. The possibilities to experiment and create something impressive and new are almost unlimited.
What does 4K mean?
4K denotes the resolution with which the videos are recorded. Based on the FULL HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels) – quasi 1K – corresponds to 4K four times the FULL HD resolution. This means that details and distant or smaller objects are recorded much better and ultimately reproduced (provided a 4K player is required). 4K thus corresponds to a resolution of approx. 4096 x 2160 pixels, which corresponds to four times the resolution of FULL HD in terms of area.
However, processing 4K image information is hard work for the image sensor, the processor and also the memory card in the camera. Therefore, your battery should always be fully charged and a particularly fast (UHS1, Class 10) memory card inserted in your camera.
With a full 4K resolution, fewer frames per second are usually possible than in a lower resolution such as 2K or FULL HD. You will find detailed information on this below and also in the documentation for your camera.
How does the 4K camera work?
The 4K camera basically works like any other digital camera or camcorder. The light – and thus the image information – falls through the lens in the lens onto the image sensor. With the Action Cams, however, a lot of emphasis is placed on a fast and high-resolution image sensor in order to show all details at a sufficient speed. Because the typical area of application for an action cam is fast recordings, such as in sports.
A fast memory card is recommended so that the camera can write the data to the memory card sufficiently quickly. Particularly fast memory cards are labeled “Class 10” and “UHS-I”. Such as.
Since the cameras are usually “unstable” mounted, either in hand or on a selfie stick or attached to helmets and bicycles, they also have a sophisticated, combined system of either digital or optical image stabilization. This prevents the typical “blurring” and leads to calm, smooth shots with particularly high refresh rates.
Cheaper cameras do not quite achieve the 4K resolution when stabilizing the image.
What action camera types are there?
The basic action cameras are all very similar, mostly differing only in the recording resolution and in the functions and different recording modes. Most cameras with a separate housing are suitable for underwater use. A few are without an additional housing.
An action camera is typically small, light, robust and has good image stabilization.
There is one big distinction: 2D and 3D.
The 2D action cameras are the “standard cameras”. As you’d expect, these cameras record the footage as a normal video file, just in the direction the camera is looking.
It is different with 3D action cameras (or also called 360 ° cameras). They constantly record everything that happens all around. Also on the vertical axis. In special processing programs you can then change the viewing angle and the viewing angle of the camera. Mounted on a selfie stick, these 360 ° cameras produce particularly impressive shots. In the higher price range, these cameras can even calculate the selfie stick or tripod used and give the impression of a floating camera.
4K or HD – what’s really worth it?
This is literally in the eye of the beholder. The four times higher resolution offers only advantages.
– better detail display
– More “air upwards” for image sections and enlargements
– bigger, better sensor
Of course, a 4K video recording requires a lot more hardware than one in just FULL HD. This is also the reason why higher frame rates (for example in slow motion recording) are only possible in lower resolutions.
The entry-level class of action cameras often doesn’t even get 25 frames per second at 4K. It becomes really fluid from the age of 30. 60 would be ideal. Everything about it is necessary for particularly spectacular shots. Cameras in the higher price range can record well over 200 frames per second at 720p resolution.
So what if the final output format will only be 1080p, FULL HD anyway?
It is clear that you can output 4K content on FULL HD screens and TVs, but they are then automatically down-calculated to the lower resolution. So why use 4K if you don’t plan to present your videos in 4K resolution?
The answer is a very simple one: 4K cameras can also do FULL HD very well.
Since they are intended for the higher resolution, they have better lenses, lenses and also the sensor, which ultimately digitally processes the light that falls into the camera and converts it into an image, is considerably larger in a 4K camera than with a FULL HD camera.
That means in plain language: You can still scale down from 4K when editing your video. You can also reduce the resolution directly when recording, but you can record with more frames per second – which can lead to spectacular effects. The battery life is also extended.
Another consideration would simply be the advancement of technology. 8K is already in the starting blocks for the players (i.e. TVs and monitors). FULL HD will soon be completely replaced by 4K and later (some years) by 8K.
In addition, you don’t really save much if you forego a 4K camera for cost reasons and choose a FULL HD model.
The range of functions, the flexibility and the better image quality, even at a lower resolution, clearly speak for a 4K camera.
Connection with the smartphone
The connection with the smartphone works in a similar way on most Action Cam models. Simply load the associated app from the respective app store and follow the instructions in the app.
Most of the time it is enough to put the smartphone and the camera in the same WLAN and follow the on-screen instructions. In this way you can transfer pictures and videos and usually also share them.
Most cameras allow you to use your smartphone as a remote control for the camera.
A few years ago, action videography was reserved for well-known youtubers, extreme athletes and self-actors. But technology is getting better, memory cards are getting faster, and cameras are becoming cheaper – even professional devices like the GoPro HERO7 Black. But it doesn’t always have to be the expensive GoPro, the cheaper alternatives are usually at least as good. Why always pay an extra $ 50 for the brand name 😉
Getting into the matter is currently easier and cheaper than ever. Thanks to the diverse areas of application of an action cam, many models can also be used as a car camera. Because they are very robust and can put up with a lot, they are also suitable as a camera for holidays and the beach, where a smartphone or an expensive system camera should rather stay in the hotel room.
They can therefore not only be used strictly for daring stunts, but also to hold on to the hike together, or the round on the archery course. When it comes down to it, most of the cheaper models do what you’d expect from an action cam. So … why not make your own action videos? There is really nothing wrong with it!
The accessories situation has also improved enormously in recent times. Suitable accessories have not only become cheaper and more available, but are usually sold directly with the camera in a set.
Maybe an action cam will accompany you on your next vacation.
Drones: What you absolutely need to know as a beginner
As a beginner, the drone world is not so easy to see through. In this article we explain everything you need to know as a beginner to handle and operate drones. Easy to understand, of course.
Anyone interested in purchasing their own drone must now deal with a variety of regulations. At first glance, therefore, beginners often rightly have the feeling that drone flying is no longer (so easy) possible in Germany.
But it’s not that bad if you stick to a few basic things. The most important thing in our eyes is: to develop enthusiasm for the technology and opportunities that drones bring with it. And of course the understanding that you take part in air traffic with a drone and that you have to be aware of the responsibility when controlling a drone.
With these thoughts in mind: Do not let your joy take off before the first start and tackle the whole topic bit by bit. 🙂
Get an insurance
The most important thing a drone pilot needs to know first: In many countries, special liability insurance is mandatory for aircraft. This also applies to you if you “only” want to let your drone – however small and light – fly up and flee with it.
It is important to understand that private liability insurance is in most cases not sufficient and does not provide the insurance cover required by law. However, there are now also combined insurance policies that combine drone liability with private liability insurance.
You should also always have the insurance certificate with you when you are traveling with your drone in case you are checked by the police. This can require the presentation of a corresponding proof.
You are interested in technology
Even if drones are becoming easier to operate and control, e.g. Via app or gestures or voice command, such as the DJI Spark or the Yuneec Mantis Q, these are basically still model aircraft from the field of model aircraft construction.
Of course, in order to unleash the full potential of your camera drone, you don’t necessarily have to know exactly how the flight controller works inside the drone. But you should very well familiarize yourself with the basic functionality of a quadcopter. It is also important to understand which different flight modes (ACRO, ATTI, LEVEL, GPS, TRIPOD, etc.) your drone supports and how they work.
As a beginner, special attention should be paid to the highly automated flight modes in which the drones independently perform flight maneuvers (e.g. circling around an object). In such a case, it is important to know which sensors and security systems are active in which flight mode and what things you have to take care of despite the automatic flight.
For example, very few drones have six-sided obstacle detection with collision avoidance, such as the DJI Mavic 2 series. If you are missing side obstacle detection, for example, you must always keep an eye on yourself that your drone does not hit an obstacle during a circular maneuver.
In-depth knowledge of motors, speed controllers (ESCs) and the battery system will of course help you if you ever have to diagnose and fix a defect.
To get the best results from the camera of your drone, you should of course also know a little about the basics of photography.
Know the drone ordinance
Another important requirement in many countries is to familiarize yourself with the requirements of the Drone Ordinance as a beginner. This regulates where you can fly your drones. Here is a short extract of the most important regulations (not complete).
For example, taboos are:
– The overflight of residential properties if the drone weighs more than 250g
– The overflight of federal highways, federal waterways, industrial areas and highways. You must also keep a lateral distance of at least 100 meters here.
– The operation of drones in and over sensitive areas such as locations of police and rescue workers, crowds of people, main traffic routes, arrival and departure areas of airfields.
– Operation at a height greater than 100 m above ground (AGL).
– Flying out of sight of the pilot
– For drones over 2kg you also need a special proof of knowledge.
– A flight permit must be requested for drones over 5kg.
– Drones over 250g need a drone number with your name and address.
– Model aircraft are obliged to avoid manned aircraft and unmanned free balloons at any time
– FPV (flight via video glasses or monitor) is only permitted up to a height of 30 m and a maximum drone weight of 250 g. Otherwise you need a second person who always keeps an eye on the drone and warns you of dangers.
To help you as a beginner find out whether you are allowed to fly your drone at a specific location, there are already some extremely helpful drone apps.
Select the right drone
As soon as you are clear about the legal requirements and restrictions, it is finally about the actual topic: the first own drone. Of course, there is no suitable model for every model.
As everywhere in life, you first have to think about what is most important to you and what you want to use the drone for. For example, should it be particularly compact? Can record videos at cinema level? Shoot thermal images? Transport particularly heavy loads? Or maybe used for video drone racing? Here you have to decide yourself what exactly you are going to do.
In our opinion, one should start with a smaller and cheaper drone. After you have successfully flown this entry-level drone for about a year, you can also invest 1000 dollars or more in a professional drone.
Practice flying skills in the simulator
In today’s world, the numerous excellent flight simulators are often neglected, some of which can already be bought for little money. It doesn’t matter whether you want to take off as a drone racing pilot with your FPV racer or if you want to take to the skies with a camera drone. A suitable simulator can give you a first taste of the drone hobby at low cost.
In addition, of course, simulators are also wonderfully suited to get through autumn and winter without having to do without flying completely. You can also use a simulator to train your flying skills in a safe environment before trying out particularly difficult stunts and flight maneuvers with your real drone on the airfield.
Simulators have been widespread among model pilots for decades and are often used. As a beginner, you should take this to heart and imitate the pros.
Don’t let fun spoil you as a beginner
At the very beginning, it is of course particularly important not to let the fun spoil you with all the regulations and new technical equipment.
Use different opportunities to learn more about drones and find out if the drone hobby is right for you.
We are of course available to you as a web portal and try to illuminate the various aspects of the drone world for you in detailed articles. We also like to share your questions and problems with you in the comments.
Also actively approach other pilots if you spot a drone pilot somewhere who is currently pursuing his hobby. A direct discussion is often the best way to discuss. YouTube is also an ingenious source when it comes to delving into the technology of multicopters.